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.”
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.
As the company is no doubt aware, article 1.3.024 of the UCI’s technical regulations currently prohibit the use of fairings on bicycles to improve aerodynamic efficiency in competition (on this subject, we’re not sure how bikes like the Pinarello Bolide TT and Lapierre Aerostorm get around this rule – those brake covers look an awful lot like fairings).
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, while not 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?