Apidura Aero Pack System: Aerodynamically optimized bike bags

Full-day gravel races require riders to carefully balance the practicality of carrying spares and supplies with seeking every possible advantage by keeping weight low and being as aerodynamic as possible. . As experts in technical bikepacking gear, this made the Apidura team wonder: what if your bikepacking bags could actually make you faster?

Having pushed the boundaries of aerodynamic performance in UCI rules, it’s a question Ridley was also considering. Could the Ridley Kanzo Fast – already claimed to be the fastest gravel bike in the world – be made even faster with aerodynamically optimized bike bags?

While testing in the Bike Valley wind tunnel, we found that a poorly optimized bikepacking setup could cost gravel riders up to 17.5 watts at 40 km/h. Picking the wrong packs could literally outweigh the advantage of a deep section wheelset, a wetsuit or an aero bike. There were clearly improvements to be found.

Once the challenge was defined, we launched a six-month development project to create the fastest gravel bike possible. The result is a custom Ridley Kanzo Fast with Apidura’s new Aero Pack system and Hunt’s Limitless Gravel 42 wheels, without compromising on anything in the pursuit of speed. The concept bike will be raced by Fat Pigeon’s Nol van Loon at this year’s Unbound Gravel.

The Apidura Aero Pack system features the first-ever bike bags developed in the wind tunnel to make a bike faster. At 40 km/h, the top tube, frame and rear pack make the Kanzo Fast 16.66 watts faster. Even at 32 km/h, Unbound’s leading average speed, the packs save 2.4 watts. Adding an Apidura Racing hydration vest to Nol’s setup boosted that power even further to 7.67 watts.

At such low speeds, these savings are significant and roughly equal to the savings you would expect by upgrading to a set of deep section carbon wheels or a custom combination. In addition to the aerodynamic improvement, the packs also add significant storage space to the bike, optimized for easy access over rough terrain.

The packs are the most complex and technically advanced we’ve ever made, using 3D printed modules to ease the transition from frame to packs and innovative new openings that are completely flush and self-closing. Internal bonded structures create streamlined shapes for smooth airflow and data-driven designs ensure bags are completely hidden from the wind at low yaw angles. Each of the packs features a new fabric design that has been tested to be 5.7 watts faster than our standard Hexalon at 40 km/h.

Nol’s Kanzo Fast has been custom drilled so the packs can be mounted directly to improve aerodynamics and stability. The rear mount uses the existing fender mount and replaces the dust cover on the seatpost for an extremely low profile and secure finish.

Pack design took our technology-focused Precision Crafted approach further than ever before. The complexity of shapes and the need for smooth transitions and flush mounts have pushed welding techniques to their limits and rely on advanced 3D printing techniques to perfectly fit the bags to the frame.

The Apidura Aero Pack system is currently a unique concept but, as with all projects in the Apidura Innovation Lab, it can be expected that the learnings will be applied to future Apidura products and find their way into existing products where they add significant value to existing processes.

More information can be found at: https://www.apidura.com/journal/apidura-aero-pack-system-packs-that-make-you-faster

Key details

  • A poorly optimized bike bag setup could cost a gravel rider up to 17.5 watts at 40 mph, outweighing the benefit of deep section wheels, a wetsuit, or an aero bike.
  • Apidura and Ridley have created concept bike bags that make the 16.66 watt Ridley Kanzo Fast faster at 40 km/h.
  • Apidura’s Aero Pack system includes a top tube pack, frame pack, and rear pack made from a custom fabric that tests 5.7 watts faster than standard Hexalon at 40 mph.
  • 3D printed supports and a new innovative self-closing opening ensure smooth airflow and maximize the space available in the packs.
  • Nol van Loon uses the Apidura Aero Pack system at Unbound on his custom Ridley Kanzo Fast, with Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel wheels. Alongside his creative team at Fat Pigeon, he will create a documentary exploring pack development and his Unbound experience.

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Wiley C. Thompson