Wind tunnels aren’t cheap and require knowledge to maximize your experience, so they are usually reserved for the pros. But, if you were to go to a wind tunnel, imagine after going you make a change, now you technically would need to go back to validate it. That means it’s not an entirely realistic process. The good news is sports technology is rapidly evolving and a new company based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, is aiming to provide a high tech solution that offers cyclists and triathletes a solution to know your aerodynamic data.
The balance between optimizing your drag coefficient and power output is something that cyclists and triathletes are always tinkering with. If I adjust my bars, how will that affect my output? Is the helmet I am using the best fit for my profile? Would a different wheel reduce wind resistance than another? The problem for most of us is that it’s extremely difficult to know what’s better. Getting on your time trial or tri-bike and looking at a mirror is a starting point to check out your position but once you get out on the road, it can be completely different as your set-up and equipment reacts differently in various conditions and this can only be validated through real-time aerodynamic testing.
Developed by riders for riders
Enter GiBLI, winner of the Eurobike Start-Up Award. Co-founders, Mark Ernsting and Ben Bschaden, designed a sensor that cyclists and triathletes can use to truly hone their optimal aero performance. The CEO of the company, Mark Ernsting, has been obsessed with everything aero for decades. The former national team member has been involved in cycling at all levels. He’s a five time national track cycling champion, having raced in the individual and team pursuit, has owned and operated a UCI Men’s continental teambeen the race director for several UCI road cycling events and was the first Canadian to become a certified UCI rider agent.
How it works
The sensor attaches to the front of your bars and pairs with your power meter.
This is all it requires to function as it has a built in high precision GPS unit to accurately record your speed. But, if you wish, you can also pair your heart rate, cadence and speed sensor devices (a speed sensor is required during indoor velodrome use). The companion app then gives you your real-time drag coefficient (CdA) along with all of your other ride data. It also has a test feature that allows the user to validate specific changes that they want to compare, for example: different helmets, shoe covers on or off, water bottle placements, etc.
Why it works
GiBLI’s goal is to give you reliable, accurate and repeatable data, as well as an intuitive user experience. Therefore, you don’t need to be an engineer to operate the sensor, or be a rocket scientist to disseminate and understand the data. In turn, you’ll get data on any savings you’ve made, so you instantly know what works and what doesn’t. For example, at the end of each ride the companion app provides a detailed breakdown showing the CdA value for each test, the time saved over any given distance and the power required at any given speed.
The companion app logs all your data and allows you to save notes and even include photos of your setup to later be analyzed at any point in time. For a deeper dive into your analytics, you can log into the secure web portal. Data and photos of each testing section can then be analyzed at your convenience and even shared to a coach, or bike fitter.
To achieve all of this, GiBLI has developed their technology using CFD (computational fluid dynamics), PIV (particle image velocimetry) and wind tunnel time. Through all of this they have developed a proprietary pitot tube (wind port) that gives them their competitive advantage.
Christian (the test rider) tried the GiBLI G10 sensor, curious to see if a small change could be seen. Using his TT helmet he did the first run with the air vent closed and a second run with the air vent open (cover off). The test showed having the vent cover on has a .007 CdA saving over leaving it off. This is how small a change the GiBLI G10 sensor can accurately detect.
“I found it really interesting how quickly the sensor updates the live CdA with small changes such as lowering my head within my time trial position,” Christian said after his test ride.”I tested three helmets and the data looked incredibly accurate. I also wanted to see the benefit of keeping my small vent cover on my time trial helmet on, versus off. I was amazed to see that the sensor picked up this small change. All of this valuable data I will use for upcoming races and I can’t wait to have full access to a G10 sensor.”
Users can try all sorts of changes that may seem marginal, but upon second glance, quite significant. For many athletes it is not unreasonable to find ten to fifteen per cent savings. This over a long distance triathlon could result in over fifteen minutes of savings. GiBLI has also been involved in several world records and big wins over the last year.
Proprietary Pitot Tube Design & Removable
Measures Wind Direction
Integrated High Accuracy GPS (Speed Sensor is recommended for indoor velodrome testing)
Auto Wake Up
ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity for all additional external devices (ie. Power Meter, Heart Rate, Speed Sensor, etc.)
iOS and Android Compatible
For more about GiBLI, check out .GiBLItech.com