Bioracer Motion: balancing wind and watts for your ideal position

Belgian clothing company offers real and virtual wind-tunnel-based performance bike fits

This article first appeared on BikeRadar.

Many cyclists are familiar with Bioracer Speedwear clothing, as used by some professional riders, but the Belgian company has another wing of the business that uses motion capture and aerodynamic analysis for bike fits on pros and amateurs alike.

Bioracer Motion was created as a result of more than 10,000 individual bike fits and 30 years of bike fitting experience from company founder and CEO Raymond Vanstraelen. Despite his decades of experience, Vanstraelen was frustrated with his inability to back-up the bike fittings with objective data.

So, Vanstraelen decided to take the fittings to the next level, enlisting an experienced cycling doctor, a professional cycling coach, a former professional and a software engineer specialising in motion capture.

What Bioracer developed was a performance-focused bike fitting and aerodynamic analysis service that uses a wind tunnel, dynamic pedalling analysis and power measurement, among other things.

Stability and symmetry

As a starting point, Bioracer Motion gives you the report you would expect from a comprehensive bike fit, including seat height, saddle setback, reach, stack and more. But then like Retül or Shimano’s Bikefitting.com, Bioracer Motion uses wireless markers placed on each side of the body to record movement in the feet, ankles, legs, hips, shoulders, elbows and wrists.

These markers then record a cyclist's movements and overall position through cameras while pedaling.

Side-on and head-on data is recorded, including left-right deviation of the knees or ankles. This can be used to make tweaks to the bike fit, including cleat alignment, arch support in the foot or even chamois padding thickness.

Focusing in on the various aspects of the body (pedal stroke, hip movement etc.) can then be taken into account to advise any adjustments for the bike fit to improve comfort, efficiency and power transfer.

Getting aero in the Flanders wind tunnel and at home

Getting comfortable and efficient are two goals of any good bike fit, but Bioracer Motion also focuses on aerodynamic improvement.

Located three kilometres away from Bioracer's HQ, the Flanders Bike Valley is a collaborative project between Bioracer, Ridley, Lazer, the European Union and others. The Flanders Bike Valley has a cycling-centric wind tunnel for use by these stakeholders as well as pro teams and amateurs who can rent it.

The 35m facility can create wind speeds of up to 108kph and measure sensitivity changes of one watt at 36kph.

In the Flanders tunnel, Bioracer clients get live feedback on aero positioning that's projected onto the floor in front of the bike. This way, riders can see how both power output and aerodynamic drag rise or fall with changes to their position.

Striking the balance between aerodynamics and power output is the goal. As an extreme example, crouching on the top tube greatly reduces frontal area and thus wind resistance, but makes it impossible to pedal. But sitting bolt upright for maximum power output isn’t the fastest position either, as wind drag is so high.

After attending a course examining the fundamentals of aerodynamics within cycling at the company's headquarters, riders can create virtual wind tunnels of a sort in their homes using a webcam for live feedback of their body position on a trainer.

Frontal surface area or drag (CdA) is measured by the camera via an outline around your projected image on the screen. Any body position changes will then change the speed, watts and CdA parameters on screen in real time, resulting in a tool that can be used to find optimal aerodynamic positioning and subsequently train in the defined position.

The package suits time triallists specifically, but the software is just as effective for those riding on a road bike too.

Bioracer Motion's virtual wind tunnel introduction can be done at various stores around the world or the company HQ in Belgium, while the software and hardware package installed for home use includes webcam, tripod, green screen and software and costs €2,295 excluding VAT. You will have to provide your own trainer and power meter.

Long sleeves are fast

Bioracer is using the Flanders Bike Valley wind tunnel to improve its clothing, as well.

Bioracer’s current long-sleeved speed suit, for example, saves a claimed 23 watts over an older, short-sleeved suit when tested at 50.6kph.

Over a over 20km time trial, the new long-sleeved speed suit could save a claimed 26 seconds.

Several WorldTour teams have already used the facilities to dial in riders’ positions and equipment.

Bioracer Motion bike fitting product pricing starts at €200 for a half-day session and you can see the full selection of products and pricing at bioracermotion.com.

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