TT bikes VS Aero Road bikes
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  1. #1
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    TT bikes VS Aero Road bikes

    In the development of advanced design for road bikes becoming more aero such as; Treks' Madone, Kestrel, Specialzed, Cervelo, Aegis, etc etc I question if the value of TT bikes are begining to drop even more. With the exception of powerful TTers who can pose excellent times for flat or rolling courses for the rest of us (especially those whose climbing ability out weighs crit like and flat cruising power) it seems wasteful. Steve Hed and John Cobb both agree in the attempt to better your time the purchase order for aero equipment registers an aero frame as last;

    Position-aerobars-body profile-wheels-frame

    Opinions? I was looking at my bike tonight and certainly the appeal of TT bikes design alone is almost worth owning one but despite my wanting one I would rather have an extra aero road bike with aero bars and wheels on it then a TT bike. That way of if I crash and ruin the frame I have a back up. These days you can get a seat angle almost to any degree with certain seat posts.

    Seconds seperate cat 4s and 5s as well as cat 1s and 2s from 2nd 3rd and 10th place in a TT. Every second counts as the expression becomes more and more famous. It seems like a more sound investment to buy a second aero road bike with some Vison or Hed bars rather then buy a TT frame. The resale alone makes more sense for those who like to trade bikes alot...of which I do not.

    What do you think?

  2. #2

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    But they're inherently different

    If by TT bike, you mean a road bike geometry (72-73 degree seatpost), then you're probably right. But if you're thinking more of a tri bike (78 degree seatpost), then they're quite different.

    While it's true that you can change the seatpost to create a steeper angle, the rear wheel will not be under you. In other words, the chainstays on a road bike are going to be too long to handle well with the rider on an artificially steepened seat angle. If you leave the seat angle as is and just put on areo bars, the reach to the areo bars will be too long.

    There's a pretty thorough article at slowtwitch.com on triathlon geometry.

    http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadin...r/bikefit.html

  3. #3
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    when seconds count...

    Quote Originally Posted by CARBON110
    In the development of advanced design for road bikes becoming more aero such as; Treks' Madone, Kestrel, Specialzed, Cervelo, Aegis, etc etc I question if the value of TT bikes are begining to drop even more. With the exception of powerful TTers who can pose excellent times for flat or rolling courses for the rest of us (especially those whose climbing ability out weighs crit like and flat cruising power) it seems wasteful. Steve Hed and John Cobb both agree in the attempt to better your time the purchase order for aero equipment registers an aero frame as last;

    Position-aerobars-body profile-wheels-frame

    Opinions? I was looking at my bike tonight and certainly the appeal of TT bikes design alone is almost worth owning one but despite my wanting one I would rather have an extra aero road bike with aero bars and wheels on it then a TT bike. That way of if I crash and ruin the frame I have a back up. These days you can get a seat angle almost to any degree with certain seat posts.

    Seconds seperate cat 4s and 5s as well as cat 1s and 2s from 2nd 3rd and 10th place in a TT. Every second counts as the expression becomes more and more famous. It seems like a more sound investment to buy a second aero road bike with some Vison or Hed bars rather then buy a TT frame. The resale alone makes more sense for those who like to trade bikes alot...of which I do not.

    What do you think?
    ... true that the lion's share of aero drag is induced by the rider's body and his/her position on the bike...

    ... true that the term "aero" is rather loosely used with only a relatively small number of makes/models actually exhibiting true aero characteristics...

    ... true that after an efficient and aero position is attained, aside from aero wheels (over specific terrain), most other interventions will only show a modest gain over all but the longest distances (>60K) for most riders...

    ... depending on the frame geometries, some true aero frames occupy a rarified market niche and their resale value may depend on regional demographics for said's usage... I've been fortunate enuff to be able to experiment with both modified road and true aero (tri geometry) frames, but have come to no definitive conclusion (probably largely based on my own lack of abilities... some serious local hammers can best me on less than "aero" frames and wheels)...

    ... Traditional wisdom suggests that for most folks, as you've mentioned, that depending on the terrain, distances and type of race, a road or modified road frame (perhaps aero bars) with a decent set of venue specific hoops will serve most of their purposes... if the budget allows, then you might want to... indulge...

    ... flatland boogie machines... with true aero profile tubing and steepish seattube angles...

    ... technical course machine (note traditional drops/STI and lack of shifters on aeros) with "aero" tubeset and traditional road geometry...

  4. #4
    hi, I'm Larry
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    Like the others are saying Geometry is the big difference

    Triatholon / TT machines have steep seat tubes and road bikes a much more relaxed seat tube. The Triatholon vs. TT bikes are diverging now as well. The UCI International road racing rules are now mandating that the nose of the seat is an inch or two behind the BB. In a few years USCF (road racing rules for US races) will be adopting the UCI rules. Most of the road bike manufactures are coming out with UCI legal bikes that may not be as fast of some of the older designs.

    Can't answer the question of what's best for you. You can get a road frame set up to be extreamly close to being as aero as a TT or Triatholon machine. You can also get a set forward seat post to get close to a TT or Triatholon geometry and would be fine for several TT a year and some TT training. If you want to do Triatholons or spend most of your time on the TT machine I would get a real Triatholon machine.

    I've been toying with the idea of getting a TT machine. I ride solo a lot and like blasting down the road. If I get one I will probably get a used TT machine that is now UCI illegal. Some good deals can be found on these and they just look fast. Once the USCF rules change in a few years I will have and excuse to get a different bike.
    Last edited by bimini; 04-12-2004 at 04:27 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CARBON110
    \

    Seconds seperate cat 4s and 5s as well as cat 1s and 2s from 2nd 3rd and 10th place in a TT.
    Carbon, round here (Nor Cal/NV) that's not SO true at least in the lower cats, where there'll be the random mutants who can put more than a minute or two into the field on less than aero-optimized bikes. In the end it is the motor after all.

    Not being one of those, I have recently built up a dedicated TT bike from a traditional road frame, adding cowhorns, aero bars, bar end shifters, etc. Aero bars are the single biggest aero investment you can make, followed by aero wheels. After that, the $ per second ratio starts getting really pricey. The frame just isn't going to make that much difference. Note too that LA (at least last year) was riding on a bike with a more traditional seattube angle, so I don't think you are too off base in wondering about road geometry.

    For my $$$, the best thing you can do after aero bars (and before wheels) to improve your TT time is to set up a dedicated TT bike (whether with a steep or traditional ST angle) and PRACTICE RIDING IN THE POSITION. If you only ride your TT bike once in a while you aren't going to be used to making power in the position, and the position is always going to feel different than your roadie, regardless of the ST angle. Learning to ride the sucker is free too!

  6. #6
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    Insights

    You have all made very good points. I have my own opinions and was interested in how you all feel. Certainly, in my perception, if you are a capable of crushing the competition and perfecting ANY skill in bike racing whether it be climbing, sprinting for crit wins or TTing you should explore and exhaust every avenue to perfect your talent. Most of us have to work our asses off just to be good much less great at competition.

    So, in my view I agree entirely. The cost of a TT bike despite its appealing aesthetics and the desire for many of us to be able to use one and perform just isn't practical UNLESS you do alot of TTs. I do alot of TTs but all but maybe 2 are uphill and this negates the TT frame anyway. The others are flat and despite my constant practice,weight lifting, flat power training and want I am still 2 minutes behind first place in a 12 mile rolling TT course. If its uphill, well then I am all there baby!

    Besides the position never was very comfortable but it still appeals to me greatly to try and be good at it

  7. #7
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    If you have to get a second frame for this, might as well get a TT frame. Seeing it should last a while, might as well get something that puts you in the right position without having to do something wacky with your post and saddle.

    Of course the other element is getting out and riding it.

    I just went through this, and finally decided to bike the bullet and order a Cannondale TT frame and fork. I will splurge on a nice TT bar, and the rest of the bike will be leftovers or mid-range parts. Eventually I will get some nice areo wheels to go with it. I liked having one fixed position to train in and get used to.

    Plus my main ride has a Cinelli Ram carbon bar/sem combo- so no aero bars for that bike.
    Dr. Cox: Lady, people aren't chocolates. Do you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard fillings. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine.

  8. #8

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    With Time Trialing; aerodynamics is extremly importatant. However, not all of us have the money to afford a dedicated TT bike. After aero bars, the next biggest time saver is getting a time trial helmet. If you are racing at a amateur level the Louis Garneau Prologue is your only option, if your allowed to use farings your options greatly expand, but either way a time trial helmet can save you almost 30 sec durring a 40km (1hr) time Trial. For under $100 you can get a good time trial suit, which can save almost 15 sec over 40km. Another cheap way to improve your aero set up is to get shoe covers these can save between 5-10 sec and for a cheap pair will run you less than $10. If you have arround $1200 you can get yourself a godo time trial disc which saves almost a minute over 40km, depends at what level your planning to race but this will definately save you some time.
    Even After all this the cheapest and most effective thing you can do to improve you time trialing is to improve you position. tilt the nose of your saddle slightly down to rock you hips forward, and this should enable you to flatten out your back, which will place your body in the most aero position possible without dishing out the coin for wind tunnel testing. Finially focus on keeping your uperbody stationary. If you can master this your time trial will improve dramatically and will save you alot of money

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by _andrew_
    ... if your allowed to use farings your options greatly expand,...
    who's allowed to use head fairings?

  10. #10

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    Uhhhhhh please explain this to me. Whats the difference, the TT bikes look so cool, are you basically just sitting farther forward and higher up?

    Kyle

  11. #11

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    Cheapest way to get faster

    Quote Originally Posted by _andrew_
    With Time Trialing; aerodynamics is extremly importatant. However, not all of us have the money to afford a dedicated TT bike. After aero bars, the next biggest time saver is getting a time trial helmet. If you are racing at a amateur level the Louis Garneau Prologue is your only option, if your allowed to use farings your options greatly expand, but either way a time trial helmet can save you almost 30 sec durring a 40km (1hr) time Trial. For under $100 you can get a good time trial suit, which can save almost 15 sec over 40km. Another cheap way to improve your aero set up is to get shoe covers these can save between 5-10 sec and for a cheap pair will run you less than $10. If you have arround $1200 you can get yourself a godo time trial disc which saves almost a minute over 40km, depends at what level your planning to race but this will definately save you some time.
    Even After all this the cheapest and most effective thing you can do to improve you time trialing is to improve you position. tilt the nose of your saddle slightly down to rock you hips forward, and this should enable you to flatten out your back, which will place your body in the most aero position possible without dishing out the coin for wind tunnel testing. Finially focus on keeping your uperbody stationary. If you can master this your time trial will improve dramatically and will save you alot of money
    From what I've read, recent wind tunnel testing shows that you actually get more benefit from being narrow rather than low. Narrow means keeping your elbows in and your hands in front of your body. Areo bars do this by getting your elbows in near the stem. Of course, low and narrow is better than high and narrow. But high and narrow beats low and wide.
    Everytime I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. -- H.G. Wells

  12. #12
    JFR
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coolhand
    I just went through this, and finally decided to bike the bullet...
    "BIKE the bullet"

    Don’t know if that was intentional or a Freudian slip... but it got a smile outa me... a smile I needed... thanks.
    Last edited by JFR; 05-04-2004 at 12:23 PM. Reason: typo

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akirasho
    ... true that the lion's share of aero drag is induced by the rider's body and his/her position on the bike...

    ... true that the term "aero" is rather loosely used with only a relatively small number of makes/models actually exhibiting true aero characteristics...

    ... true that after an efficient and aero position is attained, aside from aero wheels (over specific terrain), most other interventions will only show a modest gain over all but the longest distances (>60K) for most riders...

    ... depending on the frame geometries, some true aero frames occupy a rarified market niche and their resale value may depend on regional demographics for said's usage... I've been fortunate enuff to be able to experiment with both modified road and true aero (tri geometry) frames, but have come to no definitive conclusion (probably largely based on my own lack of abilities... some serious local hammers can best me on less than "aero" frames and wheels)...

    ... Traditional wisdom suggests that for most folks, as you've mentioned, that depending on the terrain, distances and type of race, a road or modified road frame (perhaps aero bars) with a decent set of venue specific hoops will serve most of their purposes... if the budget allows, then you might want to... indulge...

    ... flatland boogie machines... with true aero profile tubing and steepish seattube angles...

    ... technical course machine (note traditional drops/STI and lack of shifters on aeros) with "aero" tubeset and traditional road geometry...


    Wow! That GT doesn't even have a seat tube!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    who's allowed to use head fairings?
    It depends on who the governing body is. It used to be almost anybody in europe and in north america only pro's in certain situations, however with the UCI's new helmet regulations fairings have been banned, and now pros a scrambeling to have new UCI legal helmets designed. Simple answer presently no-one

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by lc21998
    From what I've read, recent wind tunnel testing shows that you actually get more benefit from being narrow rather than low. Narrow means keeping your elbows in and your hands in front of your body. Areo bars do this by getting your elbows in near the stem. Of course, low and narrow is better than high and narrow. But high and narrow beats low and wide.
    forgot to mention that, having a narrow figure closes the amount of air that can get caught up in the riders chest, however this does have its disadvanteges as you are closing up your chest and thus restricting you breathing so it really comes down to finding the perfect medium but from pure aerodynamics narrower is faster

  16. #16
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    ... oh, it's got a seatpost... but it completely matches the aero profile of the seat tube and is proprietary. While it looks one piece... it's not... and I'm fortunate that when set at it's lowest point, it's perfect for my leg length! The P2K also uses a proprietary post... but of a more recognizable... almost conventional design.

    The overall profile of the GT is no longer UCI legal... but the seatpost, conforms...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFR
    "BIKE the bullet"

    Don’t know if that was intentional or a Freudian slip... but it got a smile outa me... a smile I needed... thanks.
    Oops! Heh- the TT frame is coming this week actually. I can't wait to start building it up. "Bike the bullet" sounds like some of the group rides I have been on lately. . .


  18. #18

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    UCI Rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Akirasho
    ... oh, it's got a seatpost... but it completely matches the aero profile of the seat tube and is proprietary. While it looks one piece... it's not... and I'm fortunate that when set at it's lowest point, it's perfect for my leg length! The P2K also uses a proprietary post... but of a more recognizable... almost conventional design.

    The overall profile of the GT is no longer UCI legal... but the seatpost, conforms...


    so, why is the GT in the above pic not UCI legal?

  19. #19
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    UCI reg 1.3.020 and 1.3.021

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky2
    so, why is the GT in the above pic not UCI legal?
    1.3.021 For individual time trials and time trials for teams of up to four riders, and for track races, the elements of the bicycle frame may be tubular or solid, assembled or cast in a single piece in any form (including arches, cradles, beams or any other). These elements, including the bottom bracket shell, shall fit within a template of the “triangular form” defined in article 1.3.020

    http://www.uci.ch/imgArchive/AboutUCI/A1gene04.pdf (scroll down to about page 54)

    ... essentially, the downtube and seat tube of the GT are too broad (greater than 80mm) under new UCI (since 2000) regulations.

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