Join Date: Dec 2004
Bikes: Colnago ExP, Look 595, Look 496, plus a few more...
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Top tube should in general be slightly shorter as your reach will change with aerobars compared to drops. If you compare TT bikes with Tri bikes, the seat angle is usually steeper on the Tri's, but since you are going to do only TT's, look at TT bikes, such as Trek, etc.
The most important money you can spend when getting a TT bike is on a good fitting. You will be much faster when comfortable.
In terms of how much you should spend on the bike? It depends on what you are looking for... Buy a decent frame, good rear derailleur and barend shifter, get the best integrated aerobars you can afford, and spend a bit on race wheels. Keep in mind that you won't have to break that much, so don't spend a fortune on breaks (of course you need them to work, but think Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace). If you can spring for the extra cash, get a Renn Disc and a decent aero front wheel.