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Is stuffing a hydration pack down your jersey more aero? Joe Skipper reveals his latest radical triathlon bike setup

From water bottle fairings to a water bottle stomach, the triathlon and time trial specialist certainly got people talking in his latest Ironman outing

Not your average Joe position... Joe Skipper is a British pro triathlete, multiple Ironman champion and long-distance time trial specialist who began his triathlon career in 2010. However, he didn't finish Ironman Texas this weekend after taking a wrong turn whilst sporting his most recent time trial bike setup. 

Skipper revealed his updated triathlon bike setup on his Argon 18 E-119 Tri+ Disc prior to Ironman Texas which took place on Saturday. He spoke in the MX Endurance podcast about how he wanted to go under four hours on the bike, which would mean averaging around 44 km/h.

He's no stranger to the wind tunnel, and in an attempt to achieve this average speed it's no wonder he pushed the limits by producing this radical aero position. However, Skipper took a wrong turn and went around 8km off the course, claiming he didn't see the signs... 

> Check out the best aero road bikes 2023 

The UCI and triathlon have different rules and regulations for time trial positions, with triathlon being the more relaxed of the two, but both of them banning the use of fairings. 

The Ironman bike specifications state: "Fairings are prohibited. Any device added or blended into the structure that may decrease, or that has the effect of decreasing, resistance to air penetration, or that may artificially accelerate propulsion, such as a protective screen, fuselage form fairing or the like, is prohibited."

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Looking at Skipper's position we can see that he's got water bottle fairings to close the gap between his forearms, biceps and head, another water bottle between his arms, and one that we would expect behind the saddle. This raises questions as it could be argued that the bottles are acting as fairings, but they are considered legal because bottles and cages are off-the-shelf parts.

2023 Joe Skipper Texas Ironman

And no, that's not Skipper's stomach... there appears to be a Camelbak hydration pack inside the front of his skinsuit, which has long been known to be advantageous after Frank Schleck used one in the decisive final time trial in the 2011 Criterium International

At the time, according to Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Camelbak hydration pack may have resulted in the rider gaining two seconds per kilometre as a result of improved aerodynamic efficiency.

2011 Frank Schleck Camelbak

Skipper uses Revolver wheels and components, and the brand appears to be responsible for his handlebar setup. Revolver posted on Instagram saying that Skipper was holding a great position using its new "new Revolver Forearm Twin aero bottle mount system". 

Revolver already offers a similar system with its Ergomono & Ergomono Split  handlebars, which offer a shielded platform to mount a regular water bottle and cage. Prices start at an eye-watering £2,500. 

2023 Joe Skipper Texas Ironman

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Skipper was also seen racing in calf guards and short veloToze shoe covers. His bike also features the Revolver AEROTO disc brake rotor locking shields, which are said to improve airflow around disc brake rotors and cost £79 each. 

What outrageous aero combinations have you seen? Let us know in the comments section below...

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…

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7 comments

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Sredlums | 10 months ago
0 likes

I'll let everyone do as they please, let's just say that time trials/triathlons are most definately not my thing if this is what it takes to be competitive.
The ugly high socks, the artifical belly, the head stuck beween those bottles, it's all pretty clownesque. But at least you're a fast clown, I guess.

Avatar
Jetmans Dad replied to Sredlums | 10 months ago
7 likes

Don't knock the artifical belly ... for the first time in decades I look like a pro athlete!

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ChuckSneed | 10 months ago
0 likes

Would be even faster to drop the disc brakes and use rim brakes, but I suppose they'll have to make do with bodges like this as a result of being stuck with discs now.

Avatar
Veganpotter replied to ChuckSneed | 10 months ago
2 likes

That's definitely not true. It would possibly be true if bike companies were still throwing R&D at rim brake bikes and wheels but they're not.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to ChuckSneed | 10 months ago
2 likes
ChuckSneed wrote:

Would be even faster to drop the disc brakes and use rim brakes, but I suppose they'll have to make do with bodges like this as a result of being stuck with discs now.

Rim brakes compromise the design of the wheels (i.e. needing a brake track and extra strength to survive the braking stresses) and thus will be less aero than similar wheels using disks.

These positions are getting silly with using water bottles in place of fairings. I say they should remove the fairings rules and avoid these shenanigans. Let's see some futuristic looking recumbents compete in races.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 10 months ago
2 likes
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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 10 months ago
2 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

What's that you say?

I was hoping for something a bit more contemporary and looking less like an upside down bath

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