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TT Bike

Old 04-04-16, 06:42 PM
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TT Bike

By way of background, I started cycling in January 2015 after focusing almost exclusively on weight lifting and various strength competitions for 20+ years. (I was never very strong but enjoyed it immensely.) My interest in cycling now predominates, and my lifting has shifted to more of a supportive role for both my general health and to enhance my cycling in particular.

Prior cycling events to date include a 28 mile road race and 104 mile century ride.

I am considering trying my first time trial sometime later this year. Can I adapt my current road bike for this, or am I better off getting a TT bike? (I would prefer not to invest in a TT bike until I determine whether I like that particular form of racing. However, I am willing to make the leap if the consensus is that a standard road bike is not well-suited for this purpose.)

Thank you in advance for your feedback.
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Old 04-04-16, 07:01 PM
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A road bike is fine. Most TT's have a Merckx class where it's road bike only. If you are in AZ check here for events. And there's entry open for this.

There may be other non USAC events in your area, might reach out and check with the local shops.

If it resonates then a TT bike will help you pull the most out of your ability, but be prepared for a set up and learning curve. Some folks just slap some clip-on aero bars on their road bike and add wheels, but the position ends up being pretty jacked up in many cases.

TT's are much more complex, Merckx class or not, than they appear. It's a fun puzzle. You've got a good resource in this forum for riding and equipment advice, feel free to ask questions.

Last edited by Racer Ex; 04-04-16 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 04-04-16, 07:03 PM
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I did my first TT on a road bike, not adapted in any way, no aerobars. I liked it well enough that I bought a TT bike shortly thereafter.

So obviously I would say to try it first on a road bike and see how well you like it. The sooner you love it, the sooner you spring for the TT bike. If you're not sure, just get some clip on aerobars and an aero helmet until you decide.

Although your chances of liking it a lot are enhanced by having the TT bike.
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Old 04-04-16, 07:23 PM
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Thank you both for your feedback. In looking at potential events here in AZ, it looks like I have both 20k and 40k options. Any recommendations with regard to distance?
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Old 04-04-16, 08:05 PM
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Personally I'd start with the 20K. It somehow seems more instantly approachable, just 30ish min of doing it right.
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Old 04-04-16, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by AZSkeptic
Thank you both for your feedback. In looking at potential events here in AZ, it looks like I have both 20k and 40k options. Any recommendations with regard to distance?
No need to go longer, it just equals more pain.
In regards to road bike for TT, that's all I use ,however they're set up as a tt or triathlon bike only. Be advised when you put aero bars on a road bike and you get in the aero position your upper body is gonna be a lot more forward and possibly uncomfortable. So most people will move their saddle forward to compensate.
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Old 04-05-16, 08:17 AM
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We have a local 10 mile time trial that offers an Merckx category - non aero. Many racers ride the their TT bike and then ride Merckx. In general, the difference in time is 2 minutes which of course can vary. But it gives one an idea of the magnitude of the time difference when a racer who is fully adapted to a TT bike and races TTs and uses both technologies on the same course on the same day.

And there are hill climb time trials that generally are done on the road bike but sometimes racers use a TT bike. In general, but not always one can generate more power on the road bike than a TT bike. It depends how much one rides in the time trial position. Practice makes perfect.

And some racers do better at longer distances than shorter compared to a particular field because placement (results) in a field of racers depends on who shows up and what they are trained to do.

We are all different so trying different races is a good way to determine where one has a competitive advantage.
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Old 04-05-16, 09:58 AM
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My first TT was on a road bike as well. Finished 8/32 much to the dismay of folks in full TT gear.
I can only add to the above posts with...

Watch out. TT's can be as addictive as I am told crack is.
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Old 04-05-16, 12:01 PM
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I'm joining the chorus of "I started with a road bike..." I did, and yes, I now have a TT bike (even though I am at best a mediocre TT'er). As IBO said, it CAN become addictive! As others have said, the road bike is fine to start with, and also it would be better to start with a 20K or 10 mile ITT as your first event. Don't try to get it "right" and don't fret over it, just go out there and ride steady and hard and have a good time. If you like it, and really want more, well - there's a whole lot more to be had then just the bike! It's a true discipline, (you need "discipline") and to get decent at it requires more than just a physical skill set. That's why it's addictive for me.
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Old 04-05-16, 04:15 PM
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The 20K Merckx category sounds like a good place to start. The race information brief indicates it's 10K out and back again. Any advice on how to learn to turn around quickly?
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Old 04-05-16, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AZSkeptic
The 20K Merckx category sounds like a good place to start. The race information brief indicates it's 10K out and back again. Any advice on how to learn to turn around quickly?
Same way you get to Broadway.



For now you're better off learning how to pace for the 20k, keeping a steady speed, not going out too hard and staying in the drops as much as possible. Check out the race results thread for more info.

A good turn might save you 5-10 seconds. Learning to do the above might get you a minute or more.

Figuring out the wind and riding harder into a head wind and easier with a tailwind will produce a faster time as well.

But if you have the time and an empty parking lot, out a cone or some type of marker, set a couple of markers out to mark how wide the road is, and work on braking, turning within that zone around the cone, then accelerating back up to speed. Ideally there's no coasting or dead time.
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Old 04-06-16, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
Same way you get to Broadway.



For now you're better off learning how to pace for the 20k, keeping a steady speed, not going out too hard and staying in the drops as much as possible. Check out the race results thread for more info.

A good turn might save you 5-10 seconds. Learning to do the above might get you a minute or more.

Figuring out the wind and riding harder into a head wind and easier with a tailwind will produce a faster time as well.

But if you have the time and an empty parking lot, out a cone or some type of marker, set a couple of markers out to mark how wide the road is, and work on braking, turning within that zone around the cone, then accelerating back up to speed. Ideally there's no coasting or dead time.
Thanks. I'll focus more on the pacing and position aspects and work in some training on the turn when I have time and a good setting at which to practice.

My events this year will be (i) the Cotton Classic TT #2 on September 4 in Arizona City; (ii) the Tour de Tucson on November 19 in Tucson; and (iii) the 108 mile route of the Scottsdale Gran Fondo on December 4. (The Tour de Tucson will be more of a training ride. I talked my two oldest daughters, ages 14 and 12 respectively, into riding the 40 mile route, so I'll be riding with them at their pace. Should be a lot of fun.)

I appreciate all of the feedback from everyone. Thank you for your responses, and I will probably continue to rely on your collective output for additional questions as my training and racing for the year continue.
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Old 04-06-16, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by AZSkeptic


I appreciate all of the feedback from everyone. Thank you for your responses, and I will probably continue to rely on your collective output for additional questions as my training and racing for the year continue.
Please do, there is a tonne of great information to be had from the folks here.

Got to love the Iverson quote. Decades later and it's still PoundSign Epic
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Old 04-09-16, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
But if you have the time and an empty parking lot, out a cone or some type of marker, set a couple of markers out to mark how wide the road is, and work on braking, turning within that zone around the cone, then accelerating back up to speed. Ideally there's no coasting or dead time.
I knew I was doing something wrong.

[MENTION=413971]AZSkeptic[/MENTION], one other thing to consider is that getting some experience as quickly as possible is important. There are so many things that get into your head for a first race, that just doing one for the experience (versus results) can be very beneficial. There is a lot of pre-race activity that you need to make routine and until you get through that at least once, it can be daunting. Packing all your stuff into your car, get to the venue, getting your bike ready, getting your number and pinning it on properly, timing your warm up against your start time, pre-race hydration and fuel, and more.

As I've said to many first time racers, it's better to have a slower first TT because it's easier to better after that.
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Old 04-09-16, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Cleave
I knew I was doing something wrong.

@AZSkeptic, one other thing to consider is that getting some experience as quickly as possible is important. There are so many things that get into your head for a first race, that just doing one for the experience (versus results) can be very beneficial. There is a lot of pre-race activity that you need to make routine and until you get through that at least once, it can be daunting. Packing all your stuff into your car, get to the venue, getting your bike ready, getting your number and pinning it on properly, timing your warm up against your start time, pre-race hydration and fuel, and more.

As I've said to many first time racers, it's better to have a slower first TT because it's easier to better after that.
Thank you for the suggestion.
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Old 07-17-16, 11:26 PM
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So what would be an average time & a good time for a 20km or 40 km TT?
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Old 03-05-17, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
A road bike is fine. Most TT's have a Merckx class where it's road bike only. If you are in AZ check here for events. And there's entry open for this.

There may be other non USAC events in your area, might reach out and check with the local shops.

If it resonates then a TT bike will help you pull the most out of your ability, but be prepared for a set up and learning curve. Some folks just slap some clip-on aero bars on their road bike and add wheels, but the position ends up being pretty jacked up in many cases.

TT's are much more complex, Merckx class or not, than they appear. It's a fun puzzle. You've got a good resource in this forum for riding and equipment advice, feel free to ask questions.
Is my Old 1980's steel lugged 5 speed with down tube shifters Italian (Grandis) road bike with aero bars and bull horns a Road bike or a TT bike in the world of racing. I plan to get my lic. this year and just built this old bike up for Triathlons. I want to do a TT or two as I am way to heavy to climb well.
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Old 03-05-17, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by hockeyref
So what would be an average time & a good time for a 20km or 40 km TT?
Zen riddle. How tall is a tree?

Course, winds, conditions, and who you are (gender, age, Etc) all play into this. Assuming a flat course with no wind the "gold" standard that most men want to hit is a sub 30 minute time (or an hour for a 40k).

Best way to get a ballpark time is look at results for your group at the TT you plan on riding.
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