How sailing technology could lead to a new wave of aero design

Parcours wheels' founder and Huub Wattbike's sports scientist used marine wind sensors to establish what they say is the "next frontier" of aero testing – and are about to publish their research

Parcours sensor

Measuring wind angles using ultrasonic sensors placed at different points on a bike and using the data to design wheels, frames and components is the next step in aerodynamic bike design according to Dov Tate, the founder of British wheel brand Parcours.

There are three main tools used for testing aerodynamic performance: Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), velodrome testing and wind tunnel testing. In these controlled environments, accuracy is high, but they’re not representative of real-world cycling conditions, in which the yaw angle is constantly changing as wind and rider direction vary. So mapping data from wind tunnel to real world has long been understood to be challenging – but until now, no one has come up with a way to measure the changing wind conditions of outside riding in enough detail that they can improve aerodynamics in a meaningful way.

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Simon Smythe

Simon Smythe is a hugely experienced cycling tech writer, who has been writing for Cycling Weekly since 2003. Until recently he was our senior tech writer. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.