After racing St George, I told my coach that I thought a faster bike would help me be 2-3 minutes quicker over the half ironman distance. She asked what I thought would make a difference - a a more aero position, a different bike, or different bike equipment?
So I was mulling that question over while riding the next day. Riding is not particularly intellectually intensive, so if you want, there is plenty of brain power available for thinking during a 3 or 5 hour ride. "What would make me faster on the bike? Hmmm?"
Then it hit me. A flat bike. Not a skinny bike, but flat, like matte.
Let me explain.
Every kid knows that red bikes are the fastest. The triathlon industry knows this too, so pretty much every bike is some combination of the fastest colors - red, black, white.
I'm pretty much good to go as far as color goes - my bike's colors are already fast.
But it's not just the color. What I've recently realized is that it's the finish, too. You know, like gloss, semi-gloss, flat/matte. Flat bikes are the fastest. As you can see in the above picture, I ride a glossy bike. My bike is pretty fast, but the experts say it's not the fastest.
After racking my brain, trying to remember what the bikes looked like that passed me during St George, I was mostly positive that flat bikes are the fast bikes. Not many people pass me on the bike during a triathlon, but the ones that do, almost without exception, are on a flat bike.
Then I got on google images. Check it out. Here are some of the winners from the last few Ironman World Championships in Kona.
Bikes have been getting faster and faster. The 'experts' talk about airfoils, wind tunnel testing, this, that and the other thing. They say new bikes are faster because of better aerodynamics. Well that's ridiculous. I'm an empiricist, and I don't know about you, but I've never seen or touched this "aerodynamics". What I can tell you with certainty is that bikes are getting faster and that they're also getting flatter.
Flatter/Matte-r = Faster.
Here's a chart for you visual types. As any rigorous scientist would do, I populated the data set using a few examples that came to mind and from a quick google image search. Then I modified the data a little more so that it looked nicer. Science.
Some of you are screaming at your computer screens, "Correlation IS NOT causation!!" Well, you people can keep your fancy 10-cent words to yourselves. I'm going out and getting a $6 can of spray paint and making my bike a flat-black-dirty-fast-speed-machine. You keep your glossy pile of junk, and I'll be wizzin past you at the next triathlon, because the fast bikes are the flat bikes.
In no way do I believe anything I just said. But really, there is a correlation. Most new bikes are fast and they're also matte. Therefore, the fast bikes really are the flat bikes.