Bradley Wiggins: The Low Down

Monday, 1 March 2010

Look closely at the above image, click on it to zoom in. It was taken from the latest version of the excellent Vélo Magazine. It’s Brad Wiggins in profile during his pro career. Notice anything?

Check out the head tube on his bikes, he is going from riding a frame the size of a farm gate to a much smaller frame. With a shorter head tube Wiggins can adopt a lower, more aerodynamic position.

So whilst we’ve heard plenty about Wiggins and weight loss, note the improved position on the bike. The gains here will be substantial, he has shrunk his frame not by one or two sizes but more.

Remember that when climbing a mountain pass it still helps to be aero. You save energy during the often manic riding before the foot of the climb and then you can be climbing at 25km/h. Every watt counts.

Anonymous March 2, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Interesting. How much weight he lose last year? Or his improvement about a lot more than weight loss?

Chain catcher February 15, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Ummm, frame geom notwithstanding, he’s out the saddle in 2, holding different hand positions… Undoubtedly a true point (“marginal gains”) but the graphics make it appear slightly more tenuous?

The Inner Ring February 16, 2011 at 12:07 am

Chain catcher: yes, and his is only one observation. But compare the headtube from the FDJ Lapierre to the Sky Pinarello, there is a difference right? I’m not claiming it makes all the difference, just that for all the talk of weight loss, he’s got more aero. Like I said back then, every watt counts, but yes Wiggins’ success is down to a lot more than a change of frame geometry.

riv3th3ad February 16, 2011 at 3:30 am

Perhaps his weight loss contributed to his ability to be more comfortable in a more aerodynamic position.

Anon February 16, 2011 at 6:36 am

Sweet pic. Thanks.

Aero is good. Power is king. Tactics are ace.
Less amounts of the above is proportional to your chances of winning a race.

F!@# the new “sportive” geometry. Bring back 9,10,11 cm head tubes. And deep drop bars while you’re at it.

beev March 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm

i see a lot written on this subject. from what i have read he has taken his weight from 80kg as track focussed pursuiter down to the low 70’s/sub 6% body fat as roadman. no doubt hours have also been spent in the wind tunnel.

however, the one thing i would love to know more about, and i’ve rarely seen more than a passing mention is his coaching – and it’s not just marginal gains or inner chimp i want to hear more about, but some real specifics. just how do you turn the worlds best pursuiter into a GT contender? inrng – how about a feature/interview on/with rod ellingworth that tries to go deeper than what has been written so far….

ave March 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Yes, he got lower, true.
Also his back is always in kinesio tape… Wonder if there’s a connection. (pain related)

In the cross wind stage I noticed that his back is absolutely flat during riding in the drops.

And during yesterday’s stage he only used the tip of his rock hard all carbon saddle to support his weight. I know many others do so too, but I’ve tried it, and it was unbearable.

The pros are amazing, Wiggins especially. He is a robot.

CAT4Fodder March 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Interesting on the weight loss. He has always been rather slender, (80 kgs at 6’3″ is not exactly Jan Ullrich pudgy), but what is surprising is he has been able to cut weight without seeming to lose power.
To lose 10 kilos, (which is 22 pounds), when he was already a skinny guy, I would think he had to sacrifice quite a bit of top-end power. They may not release numbers, but I have to think his overall 5′, 20′ and 60′ power declined.

CAT4Fodder March 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Ave – can you clarify what “kinesio shape” is?

David B March 12, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Kinesio tape is a supportive band, taped across specific muscles groups to offer additional support to those muscles. If you watch track and field athletics you will see that it is very commonly used by sprinters and jumpers – ie people who need speed/power for their event. Less popular with distance runners who don’t have the extreme muscle loading.

David B March 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Wiggo’s lower back taping was clearly visible under his one-piece yesterday.

CAT4Fodder March 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Interesting….I do wonder whether at some point the UCI is going to step in if, somehow this back taping is allowing him to take an aero position not normally possible due to the undue strain on his body.

Rider Council March 13, 2012 at 10:21 am

We are all riding lower than Dennis Hopper on our bike these days, at least those of us who rip around in races, I would say. If Wiggins has made ‘gains’ so too has Evans, Gilbert, Roger Hammond and Micky Joe Colnago in Cat 5. Gaining a watt, what? from a bit less drag, does not tell the story of how one day he came all the way in his Chelsea boots from Herne Hill and piste all over the lighter men, the pure climbers, Sherpa’s and the sub culture of 65 kgr’s…….. in foreign high altitude mountain stages…….?….:)…..*…..(%)…….consistently. Let nature be what it is (are we are loosing our minds here?) and leave geometry to the frame builders but I am still left scratching my head with the tip of a Garmin I bought that year. Say what you like about the size of his head tube, but like all things professional these days it’s the fan in front row trying to touch and go with the dogma, that’s getting left behind. And there are no backstage passes in professional cycling.

kevin maclellan January 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm

the taping is there for feed back and to unload his lumbar spine it doesnt get him into the postion he gets there himself through the extra power and mobility in his hips and gluts. How on earth can this tape help him with his times etc. Sorry but I’m a physio, relating the kinesiotaping to aid in areodynamic postures, your clutching at straws with that one

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