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Talk me In or Out TT Bike

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Talk me In or Out TT Bike

Old 01-26-19, 06:25 PM
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youcoming
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Talk me In or Out TT Bike

So I've got the bug for a TT bike but also wondering is it really worth it. One of my clubs does a weekly 16k plus a monthly 40k and another does a monthly. My best time on road bike is 23:13 and typically that puts me near the top except for a few really fast guys on TT bikes. Typically the field is half road half TT bike. I have absolutely no interest in doing triathlons so question is what can I expect from a TT bike, I will be buying used with a budget around $1800CAD.
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Old 01-26-19, 07:01 PM
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Paul Barnard
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My advice to anyone considering a new bike is to do it!
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Old 01-27-19, 01:23 AM
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Have you tried clip-on aero bars for your road bike? Around here, can easily get a used set for $20-$25. Nothing wrong with buying a used TT bike either. I've a friend who is a very good time trialist and was riding a used TT bike bought for around your stated budget until recently.
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Old 01-27-19, 04:09 AM
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It sounds like you like doing TT. You should do it. No different than someone interested in the velodrome buying a track bike. The right tool for the job.
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Old 01-27-19, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
Have you tried clip-on aero bars for your road bike?
+1 - this would be an easy and inexpensive way to dip your toes in to the water.
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Old 01-27-19, 09:17 AM
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Get the used TT bike. The great thing about buying used is that you can always resell it if you decide it's not for you, and you're not out that much money unless you start making a bunch of upgrades.
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Old 01-27-19, 09:23 AM
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I concur with those suggesting clip-on aero bars...at first...just to see if it's an acceptable riding style for. After a couple rides, if it is, then purchase the TT bike.

Dan
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Old 01-27-19, 12:14 PM
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Clip on aero bars and maybe even aero wheels. It strikes me that a pair of $800 deep-section wheels will probably gain you as much or more time than an aero frame, and you can always just keep them as a spare pair of wheels.

then if you still have the bug, you can always just pick up a used Cannondale Slice or similar for about $1000, and still be within your budget range.
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Old 01-27-19, 01:23 PM
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Forget clip on bars. They are still very much a compromise compared to the real thing.
Get a used TT bike. They are not expensive and are made for it.
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Old 01-27-19, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by youcoming View Post
So I've got the bug for a TT bike but also wondering is it really worth it. One of my clubs does a weekly 16k plus a monthly 40k and another does a monthly. My best time on road bike is 23:13 and typically that puts me near the top except for a few really fast guys on TT bikes. Typically the field is half road half TT bike. I have absolutely no interest in doing triathlons so question is what can I expect from a TT bike, I will be buying used with a budget around $1800CAD.
Depends how much you want to improve your standing in that weekly 16K plus.

I will say based upon my experience of knowing many that own TT bikes...me never wanting one...it is probably the bike most loathed because it is purpose specific. If you are riding a lot of TT's or train with guys on TT bikes, then I get it. But you know...if you own 2 or 3 roadbikes or so and want another bike, what the heck...only money and space and a bit of maintenance. I don't want to be on one. They aren't comfortable. A fast guy like you can just about keep up with a TT bike on your road bike.

As the other guys suggested, why not try clamp on aero bars and push your saddle forward and see how you like that position. An acquired taste. A few around where I ride and I sometimes ride with them. I am ok in their draft on my road bike.
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Old 01-27-19, 05:29 PM
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I think clip on bars are a waste if you have your road bike set up even remotely correctly. Adding clip on bars on top of that will just raise your whole front end a couple of inches and pull your arms together. You'd be better off just getting some flatter road bars so you can do IAB (invisible aero bar) with your forearms on your bars and your hands held together. That'd be a lot closer to the fit of an actual TT bike (though even then saddle for/aft may differ quite a bit depending on the rider, and thus front end may be higher or lower accordingly). .

Otherwise, just get the TT bike. I bought a P3 on ebay for 1500, and later a Trek TTX for 1000. The older generation of both, but still very fast bikes when set up appropriately.
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Old 01-27-19, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
As the other guys suggested, why not try clamp on aero bars and push your saddle forward and see how you like that position.
You push your saddle forward to open up your hip angle and/or get your front end lower. Putting clip on bars does the opposite of that unless you have a massive stack of spacers you take out every time you put the clip ons on. Just pushing the saddle forward and putting on clip ons is going to make for a position that could very well be more unaero than his regular position on the road bike.
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Old 01-27-19, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
Clip on aero bars and maybe even aero wheels. It strikes me that a pair of $800 deep-section wheels will probably gain you as much or more time than an aero frame, and you can always just keep them as a spare pair of wheels.

Fast tubes and tires will get him even more time than aero wheels or a frame.

A TT frame, however, sets up the position correctly, which can get you more time than all three of those things combined, and then a whole lot more.
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Old 01-27-19, 05:42 PM
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Sorry I should have stated I have aero bars and did my best time with them on, before that I did a 24:05 with just road bike. I find it a pain though to move everything around, I have two sets of deep wheels already so wheels are not required. Thanks for all the advice and I think I will go for the used TT bike. Not a lot on the market right now in my area but spring will bring some out. There is one I have my eye on just need to talk the guy down from $2000 a 2011 Devinci T2 with Zipp 808's.
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Old 01-28-19, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
You push your saddle forward to open up your hip angle and/or get your front end lower. Putting clip on bars does the opposite of that unless you have a massive stack of spacers you take out every time you put the clip ons on. Just pushing the saddle forward and putting on clip ons is going to make for a position that could very well be more unaero than his regular position on the road bike.
Agree and good point. I presumed he could get his aero bar low enough...but maybe this isn't so and perhaps even generally the case that clip on's can't be set as low as a standard TT fit on a TT bike. I would say on average, when clip ons are set correctly, aerodynamics are improved on a road bike. He did say he was faster with the aero bar experiment which isn't uncommon. But as you point out, not to the level of TT bike with proper fit.

A look back at the evolution of the aero bars and TT bikes in the pro peloton...a process of trial and error and discovery:

https://www.cyclingnews.com/features/...al-technology/

Last edited by Campag4life; 01-28-19 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 01-28-19, 08:52 AM
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If you're doing a 10 miler in the 23min range, you're tossing away a LOT of speed not owning a TT bike if you do enjoy doing this.

Performance Bike is going out of business. Hope on some local Facebook groups within driving distance and call up favors to see if they have a Fuji Norcom frame laying around. Or, post up local to see if someone has a used TT/tri frameset collecting dust.

Unless it's a super wind friendly course or something, you're already throwing out a lot of power to do 23min on a roadie. I'd guess you'd be low 20's minutes for a 10er on a properly setup TT bike.

I used clip-ons on my Propel for a while. It was aero as I fiddled with position to get there. But power output and stability was abysmal.

I repaired a broken carbon TT bike on a low budget and love it. The speed with someone with even only upper 200w for power is awesome. For you with your power, you'll freaking fly.

Do a test ride and get it up to pursuit power for a minute, somewhere at or over 30mph........the feeling is incredible.

On a pretty flat road with a 10mph tailwind I gave it about 500w for a 1/4 mile last week and got it over 40mph. I was almost laughing from the fun at the stoplight when I slowed to a stop, dying.

Dooooo it.
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Old 01-28-19, 10:52 AM
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Get a TT bike. They have the proper geometry and aero form you are looking for. Plus with a second bike you can alternate your training. Some weeks/days focus on TT training, other focus on straight up road riding. Pick up a second hand TT bike to make sure you like it. If you find yourself doing a lot of TT riding, then you can invest in a more expense one.

Just my $0.05.
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Old 01-28-19, 11:26 PM
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I went down the same path as the OP, I just always thought they looked cool and since I could afford one I did. But the decision took me a very long time and a close to a thousand dollars on top of the bike price to even get close to pulling the trigger on one. I went to a fitter and had a very extensive fit session to determine my proper fit coordinates. These bikes are much more difficult to get a comfortable fit on than road bikes. Once you have your fit coordinates finding the appropriate bike becomes much easier, however you may need to swap out base bars and/or aero extensions. Aero bar shapes and lengths can make a big difference in rider comfort and in some cases may be dictated by the riders overall position. Changing either of these will require recabling of the entire bike. Further, these parts are not cheap especially if going carbon.

They are not that much fun to ride unless you are hammering down a straight flat road. Most climb poorly due to the longer wheelbase for stability and the extra weight of the aero shaped tubes. Most have handling geared towards straight line stability and riding the aero bars takes awhile to get good at riding a straight line.

Finally, finding the right saddle can be a process in itself. The aggressive riding position puts more pressure in different places than a road saddle.

Not to say I have not enjoyed the process, however be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time and effort dialing in your fit and getting acclimated to the new position (many people put out less power on their TT/tri bikes unless they spend a lot of time on them) so you may get worse before you get better.

I will not even get into those folks that go to wind tunnels to further tweak their positions in order to improve their aerodynamic drag.
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Old 01-29-19, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Carverbiker View Post
I went down the same path as the OP, I just always thought they looked cool and since I could afford one I did. But the decision took me a very long time and a close to a thousand dollars on top of the bike price to even get close to pulling the trigger on one. I went to a fitter and had a very extensive fit session to determine my proper fit coordinates. These bikes are much more difficult to get a comfortable fit on than road bikes. Once you have your fit coordinates finding the appropriate bike becomes much easier, however you may need to swap out base bars and/or aero extensions. Aero bar shapes and lengths can make a big difference in rider comfort and in some cases may be dictated by the riders overall position. Changing either of these will require recabling of the entire bike. Further, these parts are not cheap especially if going carbon.

They are not that much fun to ride unless you are hammering down a straight flat road. Most climb poorly due to the longer wheelbase for stability and the extra weight of the aero shaped tubes. Most have handling geared towards straight line stability and riding the aero bars takes awhile to get good at riding a straight line.

Finally, finding the right saddle can be a process in itself. The aggressive riding position puts more pressure in different places than a road saddle.

Not to say I have not enjoyed the process, however be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time and effort dialing in your fit and getting acclimated to the new position (many people put out less power on their TT/tri bikes unless they spend a lot of time on them) so you may get worse before you get better.

I will not even get into those folks that go to wind tunnels to further tweak their positions in order to improve their aerodynamic drag.
I agree with your well stated post and for those reasons I personally have not taken the TT bike plunge. I am not riding against the clock or TT's tho. I ride with a ton of riders on TT bikes on my road bike doing training rides. Yes, they have an aero advantage. I try to get my back as flat as possible on my road bike when trying to keep up...but am putting out more watts in the process as they are so efficient at riding the flat in a straight line.

I surprised more haven't talked about their balls hurting riding a TT bike.

Totally get somebody wanting one if competing however. Makes perfect sense. But that position has a cost. An acquired taste.
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Old 01-29-19, 07:42 AM
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Fit appears to be more aero only driven for true TT setups and more comfort oriented for mid and long distance triathlon.

The seat time is just vastly different, thus that drives a different fit.

Most of the time, if you follow the UCI rules, setting up the seat/reach/drop for a TT bike is simply a matter of putting it at the limits of the UCI "template" and then adjusting drop/stack height to your flexibility. I wouldn't blow the amount of money you would on a triathlon fit session for a TT fit unless you really really can't stand sitting on it for 20 minutes at a time.

Get an ISM or Mistica saddle. Plenty comfy even on the rivet. No issues with the nether regions as usually assumed if you know what to buy and how to sit on it.

I'm comfy on my TT bike for up to about 2 hours in a pretty aero oriented setup and I set it up myself just taking short videos on the trainer and making adjustments.

Acclimation? I think it's fair to say it takes time, but, if you really are into riding TT then the time is just part of the game anyway. You need to dedicate to a workout or ride per week on the bike.
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Old 01-29-19, 09:41 AM
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Locals guy has a Cannondale Slice in my size and can likely get it for $1000. Think Im gonna take a look.
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Old 01-29-19, 03:28 PM
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I run my H1 geometry Madone pretty aggressively with a slammed 130mm -17 stem and the bars are still about 4" higher up than my TT bike. Get a dang TT bike and never question how fast you could be if you had the right equipment.
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Old 01-29-19, 10:20 PM
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Please visit carforums.net to be talked out of a bicycle purchase :-)
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Old 02-05-19, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by youcoming View Post
So I've got the bug for a TT bike but also wondering is it really worth it. One of my clubs does a weekly 16k plus a monthly 40k and another does a monthly. My best time on road bike is 23:13 and typically that puts me near the top except for a few really fast guys on TT bikes. Typically the field is half road half TT bike. I have absolutely no interest in doing triathlons so question is what can I expect from a TT bike, I will be buying used with a budget around $1800CAD.
If you have the $$ go out and get one riding fast is fun
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Old 02-07-19, 07:46 PM
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It is something you enjoy doing. Buy the bike.
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