Gravel world championships - race number sails ⛵️

Anybody else find it really funny that so many riders in the gravel worlds were on road bikes etc because of the courses flat high speed profile etc, many riding aero cockpits with hidden cables etc…. But then with race numbers set up like a ships sale on the front of the bike :joy:

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The thing is they might not have been able what they wanted. In MTB XC you get the same kind of numbers. Sometimes we trim them, sometimes we fold them, but in the end it really depends on the mood of the organizer or UCI commissaire. Some will fine you because it hides some sponsors and/or represent an aero advantage, some do not say anything.

I would not blame on the rider/mechanic choice especially if they have little experience with the kind of commissaires they will face on that first world championship event. Some might have decided to take the safe best.

Additionnally I haven’t been done the research myself but the aero results might be unintuitive and in favor of the race number mounted like this. What if the whole bike is less aero with the number like this but the whole package bike + rider end up more aero because the race number diverge (pun intended) some air around the rider’s body? Maybe specialized did the research on the wind tunnel ?

The course was nothing but a lightly graveled bike path. Not really suitable for a gravel race of any kind much less a world championship.

BTW, bicycles do not have a “cockpit”. They have bars and stems (maybe in one piece but still a bar and stem). Check the definition of cockppit.


gotta’ agree, race numbers don’t belong there. but the analogy is wrong, sails propel you, that’s an air-brake.


“Cockpit” is a very common idomatic term in cycling for the control-related parts of a bike.


Roadies freaking out over lack of aero optimization. :slight_smile:


They do actually have a cockpit it’s just more aft.


never knew a massive number plate that sits in clean air was ‘lack of aero optimization’.

It is also incorrect. Read the definition.

The meanings of words evolve. Any review of the history of semantics shows as much.


I thought the interesting thing was that some riders had number sails on the front, while others wrapped them around the headtube

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Weird isn’t it because then some didn’t have it in the front at all….

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To the people talking about definitions of words……

Cockpit - I agree it’s a stupid term but non the less you’re all on a cycling website’s forum and the cycling industry rightly or wrongly refers to the bar and stem combo as a cockpit these days particularly when said ‘cockpit’ is trying to be ‘aero’. So my use of cockpit here directly refers to the term the cycling industry uses to describe aero things on bikes in the context of a conversation about things becoming non aero.

Sail- sails and wind go hand in hand regardless of wether the sails use the wind and the bikes don’t, it still makes sense when the visual similarity to a boats sail is there.

I mean it was just a tongue in cheek reference and I’m not sure that it was word choice that warranted the bulk of this conversation. Just a funny place to put race numbers in 2022 when everyone is chasing 2 watt aero advantages



As for the placement, it is pretty much what occurs at most major gravel races. As an aerogeek, I find it annoying as hell and always do what I can to minimize the negative impact….but it is pretty tough.

As for the race, that was the Bike Path World Championships….very disappointing course. Flat as a pancake, gravel that was as about as smooth as you could get and the only “technical” aspect came from sharp turns in and out of alleyways and bike paths.

Big bowl of “meh”.


What is your take on handlebar bags?
This ones for Henri The Aerogeek, not The Aesthetic.

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Hate them on both counts……but have been forced to use them occasionally.

I’m not proud of it. :crazy_face:

Couldn’t agree more


On an endurance ride as an average joe I find them handy in the autumn/spring months to store layers etc in changing weather but that’s on a jolly ride where I know it’s a negative for aero but I’d rather have the right layers. But it a world tour race (or UCI work championship race) it seems a mad place to put anything.

Would be interesting to know some wind tunnel results about these numbers and/or handlebar bags though. Given manufacturers reckon they’re saving 1/2watts by hiding cables either the aero front end marketing is a complete lie or it must be a feasible amount.

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Shoutout to the South African rider with a Camelbak, though….

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Off topic slightly but they should give these out at a Mens 50+ road race and then have a secret hidden camera record the temper tantrums.