Null Winds Technology has secured a US patent for its Aerodefender wheel fairing, which it claims can offer “over 20 per cent speed gains against a 20mph headwind”.
Similar in appearance to the fairings found on MotoGP motorbikes, the Aerodefender fairings shield the area around the top of the wheel where wind speed is highest, in an attempt to minimise aerodynamic drag.
Garth Magee, the founder of Null Winds Technology, told bikebiz: “Most cyclists experience a remarkable 10-20 per cent increase in speed [when using the fairings] facing even moderately strong headwinds.”
Null Winds Technology says the Aerodefender wheel fairings shield the wheel at the most critical area for reducing aerodynamic drag.Null Winds Technology
In addition to improving the aerodynamic efficiency of your bike, Null Winds Technology also claims the Aerodefender wheel fairings “enhance steering traction for predictable stability in crosswinds”, and can eliminate the aerodynamic penalty of running wider tyres.
Similar in price to a set of lower-end aero wheels, the Aerodefender wheel fairings are available in either carbon or fibreglass (RRP $999 / $749 respectively) and are said to provide “cost-effective aero performance”, allowing riders to bring “high-end aero performance to a mid-range bike”.
Don’t be aero-offended
Null Winds Technology believes upper wheel fairings should be a standard part on road and gravel bikes for non-competitive use.
The company admits “industry resistance is likely, since this invention upsets decades of misleading marketing efforts to sell far less effective aero wheels”, and it even acknowledges that “fashion-conscious roadies will be insistent doubters”.
But if the science behind adding fairings to bicycles to improve their aerodynamic efficiency is sound, then why should us mere mortals, who do not compete in UCI governed races, care about the UCI rules?
The aesthetics of the Aerodefenders are… quite progressive, to say the least.
However, plenty of riders love to boast about having a bike that weighs less than the 6.8kg UCI minimum weight so, whilenot everyone is on-board the aero bandwagon, why shouldn’t those of us who have booked first-class tickets to Aéroville ride bikes that are more aero than the pros?
Simon is a freelance writer and photographer, who has been riding bikes for fun since he was a kid, but took a deep dive into road racing, crits and time trialling culture whilst living in London in his twenties. As a man of very little talent, he always looks to tech to compensate and loves nothing more than finding a smart (preferably cheap) hack that others hadn’t thought of. His stable of bikes certainly isn’t the most extravagant, but they’re all customised to meet Simon’s particular tastes and kept fastidiously clean. His current No.1 bike is a 2009 Giant TCR Advanced SL, that he purchased second hand from a friend in London — he maintains that the 2019 TCR is basically the same bike, so why bother upgrading?