Getting Aero in 2019: The Cheap Way

Aero is where all the new and significant developments are happening in road cycling. If you check the cycling media, you’ll find all kinds of high-end aero bikes gracing their coverage. The problem is that many of these products are beyond what we can all afford.

Sure, all of us would like a $10,000 aero road bike but that is a huge chunk of our earnings, and many of us would still love to do things such as eat. Yes, people want us to attain and do the best we can and then buy the very best but can we go aero without bankrupting ourselves?

Going aero the Chinese way

If you loiter on bike forums, after all, you have a work day to fill so why wouldn’t you, you’ll see mentions of Chinese carbon bikes and wheels. Due to some unscrupulous sellers, the word “Chinese” might put a little fear into some people.

While searching forums we found that some people found a brand that delivers on its promises. A brand that also seems to have warehouses around the world, making the buying process a little more streamlined.

The brand we found was ICAN. They were getting a lot of love. As well as their international warehouses they offered fast shipping around the world. If you can bear to wait a few extra days is it possible that you could get a bargain from buying from a Chinese carbon fiber bike company?

Chinese carbon fiber aero wheels

A set of deep section aero wheels will give you a great aero advantage. If your bike still has the set of alloy box section rims that came with it, putting on deep section wheels will give you an advantage you can notice straight away.

On your first ride with aero wheels, you’ll feel as if you’ve added a little rocket booster to your bike. The reason for this is the way that an excellent deep section rim will control the airflow that your tire has just split. Your tire will always split the airflow as it is the first part of your bike to hit the air.

You then have the reason why you feel like your new wheels are like a rocket booster. As the airflow passes over your wheel, it has to follow the shape of your wheel rim. By doing this, the air creates a forward thrust: more speed, less effort.

Narrow pointy rims would get to stall point though and create drag. Newer blunt aero shapes increase the available wind angles you can ride through before you get to this stall point. Wider is faster. The problem is that wider carbon fiber deep section wheels cost a lot of money.

Step forward the ICAN Aero 55.

The Aero range is the newest in ICAN’s wheel ranges. Like many of their products, the wheel name describes exactly what it is. It is an aero 55mm deep wheelset. It is also made from a mix of Toray T700 and T800 carbon fiber. So not only do you get an aero advantage but the wheels are also pretty light for a set of deep section wheels.

The best thing is that these wheels are only $675 for 55mm deep wheels that weigh under 1400g that is pretty cheap. I think the way that ICAN save money on these wheels is that they have not had a marketing department come up some sort of fancy name, the wheels just state what they are.

You can also love them as they are tubeless ready. Running slightly wider tires that are tubeless will not only bring you extra comfort, but the tires will seat nicely into the wide and blunt carbon rim. By doing so, you keep the airflow smoother for longer. You get less drag and more comfort. That is an excellent combination in anybody’s book.

Chinese carbon fiber aero frame

Say you already have an aero set of wheels. You now want an aero bike. You don’t though want to buy a whole new bike. Well ICAN can also supply you an aero frame and fork. Allowing you to get more aero and still keep money in the bank.

ICAN does a frame called the AER007. I wanted to crack some James Bond jokes here but the website blurb on the frameset has beaten me to that. Again we are getting high-end carbon fiber, Toray T700 since you asked, direct to your door.

The frameset costs $519 and comes in color schemes than you’ve ever seen before. There will be a frame in your dream colorway. One of the ways that ICAN keep the cost down is that they supply direct to you. No middlemen want to make a profit from the sale of this frame as well. You get to keep more money in the bank for essential things like buying Martinis, shaken not stirred as you’d hope.

An aero frame will be stiff but with as technology progresses we are finding them to be more comfortable especially if you fit tubeless tires on wheels and knock down the PSI in your tires a bit.

You’ll want an aero frame when you realize that the biggest obstacle you have to overcome when your riding is an aerodynamic drag. It’ll take around 80-90% of your effort just to over the air around you. Every small advantage you can give yourself there is going to pay dividends if you have to have a life after going for a ride.

Looking at the AER007, it is pretty easy to see that it is an aero bike. Its frame almost looks sculpted and is the result of CFD to make a frame as aero as possible at a very accessible price point. It might be worth giving the AER007 a shot.

Chinese aero bike

ICAN has a new aero bike that has just been released and it looks exactly like all those $10k+ superbikes that the media have been talking about. The great news is that the ICAN A9 only costs $3250.

The A9 looks like a bike that is easily triple that price. We have a bike that comes complete with carbon deep section aero wheels, modern dropped rear stays, and more integration than you can shake a stick at. Oh, and it comes with disc brakes.

Dropped stays are something you’ll find on many aero bikes now. The stays then help to guide air around the rear wheel and keep your bike less turbulent. They also keep the back of the bike stiff and stop any of your power is lost.

Integration of all the cables allows manufacturers to keep the bike frame within the UCI 8cm rectangle box rule but save you watts by hiding the cables and hoses. The cables and hoses on the A9 go straight into its carbon fiber handlebar, through the stem, then the frame, and then pop out where they are needed.

The A9 is a well thought out bike and with this Ultegra spec is a bike that you should never need to upgrade at any point soon.

  • Apr 29, 2019
  • Category: Articles
  • Comments: 0