If you’ve ever been at a race and taken a good look at some of the professional bikes that are racked, you might see some interesting adaptations to their bikes and wondered why they’ve done that. Here are a few modifications that some pros make, and how and why they’ve made them. And no, bagels on aero bars do not count as a time saving modification (yes, I have seen this done).
Tape your computer to the front of your bike
Your $3000 powermeter is completely useless if you are not using the data. The easier your computer is to see, the more often you will look at it. The best place to mount your cycling computer is near the front of your aerobars by your hands. You can easily glance down at it without taking your eye off the bears and other potential obstacles that are on the road ahead. There are plenty of great computer mounts out there, but there might not be the perfect mount for some computers. I have seen a fair share of pros use Gorilla tape to fasten their computer down in this situation – myself included.
Cut the legs of your wetsuit.
Some pros will cut about six inches off of the lower leg panels of their wetsuit in order to make them easier to take off in transition. The time wasted getting your wetsuit stuck on ankle or timing chip can be devastating for a professional. But fast transitions are not just for professionals. Going through transition is much like going to the dentist– you have to go, but it’s stressful and you want to get out of there as quickly as possible. Recently, companies like BlueSeventy have started making wetsuits with lower leg panels that flare out and have thinner neoprene to help with this.
Crumple your race bib
First off, never wear your race belt and bib on the bike if you don’t need to! More and more races are no longer requiring you to do so. The drag from a race bib equates to approximately 45 seconds over a half distance race. If a race does require you to wear your race bib on the bike, then crumpling it up can limit the amount of drag it produces by reducing the flapping. It also helps to make the bib move with your body on the run rather than being a stiff, thick piece of paper hanging off your waist.
Number your seat post
Next time you are at a big race, check out the pro rack. You will see a huge assortment of ways to fasten your race number to your bike. If you have a paper number that folds over, the best place to put it is on your seat post. It is the fastest and keeps the number away from potentially rubbing against your legs. Make sure that number does not flap. You want your bike to be like swinging a baseball bat, not swinging a flag. Using some scotch tape, or double-sided tape helps to get your race number securely fastened while looking good for the race marshals. If it is a sticker race number, most pros cut them down to get them to fit better on their bikes. Most races are fine with this as long as the number is clearly visible, but some race officials are not. So buyer beware on that tip.
*Always check the race rules before making any modifications to your race number or bike!