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Bike Modifications to make you go Faster with Tripp Hipple

Professional Triathlete, Tripp Hipple, experiments with equipment modifications to help him find free speed on the bike.
Tripp Hipple riding his time trial during Ironman 70.3 Boulder Image provided by Tripp Hipple

We, as triathletes, spend a lot of time on our beloved speed machines in training and in racing. Over the last few seasons, I have learned that it is not all about having the newest or most aero bike on the market in order to ride fast with less effort. Here are a few things I've been working on that you can experiment with on your own bike set-up to become more efficient.

First and foremost, you need to be comfortable in your aero position. You want to be able to relax your neck and wrists while you are cranking the power. Depending on your aerobar set-up, this can be quite easy to accomplish by tilting your aero extensions upwards. I have been experimenting with 15-degrees of tilt and it feels great! I can easily cram my head in between my arms while taking the tension out of my shoulders and wrists. This was impossible for me to accomplish with a zero or slight amount of tilt. Depending on your extensions and aerobar design, I recommend playing with a 15-degree tilt to see if it works for you. Check out this blog post from Sync Ergonomics, an Australian-based aerobar maker, which sheds light on the benefits of a high-hands position: Project 0.2 Development - Achieving a True High-Hands Position.

Second, take advantage of the easy modifications. These modifications include dropping your tire pressure, wearing form-fitting clothing, and waxing your chain. For your tire pressure, try dropping the pressure by increments of five PSI until you find a pressure that feels supple and smooth. If it seems too low, you are on the right track! Lower pressure does not only reduce rolling resistance, but it also increases your comfort level when riding. Yes you can go too low, but instead of riding at 100psi, maybe try 85psi next time. As for clothing, form-fitting jerseys, bibs, and race kits are amongst the most impactful on aerodynamic drag. According to information in this blog, Watts It Worth? by Wattshop, a UK company specializing in high-performance bike equipment, a speedsuit can save up to 15 watts of drag around 25 mph. That is crazy! For drivetrain maintenance, a clean chain is an absolute gain. In the same Wattshop blog post, a waxed chain can save up to 5 watts at 25 mph. Chain waxing, in my opinion, is a win-win. It is extremely efficient and clean compared to drip-on lube. I recommend doing your own research on waxing to decide if it fits into your maintenance routine.

Lastly, though not directly bike-related, I take AltRed to increase my body’s efficiency while training and racing on my bike and the other two sports. I look at AltRed like an aero upgrade for my aerobic system. The betalains in the supplement have increased my power output while at the same time, have decreased fatigue and recovery time.

The various bike modifications above, coupled with taking AltRed, have made a vast improvement in my own training and racing. I am confident these modifications will also work for you!

Tripp's Time Trial bike race set up Image provided by Tripp Hipple 
Waxing the chain Image provided by Tripp Hipple

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