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We all want to go faster and often spend hours in the saddle trying to do so. In fact, some people spend substantial amounts of money on top end kit just to gain valuable seconds. So despite all this, it is amazing how many times you’ll see a rider with a number pinned on so poorly it is akin to a parachute, therefore undoing any benefit that the thousands of pounds were undoubtedly hoping to save.

Tour Mediterranean - Stage Three B

Bob Jungels showing how not to pin on your number (Photo: Watson)

On occasion even the pro teams make elementary errors. Well, thanks to British company Nopinz, LottoNL-Jumbo do not have to worry making that mistake in the Tour de France time trials.

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LottoNL-Jumbo riders rode without any pins in their race numbers

Time Trials

Somewhat under the radar, LottoNL-Jumbo used the Nopinz SpeedPocket at the Criterium du Dauphine last month. The UCI World Tour team was sufficiently impressed by the results to request 10 suits to be fitted with the SpeedPocket for the Tour de France time trials.

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Wilco Kelderman’s race number is flush to his skin suit

In the Tour de France stage one individual time trial on Saturday, although not solely due to the Nopinz design, LottoNL-Jumbo finished with two riders in the top ten (Jos van Emden fifth and Wilco Kelderman ninth) and won the team prize with the lowest cumulative time for three riders of 46.06 minutes. They were three seconds faster than Trek Factory Racing and eight faster than BMC Racing.

How does it work?

Nopinz’s SpeedPocket is integrated into a standard skin suit and the number is then slid into the Speedpocket from inside the suit.

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The Nopinz SpeedPocket is claimed to keep the number flush to the skin suit

The SpeedPocket has several claimed benefits. Although not really an issue for a pro team, the obvious one is that you don’t use pins, which should increase the life of the skin suit.

However, what will have appealed to LottoNL-Jumbo is the alleged aero benefits of smoothing the airflow over a rider’s lower back.

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Wilco Kelderman on his way to 9th in Stage one of the Tour de France

Test

To find out what the actual advantage is, we took part in some testing at the Newport Velodrome with Nopinz and Dr Xavier Disley of AeroCoach Ltd UK. To calculate which race number set up was the most aerodynamic we used a CDA (Coefficient of Drag Area) system. The CDA is calculated by tracking a rider’s power output and speed, along with the air density, lean angle, rolling resistance and the rider’s position on the track. In short, the lower the CDA the more aerodynamic the position.

For each test the rider rode six laps of the 250m track. To be consistent we used the same rider, bike and wheels, skin suit and helmet for all of the test runs. The only change was how the number was attached to the rider’s skin suit.

As you might expect and as set out in the results table below, the testing showed there was an advantage of having your number both correctly positioned and secured to your skinsuit.

Coefficient of Drag Area (CDA) m2 Wattage to ride a 60 minute 25 mile time trial on a typical course Results converted into time differences
Integrated race number (Nopinz) 0.2205 (± 0.0015) 243.7w 0 sec
Normal pinned on number 0.2245 (± 0.0011) 247.1w 20 sec slower
Pinned on number with one pin missing 0.2310 (± 0.0007) 252.5w 51 sec slower

 

Using the NoPinz Speedpocket could save you at least 3.5 watts, which if travelling at close to 25 mph for a 25 mile time trial equates to around 20 seconds. Although, the bigger saving could be the peace of mind that your number is secure and a pin will not come adrift as this did make a substantial difference of towards 10 watts, which could be as much as 50 seconds over a 25 mile time trial.

In summary, you can get some free speed by ensuring your race number is placed in the optimum position, and the Nopinz SpeedPocket could be a way of doing this.

For more information on the products that Nopinz offer go to Nopinz.

  • Robert Buckmaster

    Amazing what a difference a small thing like a missing pin makes.