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vo2max

Road bike v Time trial bike

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Just wondering if there is a huge difference between a road bike and time trial bike.  I currently have an old road bike and considering getting a new road bike or a time trial bike.  Looking to do some 1/2 ironman length events.

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8 hours ago, IronmanFoz said:

TT bike by a long shot. Unless your some sort of semi pro cyclist.

I don't know of this as true as it used to be with road bikes like Cervelo S5, Specialized Venge Vias, and so on. These new aero road bikes are very slippery compared to an ordinary round tubed road bike. The difference between my Venge and my Tarmac felt like chalk and cheese. The venge was great for long solo breakaways, it was so good I didn't have to train anymore :lol: which didn't work so well on hills, but I could get there with a good head start. It really felt as good as my TT bike speed wise and was more comfortable for hills. I'd say the TT bike was faster on a flat course on hilly courses not for me, though for really dedicated TT bike trainers I've seen them go up hills down in their bars like a diesel and look like they were comfortable.

Depends how many tris you plan on for the future and also if you find a TT bike comfortable. It takes some getting used staying down in the bars, if you are always getting up to stretch an aero road bike might be better. I think there have been a few studies and I can't remember the numbers but I think it was something like you need to be down in aero position at least 90% of the time to get the real advantage. I could do it for Olympic distance and just manage half IM but for a full IM I found it more challenging. 

Just some things to think about. Maybe hire/borrow a TT fitted to you and give it a try for a couple of weeks. Or just have 2 bikes, more is always better.

 

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TT bike, unless you intend to use it for city commuting as well as racing. Then buy both.

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I went through this process last year, was using an old road bike and getting into the tris. I decided on a new tri bike. I love to ride my tri bike and do the majority of my riding on it.

But now I want to upgrade the road bike, Bikes are so much better now

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11 hours ago, vo2max said:

Just wondering if there is a huge difference between a road bike and time trial bike.  I currently have an old road bike and considering getting a new road bike or a time trial bike.  Looking to do some 1/2 ironman length events.

It depends mostly on:

i. whether you are looking to simply add clip on aero bars onto your standard road bike bars, or replace the road bike bars with a TT specific bar set up, and

ii. the type of tubing design on your road bike.

Using TT bar set up will be much more aerodynamic than clips-ons and it also enables gear changes while staying in an aero position and for many modern road frames with aerodynamically designed tubes, the difference with a dedicated TT bike will be relatively small (if fitting is done well). But if you are talking about adding clip-ons and/or a round tubed frame, then it will be slower than a dedicated TT bike.

Whether that speed difference matters though depends entirely on your objectives. If it's to participate and enjoy racing and have fun, then it's no big deal. Get out there and have fun and save some money for other more important things in life.

If you really need to find those precious minutes and seconds in order to qualify for higher honours, get a contract, make a living etc, then it will matter a great deal more. Many are somewhere in between and simply like to be as quick as they can be. How important that is is individually variable.

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Most of your riding will be done in training, so how do you train?  If you ride with others or are a member of a cycle club, then I'd say get an aero road bike as you can't bunch ride tri bikes (well, I have seen some people do it, but I think it's stupid dangerous).  If you plan to do all your training by yourself, then get the tri bike...

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If you are of the 1 bike crowd, then a aero road bike is the way to go.

I have a Felt AR, these tested more aero than the Felt DA at the time (frame only I think). I just have mine with clip ons as not at the fast end.

With Di2 get a 7 port box (not standard 5 port), then you can run shifting from the clip ons. If you get more serious then swapping out standard bars for a tri bar is not hard, especially with Di2. just have to do the brakes.

If you are into technology you can get an aero road with disk brakes, which is the way to go.

 

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Not a comment on which one is "better", but at 2018 Port Mac 70.3 I would estimate between a quarter and a third of all the bikes were road bikes - so even at a relatively big race like that you won't stand out from the crowd too much on a road bike.

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I race on a TT bike, but train 50/50 on my roadie and TT bike. I love my roadie especially up in the hills and ended up sticking some mini ITU bars on it.  It goes OK.  Not as quick as my TT, but it would be fine for racing.

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A good TT bike with a steep seat angle (78+ degrees) opens up the angle of the hips (ie  your knee wont hit your stomach as much as on a road bike) enabling either more comfortable position for a given aero position or more aero for a given comfort level, ie its all about comfort (being able to stay in the aero position for a long time) and speed.

But, more importantly - no matter what anyone else says - you really do look like a dork if you are TT'ing on a road bike :) 

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I remember asking the same question... turns out you end up getting a TT bike and wondering why you ever asked the question :)

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11 minutes ago, Pete said:

But, more importantly - no matter what anyone else says - you really do look like a dork if you are TT'ing on a road bike

But likewise you look like a dick on a TT bike in a large group ride. 

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IMHO, it depends on the use of the bike (training / racing / commuting), the level of investment you have for the sport (how much cash you want to throw) and your level of flexibility. 

I have used a road bike with a TT set-up for the past 15 years (Specialized Allex Pro, then the Litespeed Archon) and it seems to do the trick. I now have a Litespeed Blade and find that it's a quicker straight-line, but doesn't give me that relaxed comfort that I need to run off the bike well. Good cyclists could out-TT me on a road bike and that is through training that the bike alone won't cure.

Agreed, you do look like a dick on a TT bike in a large group ride!

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