The Fascinating Aerodynamics of Bike Touring and Bikepacking

The Fascinating Aerodynamics of Bike Touring and Bikepacking

Let’s take a look at some interesting aero findings in the touring and bikepacking space, to understand how some small changes might allow us to travel further with less effort.

πŸ“˜ The Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide:
πŸ“• The Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide:

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Francis Cade Wind Tunnel:
Specialized Wind Tunnel Hand Positions:
Specialized Wind Tunnel Clothing:
Good aerodynamics theory video:
My velodrome test:
All other studies:
Thumbnail bikepacking rig:

πŸš΅πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ CYCLINGABOUT (endless bike travel info!):
πŸŽ™ Audio optimisation by @Eric Peel Music


  1. Chris Smith on September 7, 2022 at 2:59 am

    I live in Oaxaca, Mexico. When and if I encounter You, depending on your circumstances may I pick your Brain sometime? Fascinating naturally! — Older Slower Walker.

  2. Yooper Ventures on September 7, 2022 at 3:01 am

    Speed? Aerodynamics? Who gives a rip? I guess I’m too old to care about that stuff anymore. 😁 I also don’t like spending more time trying to cram things in these little be bags. Nice video.

  3. John Downey on September 7, 2022 at 3:03 am

    How similar was bag volume between panniers and bikepacking setup?

  4. bullfrogboss on September 7, 2022 at 3:03 am

    I remember that after getting my first drop bar bike I immediately noticed how faster I am just because the handlebars make my shoulders spread much narrower

  5. Ride Till I Die! on September 7, 2022 at 3:06 am

    More great info!

  6. Paul Behrend on September 7, 2022 at 3:07 am

    Go vegan, go recumbent, revel in the transcendence!

  7. Francis Cade on September 7, 2022 at 3:10 am

    Late to the party here, cool video! That section in the middle gave me a shock πŸ‘€

  8. XavierBetoN on September 7, 2022 at 3:11 am

    Interesting research over 135Β° fenders. Thanks for the informational video, cheers!

  9. Biking360 on September 7, 2022 at 3:13 am

    This is absolute gold and exactly what I was looking for. As always the content and presentation are superb. Thank you. JP

  10. ecp4500 on September 7, 2022 at 3:14 am

    Recumbent trike has a big aero advantage over standard bikes. I flew passed a road cyclist while I had loaded panniers on the rear. The extra weight and aerodynamics helps alot. But you are punished on hill climbs.

  11. Peter Denny on September 7, 2022 at 3:16 am

    man ditch the vegan shirt.

  12. Luke Walker on September 7, 2022 at 3:17 am

    Your cycling videos are outstanding.

  13. Ben C on September 7, 2022 at 3:19 am

    Great video. It’s possible panniers might be better than bikepacking-style bags in a side wind though, because they’re in line with each other from the sides.

  14. Gareth Chadderton on September 7, 2022 at 3:21 am

    If 1% here, and 2% there, really bother you. Then you shouldn’t be on an upright bike to begin with.

  15. Chris Kahlson on September 7, 2022 at 3:23 am


  16. yrureadingthisname on September 7, 2022 at 3:24 am

    Wonder if anyone could help me out here. I’m running a new set up at the front with one bar bag and a 15 L dry bag straps on top carrying most of my food. Two 750 mL water bottles on the forks. My question is how much weight is too much weight LOL I imagine running front panniers and a bar bag would be about the same thing but it does feel awfully heavy at the front. Worried that it might be too overweighted. My trip is about 9 days.

  17. M K on September 7, 2022 at 3:26 am

    I think that your open-air velodrome test is superior to all other tests in many ways. Most importantly it averages out the wind coming in all different directions, which can also be tested in a wind tunnel, but for some reason rarely is…

  18. Angelos Georgopoulos on September 7, 2022 at 3:26 am

    you are a legend

  19. NeoFrontier Technologies on September 7, 2022 at 3:26 am

    Very informative and scientific. Now I can pack things smarter.

  20. fassphoto on September 7, 2022 at 3:29 am

    Thx very much for the Awesome video. πŸš΄β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ŽπŸ‘

  21. Rob Appleby on September 7, 2022 at 3:29 am

    Recumbents mate.

  22. Payman Janbakhsh on September 7, 2022 at 3:30 am

    Your videos this one and others are incredibly well done, you address the subjects with data, facts, and studies. Thank you for your comprehensive and informative videos. Please keep making them. Cheers!

  23. Greg Knipe on September 7, 2022 at 3:31 am

    2nd viewing.

  24. Thanh Cong on September 7, 2022 at 3:32 am


  25. ifell3 on September 7, 2022 at 3:33 am

    I used to do bike packing with a rucksack, I wonder how this would add up, as most of it is behind your frontal area.

  26. Gary Reid Backing Tracks on September 7, 2022 at 3:33 am

    Thanks! Sounds like my best bet is to add a rear fender and one of those behind the seat bags, with maybe an underbar bag if I can fit it.

    I’m a total newb to distance riding, so any decent info helps tons.

  27. Styla on September 7, 2022 at 3:35 am

    someone knows what he is putting on the bike at 4:35 ? i am actually looking for something like that so i can attach a bag to my bike

  28. 1 Legged Adventures on September 7, 2022 at 3:35 am

    how does clothing come into play at slower speeds (17-21Kph). I was always told at slower speeds these number are negligible and dont really have an effect. It seems that may not be true after seeing this video. I prefer baggies over being squeezed into spandex.

  29. michaelrowave on September 7, 2022 at 3:36 am

    This is great. I assumee the air density is mostly altitude and maybe proximity to the sea?

  30. Barto on September 7, 2022 at 3:37 am

    How aerodynamic would mesh baskets be?

  31. G. R. on September 7, 2022 at 3:37 am

    Great content and thanks for doing the tests to show the effects of the bags. Has no manufacturer thought of aero front and rear panniers? Would it make much of a difference?

  32. regie iris on September 7, 2022 at 3:38 am

    Nice amazing 😊😊😊

  33. Maynard the Miser on September 7, 2022 at 3:38 am

    Great video and something I’ve often wondered about. I recently switched from the typical 4-pannier-plus-handlebar-bag-and-dry-bag-on-the-rear-rack touring setup on a converted mountain bike to a bikepacking setup on a road bike. The difference was incredible, but it was as much about the weight drop as it was the aerodynamics. Overall, the bikepacking setup was 40 lbs. (18 kg) lighter. Of course, I had to eliminate a lot of gear that I used to tour with simply because there was nowhere to put it with the bikepacking setup. I found that I didn’t miss most of that stuff at all, and the riding was much more enjoyable than before, especially when climbing steep hills. For many years I saw no reason to change my previous setup simply because I was capable of handling that much weight and wind resistance while still enjoying the tour. But as I aged, it became more and more of a struggle. The bikepacking setup lets me fully enjoy touring again.

  34. Tim Newland on September 7, 2022 at 3:38 am

    So the conclusion is, ride a recumbent. I’ll go with that πŸ˜€.

  35. Daniel Creen on September 7, 2022 at 3:39 am

    What about a faring?

  36. goku on September 7, 2022 at 3:39 am

    This channel needs to grow!

  37. Abhinav Shanmugam on September 7, 2022 at 3:42 am

    I saw your vegan shirt, whats your favorite bike touring meal?

    vegoon btw. πŸ™‚

  38. Sempi on September 7, 2022 at 3:42 am

    Have you thought of making a video on eating vegan while on long tours? Tips and tricks and stuffs.

  39. Julian Smith on September 7, 2022 at 3:42 am

    Thanks for this. Not sure that it will help much though. I ride with panniers all the time on my e-bike, so I am always wondering the best way to get the most distance with the power I have. In-frame baggage or trunk bags may be an option

  40. Pierrig le niak on September 7, 2022 at 3:43 am

    Bullshit.Instead of loading their stuff in panniers people do it with bikepacking bags/setup but they still carry too much things for the majority…bikepacking is just a trend..sheeps follow trend that how you recognize them

  41. Bottled_ Leviathan on September 7, 2022 at 3:43 am

    Recumbent bicycles might be more aerodynamic, but standard bikes are more versatile

  42. gotyk1 gotyk1 on September 7, 2022 at 3:43 am

    Thank you for this outstanding comparison. Before watching it I ridiculed bikepacking. I saw it as a means of carrying stuff on your bike when you can’t ‘afford’ a decent luggage rack. I still think that a true globetrotter will always favour panniers over those odd looking and inconvenient bags, but with the aerodynamic flow much improved it’s very tempting, I’ll give a whirl and buy a bikepacking ensemble myself

  43. Mike Myers on September 7, 2022 at 3:49 am

    What a stupid title.

  44. BAH on September 7, 2022 at 3:50 am

    I’ll just plan my daily distance to be 3.78% shorter so I’ll arrive on timeπŸ˜†. I did add a set of inner handles just to have another hand position, but I’ll take less wind drag ass a bonus.

  45. Sb Sb on September 7, 2022 at 3:51 am

    Another outstanding video.

  46. CYCLINGABOUT on September 7, 2022 at 3:56 am

    It’s good to be back with some tech content! ⚑️ So, why aren’t I aero-optimised when I travel? Well, my average speed is usually <10KPH on the mountainous backroads I ride so there is little to gain. But panniers are also super easy to put on and take off my bike, so I can quickly bring everything into the tent/hotel/house at night. They have a tonne of volume for when I need to carry lots of food, and they are effortless to organise. My laptop and camera gear are very well protected too. My touring shirt is flappy but it has pockets and long sleeves to protect my skin from the sun, and I don’t look TOO weird when I arrive in tiny villages. Aero isn’t everything, but I care about it on faster trips. πŸ˜…

  47. Erhard242 on September 7, 2022 at 3:57 am

    "Without luggage you’re about as aerodynamic as a cube." Showing a Cube bike at 1:28. Ha!
    Your presentation was very entertaining and extremely informative at the same time! Keep up the good work!

  48. T Connolly on September 7, 2022 at 3:58 am

    I probably shouldn’t even be watching these videos because I’m neither a racer or a tourer.
    I ride a basic hybrid workhorse with 40 tyres in a pretty upright position for commuting and utilitarian.
    I’m 2m tall, 120kg, mid fifties, only moderately fit although I do cycle a lot and advocate it to everyone who will listen
    and always have at least small or big panniers on the back and I use a trailer for shopping or cargo of any kind between 30-70kg loads
    Oh, and I don’t own any cycling aero clothing. Ordinary clothing only.
    But I have often wondered how much more effort I have to put into 10km-20km compared to those speedy little guys who fly past me on their go faster bikes. The bigger or older guys and gals are always slower.
    Headwind in particular is an absolute killer. It’s much harder cycling into a reasonably strong headwind than it is pulling the trailer plus 70kg with no wind.
    And I’m not even talking about storm force winds
    I’d guess 100kg on the trailer (another 13kg) on the flat with no wind would be easier than a force 5-6 headwind?!
    Without a strong headwind I do 20km in about an hour or less with some moderate hills. This is a comfortable commuting pace without pushing myself.
    With headwinds, I just keep dropping down the gears as low as I need.

  49. Peter Signorini on September 7, 2022 at 3:58 am

    Bicycle touring. It’s NOT a race.

    My ideal tour is one where I can cover a reasonable distance but still stop to enjoy the scenery and culture of a place. Most bike packing seems to be all about covering 200km per day and just moving on. NOT my "cup of tea".

  50. Mike Johnson on September 7, 2022 at 3:59 am

    How does a BOB trailer compare? I have always believed a trailer, low to ground right behind my bike was good for wind.

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