Ask Josh Anything #011

Josh, Hottie, and Fatty are back with all the bike-related questions too nerdy to be asked (or answered) anywhere else. In this episode, we tackle:

  • What lessons from track racing can be applied to singlespeed mountain bike racing?
  • All else being equal, are fewer spokes more aero?
  • Is a matte finish on helmets faster than a gloss finish?
  • What are the fastest patterns for tire treads?
  • What marginal gains are there to be had when racing your indoor trainer online?

Got a question you’d like to ask? Text or leave a voicemail at the Marginal Gains Hotline: +1-317-343-4506 or just leave a comment in this post!

Subscribe using your favorite podcast platform (but be sure to rate and review us on Apple Podcasts).


  • Luke Moseley

    Hey Fellas, love the podcast, it’s sustained me on long, wet British winter rides :)

    First, many years ago I was a sports scientist (earning a PhD) and my post grad colleagues then were working on head cooling as a mechanism of improving performance in the heat. I thought of this in your section of cooling during Zwift races. I’d suggest that, in short races at least, the effect of head cooling would be greater than body cooling due to the reduction in perceived effort (see Hutchinson’s excellent Endure book for a summary). In longer races where significant internal heat would build up that would become more important… Either way caffeine has been consistently shown to reduce the impact of heat on perceived exertion so is definitely recommended for most athletes.

    Anyway, I have a question. What would you say would be the most effective strategies in ultra bike packing races (on road)? Even though the speeds are relatively low, over 1000 miles little things add up. I’m thinking tubeless, aero wheels, riding at night when it’s cool and quiet, chain waxing (and carrying lube), aero baggage etc. What about dynamo hubs Vs battery lights? I know the answer is “it depends” but If you guys were racing an event like this, what would you focus on?

    Thanks again for the podcast, takes me back to my sports science days, happy memories!


  • Michael McClure

    Recumbents often do very well in ultracycling events such as the recent Bike Sebring. Unfortunately, often when they win they are relegated to “first recumbent” , even though they were first overall.

  • Nick Dart

    Hi there! Nice podcast. You rarely find this level of bike geekery discussed in podcast! Very interesting and enjoyable for those of us that have a similar way of thinking.

    I’d like to know you opinion on wheel balancing. On a couple of occasions I’ve added a weight of around 5-15g onto my rim, usually opposite the valve, to balance a wheel. Although it then feels nicer to spin, eliminating the small wobble, I’m not convinced it improves the performance of the wheel and bike? In terms of rolling resistance, it will remove the (very small) sinusoidal variation in normal force and rolling resistance, but averaged out, the rolling resistance should be the same shouldn’t it?

  • Chris

    Check out Mike Mowetts hour record Google doc. (including recumbents) big shout out to Mike… Gigantic undertaking on this resource

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.