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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm looking at getting a new TT frame (my first one) and had a few questions. Between manfuctures, what kind of aero benefit can I expect to see across different price ranges (40K distance). Comfort is not really an issue for the most part, but aero is. For an extreme example, (assuming both bikes fit), would there be a difference between the Cervelo P3C and say the QR kilo ( the lowest end) frame wise. To start with I am looking at the QR kilo, the Cervelo P2C, and maybe the scott pro. Obviously the QR would be the cheapest then the cervelo and the scott are both a distant 2nd.
 

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BikeSportMichigan did a review of four mid-level tri/TT bikes and answered the very question you pose here. Also tons of info on SlowTwitch about Aero bikes. According to all information I have read the Cervelo P3C and Trek TTX are simply the fastest most aero bikes available (based on wind tunnel tests) when you get down to the bottom end many tri/TT frames are designed to "look" fast and do not perform any better than a road bike ridden from the drops.

Google is your friend.
 

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What size do you need? Someone is selling 4 61cm and 3 49cm Nemesis TRI/TT frames NIB on ebay right now for $87 each plus shipping. I'm tempted to get a 61cm and store it away for a future build.
 

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jains89 said:
So I'm looking at getting a new TT frame (my first one) and had a few questions. Between manfuctures, what kind of aero benefit can I expect to see across different price ranges (40K distance). Comfort is not really an issue for the most part, but aero is. For an extreme example, (assuming both bikes fit), would there be a difference between the Cervelo P3C and say the QR kilo ( the lowest end) frame wise. To start with I am looking at the QR kilo, the Cervelo P2C, and maybe the scott pro. Obviously the QR would be the cheapest then the cervelo and the scott are both a distant 2nd.
I have a QR Kilo and enjoy it very much. Fit is the absolutely most important thing....and I don't know how much time you plan to spend on it...but comfort is only possible if the fit is quality...poor fit...and you have no speed and no comfort means you are not down in an aero position without pain. Good tri shops will do special fittings for you to determine the right fit for you. They should include that fitting price...to come off the price of the bike if you buy from them.
 

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no real quantitative answer, just opinion-

the aerodynamics of the frame plays a very small part overall - somewhere on the same order of gloves/no gloves and shoe covers. I would guess the difference between those frames (all else being equal) over a 40K is AT MOST 15 seconds.

Bottom line, for your first TT bike - get something that fits you in a good aero position. Then worry about helmet, wheels, cable routing, etc. Once you've got most of the other aerodynamics issues sorted out, then worry about the aerodynamics of the frame.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I know fit is important and both the cervelo and QR look like they can be fit correctly ( shop spent about 15 minutes on each, full fit comes when bike is purchased).
Looks like the cervelos as well as the felt are way above the rest in terms of frame drag. Does anyone know of a site that gives actual numbers?
thanks for the replies
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
bopApocalypse said:
no real quantitative answer, just opinion-

the aerodynamics of the frame plays a very small part overall - somewhere on the same order of gloves/no gloves and shoe covers. I would guess the difference between those frames (all else being equal) over a 40K is AT MOST 15 seconds.

Bottom line, for your first TT bike - get something that fits you in a good aero position. Then worry about helmet, wheels, cable routing, etc. Once you've got most of the other aerodynamics issues sorted out, then worry about the aerodynamics of the frame.
While it may be a small part I can't afford to upgrade the frame in 3 months when I get everything else dialed in. 15 seconds is the difference between 1st and 3rd or 4th here at some TT's. I don't want to buy a bike and then start losing TT by less than 30sec, knowing that while yea I could train more which I really don't have time for right now, there might have been something I could have done to get those 30sec. I have the helmet and wheels already, cable routing shouldn't be too hard to figure out as well. Frame is all that's left.
 

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jains89 said:
I know fit is important and both the cervelo and QR look like they can be fit correctly ( shop spent about 15 minutes on each, full fit comes when bike is purchased).
Looks like the cervelos as well as the felt are way above the rest in terms of frame drag. Does anyone know of a site that gives actual numbers?
thanks for the replies

Do you mind telling us where you live? We might be able to recommend a bike shop that specializes in tri/tt bike fitting. What did the they recommend and the shop you attended? What's your budget? It dosen't make sense to recommend a $6,000 bike to you when you can only spend $3000!!

Poke around cervelo's site and you might find the numbrs you seek. Trek has something similar on their site as well.
 

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jains89 said:
While it may be a small part I can't afford to upgrade the frame in 3 months when I get everything else dialed in. 15 seconds is the difference between 1st and 3rd or 4th here at some TT's. I don't want to buy a bike and then start losing TT by less than 30sec, knowing that while yea I could train more which I really don't have time for right now, there might have been something I could have done to get those 30sec. I have the helmet and wheels already, cable routing shouldn't be too hard to figure out as well. Frame is all that's left.
In all due respect...the bike is not to be relied on when it comes to putting yourself on a podium. No bike has ever put an undertrained athlete on the podium.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Tri Slow Poke said:
Do you mind telling us where you live? We might be able to recommend a bike shop that specializes in tri/tt bike fitting. What did the they recommend and the shop you attended? What's your budget? It dosen't make sense to recommend a $6,000 bike to you when you can only spend $3000!!

Poke around cervelo's site and you might find the numbrs you seek. Trek has something similar on their site as well.
my fitting is going to be done by my coach who is also a TT'er themselves. The QR was what was recommended (they don't carry cervelo). Initial budget of preferably under 3000, but if a more expensive frame is going to make a difference aero wise I can wait a little longer to save up more. I just don't want to have the upgrade itch 4 or 5 months down the line like I did when I got my first road bike.
Oh and I was trying to avoid the company websites because I assumed those numbers would obviously be biased. Any third party ones?
 

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thatsmybush said:
In all due respect...the bike is not to be relied on when it comes to putting yourself on a podium. No bike has ever put an undertrained athlete on the podium.

Great point. I know a guy who won his AG at the Chicago Tri (The LARGEST triathlon in the world in the very competitive 25-29 mens group). He posted the fasted bike split in his group riding a Trek 1000 with aerobars.

It's funny how we as cyclists (or all athletes for that matter) devote too much time to things that are more fun, but won't improve our times much (i.e. new bikes), but neglect the things that aren't fun, but will imporve our times alot (i.e. more training).
 

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Got it. Thanks. Based off of your information, a few red flag went off:

1. The shop is suggesting a frame that may not be legal for a time trial. The QRs generally have seat tube angles that are too steep for time trials. Local races may let you slide, but you may not be eligible for some others becasue of your bike.

2. The shop doesn't carry all of the bikes that interest you. Unless you have a tight relationship with them, I suggest you look at a shop with other bikes.

Based on your interests, wants, and budget, I suggest you get this bike. I assure you that this ride will not keep you off the podium.

http://www.cervelo.com/bikes.aspx?bike=P2C2008

Someone else mentioned Bikesport's article, but I will post the link:

http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/reviews/2500wars.shtml

Before I finish, I want to give you a suggestion. Go to a mirror, look at your reflection, and repeat the following 20 times:

"A MORE EXPENSIVE FRAME WILL NOT NECESSARILY MAKE ME MORE AERO OR FASTER."

Trust me on this one. I wasted alot of time and money before I understood that.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Tri Slow Poke said:
Great point. I know a guy who won his AG at the Chicago Tri (The LARGEST triathlon in the world in the very competitive 25-29 mens group). He posted the fasted bike split in his group riding a Trek 1000 with aerobars.

It's funny how we as cyclists (or all athletes for that matter) devote too much time to things that are more fun, but won't improve our times much (i.e. new bikes), but neglect the things that aren't fun, but will imporve our times alot (i.e. more training).
I understand that training is the most important thing by far, but if a frame can save me 30 seconds then that's 30 seconds. In a stage race where the rest of the stages stay together as often happens then that's the race right there. I already train as much as my schedule allows and cycling is really the only thing I spend my disposable income on and I like to ride nice stuff. My crit bike was basically the cheapest thing I could build up because I know it doesn't make a difference (nice wheels though), but it TT's it can (albeit a small one).
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Tri Slow Poke said:
Got it. Thanks. Based off of your information, a few red flag went off:

1. The shop is suggesting a frame that may not be legal for a time trial. The QRs generally have seat tube angles that are too steep for time trials. Local races may let you slide, but you may not be eligible for some others becasue of your bike.

2. The shop doesn't carry all of the bikes that interest you. Unless you have a tight relationship with them, I suggest you look at a shop with other bikes.

Based on your interests, wants, and budget, I suggest you get this bike. I assure you that this ride will not keep you off the podium.

http://www.cervelo.com/bikes.aspx?bike=P2C2008

Someone else mentioned Bikesport's article, but I will post the link:

http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/reviews/2500wars.shtml

Before I finish, I want to give you a suggestion. Go to a mirror, look at your reflection, and repeat the following 20 times:

"A MORE EXPENSIVE FRAME WILL NOT NECESSARILY MAKE ME MORE AERO OR FASTER."

Trust me on this one. I wasted alot of time and money before I understood that.
I already checked with my coach who has fit people already on the QR's and made them UCI legal, no problem there.

I am pretty loyal to the shop and they actually just told me about a customer of there's who is selling a P3C frame for pretty cheap and mentioned that it was a great deal and would have no problem with me going that way. I did see the bike sport article and from what I could tell from it the Cervelo badly beat the QR and was better than the others and the P3C was even better than that, if only be a small amount.

But a more expensive frame could shave seconds in a race.
 

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the frame is never going to make up for lack of training. if the sites say that some frame would have a 15 sec. aero advantage, it doesn't mean it's going to shave 15 seconds off your time.... those are under perfect conditions at a constant, very high, level of usage. if you're just getting into TT the only 15 sec you will gain or lose with any of those bikes will be due to you, not the frame.

don't say you don't have time to train more. it's a competitive sport, natural ability plus training win. basketball players don't have magic shoes that will make them 15% better, and need to buy them because they can spend their extra time tying up some overseas accounts.

*ugh, i guess i'm just a little sore at how much money people in this sport throw at not wanting to just ride their bikes but be a successful athlete.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
tindrum said:
the frame is never going to make up for lack of training. if the sites say that some frame would have a 15 sec. aero advantage, it doesn't mean it's going to shave 15 seconds off your time.... those are under perfect conditions at a constant, very high, level of usage. if you're just getting into TT the only 15 sec you will gain or lose with any of those bikes will be due to you, not the frame.

don't say you don't have time to train more. it's a competitive sport, natural ability plus training win. basketball players don't have magic shoes that will make them 15% better, and need to buy them because they can spend their extra time tying up some overseas accounts.

*ugh, i guess i'm just a little sore at how much money people in this sport throw at not wanting to just ride their bikes but be a successful athlete.
basketball players don't have magic shoes that will make them 15% better
so your saying they would perform the same barefoot. Obviously an extreme example, but a difference nonetheless.

don't say you don't have time to train more
I did not come here to argue about how much time I have to train.

So your saying that the frame makes no difference whatsoever. The 15 seconds was not a number off the cervelo website, just something I made up. Considering a wheel set can save you up to a minute, and a TT frame over a road frame can save up to 4-6 minutes in a 40K, 15 seconds between frames seems reasonable. That is also why I asked if anyone had the data comparing the bikes (actual 3rd party numbers, not ones better than another). I also understand that when I am starting it is going to be about just getting used to the bike, but in 3 months, once I am, I don't want to feel the need to upgrade the bike because I lost 8 seconds in a stage race from the TT (it's happened before to me, though without the TT bike).


I took a look at the P2C and it looked like a great compromise between aero and price. Will have to do some more research on that one.
 

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Given the fact that your body and its aero position is going to be the most important speed prohibitor is going to be you position which will change after spending miles and hours training - so go for a aero bar set up that allows adjustments such as the Oval Concepts range. Of course aero helmets play a huge part so get one that is as near perfect as possible.

Next on the speed kill is the front wheel and before you go and buy a nice front aero it might be an idea to look at Oval's aero fork with a really cool bi-plan cut along the length of the fork guiding the air away from the front wheel I think its a good investment and as important as the front wheel itself.

A three spoke front wheel is supposed to be the fastest but most go for deep profile (50 or 80something) as they can also use it when windy and sounds like a good compromise for a mere second or two.

Next on your list should be the rear wheel - disc is the norm if there is no wind - but having said that many buy a deep profile carbon wheelset (50's or 80's) as it means they can also use it for windy conditions and then they buy a rear disc many they manage to get some spare cash.

Once all the above is sorted then you start looking for a frame and no frame is going to buy you 15 seconds. You want it to be very stiff (ultra stiff is better) with a cut-out on seat tube and a horizontal rear drop out adjustment so that you can get your tyre to within the 3mm UCI rule. If your budget doesn't allow you to buy all the above and then a proper TT frame then look for a stiff alloy road frame with a steep seat tube (75) for starters till you save up for one. Don't worry about it being uncool coz all the seasoned TTers know that its the body position and aero components that make you faster and not the frame. So if you turn up with medioca components and a cool frame you may as well print newbie on your jersey.

If you have the dosh then you may want to hold fire till the new Ridley Dean comes out in autumn - the reason is that its the only production frame I know of that has the Oval bi-plane fork as standard as well as the ability to fit an aero brake (oval) behind the fork - most frames don't have enough room for that. Robbie McEwen was seen on one in the Tour the Romandie and I am sure you will see the frame in Tdf when Cadel & rest of the silence-lotto team take it for a spin.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
toonraid said:
Given the fact that your body and its aero position is going to be the most important speed prohibitor is going to be you position which will change after spending miles and hours training - so go for a aero bar set up that allows adjustments such as the Oval Concepts range. Of course aero helmets play a huge part so get one that is as near perfect as possible.

Next on the speed kill is the front wheel and before you go and buy a nice front aero it might be an idea to look at Oval's aero fork with a really cool bi-plan cut along the length of the fork guiding the air away from the front wheel I think its a good investment and as important as the front wheel itself.

A three spoke front wheel is supposed to be the fastest but most go for deep profile (50 or 80something) as they can also use it when windy and sounds like a good compromise for a mere second or two.

Next on your list should be the rear wheel - disc is the norm if there is no wind - but having said that many buy a deep profile carbon wheelset (50's or 80's) as it means they can also use it for windy conditions and then they buy a rear disc many they manage to get some spare cash.

Once all the above is sorted then you start looking for a frame and no frame is going to buy you 15 seconds. You want it to be very stiff (ultra stiff is better) with a cut-out on seat tube and a horizontal rear drop out adjustment so that you can get your tyre to within the 3mm UCI rule. If your budget doesn't allow you to buy all the above and then a proper TT frame then look for a stiff alloy road frame with a steep seat tube (75) for starters till you save up for one. Don't worry about it being uncool coz all the seasoned TTers know that its the body position and aero components that make you faster and not the frame. So if you turn up with medioca components and a cool frame you may as well print newbie on your jersey.

If you have the dosh then you may want to hold fire till the new Ridley Dean comes out in autumn - the reason is that its the only production frame I know of that has the Oval bi-plane fork as standard as well as the ability to fit an aero brake (oval) behind the fork - most frames don't have enough room for that. Robbie McEwen was seen on one in the Tour the Romandie and I am sure you will see the frame in Tdf when Cadel & rest of the silence-lotto team take it for a spin.
Aero helmet (have to go with our sponsers) check
Let's see aero bar setup that allows for adjustment: check
Aero front wheel (same used for RR): check
Aero rear wheel (same used for RR): check (disc is coming soon)
If I was willing to wait until something new came out that is "supposed" to be better than I would always be waiting for next years bikes. It would probably take me till november/december to get it anyways and season's over by then.

No frame is going to buy me 15 seconds over what course? I'm sure over an ironman it would, but probably not a 20K. Do you have any numbers to support it? That's what I'm still trying to find and no one has been able to answer. I'm sure a 3rd party test has been done comparing frames and it's out there somewhere.
 

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"But a more expensive frame could shave seconds in a race."

Please don't take this as an insult. I truly mean no disrespect. I want you to make the right choice for you. However, I have to ask you: Are you even paying attention to what EVERYONE is telling you? A more expensive frame will not necessarily make you faster!! However, all of your responses to everyone seem to indicate that you think throwing money at a new frame will shave seconds off your time. Have you actually done a time trial before? If so, you would know that the frame doesn't provide the aero benefits per se, but the position the rider can acheive with a frame. A super aerodynamic frame does nothing for you if you have to sit up during the race because of neck and back pain. I P3C becomes nothing more than a road bike if you can't take full breaths in the aero bars.

Another thing you want to think about is cost. Let's say that the same rider rides two different bikes on the same course with the same wheels, etc. The rider finishes 10 seconds faster on frame A vs. frame B. Frame A is $10,000 and B is $5,000. By this logic, you then pay $1,000 per second to capture 10 seconds. I will agree that 10 seconds can be the difference between 1st place and 6th place in a time trial, but is it REALLY worth the extra money? We are all trying to do our best in races, but it's not our full time jobs. I might steer you towards the biggest and best if you're a pro, but you aren't. Like you said, you have other responsibilities and cycling is a hobby. On second thought, you wouldn't ask for advise if you were a pro because your bike choice would be made for you!

With all this said, I have a feeling that you still think that "a more expensive frame could shave seconds in a race". By that logic, why stop at a P3C? The new Cannondale tt bikes are $10,0000. Why stop there? Javelin can make you a custom tt bike with wind tunnel testing for $25,000. In fact, Trek made Lance a custom tt bike that cost them $250,000!! The funny thing is that Lance ended up not fiding it in the Tour because......drumroll please......the more expensive frame wasn't faster!

I being sarcastic, but I hope you get the point. I've seen too many people either buy the wrong frame for them (present company included) or become frozen by indecision and not buy anything. Buy what fits you and what you can afford, train as much as your schedule allows, and HAVE FUN!

P.S. You may want to do some independent research on QR. I'm still not convinced that they are UCI legal. They could be, but make sure.
 
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