This week, TriRig posted something interesting to their Facebook page. It was a drag chart for a new product, compared with a baseline. Now, that’s not necessarily newsworthy in and of itself, but the particulars caught our eye. The stall angle for TriRig’s top secret, you see, was 10 degrees. So what is it? That’s a pretty good question.
Let’s start by determining what TriRig’s latest skunkworks project isn’t. After all, it could be a brake:
TriRig’s own Omega along with its friends are shown in this chart. It definitely doesn’t match our mystery graph. While this chart is in CdA, you can roughly convert between grams of drag and CdA as shown by cyclingpowerlab here. When you’re done reading their explanation, or just playing with their converter about two-thirds of the way through their article, let’s move on to the next item on our suspect list: Wheels.
We can take a look at Flo’s data for their wheels, since it represents a broad sweep across the wheel spectrum. None of them stall at ten degrees, save for the Mavic Open Pro, which appears to simply not get worse after that. For modern aero wheels, the stall point is usually somewhere in the 15 to 17.5 range, and their average drag is about a third of whatever TriRig is cooking up. Wheels, it’s safe to say, are decidedly out.
So what’s left? Cockpit? Not a bad guess, all things considered. The stall angle appears to be around 10 degrees, according to a test Cervelo ran on the P3C. See below.
It’s certainly a strong contender. Couple that with the data from TriRig’s most recent aerobar shootout, and we start to get a more complete picture. Take a quick look at this:
And the bar suddenly goes out the window. Clearly, the impact of the aerobar on the drag chart isn’t nearly as significant as the shape of the bike. Could it be a frameset, then? We have been kicking around that particular idea for two days, and we are honestly no closer to a solid “yes” or “no” than we were when the data came out. We concede the possibility, but modern superbikes just don’t behave like the chart that TriRig has posted. Take a look at the data from the Felt IA launch.
Modern bikes have gotten really, really good at handling high yaw, and as a result the current crop don’t begin to stall until about 15 degrees. It’s possible that they are producing a frameset, and if so we’ll be very interested to ride it, but for the moment, we’re saying it’s unlikely.
So what are we left with? A crank, perhaps? We aren’t aware of any aero data for cranks, but the fact that the published chart is positive-side only says it might be. After all, when all that’s on the other side is the crank arm, you might not spend expensive tunnel time testing it. The other possibility is that the sweep is single-sided because the item in question is symmetrical – hydration, perhaps? Again, we aren’t aware of any wind tunnel shootouts between BTA setups, and we would be pretty shocked to find a 120g difference at 10 degrees yaw between them. But if anyone can find that kind of time, it’ll be TriRig. Whatever it is, we can’t wait to get our hands on it.