Pedal Force TT2 Time Trial Frame Pro Review - By Steve Cooper
Targeting budget minded cyclists, Pedal Force has dominated the performance/value segment with frames that handle on par with bikes costing many times more. Their TT2 Triathlon/Time Trial frame, list priced at $900, is no exception. In performance terms the TT2 surrenders nothing to its higher priced brethren, and from an aesthetic perspective the TT2 is alluring and draws lots of attention at any event.
For the review, Pedal Force supplied their large 54.5 cm carbon weave frame with a mid-level component package and matching fork, seat tube clamp and teardrop seat post. At 1420 grams for the frame, 460 grams for the uncut fork and 260 grams for the seat post, there are lighter time trial frame packages but with careful component selection and a little deeper budget an ultra-light TT rig can be built.
Fully assembled, our TT2 just surpasses the 17 pound mark, very respectable for a time trial bike. With a 75.5 degree seat tube, 73.0 degree head tube, and 980 millimeters axle to axle the TT2 is a steep, triathlon/time trial specific ride. Top tube lengths match seat tube heights for the full range of frame sizes. The large frame provided enough seat post shaft length to match my road seat height to bottom bracket axle of 32.5 inches. While there is another inch of seat post above the minimum insertion point, I feel as though I'm at the outer range of the large TT2's fit window.
A $2200 package deal.
The monocoque frame is perfectly executed in clear coated 12K basket weave carbon with only a subtle Pedal Force brand, a far cry from the over-the-top and in-your-face graphics found on most time trial bikes. Streamlined and airfoil shaped to minimize drag and enhance clean air flow, frame design elements include internal cable routing, feathered trailing edges on the fork, seat stays and seat tube, a faired rear wheel cut-out, flush bottom bracket shell, and round leading edge noses on the head tube, and at both down tube junctions. To reduce the air gap between the rear wheel and seat tube, track-style horizontal drop outs with screw adjusters let you tune the rear axle position fore and aft depending on the wheel/tire combination you're running. The chain stays are thinly profiled to accommodate any rear disc on the market.
Other top-end details in the TT2 package include a carbon steerer on the fork and a micro adjustable seat rail mount. An optional dual position 76-78 degree steep seat post is available from Pedal Force. The head tube is designed to fit a Campagnolo integrated 1 1/8" headset.
To get the review rolling, Pedal Force sent along components that deliver great performance at a very affordable price. Case in point? The complete price tag on the TT2 build as delivered was a scant $2188.
The supplied Ultegra SL brake set and derailleurs are functionally identical to Dura Ace 7800, surrendering only a few grams in weight yet providing equally crisp shifting and braking at a fraction of the cost. FSA's 175 mm SL-K Light carbon crank set with 53/39 rings fits a standard Mega XO bottom bracket. Profile's T2+ S-bend extensions and T2 base bars with a Ritchey WCS 4-axis stem provide the rider control surfaces.
For wheels, our TT2 came with Easton's durable EA90 Aero clinchers, shod with Michelin Pro3 Race rubber, my favorite road tires. At 1600 grams, the EA90 Aeros are an affordable performance wheel for training and road work, that won't catch crosswinds. 28 mm front / 32 mm rear triangular rim profiles are more aerodynamic than standard EA 90s and flat bladed spokes further reduce drag. Factoring in the TT2's starting price point, budgeting for a faster, more aero set of race wheels like Flashpoint 60s from Zipp is not a stretch.
The all-aluminum Profile T2/T2+ base bars and extensions weigh slightly more than their more expensive carbon counterparts, yet provide the same degree of tune-ability. Extension length, width, rotation and elbow pad distance, angle, height can all be tuned and tweaked, and the elbow pad offers three bolt positions with many degrees of fore and aft rotation. The only flaw we discovered- after one particularly rough TT session, one of the polycarbonate elbow pads developed a stress crack, which Profile replaced without question.
At 6'3", I was able to dial-in a comfortable bar set-up and seat height that provided me a textbook 90/90 position in full tuck, just above the point of knee-chest contact. I needed to add a few more spacers under the stem to get the right bar height, but again, considering the budget price point, and the reality that us tall guys typically need to make a few compromises to fit many carbon frames on the market, this was not a concern in my book.
On the road
Our local Time Trial course is a short 11 mile out and back circuit, with over 500 feet of climbing in the last mile and change. The road is rough with serpentine curves, and sharp corners at the bottom of rolling descents. Add to that the prevailing gusty winds off the Santa Cruz coastal bluffs and you have a great test course for a time trial rig.
Having ridden the course many times on a traditional road bike, with a personal best on a Kestrel Evoke running Zipp/Storck 69er tubulars, the first attempt on the TT2 beat my PR by over three minutes. With comparable average power output, I was able to maintain higher speeds by virtue of the TT2's tuck position. The aero advantages become even more apparent in windy conditions.
On the course's steep mid-section, climbing is best accomplished seated; the far forward TT bar position isn't optimal for standing. Early on, fast descending was best on the base bars, feathering the brakes. As my confidence on the TT2 grew, I found I was able to gracefully handle all but the slowest hairpin on the extension bars. Gear changes in tuck are very smooth and transitioning from the extensions to the bars for braking is drama-free and very controllable.
TT2 rider and local Santa Cruz triathlete, Steve Yatson fielded a few questions about the bike for this review. He competes in both regional and national USAT events, and for the last six months has been campaigning a TT2 set-up with SRAM Red, Vision Tech Aero bars, Hed3c Wheels, Michelin Pro Race 3's, Speedplay Zero Ti's, and an ISM Adamo race saddle. Recent performances include Golden Gate Triathlon, 2nd AG, 11th overall, SandMan Triathlon 2nd AG, 13th overall and runner-up USAT Southwest Regional Sprint Championship.
Q: Why did you buy a TT2?
A: Price was key for me; I purchased an RS2 from Pedal Force last year and have been happy with it so I figured I'd give the TT2 a try.
Q: How was the ordering/shipping/set-up process?
A: Ordering and shipping were straight forward. They had a Red bundle package that was unbeatable price-wise. With only email communication and response times of generally 48-72 hours connecting with Pedal Force could be quicker. My order came with the wrong tires, but within a week they corrected that. Otherwise, it was easy to order the frame and components.
Q: What were your initial impressions of the bike?
A: It's a great looking frame, and is solidly constructed. The internal cable routing was a plus and the overall geometry worked well for me.
Q: Have those impressions changed over time?
A: Not really; the bike has been great and after getting the fit dialed-in, it's been a pleasure to ride. I tend to compete in 40k or less events which can require a fairly aggressive position. I'm able to do that on the TT2, and have done a number of training rides upwards of 70 miles.
Q: Do you fit the bike?
A: I'm 6'-2" but I ride on the nose of the seat and didn't have any trouble finding a good fit. There was a bit of trial and error but ultimately there were no issues.
Q: Did the TT2 improve your times?
A: Yes by affordably moving from a road bike to a full aero-tuck position my bike splits improved noticeably. I'm no longer competing in events on my road bike, and my overall times are much better.
Q: With the TT2, have you had any notable performances this season?
A: I set personal records at three events and my bike splits are typically in the top 10 overall.
Q: How do other participants in your events react to the TT2?
A: I think the glossy raw carbon look attracts people. I get a lot of questions about who makes the bike, how much, how responsive or stiff it is. With my set-up, it's an aggressive looking bike. Even with all the really expensive time trial bikes out there, the TT2 stands out and gets plenty of attention.
Q: Any closing words about the TT2?
A: The seat post really needs Carbon Grip paste to avoid slipping, and you'll need to be very careful torquing the clamp bolts, I had one strip. A new stainless bolt from the hardware store solved that issue. I doubt that a frame costing 3 times as much would help me pull faster splits. At $900, the TT2 is a bargain.
For most of us, a dedicated bike for time trials can be an expensive luxury. However, if you compete in TT's or Triathlons, you'll never reach your full potential without a set-up that permits an aero position. Even if you only enter the occasional timed event, training in the tuck position uses a different range of muscles, and the position helps you dig deeper on a long interval workout, ultimately helping you build power on your traditional road bike. The TT2 provides an incredibly affordable foundation for setting up a time trial bike, without any compromises in quality. If you can afford to indulge in an expensive time trial frame, be my guest, but if you're like most riders out there and budget is an issue, at $900, Pedal Force's TT2 deserves to be at the top of your list.
- Full carbon monocoque frameset
- Triathlon/Time Trial specific geometry with 700C wheels
- 515, 525, 545 mm (c-t)
- Aerodynamic chain stay profiles for fatter disc wheels
- Ultra-slim/low head tube
- Head tube for 1-1/8" Campagnolo compatible integrated headset
- Aerodynamic tear-drop profiled seat tube and seat post
- Horizontal adjustable rear dropouts (to minimize rear tire to seat tube clearance)
- Replaceable rear hanger
- Internal cable routing (no outer cable housing needed)
- English threaded 68mm bottom bracket
- Carbon monocoque fork and steerer 1-1/8".
- Frame/Fork/Seat post MSRP: $900.00
- Invoiced total for bike as reviewed: $2189
- Very Affordable
- Great build quality
- Abundant aero-design features
- Uses commonly available bottom bracket and brakes
- Tall riders above 6'3"+ may not fit largest frame
Official Pedal Force Website - click here