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Old 09-22-07, 11:06 AM   #1
CharlieWoo
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First year road bike for TTs

For my first year of TT (next season) I plan on just adding clip-on bars to a road bike. I don't think it makes sense to buy a full-on TT bike the first season. I can learn plenty riding a road bike. I need a new road bike anyway. I have a poll going on RR, pretty much split between a Fuji Team Pro and an 07 Tarmac Expert.

My question is; which one of these bike would lend itself more to riding TTs? I'm thinking the Tarmac.

Opinions?

Thanks
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Old 09-22-07, 11:23 AM   #2
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My guess is that it won't matter. Choose the best road bike for you, throw the clip-ons up front and do a few TT's. If you enjoy doing TT's as much as me you'll get a TT bike eventually. But I'd agree, you can certainly learn a lot about TT's by riding them the way you propose. Just going to a TT is like going to Interbike, you've never seen so much pricey TT-weenie bike crap in your life. It's like a friggin day at the Zipp/Cervelo/Powertap skunkworks. Fascinating.

Again, buy the best ROAD bike for you. Any road bike can be pressed into TT service. To really get an ideal TT position you'll need a TT bike eventually regardless. Don't ask Triathlete dudes about TT bikes, ask the TT gurus here on BF. They know everything about this stuff, and they'll tell you what you need to know from a cyclist perspective. Triathletes aren't always as dialed on cycling crap like the weenies here. They run and swim too much : ).
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Old 09-22-07, 11:45 AM   #3
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My guess is that it won't matter. Choose the best road bike for you, throw the clip-ons up front and do a few TT's. If you enjoy doing TT's as much as me you'll get a TT bike eventually. But I'd agree, you can certainly learn a lot about TT's by riding them the way you propose. Just going to a TT is like going to Interbike, you've never seen so much pricey TT-weenie bike crap in your life. It's like a friggin day at the Zipp/Cervelo/Powertap skunkworks. Fascinating.

Again, buy the best ROAD bike for you. Any road bike can be pressed into TT service. To really get an ideal TT position you'll need a TT bike eventually regardless. Don't ask Triathlete dudes about TT bikes, ask the TT gurus here on BF. They know everything about this stuff, and they'll tell you what you need to know from a cyclist perspective. Triathletes aren't always as dialed on cycling crap like the weenies here. They run and swim too much : ).
Ya, I've heard "if you can't ride a bike then TRI".
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Old 09-22-07, 04:37 PM   #4
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Ya, I've heard "if you can't ride a bike then TRI".
That is classic Road Nazi self-delusion. I wonder how many of those idiots could make it through an Ironman-class triathlon event? Still, cycling TT bikes and participants do tend to ride in more aero positions. If your goal is to do USCF TT's, talk to USCF TT regulars.

Is there an unspoken Idiot Competition between Road Nazis and Freds? It's a dead heat.
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Old 09-22-07, 05:17 PM   #5
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For my first year of TT (next season) I plan on just adding clip-on bars to a road bike. I don't think it makes sense to buy a full-on TT bike the first season.
Or the second or the third. The important part of minimizing drag for a TT is body position. Compared to a road bike, a TT bike will have a shorter headtube and usually a steeper seat tube. The shorter headtube lets you get lower on the front end, and the steeper seat tube lets you rotate your whole body forward to get even lower. When you get clip-ons for your roadbike, also get an adjustable stem (Dimension, Ritchey, Oval, Kalloy all make them). This will make it easy to drop your bars several centimeters and get the same position as the short headtube on a TT frame allows. It's a good idea to get clip-ons that don't stand too much above the bar too (Profile T2+ are good in this regard).

Once you think you've minimized your body's drag as much as feasible, THEN it's worth looking into a TT bike. You'll get an incremental decrease in frame drag and it will also handle a little better in the aero position, since that's what it's made for.

Well, I should mention one other advantage of having a dedicated TT bike. If you want to target TTs, you need to train in the position, at least once a week or so. It's a lot easier to do that with a dedicated bike, verses constantly screwing with your road bike.
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Old 09-22-07, 05:24 PM   #6
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The other option is to go with something like a Leader aluminum frame and build a bike up that way.
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Old 09-22-07, 05:48 PM   #7
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Might be worth taking a look at a cervelo soloist team (or higher up if you want to spend more $$), since it has a reversible seatpost to flip between a proper TT bike and road bike. I only use mine as a road bike though, which I think it excels at. Many on this forum agree. Not as good as a dedicated TT bike but gets you something like 90% of the way to owning a road and TT bike at half the cost.
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Old 09-22-07, 05:51 PM   #8
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Might be worth taking a look at a cervelo soloist team (or higher up if you want to spend more $$), since it has a reversible seatpost to flip between a proper TT bike and road bike. I only use mine as a road bike though, which I think it excels at. Many on this forum agree. Not as good as a dedicated TT bike but gets you something like 90% of the way to owning a road and TT bike at half the cost.
Many TT bikes have flippable seatposts. My Cdale Slice does. But TT bikes make lousy road bikes for a number of reasons. First of all, most cyclists need a TT bike that's a full size smaller than their road bike. My road bikes are 56-57cm, my TT bike is a 54cm.
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Old 09-22-07, 06:55 PM   #9
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That is classic Road Nazi self-delusion. I wonder how many of those idiots could make it through an Ironman-class triathlon event? Still, cycling TT bikes and participants do tend to ride in more aero positions. If your goal is to do USCF TT's, talk to USCF TT regulars.

Is there an unspoken Idiot Competition between Road Nazis and Freds? It's a dead heat.
P-Cad, I think you fail to realize how few people do Ironman triathlons. And, with regards to most of them, they are mediocre at best in all three activities. The top echelon is packed with talent, but after that, the pickings are slim.

Making the statment you did is like telling a Cat 1 that they couldn't complete a 500km randonee. Just because they don't ride 300 miles in a go once or twice a year doesn't mean they couldn't do it with ease.

I've never done a triathlon in my life, but I would put a large amount of hurt on 90% of the people out there. Just because I haven't done it doesn't mean I'm not capable.

Last edited by Duke of Kent; 09-22-07 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 09-22-07, 07:04 PM   #10
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Actually, I fail to realize why anyone would ever do an Ironman triathlon.
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Old 09-22-07, 07:48 PM   #11
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Two things to consider are head tube length and what clip-ons you would use. Many clip ons tend to be a bit higher than aerobars, so combining that a long HT could prevent you from getting as low as you might up front.

I have Syntace bars, which are fine, but to make them fit on oversize bars you have to use a spacer that adds about 1cm in height. Not a huge deal, especially for the first year, but something to consider if you're trying to optimize things.

Thinking of getting a P2C for next year so that my mediocritude can ride in style. I could probably swing a P3C, but that would be too embarrasing. Plus I can put the extra grand into better wheels.
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Old 09-22-07, 08:31 PM   #12
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Here's a road bike with a TT position. I added a Profile FastForward seatpost to get this position. Note the front wheel is elevated a bit, and I'm not 2cm lower (elbow pad pedestals removed).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-P4tnf3TKA
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Old 09-22-07, 08:55 PM   #13
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Here's a road bike with a TT position. I added a Profile FastForward seatpost to get this position. Note the front wheel is elevated a bit, and I'm not 2cm lower (elbow pad pedestals removed).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-P4tnf3TKA
That's a excellent adaptation of a road bike to a good TT position. Most attempts i see aren't nearly as effective. You have to bump the seat way forward and drastically lower the stem - which most people fail to realize or accomplish, or both. It's considerably easier with a dedicated TT bike.

Another problem is that long time roadies (like me) are utterly clueless about TT position going in. It took me month of experimentation to get my TT bike dialed in. At this point I realized that all my notions about road bike position don't apply to TT bikes. I'm afraid that most roadies are like me, and that's why most attempts to acheive a good TT position on a traditional road bike is sort of doomed to fail. But as waterrockets demonstrates, it's certainly possible.

Also: these changes render your road bike less rideable in general for anything but a TT. Can you get comfortable on a TT bike? Sort of. Is it as comfortable as your road bike? No.
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Old 09-22-07, 10:34 PM   #14
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Also: these changes render your road bike less rideable in general for anything but a TT. Can you get comfortable on a TT bike? Sort of. Is it as comfortable as your road bike? No.
FWIW: I can go from road --> TT setup in 5:30, and from TT --> road in 3:00. Painful, but not the end of the world. My FastForward post has its own saddle, with height on both posts marked for a quick swap. The bars are four-bolt clip-on. If I didn't have to move my computer, the whole operation would be maybe a minute faster on each end (if it was stem-mounted, for instance).

I change it to TT and back about once every two weeks.
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Old 09-23-07, 09:53 AM   #15
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I use the Atomic Mount to speed swapping my Polar HRM/computer between bars/bikes etc. Mounts to stem using velcro strap.

http://www.atomicmount.com/

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Old 09-23-07, 11:57 AM   #16
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I use the Atomic Mount to speed swapping my Polar HRM/computer between bars/bikes etc. Mounts to stem using velcro strap.

http://www.atomicmount.com/
Yeah, I've got a wired Cateye (with the plastic hoop clamp).
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