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Old 04-06-12, 11:48 AM   #1
CHAUSE1
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Tri Bike vs. Road Bike

I am thinking about a Tri Bike for (Felt B16) for just riding for fitness, instead of my road bike. Any thoughts?
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Old 04-06-12, 12:23 PM   #2
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.They are fit differently from a normal road bike. When you are making power and working hard, you will be so far forward on the saddle that your never going to mistake it for a comfortable ride. Think of the long nose of the tri saddle becoming a an internal part of your anatomy.

The riders head is placed low for aerodynamic reasons. On a normal frame, this closes up the angle between the chest and the thighs restricting breathing. To compensate, a TT bike has the angle of the seat tube rotated forward. This places your body more forward of the pedals and opens up that chest/thigh angle again so you can breath. When you first start to ride one, you may feel like you are laying on your stomach with your feet well behind you.

The front wheel carries more weight than a normal road frame.

The steering when you are on the aero bars is much more sensitive, to the point that without practice, you will be darting from side to side. Imperfections in the road surface will pull and push you around more. Unless you install a third brake lever (they are made for tri bikes but do not serve full braking function) the brake levers will be far away from your hands when you are on the Aero Bars. That's not too bad in a race, but can be a bit of bother in the real world.

The TT bike is designed to make maximun speed with whatever power you bring to the table. That would mean less work for any given speed which may not be what your looking for in the fitness end of things. The tradeoffs are large and you will probably not get more fit.

One last item. They do not work at all well if you're carrying a spare tire. I know.
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Old 04-06-12, 12:27 PM   #3
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Why? What do you expect the tri bike to do for you that the road bike isn't?
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Old 04-06-12, 12:30 PM   #4
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Fine if you never want to smell the roses and are prepared to put up with a possibly uncomfortable ride position. Frames are generally stiffer- wheels lighter and stiffer- and ride position may be compromised.

Not always the case as some riders will suit a Tri bike - but a bit too aggressive for most of us for a regular ride.
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Old 04-06-12, 12:41 PM   #5
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Is there something you don't like about your road bike?
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Old 04-06-12, 12:47 PM   #6
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Why? What do you expect the tri bike to do for you that the road bike isn't?
+1 I can think of many reasons to own a time trial bike but fitness is very low on the list.

Generally, cyclists that want an alternate riding position add clip on aerobars to their road bike. The reason to get a tri or TT bike is to get a lower, more rotated position to improve aerodynamics. Typically, cyclist produce less power in the TT position in the aerobars than on a road bike riding in the drops. The reason is moving the arms in and increasing the hip angle reduce lung capacity and make it more difficult to breathe. Over time, one adapts to the position.

I think TT bikes are fun to ride and I race mine in time trials. Also, it keeps training fresh by offering something different but IMO, fitness is better improved on a road bike where the cyclist can make more power and improve VO2 max.
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Old 04-06-12, 01:00 PM   #7
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Fine if you never want to smell the roses and are prepared to put up with a possibly uncomfortable ride position. Frames are generally stiffer- wheels lighter and stiffer- and ride position may be compromised.

Not always the case as some riders will suit a Tri bike - but a bit too aggressive for most of us for a regular ride.
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Old 04-06-12, 01:37 PM   #8
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My tri bike does one thing well: it goes really fast in a straight line. On lots of curves or hills, it's not as nimble as my road bike. Once I had a good fitting done, it's as comfortable as any of my bikes although your seating position is way different.

One thing to keep in mind is if you ride in traffic, a tri bike probably isn't a good choice. I've done it a few times but I try to avoid it if at all possible. The main reason is that given the shifters are on the ends of the aero bars and the brakes are on the bullhorns it seems like no matter what, my hands are in the wrong place for what I want to do. In traffic I ride on the horns to keep my hands near the brakes, but then I'm always making an awkward reach every time I shift. Not an issue in a race where I have stretches miles-long where I don't touch the brakes and just stay aero and work the shifters.
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Old 04-06-12, 01:42 PM   #9
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I think you answered my question, thanks for the responce. I don't think I will try it!

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Old 04-06-12, 05:15 PM   #10
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Most Tours around here ban the aero bars if you are thinking of doing a century ride.
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Old 04-06-12, 05:20 PM   #11
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Most Tours around here ban the aero bars if you are thinking of doing a century ride.
I'm really glad to hear that.
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