The Veazeys of Dallas: How A Swim Family Fell for Water Polo

Liam and Jonas Veazey. Photo Courtesy St. Francis Brooklyn Athletics

by Michael Randazzo, Swimming World Contributor.

Liam Veazey was once considered one of the best young swimmers in the state of Texas. A top finisher in 2001 and 2002 at Texas Age Group Swimming (TAGS) Championships, by 2010, despite endless hours in the pool in a futile quest to “drop time,” Veazey had hit a wall. He simply couldn’t go faster. It was then that water polo coach and evangelist Joe Linehan—unexpectedly yet utterly—changed Veazey’s swimming trajectory, rewriting the legacy of one of the more distinguished swimming families in North Texas.

A Family Tradition

Swimming with the Mustang Swim Club in Dallas, skippered by Mook Rhodenbaugh, a celebrated coach and former NCAA champion at Southern Methodist University, Veazey was heir to a distinguished swimming heritage. His brother Caleb—who swam for Dallas Bryan Adams High School as well as the Mustangs—was Texas High School State Champion in the 200 and 500 freestyle events in 2009, earning him a scholarship to attend Arizona State. Their father, Jeff, also had been a standout swimmer for Bryan Adams and has had a distinguished career, both as a competitor, including masters’ events, and a coach for the past five decades at a number of Dallas schools and programs.

Jeff, who had been taught to swim by his mother, passed along his passion for the water to sons Caleb, Liam and Jonas, each three years apart.


Liam, Jonas and Caleb Veazey. Photo Courtesy: Jeff Veazey

“I taught all three boys to swim in a pool my mom built in her back yard after I was grown and moved away,“ he said. “They would hold my shoulder and we would float and scull. I helped them find a natural balance in the water. Once they were able to do that, they could really swim.”

“My dad was absolutely the biggest reason my brothers and I got into swimming,“ said Jonas, the youngest of the Veazey brothers. “I don’t have a memory of learning to swim or my first time in the water. It was always just a part of my identity. It’s funny, because Dad never forced us to swim competitively. He got us in the water at a young age and we just kept going with it.”

An early indication of the Veazey progeny’s ability was their fearlessness.

“I remember a family snorkeling trip near Destin when Jonas was not yet 5 and he was exploring by himself in 10-15 feet of water, 50 yards from the boat,“ Jeff recalled. “Someone said: ‘Your little boy is getting kind of far.’ “Our four-year-old swims better than any other kid out there—except his brothers,” their mother, Shannon, replied.

A Brother and a Trailblazer

Caleb, now 26 and a jazz musician living in Los Angeles, set a high standard for his siblings. Competing for the Mustang club where his father was an assistant coach, he became one of Texas’s strongest freestylers. Though all three boys were accomplished swimmers—Liam and Jonas were both high school All-Americans—in a swimming career that earned him a Division I scholarship as well as invites to two Olympic Trials, the World Championship Trials, and multiple Nationals meets, Caleb was at the top of the family roster.

“Caleb had a different kind of talent,“ Jeff Veazey said. “As much as [Caleb] was known as a hard worker, Liam and Jonas had to work really hard to get better.”

Liam, in an email from Indonesia where he was traveling, acknowledged the broad wake left by his older brother.

“Caleb was a tremendously successful swimmer growing up and fully dedicated to the sport,“ said Liam, “what most coaches dream of: a fully dedicated swimmer without too many distractions—except for his musical pursuits.”

Moved up to the Mustang’s top team at the beginning of high school, the younger Veazey was in pursuit of records, and his brother: “My intention was to follow his blueprint and—in my head—be just as ‘fast’ as he was.”

But, despite his best efforts, he couldn’t meet the daunting standards set by Caleb.

Enter Joe Linehan

Patriarch Jeff Veazey recalled the moment in 2009 that his family’s aquatic identity changed forever.

“Toward the end of Caleb’s senior year in high school—Liam was a freshman—a guy named Joe Linehan walked on to the pool deck,” he explained. “Three years later Liam was a high school All-American water polo player and Jonas had helped lead his middle school club team to the Texas state championship.”

A one-time regional director of development for USA Water Polo who had done yeoman’s work from 2003–2008 building a club network in Houston, Linehan has a brash personality and the persistence to make the sport grow wherever (and whenever) pool time is available.

A graduate of Texas A & M, the San Antonio native returned home after a stint in New York City as head coach for the men’s water polo team at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He set about organizing high school and age group play in the fall of 2008, but there was minimal infrastructure for him to work with in the Dallas metropolitan area, which Linehan took as a challenge.

“I was going to prove to everybody that this can be done in a blank slate place,” he said this week by phone.

It wasn’t easy.

“You gotta start, you gotta go—and we’re gonna make it look good for the parents,” he said about the early days of North Texas water polo. “We had clocks out there, we had refs in whites. How good were the refs? They probably weren’t that good. Oh well—that’s okay.”

“We had to go through some hits and misses.”

According to Jonas, “Linehan changed everything in Dallas.”

He certainly changed the object of his and his brother’s athletic focus, which had always been pointed to swimming.

Liam’s Turning Point

Liam had gained some experience playing polo with his high school team during freshman year at Adams, but it was in the summer of 2010 that the increasingly frustrated swimmer made a crucial decision. Linehan invited Liam to join the Dallas Water Polo Club for Junior Olympics and—after checking with his swim coach Rhodenbaugh—Veazey agreed to take the plunge.

“That summer I was swimming four hours a day and practicing water polo for two,“ Liam said. “I decided to attend JOs only because it started after my [Texas] Sectionals Swimming Championships ended in late July. I arranged to swim in Houston at Sectionals, and then fly to California for JOs.”

“I was hoping for a breakthrough meet that summer in Houston, but I swam miserably. In retrospect, I probably put too much pressure on myself and swam tight. I was upset with my performance when I left Houston. I remember sitting in the airport with my mom and feeling like the whole summer of hard training had been a waste,“ he added.

Despite believing that he had let his coach and swim team down, Liam decided to compete with a Dallas U18 water polo team stocked with experienced players. The beginning was not auspicious.

“The tournament started rough for me,“ he said. “Everything was moving so fast, but through each game I improved. I was made a starter during the tournament and made an impact in many of our wins.”

That summer in California was a revelation for Veazey, who until then thought of himself strictly as a swimmer who dabbled in polo.

“After that tournament, I knew inside that I was in love with the game of water polo,“ he said. “I also thought that maybe, with enough work and help from my coaches and teammates, I could become a good player. I was still committed to swimming, but I knew that my priorities had changed.”

They had changed so much that, when deciding where to pursue his athletic career, Liam chose to go East to St. Francis Brooklyn, where he could play polo with the Terriers’ nationally ranked squad while also continuing to swim. According to his father, moving to New York turned out to be a wise decision.

“Liam’s biggest thrill in water polo was the Terriers’ trip to the Final Four his freshman year [2012] and scoring in the third-place game against Air Force at USC [a 14-8 St. Francis win] in front of a couple of thousand people,” Jeff said.

To this day, Linehan talks about one of his most memorable players, who ended up going to back-to-back NCAA Final Fours and captaining the Terriers in his senior year.

“I say to kids, ‘There’s this kid named Liam Veazey. Every time I said ‘Over in the corner,’ Liam was always the kid in the corner looking right up at you, making as much eye contact as possible and asking questions,” Linehan said.

“There’s a reason that he was one of the best players in that first generation of [Dallas] kids. That’s why he went out and scored in an NCAA championship as a freshman.”

Liam’s switch caused a mini-chain reaction; Jonas, then in middle school, looked up to his elder brother and followed him whenever he could—including into polo.

“When I started playing polo I knew it was what I wanted to do.“ Jonas said. “Once I started I never looked back.”

Their shared passion allowed Jonas to play as a freshman with Liam at St. Francis, a connection that caused their father a bit of wistful thinking.

Caleb, Jonas and Liam Veazey

Caleb, Jonas and Liam Veazey

“I saw the passion that I have for swimming in the way Liam and Jonas had for water polo,” Jeff said. “They had the opportunities that my friends and I always wanted. I love the sport and activity of swimming, but I always wondered what it would have been like to have grown up in California where I could have played more water polo.”

Caleb, who was too late to switch sports, and—according to Jonas—was inclined towards the solace swimming provides—ended up being the only Veazey son to fully commit to swimming.

“Once [Liam and Jonas] were in water polo, they clearly were stronger swimmers and just had a knack for the ball that Caleb never really had,” said their father.

Swimming vs. Water Polo: Which Is Better?

When it comes to playing water polo, an oft-repeated idea—perhaps falsely attributed to swim coaches—is that it degrades stroke and form, leading top swimmers to steer clear of the sport.

When asked about this, the Veazey family swim expert responded analytically.

“They are different sports,“ Jeff explained. “The vision required to see the field makes it impossible to swim as efficiently as possible in polo as we do in swimming….[I]t does seem to me that my younger swimmers who also play polo need to be reminded that backstroke is swum with the head back and not a whip kick or scissor kick in competitive swimming.”

By way of example, the proud father pointed to his sons as proof of the two sports’ interdependence.

“Every water polo coach who has ever coached Jonas or Liam [has] told me that their swimming training and skills gave them a huge advantage over players who didn’t have that background.”

Jonas added that, despite a primary focus on polo training, he continues to drop time, including this year as a sophomore on the St. Francis swim team.

“I qualified for the state swim meet my senior year and—as I get stronger—I keep getting faster,” he said. “I had my best times this year swimming for SFC.”

No matter the thinking—polo or swimming—Liam was at peace with his choice.

“I do look back at my swimming years before water polo, but I never wonder what might’ve been if I kept swimming, because I was a full-time swimmer for so long,” he said. “I gave it everything I had, but as it turns out, I was better suited for water polo.”

Then, acknowledging the importance of his early focus on swimming, Liam added, “I could not have developed in the sport of water polo as quickly as I did without my swimming background.”


Caleb, Liam, Jeff and Jonas Veazey.

The person responsible for the legacy that Caleb, Liam and Jonas have made their own pointed out that the sport he loves is at the core of his children’s notable success.

“From the very beginning, Liam and Jonas knew they had found a sport they loved more than swimming,” Jeff Veazey said. “Make no mistake—as shown by their swimming at St. Francis after a grueling college water polo season—they love to swim.”

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Scarponi to lead Astana at Giro d'Italia in absence of Aru

Astana have announced that Michele Scarponi will lead the team at the Giro d’Italia in the absence of the injured Fabio Aru. General manager Alexandre Vinokourov also confirmed that Jakob Fuglsang will be team leader at the Tour de France, and said that no date has been fixed for Aru’s return to racing.

On Monday, it was confirmed that Aru would miss the Giro after injuring his left knee in a training crash in Sierra Nevada on April 2. The Sardinian was diagnosed with pre-patellar bursitis of the left knee following a consultation in Milan.

“We decided to come to the Giro with Michele Scarponi as our leader. He will replace Fabio Aru, who is forced to skip the race due to the knee injury,” Vinokourov said.

The 37-year-old Scarponi was named the winner of the 2011 Giro when Alberto Contador was handed a retroactive doping ban and stripped of his victory at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2012. Later that same year, Scarponi was handed a three-month ban for frequenting the banned Dr Michele Ferrari. It was the second sanction of his career following his suspension for his implication in the Operacion Puerto blood doping case.

Scarponi placed 4th overall at the Giro in both 2012 and 2013, before moving to Astana the following year. His abandon due to a crash at the 2014 Giro allowed Aru to take the reins of team leadership, and the Sardinian went on to place 3rd overall. Scarponi finished 16th overall last year and played a key supporting role in the overall victory of Vincenzo Nibali.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday, Astana directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli expressed the hope that Aru would recover in time for the Tour de France, but Vinokourov stressed that no revised racing programme has been planned just yet.

Fuglang has been earmarked as Astana’s Tour leader since the beginning of the season and the Dane will continue to prepare for La Grande Boucle. A deluxe domestique for Nibali in recent seasons, Fuglsang placed 7th at the 2013 Tour, the last occasion he led Astana in a Grand Tour.

“As we already communicated yesterday, Fabio has to pass the full treatment and recovery from his injury, so he won’t be able to start in his home race. For all of us, his good and full recovery is on the first place, while his further calendar will depend on the time of recovery and the results in the first races after it,” Vinokourov said.

“Despite this unhappy situation, we don’t talk about any great changes in our program. We are looking forward to the Giro d’Italia with the team we have as well as to the Tour de France, where Jakob Fuglsang, like it was planned, is preparing to take a leading spot.”

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Colorado study reveals the main reason why some cyclists break the rules of the road

Apparently we just all want to be safer

Two Colorado graduate students have released a study addressing why some cyclists knowingly break the rules of the road, with the most common reason being to improve their own safety.

Aaron Johnson, a graduate student at the University of Colorado, Boulder and a teacher at Metropolitan State University of Denver teamed up with Wesley Marshall, a graduate student at the University of Colorado, Denver to conduct the research project.

They collected data and answers from nearly 18,000 cyclists in their local Colorado communities over a three-month timespan from January to March 2015.

>>> ‘Why do cyclists ride side by side? – you asked Google and we’ve got the answer

By using a sequence of 20 questions in a snowball-sampling framework and an online, scenario-based survey, Johnson and Marshall interviewed participants about what infractions they most often commit and why they think their actions are justified. After collecting all of the data, the responses overwhelming indicated that bike riders of all age levels most commonly pass through red traffic signals without thinking twice.

The most common reasons cyclists said they thought it was justifiable to break a law while riding their bike were perceived increase in their own safety, saving energy and saving time – i.e. rolling through a traffic signal when no cars are in sight.

In the nearby state of Idaho, a law introduced in 1982 allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights are stop signs. Most commonly known as the Idaho stop, this law has yet to be adopted by any other states, including Colorado.

>>> Attempt to hit visiting cyclists with $25 tax defeated by Montana state legislature

According to the study published in the Journal of Transport and Land Use, cyclists tend to run through red lights much less often in high traffic areas.

Johnson and Marshall concluded that, “Unlawful drivers and pedestrians tend to rationalize their behaviors as time saving; bicyclists similarly rationalize their illegal behaviors but were more inclined to cite increasing their own personal safety and/or saving energy.”

The Colorado study also cites two other studies conducted in Australia and the United Kingdom, that showed that between 32 and 37 per cent of cyclists knowingly travelled through a red light within the last month.

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Sprinter Parker Harp Selects Old Dominion University

Photo Courtesy: Parker Harp

Agon is the proud sponsor of all high school coverage (recruiting, results, state championships, etc.) on For more information about Agon, visit their website

Parker Harp of the Coast Guard Blue Dolphins has committed to swim for Old Dominion University for the next four years. Harp attends York High School. He won individual Virginia state titles for his school in the 50 and 100 freestyle.

He is primarily a sprint freestyler. His top times are:

  • 50 Free 21.03
  • 100 Free 46.75
  • 200 Free 1:42.89
  • 100 Breast 1:00.20
  • 200 Breast 2:10.79

At this year’s CCSA Championship Harp would have been a 50 and 200 freestyle B finalist and in the scoring C final of the 100 freestyle.

Harp explained why he chose ODU, “Overall ODU has everything I’m looking for in a school it has a great program and great finance program.”

He went on to thank his family and coaches for their support in getting him to this place in his swimming career,

“My parents have been by my side since I started swimming for the Y when I was 7 and have always been there for me. My coaches have trained me, set high expectations for me, and have always encouraged me to do my best.”

To report a verbal commitment email

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Attempt to hit visiting cyclists with $25 tax defeated by Montana state legislature

Amendment proposed in unrelated bill removed by Montana House committee

A Montana House committee has killed an amendment to senate bill 363 that would have charged visiting cyclists a $25 fee to ride in the state.

Originally introduced by the Republican Bozeman State Senator Scott Sales, the Montana State Natural Resources Committee held a hearing regarding the bill, removing the provision in a unanimous, bi-partisan vote.

Part of the move can be attributed to the swift advocacy response from PeopleForBikes, Bike Walk Montana and Adventure Cycling – headquartered in Missoula, Montana.

Nearly 600 letters opposing the tax were sent to the the legislature by bicycle advocates after news broke of the amendment on March 31.

>>> New York cyclists battle $4,600 fine for running red lights

The amendment proposed by Sales and tacked on to the unrelated SB 363 (a bill tackling invasive species and more specifically the spreading of mussel larvae in reservoirs) would have required a $25 decal for each visiting bicycle, supposedly to help fund the state’s battle against invasive mussels.

Sales’ proposal was one of three bills that have been introduced recently by Republicans of Montana aimed directly at cyclists; one that would prohibit riders from travelling on roads without shoulders and the other requiring all bikes to be fitted with a fluorescent orange flag standing a minimum five-feet above the ground. Neither of these bills gained much momentum and died quickly.

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Cycling groups across the country expressed dismay at the bill, fearing the most recent provision would have significantly jeopardized future bicycle advocacy movements.

“This outcome could not have been achieved without thoughtful and well-articulated comments from bike riders to their elected officials,” PeopleForBikes said.

Not only would the bill have sent an unwelcoming message to visitors, Montana Governor Steve Bullock expressed his concern that the non-resident bicycle decal requirement would threaten the cycling tourism economy, one which the state relies heavily on. Currently, the state’s cycling tourism is estimated at $3.5 billion annually.

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Fabio Aru sheds light on the crash on a high speed descent that has put him out of the Giro d’Italia

Astana rider crashed during altitude training in Spain

Astana’s Fabio Aru has explained the sequence of events that led to him sustaining the knee injury that will mean he won’t compete in the Giro d’Italia.

Aru crashed nine days ago while training in Tenerife as part of a block of altitude training, hitting the deck on a high speed descent after a blowout to one of his inner tubes.

>>> Giro d’Italia 2017 start list

“I fell at 45kph on the descent of the Alto de Monachil. If it happened a few seconds earlier, when we were going at 70kph, I don’t know whether I’d be here to talk about it,” Aru told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“When [Aru’s coach] Maurizio Mazzoleni got out to come to my aid, he thought I’d fractured my pelvis. But I only have some scratches, and nothing on the hands.”

Watch: Giro d’Italia 2017 essential guide

The Italian rider did not sustain any fractures in the crash, but will sit out the Giro d’Italia, which will start on his home island of Sardinia on May 5, with the pain in his knee continuing to impair his training.

“The cartilage of the knee is inflamed and compressed. I fell heavily and the cartilage absorbed the impact,” Aru explained.

“That impedes movement. When I’m still, the pain is normal, but just bending the knee is like having a screwdriver twist into your flesh. I’m not able to pedal and I haven’t trained in nine days.”

>>> Bora-Hansgrohe leader ruled out of Giro d’Italia with knee injury

Aru, who had been one of the favourite for the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia, will also miss the upcoming Giro del Trentino and Tour de Romandie, with doctors recommending that he spends at least another 10 days off the bike.

With his next doctors appointment on April 20, Astana have not yet put a date on the return of their star rider, but will be surely be hoping that he will be fit enough to take to the start line of the Tour de France on July 1, a race that he been expected to miss due to his planned Giro participation.

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Dutch owners of Cervelo in talks to take over Raleigh parent company

Pon Holdings launches takeover bid for Accell Group

Accell Group, the company which owns the Raleigh brand, has received an €800 million takeover bid from fellow Dutch company Pon Holdings, which already owns brands such as Cervelo and Focus.

Pon, which missed out on buying Raleigh to Accell in 2012 but already holds the rights to the Raleigh name in Europe, made the proposal on Tuesday, offering €32.72 per share to create what would be one of the largest companies in the bike industry.

>>> Pinarello sells majority stake in company to Louis Vuitton group

In a statement Pon said that there was “an excellent strategic fit between the bike activities of both companies with benefits for all stakeholders.

“The combination results in the world’s leading global bicycle company, with headquarters in the Netherlands and with sufficient scale to be the long term winner in the industry.”

>>> The biggest cycling clothing company you’ve never heard of

If the deal goes through, Pon Holdings will add Raleigh, as well as other major road brands such as Lapierre and Diamondback to its existing portfolio which already includes Cervelo and Focus.

However a major motivation behind the takeover bid is Pon’s desire to expand its electric bike offering, bringing Haibike under the same roof as Kalkhoff.

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Emma McKeon Picks Up Third Event For Budapest in 200 Free at Australian Championships

Photo Courtesy: Steve Christo/Swimming Australia


The third night of action from the 2017 Australian Swimming Championships produced more fast swimming and World Championship berths as Emma McKeon qualified for her third event for Budapest in the 200 free. McKeon leads a charge for a strong 4×200 free relay team that will look to improve on the sixth place performance in 2015. Mitch Larkin picked up another win in the 100 back and will most likely swim it in Budapest to defend his title he won in 2015. Clyde Lewis and Daniel Cave also became first time national champions in their respective events, but missed the automatic qualifying time for the World Championships, so they will have to wait to see if they will make the team.

Tonight’s Events:

  • Men’s 100 Back
  • Men’s 200 IM
  • Women’s 200 Free
  • Women’s 50 Back
  • Women’s 50 Fly
  • Men’s 100 Breast

Men’s 100 Back

Mitch Larkin got the night started with a win in the 100 backstroke on Tuesday night in Brisbane. The defending World Champion won the event at 53.54, a little shy off the automatic qualifying time that was a 53.39. Since Larkin is the defending World Champion and already qualified in the 200, he may just swim this event in Budapest this summer along with the 200. Larkin has been underwhelming in his two wins this meet citing his coaching change after the Olympics. Regardless of him not achieving the time standard, Larkin is fifth in the world in the 100, behind Xu Jiayu (53.04), Matt Grevers (53.31), Apostolos Christou (53.38) and Evgeny Rylov (53.44).

Zac Incerti finished second in the race at 53.95 and Joshua Beaver was third at 54.03. Ben Treffers, Tristan Ludlow, Brad Woodward, Andrew Rice and Peter Mills also competed in the championship final.

 Event 27  Men 100 LC Metre Backstroke
        World:   51.85  13/08/2016Ryan Murphy, USA
 Commonwealth:   52.11  6/11/2015 Mitch Larkin, Australia
   Australian: R 52.11  6/11/2015 Mitch Larkin, StPeters Western
   All Comers: A 52.48  4/08/2016 Mitch Larkin, StPeters Western
       SALWQT: Q 53.39
 Title Holder:   52.54  9/04/2016 Mitch Larkin, StPeters Western
 Meet Qualifying:  59.90
    Name            Age Team                 Seed    Prelims  FINA       
                        === A - Final ===                         
  1 LARKIN, MITCH    23 UNAQ                53.69      53.54   908  
    r:+0.66  25.85        53.54 (27.69)
  2 INCERTI, ZAC     20 WEST COAST SWIM     54.35      53.95   887  
    r:+0.59  25.90        53.95 (28.05)
  3 BEAVER, JOSHUA   24 NUN                 55.03      54.03   883  
    r:+0.49  26.16        54.03 (27.87)
  4 TREFFERS, BENJA  25 UNAQ                54.58      54.06   882  
    r:+0.57  26.26        54.06 (27.80)
  5 LUDLOW, TRISTAN  19 RACKLEY             56.13      55.98   794  
    r:+0.59  27.05        55.98 (28.93)
  6 WOODWARD, BRADL  18 MINGARA SWIMMING    56.05      56.11   789  
    r:+0.68  27.50        56.11 (28.61)
  7 RICE, ANDREW     18 NUN                 56.13      56.63   767  
    r:+0.61  26.79        56.63 (29.84)
  8 MILLS, PETER     20 BRISBANE GRAMMAR    56.00      56.73   763  
    r:+0.61  27.11        56.73 (29.62)

Men’s 200 IM

Clyde Lewis won his first national title in the 200 IM on Tuesday night in Brisbane, but fell short of the qualifying time for Budapest as he touched in 1:59.24. The A-standard for Budapest was a 1:58.54. Lewis is currently ranked fourth globally in the event now, behind Daiya Seto (1:58.77), Josh Prenot (1:58.93) and Michael Andrew (1:59.12). Lewis could still be up for qualification in the event as he placed sixth in a potential relay spot in the 200 free last night. We will find out at the end of the meet if Lewis will get selected.

Travis Mahoney was second at 2:00.62 and Jared Gilliland was third at 2:01.18. Kazim Boskovic, James Traiforos, Liam Hunter, Cal Sherington and Jake Smith also swam in the championship final.

 Event 28  Men 200 LC Metre IM
        World:   1:54.00  28/07/2011Ryan Lochte, USA
 Commonwealth:   1:56.69  30/07/2009Leith Brodie, Australia
   Australian: R 1:56.69  30/07/2009Leith Brodie, Albany Creek
   All Comers: A 1:54.98  29/03/2007Michael Phelps, USA
       SALWQT: Q 1:58.54
 Title Holder:   1:58.72  12/04/2016Daniel Tranter, Trinity Grammar
 Meet Qualifying:  2:10.00
    Name            Age Team                 Seed    Prelims  FINA       
                          === Finals ===                          
  1 LEWIS, CLYDE     19 STPETERSWESTERN   2:02.31    1:59.24   873  
    r:+0.65  25.80        55.11 (29.31)
        1:30.42 (35.31)     1:59.24 (28.82)
  2 MAHONEY, TRAVIS  26 MARI              2:02.04    2:00.62   844  
    r:+0.70  26.45        56.64 (30.19)
        1:31.82 (35.18)     2:00.62 (28.80)
  3 GILLILAND, JARE  22 CHANDLER          2:02.70    2:01.18   832  
    r:+0.66  26.62        58.35 (31.73)
        1:32.26 (33.91)     2:01.18 (28.92)
  4 BOSKOVIC, KAZIM  21 NUN               2:03.46    2:02.11   813  
    r:+0.61  26.57        56.68 (30.11)
        1:32.15 (35.47)     2:02.11 (29.96)
  5 TRAIFOROS, JAME  20 TRGR              2:03.17    2:02.25   810  
    r:+0.64  26.47        56.91 (30.44)
        1:32.49 (35.58)     2:02.25 (29.76)
  6 HUNTER, LIAM     19 CHANDLER          2:04.89    2:02.77   800  
    r:+0.63  26.16        58.85 (32.69)
        1:33.84 (34.99)     2:02.77 (28.93)
  7 SHERINGTON, CAL  19 CARL              2:04.58    2:04.20   773  
    r:+0.61  26.42        57.42 (31.00)
        1:34.02 (36.60)     2:04.20 (30.18)
  8 SMITH, JAKE      19 BRW               2:04.80    2:04.82   761  
    r:+0.69  26.55        59.08 (32.53)
        1:35.13 (36.05)     2:04.82 (29.69)

Women’s 200 Free

For the third time on the week, Emma McKeon has qualified in another event at the Australian Swimming Championships. McKeon took out the 200 free national title for her third qualified event for Budapest this summer. McKeon won the race wire to wire with a 1:55.68, the fastest time in the world this year, ahead of Italy’s Federica Pellegrini (1:55.94).

McKeon was the only swimmer under the automatic qualifying time for Budapest, but Australia is still expected to pull a relay together for the World Championships. 16-year-old Ariarne Titmus finished second thanks to the fastest last 50 in the field with a 1:58.11. The rookie already won the 800 final for a World Championship berth on Sunday. Kotuku Ngawati (1:58.24) and Leah Neale (1:58.40) rounded out the top four for the potential relay qualification. McKeon and Neale are the only swimmers returning from last summer’s silver medal winning 4×200 free relay.

Madison Wilson, Mikkayla Sheridan, Kiah Melverton and Brianna Throssell also competed in the championship final.

 Event 29  Women 200 LC Metre Freestyle
        World:   1:52.98  29/07/2009Federica Pellegrini, Italy
 Commonwealth:   1:54.83  10/04/2016Emma McKeon, Australia
   Australian: R 1:54.83  10/04/2016Emma McKeon, StPeters Western
   All Comers: A 1:54.83  10/04/2016Emma McKeon, StPeters Western
       SALWQT: Q 1:56.95
 Title Holder:   1:54.83  10/04/2016Emma McKeon, StPeters Western
 Meet Qualifying:  2:06.00
    Name            Age Team                 Seed    Prelims  FINA       
                        === A - Final ===                         
  1 MCKEON, EMMA     22 STPETERSWESTERN   1:57.99    1:55.68Q  931  
    r:+0.70  26.31        55.66 (29.35)
        1:25.73 (30.07)     1:55.68 (29.95)
  2 TITMUS, ARIARNE  16 STPETERSWESTERN   1:59.40    1:58.11   875  
    r:+0.75  27.91        57.91 (30.00)
        1:28.32 (30.41)     1:58.11 (29.79)
  3 NGAWATI, KOTUKU  22 MVC               1:59.06    1:58.24   872  
    r:+0.65  27.26        57.60 (30.34)
        1:28.29 (30.69)     1:58.24 (29.95)
  4 NEALE, LEAH      21 USC SPARTANS      1:59.24    1:58.40   868  
    r:+0.68  27.47        57.19 (29.72)
        1:27.82 (30.63)     1:58.40 (30.58)
  5 WILSON, MADISON  22 STPETERSWESTERN   1:59.09    1:58.93   857  
    r:+0.73  27.07        56.78 (29.71)
        1:27.50 (30.72)     1:58.93 (31.43)
  6 SHERIDAN, MIKKA  22 USC SPARTANS      1:59.01    1:58.96   856  
    r:+0.70  27.75        58.11 (30.36)
        1:28.42 (30.31)     1:58.96 (30.54)
  7 MELVERTON, KIAH  20 TSS AQUATICS      2:00.08    1:59.73   840  
    r:+0.68  28.32        58.75 (30.43)
        1:29.61 (30.86)     1:59.73 (30.12)
  8 THROSSELL, BRIA  21 WEST COAST SWIM   1:59.33    1:59.85   837  
    r:+0.71  27.94        58.20 (30.26)
        1:28.95 (30.75)     1:59.85 (30.90)

Women’s 50 Back

After qualifying for her first World Championship team in the 100 back last night at age 29 and becoming the oldest rookie on the Australian team, Holly Barratt beat out Australian record holder Emily Seebohm in the shorter distance with a 27.60. Seebohm was second at 27.78 and Kaylee McKeown was third at 28.11. Barratt’s time moves her to number one in the world ahead of Canada’s Kylie Masse (27.71), while Seebohm is now third.

The event is not a qualifier for the World Championships, but Barratt and Seebohm will have the option to race the event in Barcelona after already qualifying for the team in the 100. Minna Atherton, Hayley Baker, Lucy McJannett, Zoe Williams and Jess Unicomb also competed in the championship final.

 Event 30  Women 50 LC Metre Backstroke
        World:   27.06  30/07/2009Jing Zhao, China
 Commonwealth:   27.47  7/04/2015 Emily Seebohm, Australia
   Australian: R 27.47  7/04/2015 Emily Seebohm, Brothers
   All Comers: A 27.47  7/04/2015 Emily Seebohm, Brothers
 Title Holder:   27.72  7/04/2016 Emily Seebohm, Brisbane Grammar
 Meet Qualifying:  31.00
    Name            Age Team                 Seed    Prelims  FINA       
                          === Finals ===                          
  1 BARRATT, HOLLY   29 ROC                 28.22      27.60   942  
  2 SEEBOHM, EMILY   24 BRISBANE GRAMMAR    28.07      27.78   924  
  3 MCKEOWN, KAYLEE  15 USC SPARTANS        28.22      28.11   892  
  4 ATHERTON, MINNA  16 BRISBANE GRAMMAR    28.40      28.16   887  
  5 BAKER, HAYLEY    21 MVC                 29.17      28.75   833  
  6 MCJANNETT, LUCY  19 RANDW               29.33      28.95   816  
  7 WILLIAMS, ZOE    21 MARI                29.19      29.05   808  
  8 UNICOMB, JESSIC  19 ALL SAINTS          29.60      29.40   779  

Men’s 100 Breast

Daniel Cave picked up his first national title in his career in the 100 breast on Tuesday night in Brisbane at the 2017 Australian Swimming Championships. Cave out-touched Matthew Wilson with a 1:00.45 to Wilson’s 1:00.54. Cave was off the automatic qualifying time for Budapest that was a 59.75. Cave and Wilson are both 18 years old and with Wilson already on the team in the 200 breast, these two should fill the breaststroke void that has been empty since the retirement of Christian Sprenger in 2015. Wilson qualified for his first senior team in the 200 last night, becoming Australia’s first representative at the World Championships or Olympics in the 200 breast since the 2012 Olympics.

Defending national champion Jake Packard has taken this meet off because of illness as he was Australia’s breaststroker on the medley relay the last two years. With Cave not getting the automatic qualifying time, it is expected Wilson will be Australia’s breaststroker on the medley relay this summer since he is already on the team in the 200, but we will find out at the end of the week if Cave gets selected. Tommy Sucipto finished third in the final at 1:00.95.

George Harley, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Grayson Bell, Nicholas Schaefer and James McKenchnie also competed in the A-final.

 Event 34  Men 100 LC Metre Breaststroke
        World:   57.13  7/08/2016 Adam Peaty, GBR
 Commonwealth:   57.13  7/08/2016 Adam Peaty, GBR
   Australian: R 58.58  27/07/2009Brenton Rickard, Brothers
   All Comers: A 58.87  3/04/2014 Christian Sprenger, Commercial
       SALWQT: Q 59.75
 Title Holder:   59.65  8/04/2016 Jake Packard, USC Spartans
 Meet Qualifying:  1:07.10
    Name            Age Team                 Seed    Prelims  FINA       
                        === A - Final ===                         
  1 CAVE, DANIEL     18 MVC               1:01.81    1:00.45   844  
    r:+0.67  28.46      1:00.45 (31.99)
  2 WILSON, MATTHEW  18 SOSC              1:00.88    1:00.54   840  
    r:+0.61  28.28      1:00.54 (32.26)
  3 SUCIPTO, TOMMY   22 ROC               1:01.72    1:00.95   823  
    r:+0.63  28.62      1:00.95 (32.33)
  4 HARLEY, GEORGE   18 BRW               1:01.92    1:01.48   802  
    r:+0.65  29.07      1:01.48 (32.41)
  5 STUBBLETY-COOK,  18 UNAQ              1:02.14    1:01.59   798  
    r:+0.72  29.32      1:01.59 (32.27)
  6 BELL, GRAYSON    20 TSS AQUATICS      1:01.64    1:01.61   797  
    r:+0.71  28.74      1:01.61 (32.87)
  7 SCHAFER, NICHOL  25 ACQUA ROSA        1:01.80    1:02.26   772  
    r:+0.67  28.74      1:02.26 (33.52)
  8 MCKECHNIE, JAME  21 STP               1:02.04    1:02.33   770  
    r:+0.73  28.93      1:02.33 (33.40)

Women’s 50 Fly

Brittany Elmslie won her first national title of the week in the 50 butterfly with a 26.48, out-touching Holly Barratt. Elmslie hadn’t yet clinched a spot on the World Championship team after placing sixth in the 100 free and missing the 100 fly final. The 50 stroke events are not qualifying events for Budapest, but if the swimmers make the team in other events, then the champions of the 50’s can elect to swim those events at the meet if they want. 29-year-old Barratt finished in second at 26.64, after already winning the 50 backstroke earlier in the night. 30-year-old Sara Saal finished in third at 26.95.

Emily Washer, Christina Licciardi, Lucia Lassman, Ashleigh Holmes and Ellysia Oldsen also competed in the championship final.

 Event 31  Women 50 LC Metre Butterfly
        World:   24.43  5/07/2014 Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden
 Commonwealth:   25.20  27/07/2014Fran Halsall, GBR
   Australian: R 25.48  1/08/2009 Marieke Guehrer, Melb. Vicentre
   All Comers: A 25.60  18/03/2009Marieke Guehrer, Melb. Vicentre
 Title Holder:   26.19  12/04/2016Holly Barratt, Rockingham
 Meet Qualifying:  28.70
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals  FINA       
                          === Finals ===                          
  1 ELMSLIE, BRITTA  22 BRISBANE GRAMMAR    26.92      26.48   785  
  2 BARRATT, HOLLY   29 ROC                 26.90      26.64   771  
  3 SAAL, SARA       30 COMMERCIAL          27.01      26.95   744  
  4 WASHER, EMILY    20 CARL                27.05      26.98   742  
  5 LICCIARDI, CHRI  21 SOSC                27.32      27.34   713  
  6 LASSMAN, LUCIA   18 STPETERSWESTERN     27.39      27.50   701  
  7 HOLMES, ASHLEIG  18 CHANDLER            27.53      27.66   688  
  8 OLDSEN, ELLYSIA  21 MARI                27.72      27.79   679  

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Ten best folding bikes 2017

A folding bike could be the ideal solution if you want to combine a cycle trip with a train journey

What is a folding bike?

Folding bikes are set apart from other machines on the market by one defining characteristic: they fold.

The collapsable nature of these bikes means that they’re ideal for anyone who wants to cycle to a train station, and take their bike with them for the journey into the unknown on the other side (or the standard 2 mile radius from London Bridge).

Folding bikes are also permitted on peak time trains, which can solve problems for commuters.

These handy commuting pals are not only popular among those negotiating the daily grind, however. They’re also incredibly handy for people for whom space is a limitation. The ideal bike for anyone who lives in a small flat, folding bikes are also popular among those who enjoy caravan or even canal boat holidays.

Choosing to go cycle touring on a folding bike also gives you the opportunity to mix your modes of transport easily – and there are versions with plenty of luggage provision and wide tyres designed with this purpose in mind.

The folding mechanism varies significantly per brand, as does the wheel size. Traditionally, folders are small bicycles – but there are versions designed around full sized rims that will be ideal for anyone who wants to enjoy the ride quality and speed of a standard wheel size.

In the past few years, electric folding bikes have become a genre of their own. The addition of a motor usually makes for a greater overall mass, but weights are ever decreasing and the additional power will make ascents significantly easier.

What are the benefits of using a folding bike?

The benefits of opting for a folding bike are numerous – and include:

  • Ease of switching between cycling and public transport
  • Ease of storage in your home
  • Security of not having to lock the bike outside (it can sit under your desk at work!)
  • Ability to take the bike on holiday – popular with caravan users and canal boat holidayers, some can be packed into airline luggage
  • Ideal for those who enjoy touring but want to jump on a train, boat or car without too much hassle
  • Most are built with resilience and simple maintenance at front of mind

The best folding bikes

Brompton M6L folding bike

Brompton folding bike

Brompton folding bike

Read more: Brompton, the perfect commuter bike?

London based brand Brompton is the market leader. They offer one frame size, with a range of customisation options. Changes can be made to the handlebar shape, frame weight, number of gears, finishing kit and of course colour. Brompton bikes feature a traditional 16 inch wheel size, and are quick and easy to fold.

Handlebar shape greatly influences the geometry of the bike. Available options are:

  • Brompton M handlebar style: classic Brompton style
  • Brompton H handlebar style: offers a more upright position
  • Brompton S handlebar style: the more sporty option that offers quick handling
  • Brompton P handlebar style: provides multiple hand positions, ideal for touring or longer rides

The bikes take their names from the buyers customisation. For example, a bike with ‘M’ shaped handlebars, six gears and mudguards but no rack mount will be a ‘Brompton M6L’. – which weighs 11.78kg.

Buy now: Brompton M6L 2017 from Evans Cycles for £1,035 

Tern Verge X20

Tern Verge X20

Tern Verge X20

Tern is a folding bike brand founded by Joshua Hon, son of Dahon folding bike creator David Hon. If you’re after something super speedy, and willing to pay over the average threshold for it, then the Tern Verge X20 is an inviting option. Bearing the tag line ‘human powered flight’, it’s a premium folder.

Here you get 20 inch Kinetix Pro X wheels, with Schwalbe Durano tyres, a lightweight Tarsus hydroformed fork, 20 gears and a weight of 9.9kg. The shifters are SRAM DoubleTap, with SRAM Force and Shimano Ultra also appearing in the groupset.

Buy now: Tern Verge X20 from Triton Cycles for £2649.99

Montague Boston folding bike

Montague Boston folding bike

Montague Boston folding bike

Read more: Montague Boston folding bike review 

If you want a bike that folds, but still rolls on 700c wheels (the same size as a standard road or hybrid bike) – then this could be an option to suit you. The Montague Boston was designed by a 6 ft 2 US architect, who simply didn’t want to make do with small wheels.

The folding mechanism here is controlled by a quick release, and our test bike had an aluminium frame and steel fork. We had a single speed version, but Montague does offer versions with up to eight hub gears. The bike has a claimed weight of 10.8kg.

Buy now: Montague Boston folding bike from Chain Reaction Cycles for £799

B’Twin Hoptown 320 folding bike

B'TWIN Hoptown 320 Folding Bike

B’Twin Hoptown 320 Folding Bike

Folding in half and at the stem, this B’Twin is an inexpensive option that comes from the in-house brand at sports retail giants Decathlon.

This model features six hub gears, comes fitted with mudguards and the highly adjustable saddle height allows for sharing across the household. The claimed weight is 14.35kg.

Buy now: B’Twin Hoptown 320 folding bike from Decathlon for £179 

Airnimal Joey Commute folding bike

Airnimal Joey Commute folding bike

Airnimal Joey Commute folding bike

Read more: Airimal Joey Commute folding bike review 

Another larger wheel option, the Joey is fitted with 24″ wheels, giving it a road-like ride quality. Tyres are available in sizes up to 2″, to allow for light off-road use, or you can stick to skinny 1″ rubber for quicker rolling on the road. This model uses a 9 speed Shimano derailleur system and disc brakes.

The large wheel size means that when folded, the bike is more cumbersome to transport than a traditional 16″ version – but it’ll suit someone who wants a bike that’s blast to ride, but still takes up minimal space at home.

Buy now: Airimal Joey Commute folding bike from Space Cycles for £1290 

Hummingbird folding bike

Hummingbird folding bike

Hummingbird folding bike

Launched via Kickstarter, the Hummingbird folding bike will be available to buy in May 2017. The brand claim it’s the lightest folding bike in the world, at 6.5kg.

This is a single speed affair with a folding rear triangle, that was developed via 3D printed prototypes. The retail price? £3,495.

Raleigh Stowaway 7 2017 Folding Bike

Raleigh Stowaway 7 2017 Folding Bike

Raleigh Stowaway 7 2017 Folding Bike

An aluminum frame with a 7 speed Shimano Tourney gear system and v-brakes. This bike comes fitted with metal mudguards and a rear pander rack already installed. The tyres, crankset, stem and other finishing kit components are all Raleigh made.  The fork is steel and the overall weight is 13kg.

Buy now: Raleigh Stowaway 7 2017  Folding Bike at Tredz for £320

The best electric folding bikes

Tern Vektron Accelerator electric folding bike 

Tern Vektron folding bike

Tern Vektron folding bike

Tern launched the Vektron Accelerator electric folding bike via Kickstarter. It’s based around 20 inch wheels, features a high quality Bosch battery and can power a rider up to 20mph. A full charge can last for between 40 and 80 miles – depending upon usage.

This bike comes with an adjustable stem, dynamo powered lights and hydraulic disc brakes. The rear integrates with a childseat and the frame will suit riders from 4 foot 10 to 6 foot 5. This bike does come in at 21.8kg, and retail prices are in excess of £2,500.

See more: Tern Vektron Accelerator from Tern for £2,980

Coyote Connect folding electric bike

Coyote Connect Folding Electric Bike

Coyote Connect Folding Electric Bike

If you’re looking for an inexpensive electric folding bike that will help power you over the hills but is still convenient when travelling, then this could be one for you.

The Coyote Connect can power you up to 15mph and has foldable handlebars and a split-frame design. The frame is made from aluminium, whilst the fork is a durable steel. Six gears are operated by a derailleur and the 20 inch wheels are shod with Kenda tyres.

Buy now: Coyote Connect Folding Electric Bike from Halfords for £500

A-bike electric folding bike

A-bike electric folding bike

A-bike electric folding bike

Another Kickstarter creation, the A-bike features an innovative design that sees it sporting quite possibly the smallest wheels you’ve ever seen on a bike. The makers claim that normal efficiency is maintained thanks to a dual chain drive and brushless motor that’s been optimised so that rate of pedalling matches the speed at which the wheels turn.

The battery can power a rider for around 15 miles, and takes around 2.5 hours to reach full juice. The entire unit comes in at 12kg.

See more: A-bike electric folding bike from Fully Charged for £699

If you plan to use your new folding bike for commuting to work, but have yet to get started on the daily ride – here are a few tips…

Are there different types of folding bike?

As per all bike genres, styles do vary – and the best folding bike for you will depend upon your needs.

The greatest variations can be seen in the folding mechanism – though there are similarities, every brand has its own method. The way the bike folds will affect its shape and size in miniature state, its overall weight and carrying and/or rolling method.

Some styles are more user friendly than others, so it’s worth seeing a bike in the flesh and practising folding and un-folding before you buy, particularly if you expect to be unravelling the bike in a hurry on a train platform.

Wheel size is another major consideration – models with smaller wheels will be lighter and more compact when folded, but won’t gather as much momentum on the road.

Most folding bikes will be ‘one size fits all’, with a great deal of adjustability – meaning that it’s easy to share the bike across members of your household. However, if you know this is an important consideration, it’s worth ensuring that the model you buy offers a wide range of adjustment that’s easy to use. Brompton bikes, for example, have a long seatpost that is adjusted via a simple quick release lever, making it easy to swap between riders.

What’s the best material for a folding bike?

Like any other style of bike, there are multiple options when it comes to frame material.

Market leaders Brompton specialise in steel – using their renowned high quality brazing techniques to ensure that the frame welding provides the lightest yet strongest bond possible. Steel is resilient and comfortable – but it’s not light and they’ve moved into titanium for higher end offerings to offer a more featherweight alternative.

A high number of brands opt for aluminium, selecting the popular frame material for its balance between weight and resilience.

For those who really want to splash out, there are carbon framed versions available – such as the LIOS Nano, which comes in at just over 8kg. Though using carbon will make for a super light folding bike, it is easier to damage than aluminium, which is worth bearing in mind as many folders live a hard life being lugged on and off train platforms.

What components should I look for on a folding bike?

The right components need to be balanced with the ideal weight on a folding bike

The nature of a folding bike means that they’re popular among commuters who will favour components that promote ease of maintenance and day-to-day convenience.

Tough tyres with a good level of puncture protection are often high on the agenda for commuters who want to limit the time they spend fixing flats. Check what rubber is fitted to the rims of your would-be bike if that’s you. Schwalbe and Kenda are popular manufacturers of small diameter tyres for folding bikes, and most will be 1.75-2 inches wide – offering plenty of grip thanks to a wide volume and thus increased contact patch with the tarmac when compared to traditional road tyres.

The number of gears specced on your new machine will be important too. If you expect to keep your journeys to flat city streets, a singlespeed (just one gear) will cut down on maintenance and overall weight. However, those who expect to ride hilly terrain will be pleased to hear that there are plenty of folding bikes that come supplied with triple chainsets and 11-32 wide ratio cassettes. This will offer an easier ride on the inclines, but will add to the weight.

Many folding bikes feature internal hub gears – this means that the shifting system is entirely sealed, cutting down on maintenance dramatically. Shifting on hub gears is often easier for beginners, as there is no chain tension to worry about. In addition, there’s no chance of the system being bent or damaged –  a risk when left unattended on a busy train. If you want multiple chainrings and a wide spread of gears, you will need to opt for a derailleur system.

Disc brakes are also beginning to appear on folding bikes, and though usually heavier and more expensive, these will offer greater stopping power – especially in wet weather.

If you expect to be cycling in your office clothes, and want to ensure that you don’t bear a maker of your mode of transport on your attire, then chainguards and mudguards would be a useful addition. Provision for luggage, a frame mounted pump and integrated lights are all ‘nice to have’ accessories which you can feel justified in expecting on higher end models.

Folding electric bikes: a growing trend

Folding bikes have not been neglected from the e-power working its way through the cycling industry, and folding electric bikes have become a fast growing family.

Having a battery pack fitted to your folding bike means you can commute via bike and train, without having to worry about running out of gas on a climb or getting hot and sweaty in your work clothes.

>>> Essential commuting clothes for cycling to work

Opting for a folding electric bike is also a way of overcoming one of the oft-quoted drawbacks of e-bikes: their size and weight. Though a folding electric bike will weigh more than a standard folding bike, it’ll be lighter than a full sized e-bike.

The lightest folding e-bike we’ve seen actually available to buy is the A-bike at 12kg, but most models are over 15kg and over 20kg isn’t an unreasonable mass.

As per any e-bike, a sensible factor to consider is the battery run time – most folding electric bikes can power you for about 50 miles. Check out the power of the battery too, and the charging mechanism.

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What effect do tyres have on aerodynamics?

We get the lowdown on how correct tyre choice can help to lower drag

It’s ingrained into the psyche of most road cyclists that aero wheels will make you faster, but most of us pay far less attention to the tyres we stick on them.

Tyres form the leading edge of the wheel, so how important are they and are some better than others?

Jean-Paul Ballard is an aerodynamicist, engineer and co-founder of Swiss Side, who has over 14 years’ experience as a lead engineer in Formula One teams.

>>> Buyer’s guide to road bikes tyres

He has looked into this very area and explains:

“The tyre is very important for an aero wheel. Without the right tyre, the aero wheel will not work aerodynamically because the airflow will stall at very low sidewind angles.”

Get the right rubber for your rim and you’ll be more aero

Engineer and aerodynamicist Paul Lew is also actively researching this area at the Faster wind tunnel facility in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Lew suggests: “The three major considerations and relative contributions that will influence the aerodynamic performance of the tyre are, firstly, tyre diameter/rim width — 80 per cent; secondly, the tyre tread — 15 per cent; and finally, the wheel rotational velocity — five per cent.”

The next question is, which tyre is the most aerodynamic? According to Lew “it’s typical to expect that a tyre with a diameter 2-4mm smaller than the brake track width will be the best aerodynamic selection based on tyre diameter.”

DT Swiss produce a 24.8mm wide rim to better suit wider tyres.

Ballard has tested different tyre models by analysing wind tunnel performance. His findings suggest factors other than width can be very important.

“The Continental GP4000S II has a sidewall profile which works very well for switching the boundary layer to a turbulent state at the right position on the tyre.

“With these tyres, all aerodynamic wheels, regardless of the brand, can work to their maximum potential,” he explains.

Watch now: Buyer’s guide: Road bike tyres

“On the other hand, using a slick tyre without tread will almost always stall, regardless of the wheel, meaning that all the aerodynamic performance of the wheel is lost.”

We asked Continental for comment on this and asked if the GP4000S was designed this way.

>>> How much faster are aero wheels? (video)

According to Continental, the aerodynamics of the GP4000 “wasn’t a design feature, but the shape is good and the tread gives micro turbulence as a 23mm on a wider rim”.

It would appear that the observed aerodynamic prowess of the Continental GP4000 is down to serendipity.

An unplanned benefit of tyre tread is improved aerodynamics

However, aerodynamics is just one part of the equation: tyres also have to exhibit low rolling resistance and wider tyres roll better.

With this is mind, is there a point where aerodynamics becomes more of a factor in a tyre’s performance than rolling resistance?

Ballard has combined rolling resistance measurements on rolling roads with the wind tunnel and explains:

“We see this point to be roughly at around 30-35kph. This is only important for the front wheel. For this reason, for time trial and triathlon, we recommend a 23mm tyre on the front and a 25mm tyre on the rear.”

>>> Clinchers, tubulars and tubeless – which tyre system is the fastest? (video)

It would appear others in the industry agree and Canyon is now deliberately equipping specific models with Continental tyres in this width.

Looking at rolling resistance in isolation, the GP4000 is good, but by no means the fastest tyre — something confirmed by our own rolling resistance testing.

Factoring in both aerodynamics and rolling resistance, Ballard believes the GP4000 is still the best performer as a front tyre.

Zipp Tangente tyres have a more intentional focus on aerodynamics

However, before we all go out and buy Continental tyres, Lew stresses that the aero performance of specific tyres and wheels is system-dependent:

“When a wheelset is added to a bicycle, the interaction with the bicycle frame can change the performance results.

Typically, in a test of 10 individual wheels, once mounted to a bicycle frame, the wheels may shift ranking by as much as three positions.”

Jean-Paul Ballard – Co-founder of Swiss Side

How do aero wheels work and how can tyres improve this?

“Aero wheels work by ‘sailing’ when there is a crosswind. The wheels start to generate thrust and can push you forwards, starting at crosswind angles of only a few degrees.

“A top-level aero wheel like our Hadron 800 can offer up to 30W of drag reduction at a 15° onset flow angle.

“However, the tyres are very important for this sailing effect due to a complicated aerodynamic effect called the ‘boundary layer transition’.

“Basically, for the flow not to stall at the tyre the airflow on the surface of the wheel needs to be in a ‘turbulent’ flow state.

“The flow needs to be ‘tripped’ from a laminar to a turbulent state already on the tyre. This is achieved by the sidewall of the tyre having the right level of profiling.

“A smooth or slick tyre will not work aerodynamically, which is counter-intuitive! You need the right tyres to condition the airflow to benefit from optimum aerodynamics.”

Our take

If you own or are in the market for some bling deep-sections and are going to be riding at over 35kph, to do them justice you need to fit a tyre that matches the rim.

The best tyre will depend on the rim you have and it is best to avoid a wide tyre that mushrooms out beyond the rim.

The observed aero prowess of the GP4000 was serendipitous and further research into aero tyre design should generate greater understanding.

In the meantime, tyre and wheel companies are working together to develop tyres with improved aerodynamics and rolling resistance.

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