Thursday, January 31, 2013

Travel by Bike Thursday - MASI 2009 SPECIALE RANDONNEUR

We have 3 2009 Masi Speciale Randonneur's (this link will take you to the actual e-mail I sent Masi after riding the bike in a 300+ mile gravel race (picture below)) available at a great price.  Yes I bought my bike from Tom (actually Charlie worked with me on it and Tom wrapped up the final fit and sale).  I remember taking it out for a quick spin up and down the side road and came right back and Charlie thought something was wrong but I told him to wrap it up.  The first of many great purchases from Tom!
Let's see what Masi has to say about their touring/commuting bike:

  • Does the open road call your name?
  • Have you got a severe case of wanderlust?
  • If so, we’ve got the ultimate companion for you - the Speciale Randonneur.
  • Built for the long haul and for hauling all you needs for the journey, the Randonneur is ready to get underway any time you are. A classic touring bike with bar endshifters and all the braze-ons you need for racks, bags and fenders. The next time the road calls - answer.

This is my actual bike from TransIowa - Pretty Cool when you find it on the internet and remember that day!
Frame Masi Double Butted CrMo Steel w/ Rack & Masi Double Butted CrMo Steel w/ Rack & Fender Mounts
Sizes 49cm, 51cm, 53cm, 56cm, 58cm, 60cm
Colors Burgundy
Fork Masi Lugged CrMo Steel w/ LowRider & Fender Mounts
Headset Ritchey Logic V2 Threadless
Crank Set TruVativ Elita C2.2 w/ Giga X-Pipe Integrated BB; 50/34
Derailleur Front Shimano Tiagra
Derailleur Rear Shimano 105
Freewheel Shimano 105 10 Speed 11-25
Chain Shimano 105
Pedals MKS Sylvan w/ MKS Steel Toe Clips w/ Leather Accents & Nylon Straps
Handlebar Ritchey 6061 31.8mm Ritchey 6061 31.8mm
Handlebar Widths 465cm = All Sizes
Stem Ritchey Comp 31.8mm
Stem Lengths 49 = 90mm; 51 = 90mm; 53 = 100mm; 56 = 100mm; 58 =110mm; 60 = 120
Tape Masi Cork
Derailleur Shifter DiaCompe Bar End Shifter
Saddle Masi SLS w/ Steel Rails
Seat Post Masi Alloy 27.2 x 300mm
Seat Post Clamp Alloy SL
Wheelset Ritchey Girder XC Rims; Formula Cassette Hubset; Stainless Spokes
Tires Kenda Kwik Trax 32c Wire Bead
Brakes DiaCompe BRS-101 Alloy Dual Pivot
Brake Lever Tektro R200A

What I will say about this bike, first and foremost, is that I would switch the bar end shifters out for either Shimano or SRAM 10 speed shifters.  On my bike tour the following year I had issues and Tom sent me a set of Shimano barcons to have installed and they worked like a charm for many miles.  I eventually sold the bike after 4000 or so miles and I am sure he is still enjoying it to this day.  Other than that I have no issues with this bike at all.  It took on all types of riding and road conditions and persevered and that is the most important aspect of any bike - faith that it will get you to your location without any issues - especially for work or touring! 

A month or so ago a customer came in with his wife's Masi and it sure brought back a flood of memories.  We talked about how great the bike is and his touring that he had done and was planning on doing in the future on this bike!
MSRP: $1145.00
Tom's Sale Price:  $899.00
Tom's Blog Bike Price:   $825.00 - Valid this week only and only on these 3 sizes that we have in stock - 51, 58, & 60

Stop by the shop and check the Masi Speciale Randonneur out - you won't be disappointed at all.

Tom's Pro Bike Service
3687 Walden Avenue
Lancaster, New York 14086
F: (716)651-0858


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What to Wear Wednesday - HUGE CLOTHING SALE COMING UP!

Well it is time - We are having the largest Clothing Sale in Tom's Pro Bike history ever!!!!

Starting February 1st and going through February 15th you are going to save a MINIMUM of 25% on every clothing item in the shop!

We are going to have racks of clothing upstairs that are going to be from 50% to 75% off as well!

So all this beautiful clothing we have been talking about since the blog started up Thanksgiving week is on sale starting Friday February 1st!

Castelli, Pearl Izumi, Specialized, Tom's Pro Bike gear, and accessories - ALL ON SALE!

The pictures today are just some highlights of what we have talked about since the blog started.  So come on down to the shop to get the best selection available.  Open for business Friday morning at 10:00am!

Thanks for all the blog support and keep your eyes out for our Spring Grand Re-Opening that is going to take place.  You won't want to miss this event!

Tom's Pro Bike Service
3687 Walden Avenue
Lancaster, New York 14086
F: (716)651-0858

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Are you in the market for a new TT/Triathlon bike?  Today we are highlighting the Specialized Transition Comp.  Here are some highlights from Specialized about the Transition Comp:
  • Super stiff FACT full monocoque carbon frame with threaded BB for high stiffness to weight ratio and solid handling; available in 6 sizes for perfect fit
  • Aerodynamic FACT carbon fork hides from the wind for precision steering and max speed
  • Fully adjustable Profile aero bar set fits any rider to provide the fastest position
  • Integrated aerodynamic brakes minimize drag for aero excellence
  • Super light SRAM Rival 10-speed derailleurs for race ready performance
  • Body Geometry TriTip Gel saddle has extra padding in the nose for a comfortable and efficient aero position

FRAME:  Specialized FACT 7r N'Aero tube shaping, triple monocoque construction, compact aero geometry, vertical seat adjustment, threaded BB
FORK:  Specialized FACT N'Aero carbon, 1" steerer
HEADSET:  1" Cr-Mo cartridge bearings with carbon 20mm cone spacer and 20mm of carbon spacers
STEM:  Specialized Comp-Set, 3D forged alloy, 4-position adjustable, 4-bolt 31.8mm clamp
HANDLEBARS:  Profile T2+ Aerobar
TAPE:  Specialized S-Wrap
FRONT BRAKE:  Specialized aero brake
REAR BRAKE:  Specialized aero brake
CASSETTE:  Shimano 105, 10-speed, 11-28t
BOTTOM BRACKET:  With crankset
RIMS:  Mavic CXP22 w/ eyelets
FRONT HUB:  Forged alloy Hub, sealed bearings, 28 hole, for J bend round spokes
REAR HUB:  Forged Alloy Hub, Sealed Bearing, 32 hole, for J Bend Round spokes
SPOKES:  Stainless 14g
FRONT TIRE:  Specialized Turbo Pro 700x23c Aramid bead 127TPI w/ Double Black Belt protection
REAR TIRE:  Specialized Turbo Pro 700x23c Aramid bead, 127TPI w/ Double Black Belt protection
INNER TUBES:  Standard presta valve
SADDLE:  Body Geometry TriTip 50 w/ hollow Cr-Mo rails
SEATPOST:  Transition Aero Carbon
SEAT BINDER:  Transition Seat Clamp

Specialized MSRP: $2800.00 (2013 MSRP)
Tom's Sale Price: $2650.00 (2012 - S, M, L)
Tom's Sale Price: $2250.00 (2011 - XL)
Tom's Blog Bike of the Week Price: $2550 for 2012 and $2100 for 2011 - You must mention this blog to receive this special price.  Price is available on in stock merchandise only.

As always it is highly recommended to set up a personal fit before you finalize a purchase - especially on a Triathlon/TT Bike.  We can retrofit any bike to fit you but it is always best to purchase the correct bike for you from the beginning.  Tom is a very experienced bicycle fitter and has been doing custom fittings since 1988. He has attended fitting classes such as Dan Empfield's Slowtwitch, the Serotta Elements Program, and the Specialized BG Fit School.

For more information on the Specialized Transition send us an e-mail, give us a call, or stop by the shop.  Fits are on a scheduled only basis so set that up beforehand so you can shop for the bike made for you!

Tom's Pro Bike Service
3687 Walden Avenue
Lancaster, New York 14086
F: (716)651-0858

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mountain Bike Monday - LYNSKEY PRO 29

We discussed this bike a couple of weeks ago but now it is here and built up and ready to go home to someone who appreciates beauty in a bicycle!  I was on the floor Saturday and a customer came in and commented on how beautiful the bike looked and how well built the frame was (he does welding of titanium and is familiar with good craftsmanship when it comes to welds) and how he wanted to bring it home with him!

The build includes:

Titanium Frame

Manitou Tower Pro Adjustable Shock

Stans No Tube ZTR Arch EX 29'er Wheelset with Nano 2.1 Tires - build currently has tubes but we have the valves and sealant to make them tubeless if you want to go this direction (you will receive these parts either way because they are part of the build)

Lynskey Sport Saddle
FSA Stem
FSA Afterburner Bar

Shimano XT 2x10 components with Shimano XT Hydraulic Disc Brakes (160mm Rotor)

Price on this bike is $5299 - If you are in the market for a top of the line hardtail this bike is for you.  Stop by the shop and check it out and if the roads are clear take her for a spin.  I can't imagine that it will be around for long though - this is a beauty!

Tom's Pro Bike Service
3687 Walden Avenue
Lancaster, New York 14086
F: (716)651-0858

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday's Miscellaneous Musings - AME HEATED BAR TAPE

Interested in a new way to keep your hands warm during cold rides?  Check out the AME Heated Bar Tape System.  The system was just highlighted in Road Bike Action magazine and Tom has it on his personal bike as well and loves it!

Battery Pack: The A’ME Battery Pack consists of a rechargeable lithium-Ion Polymer, 11.1 volt, 4250-mAh battery incased in an impact resistant plastic shell. It has the A’ME DuxButt™ watertight connectors, which are compatible to all A’ME thermal controlled products. This A’ME proprietary connector contains specially plated terminals with a molded housing to seal around the terminals and insure a watertight fit.

Battery Charger: The A’ME battery charger is specific to the A’ME battery Pack. It is equipped with the A’ME DuxButt™ watertight connectors. No other charger is recommended. Powered by a normal households 110 volts AC, it will recharge a fully depleted battery in approximately 4 hours.
Battery Mounting Kit: This kit contains two separate mounting pieces made of a molded rubber compound. One will allow the battery to be mounted under a frame tube or handlebar stem. The other is a pad cover to cushion the battery against the side of the frame. An 18” Velcro strap will help secure the battery case to many locations on the bike.

Jumper Leads: A’ME has jumper leads available to be used with alternative battery sources. They feature the A’ME DuxButt™ connectors and can be spliced into the leads of an existing with a 9 to 14 volt DC output. The milliamp hour
output of an alternative battery will
affect the length of time the
grip will run.

Stop by the shop and check out the tape on Tom's personal bike.  Cost is $200.00 for the system.  That does not include installation or bar tape of your choice.  If you want this system for your bike we are running a special this week only for the system, tape (your choice of Specialized Bar Tape that we have in stock at the shop), and installation for $250.00.  This is typically $275.00.  You must mention this blog post to receive this special price.

Tom's Pro Bike Service
3687 Walden Avenue
Lancaster, New York 14086
F: (716)651-0858

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fast & Furious Friday - FELT Z5

In the market for a new road bike?  Check out today's post on the Felt Z5 and become a member of the Felt Mafia!  The Z5 is equipped with Shimano 105 level components and a Mavic wheelset.  It is a very solid road bike that would serve you well for many seasons of racing without the need for upgrading.

Let's see what Felt has to say about their Z5:
With a UHC Performance carbon fiber frame and fork, plus a comfortable mix of performance componentry including a Shimano 105 drivetrain, Felt hubs and Mavic rims, the Z5 is an incredibly versatile all-around performer. Stiff enough to accelerate instantly, compliant enough to take the edge off during longer rides.


Finish:  Gloss race red & carbon
Weight:  18.15lbs | 8.25kg *based on 56cm frame size
Frame:  Felt Endurance Road UHC Performance MMC carbon fiber w/ 3KP weave, machined threaded aluminum BB shell, external cable routing, forged aluminum dropouts & replaceable derailleur hanger
Fork:  Felt UHC Performance fork, carbon fiber steerer tube, crown, blades, & forged aluminum dropouts, 461g
Headset:  FSA 1.125"" integrated, w/ aluminum 25mm conical spacer, 2 X 10mm aluminum headset spacers, 1 x 5mm aluminum headset spacer, Felt VA aluminum top cap & 7075 anodized aluminum bolt
Stem:  Felt VA 6061 aluminum 3D forged +/-16° or +/-4° rise, Ø31.8mm bar clamp, custom eccentric variable angle adjustable shim, 173g; 51cm=80mm, 54cm=90mm, 56cm=100mm, 58cm=110mm, 61cm=110mm
Handlebar:  Felt VS 6061 aluminum w/ Felt Variable Shape ergonomic drop, Ø31.8mm, 51cm=400mm, 54cm-56cm=420mm, 58cm-61cm=440mm
Grips:  Felt gel tape w/ Felt logos
Bar Ends:  Felt bubble-tech ""F Wing"" icon end plugs
Shifters:  Shimano 105 STI
Front Derailleur:  Shimano 105 braze-on
Rear Derailleur:  Shimano 105 SS short cage
Crankset:  Shimano 105 Compact, 50/34T; 51cm=170mm, 54cm-56cm=172.5mm, 58cm-61cm=175mm
Chainwheel:  50/34T
Bottom Bracket:  Shimano Hollowtech-II
Chain:  Shimano 10 speed
Freewheel:  Shimano 12-30T
Brake Levers:  Shimano 105 STI
Brakes:  Shimano R561 Super SLR dual pivot w/ cartridge brake pads
Cables:  Felt Slick brake & derailleur
Saddle:  Felt VS road saddle w/ nylon injection molded base, superlight multi-density foam, embossed cover, & hollow Cr-Mo rails
Seat Post:  Felt UHC Performance carbon fiber post, forged aluminum head, lightweight twin side clamp bolt design, Ø27.2mm, 330mm
Seat Post Clamp:  Ø30.6 6061 forged aluminum, Cr-Mo 5mm x 0.8mm bolt, stainless steel nut-bar, 21g
Rims:  MAVIC CXP-22S aluminum w/ machined UB Control braking surface & wear indicator laced 32H front, 32H rear
Front Hub:  Felt premium sealed bearing forged aluminum w/ Felt quick release, 32H
Rear Hub:  Felt premium sealed bearing forged Shimano 9/10 speed compatible freehub w/ Felt quick release, 32H
Spokes:  Swiss stainless steel laced radial front, 3x rear w/ aluminum nipples
Tires:  Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick, 700c x 25c

We have a few 2012's in stock and 1 2011 left over as well.

MSRP: $2,299.00
Tom's Sale Price: 2012 - $1,999.00  Size 51, 54, 58
Tom's Sale Price: 2011 - $1,899.00  Size 58

Come in the shop and mention the blog post and pick up the 2012 for $1,900 and if the 2011 fits you that will run $1,800.00.  Remember you must mention this blog post and sale price is for in-stock merchandise only.  We have 2013 coming in so if we don't have your size in either of the 2011 or 2012 we will definitely have it with the 2013 model.

Tom's Pro Bike Service
3687 Walden Avenue
Lancaster, New York 14086
F: (716)651-0858

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Travel by Bike Thursday - INTERNAL GEARED HUBS

Have you ever considered the possibility of running an internal geared hub on your bike?  Obviously, it would not work for your "race" bike due to weight issues but for a commuter/travel bike this is a great option to consider.

There are a variety of options when it comes to the hubs themselves - they range from 3 speed to 11 speed.  Maintenance is very minimal with them and you do not have to worry about dirt/crud getting into your cassette and making the shifting difficult without regular maintenance and upkeep.  They are expensive, but with limited parts required for them, they have excellent longevity to help off-set the initial purchase cost.

Sheldon Brown does a great write up on them here.

Here is a comparison from the Shimano Alfine 11 vs NuVinci N360 hub from a post I found on-line which can be found at this link:

Many of you may have read my post entitled, "Alfine 11 Thoughts and Fraughts", and the disappointment and frustration I dealt with trying to get the $800 hub to shift properly on my recumbent trike without success, and missing two 60 mile training rides because of it.

I read all of the responses and advice on how to adjust the hub and cabling, how to let up on the pedals, the break-in period, the fact that no internal geared hubs shift under pressure (climbing), and something about me being my own worst critic. But I was not satisfied with the hub, having owned the Shimano internal 7 and 8 speed hubs without similar issues, and currently owning a Sturmey Archer 3 speed IGH... also without similar issues.

Therefore, I decided to order the NuVinci N360 to try it out, do a comparison, and then send the one I like the least back for a refund. Well, after a couple of weeks of riding, I am back to share my findings.

I'll just cut to the chase and then give you the details afterward.. like newspaper articles used be written. I sent the Alfine 11 back and kept the Nuvinci N360. To be completely fair, I have yet to hear back from the dealer to see if they have found the Alfine 11 to be defective or not. So I am basing my comparison on the assumption that the Alfine was not defective, but I hope it was, because if it wasn't... it's not nearly as good as Shimano's previous hubs.

I have to say, the decision was not difficult, despite some of the issues that people have been writing about the NuVinci. I am fortunate enough to compare these two hubs with actual experience riding each of them installed on my own trike, rather than making arguments or judgements either way based on other articles I've read, here-say, or tech reports. So let's get into it... shall we?

Just as I received the Alfine pre-installed on a wheel, I received the NuVinci pre-installed as well. Mounting the wheel and hub on my trike was very easy, and the instructions were much easier for me to understand than those from Shimano. But in reality, there was not much for me to do, as all the hard work was done at my dealer's shop.

On a trike, the Alfine 11 Rapidfire shifter has to be mounted upside down, which works alright, but as a result the cabling is also upside down... meaning it points upward rather than downward. Accommodating this requires a rather large cable loop back downward. So the installation with the Nuvinci and its twist shifter is much nicer. 

Another complaint I read about was having to twist the shifter 3/4 turn to reach the full range... This has not been a problem for me. How many people really shift from the extreme ends of the gear range all at once anyway? Personally, I ABSOLUTELY love the shifter and I ABSOLUTELY love how the hub shifts... if you can call it shifting at all. It's much more like gliding!

And let's see, how many of you said that internal geared hubs can't be shifted under power or while climbing hills??? This was definitely the case with the Alfine 11, but not so with the NuVinci N360. I climb some fairly steep hills every day on my way to work, and the NuVinci has zero issues downshifting as the hill gets steeper. As with any IGH, it does help to let up slightly while shifting, but by no means do I have to stop pedaling or lose my cadence or momentum as I did with the Alfine 11. 

I have been thinking about how to describe the feeling of the "shifting". On the flats, it is simply seamless, like gliding a knife through butter. While climbing, its stil simply seamless, like gliding a knife through chilled butter. In other words, you can feel some resistance when shifting while climbing, but it's still "like buttah"... no clicks, no hesitation, no skips, and no noise.... just an incredibly smooth transition into a higher cadence. 

Let's talk efficency, shall we? 
I am not a mechanical engineer, so I can't tell you how efficient the hub is compared to any other IGH or otherwise. But even if the Alfinen 11 is more efficient, the inability to maintain a constant cadence, and loss of momentum when downshifting is enough to make me not care about its efficiency. All I know is that I rode the exact same route I take every day, and my time was no different (45 minutes... all up hill). Yes, the hub is heavier, but no it did not affect my ride. I really think the fact that I could dial it in and keep my cadence the same during the entire ride is what made it more efficient. There are literally no jumps between gears as there are no gears. You can adjust the hub to match your cadence almost infinitely, no matter how fast or slow your bike/trike is moving, up hill or down. I felt like I was always in the exact right gear.

Gear Range:
I live in hilly Norther California, and I ride a lot of hills. The Alfine 11 and the Schlumpf Speed drive didn't give me a low enough gear to keep my cadence while climbing hills, and the top end was far too much for even the steepest downhill. I have no desire to crank it up to 50 mph. Once I reach about 30 mph or so, I just coast anyway. The NuVinci N360 with a 22 tooth sprocket has the perfect range for me. It's low enough that I can climb pretty much any hill and high enough that I don't run out of gears going back down the hill. By the way, you CAN completely twist from low to high in 3/4 turn and nothing in the hub hesitates or clunks... it just works... like butter!

(as if you don't already know it)... If you like to ride keeping the same cadence and you want an almost completely silent hub, and you like twist shifters (or don't mind them), and you're not a "weight weenie", and you want a totally maintenance free hub, and you want infinite "gears" with a range that will fit almost any riding condition, and you want to save a couple hundred dollars, and if you are considering the Alfine 11....I'd definitely take a close look at, and RIDE the Nuvinci N360. 

I am contemplating a build with a new "Fatbike Frame" that would use the NuVininci N360 Hub with the Gates CenterTrack Carbon Belt Drive.  You can read about the write up for that setup on a different frame than I am considering here.  The reason I am considering an IGH is that in the winter components get beat up pretty bad from road salt to snow build up.  I was out snowbiking last month and my rear derailleur got wet and it was cold enough out that the bottom pulley froze.  My chain would still flow but it skipped over the whole pulley so I had to stop and melt the ice so it would turn freely.  With an IGH that problem is solved along with chain issues all together since I would go with the belt drive.  We will be discussing the belt drive coming up soon.

Price options are varied so I will not get into that part here but if you would like some more information on an internal geared hub stop by the shop, send an e-mail, or give us a call!

Tom's Pro Bike Service
3687 Walden Avenue
Lancaster, New York 14086
F: (716)651-0858

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What to Wear Wednesday - BIBS vs SHORTS

Have you ever contemplated the difference between bibs and just standard shorts?

Today we are going to post some information on the both of them to help you decide which ones would work best for you if you are having that problem deciding between one or the other.

For reference material I am going to use the Pearl Izumi Attack Bib and the Pearl Izumi Attack Short.


To begin I am going to state my preference and then post what PI says about both of these items and hopefully that will provide you with some good information to move forward with.

I prefer the short and it is for one reason alone - bathroom breaks.  To me bibs are more comfortable, generally have a better chamois, wear better, but I cannot get over the fact that I have to unzip my jersey (in the summer) or coats and layers (in the winter) to pull the straps down if I have to use the restroom.  This may not seem like a big deal but when I go on longer rides I know this situation is going to come up so I go with the easy route and use shorts!

As I said though - to me I feel the bibs are much better quality but I just cannot get over that part of it.  If I am doing a short ride in the summer I will throw bibs on and not worry about it but for my long training rides year round - shorts win out!

PI says this about their Attack Bib

A Pearl Izumi favorite, the ergonomically designed 8-panel Men's Attack Bib Short delivers comfort, durability and a great fit.
•SELECT Transfer fabric sets the benchmark for moisture transfer
•Direct-Vent panels provide superior ventilation
•8-panel anatomic design
•Flatlock seams
•Silicone leg gripper
•Race 3D Chamois®
•Reflective elements for low-light visibility
•9” inseam [size medium]


Body: 88% nylon 12% spandex/ UPF 50+
Weight: 250 g/m2
Mesh: 80% polyester 20% Lycra®

PI says this about their Attack Short:

A Pearl Izumi favorite, the ergonomically designed 8-panel Attack Short delivers comfort, durability and a great fit.
  • SELECT Transfer fabric sets the benchmark for moisture transfer
  • 8-panel anatomic design
  • Flatlock seams
  • Silicone leg gripper
  • Race 3D Chamois®
  • Form Fit
  • 9” inseam [size medium]
  • Reflective elements for low-light visibility

For more information or to check out both styles stop the shop - we have a great selection of both shorts and bibs to look at and make your own decision.

If you stop in and mention this blog and purchase either a short or bib and a jersey - receive 15% off the total price - but you must mention this blog post to receive this special price.

Tom's Pro Bike Service
3687 Walden Avenue
Lancaster, New York 14086
F: (716)651-0858

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday TT/Triathlon Post - AERO HELMETS

There are a lot of articles/blog posts out there that discuss the benefits of an aero cost versus the costs compared to an aero wheel set and other options at reducing drag on a TT/Triathlon Bicycle.

Today I am referencing a post from the website where I post all of my training and do a lot of my research through -

"What are the average time savings you can get from using an aero helmet?  I am pretty sure I know what it would be for the aero wheels but getting a wheelset is a ways off.  I was hoping I could see a significant time saving (over an OLY distance race) from just the helmet alone."

Answer by Dean Philips

Aero helmets typically save 30-60 seconds for every hour of riding. The actual time saved for a triathlete depends on how well the helmet smooths the airflow from the helmet to the middle of the back. This time can be broken down by race distance as:
  • Sprint triathlons – 15-30 seconds
  • Olympic distance triathlons – 30-60 seconds
  • Half Ironman Distance triathlons – 1.5 to 2.5 minutes
  • Ironman Distance triathlons – 3-5 minutes

You can spot a good helmet to back transition visually by looking at a rider from the side. In this first picture notice the large gap underneath the tail of the helmet. This will still be more aerodynamic than a traditional vented helmet, but ideally there would be a smaller gap under the tail of the helmet.

In the following photo the gap is smaller, and will be more aerodynamic. Many triathletes have aero helmets looking similar to this, but things can still be better.

This last photo shows an ideal aero helmet fit. There’s no visible space underneath the tail of the helmet. The tail of the helmet smoothly transitions to the middle point of his back. This creates a very aerodynamic profile that cuts down on the drag associated with the turbulent air flow and separation behind a regular helmet.

Are all aero helmets the same?

The fastest aero helmet tends to be different from person to person. While five years ago there were only a handful of aero helmets on the market, today most helmet manufacturers have at least one model and sometimes two or three to choose from. A good bike shop should be able to tell if one aero helmet ‘looks’ better than another on you. The speed at which you can get the helmet on your head may be more important if you only race short course triathlons. There are also helmets with ports on the top to pour water onto the top of your head while riding on hot days.

Overheating in an aero helmet

Will you overheat with an aero helmet on a hot day? The aero helmet will reduce ventilation to your head compared to a traditional helmet, but in our experience this rarely leads to overheating or a condition where you’d be better off with a vented helmet. If your goal is just to finish a long distance triathlon on a very hot day, then perhaps it’s better to go with the traditional helmet for maximum cooling effect possible. That being said, a number of aero helmets have small cooling vents in the front of them as well. It’s often overlooked that the rest of your body has a continuous 15-25mph fan blowing at it just from riding. The restricted cooling of your head tends to be quite small in comparison to the rest of your body.

Tips on positioning the aero helmet:

  • Tilt the helmet back more than you would a traditional helmet. This will allow the tail of the helmet to rest on the middle of your back or close to it. I like to feel the tip of the helmet touch my spine when I tilt my head back. The helmet will still be just as safe, but aerodynamics will improve.
  • Tucking your head where possible can further reduce your drag. This is particularly important for short course triathletes and time trialists where seconds are more important. Try pushing your chin toward your front wheel hub, while at the same time looking up the road. This will often lower your head several inches and lines up the tail of the helmet with the top of your back. The term “turtling” your head is often used to describe this position.
  • Avoid excessive movement of the head. An aero helmet can quickly lose its benefits when you look to the side or straight down and expose the big tail of helmet to the wind. If you find a head position where the helmet gets quieter, then that’s likely a good position to be in as it’s a sign there’s less turbulent air flow coming off the helmet.

Dean Phillips is a co-owner of Fit Werx²in Peabody, MA.  Dean frequently writes tech articles for and is humble enough that he would likely never tell you (so we'll tell you for him) just how fast he is on a bike.  Dean holds multiple TT course records in New England, having broken records previously held by some of America's best pro cyclists, and he set these while being a father of three young children and owning his own business.  Dean knows speed and how to get the most out of his training time.

If you want to come in and see the selection of aero helmets we carry at Tom's Pro Bike stop on by during regular business hours.

Tom's Pro Bike Service
3687 Walden Avenue
Lancaster, New York 14086
F: (716)651-0858