Drag is the single biggest force affecting a cyclist, and since the only way to turn it off is to stop moving completely, eliminating every bit of it is critically important. Our team of aerodynamic experts wield the tools of their trade—Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), on-bike Data Acquisition (DAQ), and wind tunnel testing—with authority. Best of all, with the addition of the Specialized Win Tunnel, these tools are all here in Morgan Hill, right at their fingertips. Now aerodynamic innovation can happen at greater speed, making riders faster than ever.
The tools and science behind aerodynamics is only as good as the people who interpret and apply it. Our aero team is a true aerodynamic tour-de-force. Between them, Chris Yu, Mark Cote, Chris D’Aluisio, Cameron Piper and Chuck Teixeira have over fifty years of aero experience, with over 20,000 hours in wind tunnels. Their expertise and presence at Specialized is unique, and a key component in continuing to move the science forward for us in new ways. The right team, given convenient access to all the tools—CFD, DAQ, and wind tunnel testing—is a recipe for innovation.
COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS (CFD)
CFD allows aerodynamicists like Chris Yu to play in virtual space with a range of shapes and surfaces, and then simulate the flow of air across those shapes to better understand their aerodynamic performance. CFD allows you to see, through simulation, things you can’t see in the real world, like tiny ‘bits’ of drag on a frame. It’s an extremely handy way of predicting aero behaviors, discarding designs that are total duds before prototyping, or modifying shapes that have already seen time in the wind tunnel.
SPECIALIZED RACING DATA ACQUISITION SYSTEM (DAQ)
Used on both the road and on the velodrome, the DAQ system takes data—from power, speed, rider position and the direction of wind as it hits a rider—and measures the true coefficient of drag on that rider. Information gleaned from this testing enables us to advise our Body Geometry Fit team, Specialized Racing staff, and the athletes themselves on changes to their position that will improve their performance. While the wind tunnel can be more precise there is nothing more real than riding your bike.
THE WIN TUNNEL
We’ve designed and built the Specialized Win Tunnel as we dreamed it—to be the perfect, cycling-specific wind tunnel. It’s optimized for real bike speeds and is large enough to allow us to test multiple riders at once, simulating group riding situations. Its proximity to the team enables us to conveniently test things without concern to cost or time, and also gives us the freedom to test everything we make—from a commuting helmet, to apparel, and everything in between. Since it is also used as an educational facility, there’s room for our fitters and retailers to observe testing in progress and learn—directly impacting not only product development, but also the Specialized shop experience.