With the Leadville Trail 100 just around the corner, Specialized is here once again to answer the important questions. Namely, does grabbing your fork crown actually create any sort of aero advantage that could be used over the course of a long race like Leadville? Do aerodynamics matter off road? Is there a ‘fastest’ position?
Starting with a Specialized Epic full suspension mountain bike, Specialized used the average speed of last year’s Leadville winner Howard Grotts at about 26Kph to set the wind speed. Measuring the amount of drag in four different positions, the results were somewhat surprising. Keep in mind that this is over the entire 104 mile course, but if you could maintain an aero position for the entire race, you could save up to 23 minutes. But – no one is going to be able to use that position over the whole course, but in the areas where it is possible, it could actually save you valuable seconds or even minutes on the clock.
They’re not the first to consider aerodynamics for this race. Check out our interview with Jeremiah Bishop from a couple years ago about how they were going to attack the course with a few frame mods.