Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, i have a common question that gets asked alot on here but i have a twist to mine...I am going to be doing the Ironman 70.3 in Benton Harbor, MI this August and hopefully a full 140.6 next year.

Basically i am wondering if there is anything other than aero advantages thus saving time by riding a TT bike over a standard road bike in an Ironman 140.6 or 70.3 triathlon?
Example: Does the TT bike geometry magically save your legs for the run more than a road bike would? etc.

Here is the twist:
I own 2 road bikes (Trek Madone and Cannondale CAAD10 both with full ultegra) and 1 TT bike (Aluminum Trek Speed Concept 2.5 with Sram Apex.)
I bought the TT bike because the price was unbeatable last summer during my LBS's Tour de France sale.

Now that i have been riding it, i feel faster and better on my road bikes (my garmin backs this up usually i am 1mph ish faster on the CAAD.)
So i was thinking about selling the TT bike and just using my CAAD10 for the Ironman events...possibly getting clip on aero bars for it.
I am just concerned about running after the 56 mile ride....

What would you guys do if you had to pick?

Thanks,
Jon
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,409 Posts
Yes, a properly set up TT bike will save you for the run in a couple ways. One, it should be a more comfortable and more efficient position. The position should put more focus on the quads and relieve your hamstrings for the run. You'll be less cramped on the TT bike than a road bike with clips and able to pedal more comfortably as well as digest nutrition more effectively (No. 1 most important thing about IMs!).

Second, because you are more aerodynamic, you'll save time or energy that can otherwise be used on the run. If you finish the bike .5 hours faster, thats 30 minutes worth of energy you can put into the run. Alternatively you can finish in the same time using less energy and be fresher for the run. Now if the question is converting the CAAD10 over to a TT bike with proper handlebars and an ideal position/forward saddle, then the difference diminishes significantly.

But remember, if you intend to use a TT bike or even clip ons, you MUST ride it often in the weeks and months leading up to the IM otherwise it won't do you any good because you won't be comfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, both are fitted. I think the big difference is that the Aluminum Speed Concept just feels cheap and flimsy while riding it compared to my drop bar bikes...Maybe the CF SC's are alot nicer, but no LBS around here stocks CF speed concepts to demo.

I know on a Top end TT bike like Macca's Lieto's Crowie's etc. vs. a similarly equipped drop bar bike everyone should be faster.

I guess a better way to ask my question is: What would be better?
Riding a very low end TT bike, or a Mid-High end drop bar bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
I would definitely go with the one that you feel more comfortable on. Do you plan on winning your age group? The little difference in aerodynamic time from one bike vs the other may mean very little compared to you struggling on the bike for 56 miles because your not comfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,409 Posts
Yes, both are fitted. I think the big difference is that the Aluminum Speed Concept just feels cheap and flimsy while riding it compared to my drop bar bikes...Maybe the CF SC's are alot nicer, but no LBS around here stocks CF speed concepts to demo.

I know on a Top end TT bike like Macca's Lieto's Crowie's etc. vs. a similarly equipped drop bar bike everyone should be faster.

I guess a better way to ask my question is: What would be better?
Riding a very low end TT bike, or a Mid-High end drop bar bike.
A low end TT bike, as long as it works.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
posted by jcgill: snip...Now that i have been riding it, i feel faster and better on my road bikes (my garmin backs this up usually i am 1mph ish faster on the CAAD.)
posted by jcgill: snip...I guess a better way to ask my question is: What would be better?
Riding a very low end TT bike, or a Mid-High end drop bar bike
Something is not right. With out seeing pics at the very least of you warmed up in position on both bikes at the pace you will race at it's pretty hard to help. If me, I'd rather ride the worst chinese carbon POS TT bike v. a top shelf road bike with clip ons. The geometry and therefore the position I am able to get into is very much more aero and really keeps the hip angle open which means more power in a more aero position. In other words, faster. Again, something just isn't right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,085 Posts
Something is not right. With out seeing pics at the very least of you warmed up in position on both bikes at the pace you will race at it's pretty hard to help. If me, I'd rather ride the worst chinese carbon POS TT bike v. a top shelf road bike with clip ons. The geometry and therefore the position I am able to get into is very much more aero and really keeps the hip angle open which means more power in a more aero position. In other words, faster. Again, something just isn't right.
Agreed. Other than uphill TTs, I'm consistently 1-2mph faster on the TT bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the opinions guys, i am going to work on my aero position and staying in it longer. Perhaps that is the problem as i tend to get bored and change hand positions constantly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,085 Posts
Thanks for the opinions guys, i am going to work on my aero position and staying in it longer. Perhaps that is the problem as i tend to get bored and change hand positions constantly.
Aero positions don't work if you can't stay in it. I set my TT bike up to have a fairly "relaxed" position since that TT might be part of a stage race or omnium weekend. I also use standard tri bars since I have more than a little tendinitis in my wrists as an occupational hazard. Straight aero bars kinda hurt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Now that i have been riding it, i feel faster and better on my road bikes (my garmin backs this up usually i am 1mph ish faster on the CAAD.)
So i was thinking about selling the TT bike and just using my CAAD10 for the Ironman events...possibly getting clip on aero bars for it.
I did a 1/2 IM and full IM on a salsa elcampeon then bought a shiv. I made a lot of runs between the bikes with a powertap to try to demonstrate that the shiv was faster....and it might be but it might not...if it's faster it's in the neighborhood of 2-3 watts at 25mph so not much. It certainly looks faster.

If you are clocking out faster on the caad10 then that is what I'd use, especially if it's about the same comfort. Bad legs on the run is probably from going too hard on the bike vs. some magical geometry. Faster is faster!

Wind data on frames is always without the rider and with the rider the gains are quite arguable. I wish I hadn't bought the shiv, I'd be $3500 richer. But hey, it looks good, right?

Joe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
733 Posts
Also if you're slower on a tt bike, you need to work/train harder. You use quads more on a tt position. The aft seat position of a road bike uses more of your hamstrings. You most likely need to strengthen quads and get used to generating power especially with the flat back position.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the help guys. I am working on adjusting the bars a little and making the aero position more comfortable. I rode the trainer for an hour in the aero position yesterday and it felt a little more comfortable.

I also just realized another potential reason why its slower, the stock gearing is pretty funky...50/34 up front and 11-28 in the rear, so its hard to find a good cadence with that low gearing and big jumps in ratios. I would like to try 11-23 in the back as i live in the flat midwest with a few rolling hills.
I am also going to shop for deals on 105/Ultegra components, as the Apex FD seems to like to drop the chain no matter how well tuned it is.

Thanks again for your advise guys, especially for convincing me that even the cheapest Chinese TT bike with proper setup can be ridden faster than any high end drop bar bike with the best components.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
I did a 1/2 IM and full IM on a salsa elcampeon then bought a shiv. I made a lot of runs between the bikes with a powertap to try to demonstrate that the shiv was faster....and it might be but it might not...if it's faster it's in the neighborhood of 2-3 watts at 25mph so not much. It certainly looks faster.

If you are clocking out faster on the caad10 then that is what I'd use, especially if it's about the same comfort. Bad legs on the run is probably from going too hard on the bike vs. some magical geometry. Faster is faster!

Wind data on frames is always without the rider and with the rider the gains are quite arguable. I wish I hadn't bought the shiv, I'd be $3500 richer. But hey, it looks good, right?

Joe
It's not that a TT frame (by itself) being more aerodynamic compared to a regular road frame will make one noticeably faster. Rather, it's the potential position that the TT frame can allow a rider to attain that will reduce drag via greatly reducing frontal area. I say potential because it's possible you and the op can not take advantage of the TT frame for various reasons (big gut/can't get low, not flexible, mis fit with seat too far aft=hip angle problems, breathing issues due to fit...).

Also, as stanseven alluded to below the position on a TT bike can be different enough that it may take some time on the TT bike to allow muscles to adapt to the different position. Anywho, after several months training on the thing I saw huge improvements in speed. As a roadie I spent about 25% of my time on the TT bike and the rest on the road bike. If I was into tri's I'd spend closer to 100% of my time on the TT bike. jmo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,085 Posts
Thanks for the help guys. I am working on adjusting the bars a little and making the aero position more comfortable. I rode the trainer for an hour in the aero position yesterday and it felt a little more comfortable.

I also just realized another potential reason why its slower, the stock gearing is pretty funky...50/34 up front and 11-28 in the rear, so its hard to find a good cadence with that low gearing and big jumps in ratios. I would like to try 11-23 in the back as i live in the flat midwest with a few rolling hills.
I am also going to shop for deals on 105/Ultegra components, as the Apex FD seems to like to drop the chain no matter how well tuned it is.

Thanks again for your advise guys, especially for convincing me that even the cheapest Chinese TT bike with proper setup can be ridden faster than any high end drop bar bike with the best components.
Gearing is part of the equation, but will ultimately boil down to power. A 50x11 with good cadence is still plenty fast. Still, I like a compact on my road bike and ride a standard 53/39 crank on my TT bike. I sometimes think I'd like to treat myself to a new TT bike if I ever "outgrow" a standard crank on my current TT bike. Since I'm not a professional, I have several sprokets to go before I'd ever need bigger chainrings.

I would think something like a 11-23 with a compact might be a better choice or a 11-25 with a standard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,880 Posts
I was not a believer in TT specific bike, until I was riding with a guy on his TT bike, the same guy that I easily drop on the hill, even a slight hill. But on his TT bike on a flat ride, man... he looks so effortless as compared to me on my road bike with drop bars.
So if you want to save your legs and be relaxed and ready for the run, I'd say go TT bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
It's not that a TT frame (by itself) being more aerodynamic compared to a regular road frame will make one noticeably faster. Rather, it's the potential position that the TT frame can allow a rider to attain that will reduce drag via greatly reducing frontal area. I say potential because it's possible you and the op can not take advantage of the TT frame for various reasons (big gut/can't get low, not flexible, mis fit with seat too far aft=hip angle problems, breathing issues due to fit...).
Good Solid Point! :)

Joe
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top