Racing on a budget vs no expense spared - here's the difference money made to my cycling performance

Just how much faster could an average rider go if they had access to all the best aerodynamic kit and knowledge? Cycling Weekly Editor, Simon Richardson went to find out...

Image shows cyclist on a time trial bike trying to go faster
(Image credit: Future)

Last year I set out on a project to get more aerodynamic on the bike on the cheap. With an old frame, some borrowed equipment and a couple of items of test kit, I built a time trial (TT) bike and adjusted my position to get as aerodynamic as possible. The whole setup cost less than £200 and led to a significant improvement over previous TT times set on a standard drop barred road bike. 

This year the natural progression was to see if and how I could take it to the next level. To find even more cycling speed. With a better position and better kit would the improvements continue in a linear fashion and see me post ever faster times? That was the hope. But little did I know things were about to get complicated.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Watt savings using different kit
Run descriptionCdA(m2)Power at 45kphChange from baseline
2021 setup (Venge)0.2312770
Shiv with HJC helmet0.224266-11w
Saddle down 15mm0.22260-17w
Bar pads down 10mm0.219259-18w
Bar pads inwards0.214253-24w
Head lower0.212250-27w
Castelli suit0.21247-30w
Rapha suit0.205245-31w

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Simon Richardson
Magazine editor

Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. He fell in love with cycling 1989 when watching the Tour de France on Channel 4, started racing in 1995 and in 2000 he spent one season racing in Belgium. During his time at CW (and Cycle Sport magazine) he has written product reviews, fitness features, pro interviews, race coverage and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. He became the 130-year-old magazine's 13th editor in 2015.