As road racers, most of our racing is done on... well, a road bike. and I already have a pretty nice road bike I like.
BUT the occasional stage race has a TT, and of course you have our national TT races. so there will be a couple of occasions a year where you'd want to pull out a TT bike. maybe the odd triathlon, too. well of course you could slap some clip ons onto the road bike, but it isn't ideal.
so, my question to you road racers is: what is your TT bike? I don't see the merit in laying down a huge wad of cash on a superbike ( say, an S-works Shiv, scott plasma premium, Giant trinity, Cannondale Slice RS, cervelo P5, etc.) that gets taken out probably 15-20 times a year ( including the training rides.) . but we do know that TT is one area where you can buy free speed.
anyone come across a reasonale solution for this? the previous generation of bikes ( cerveo P3, Cannondale slice, plasma 2,) is where I probably feel the value is at now. they are aero with data to back it up and they're of course alot cheaper now. you could set it up with simple parts like rival or 105 ( I know, I know, this is weigh weenies, but hey, economics trumps all.) and have a pretty good TT weapon.
or... go OEM?
If you're a good rider, you'll get just about as good a time on a P3 or even a Canyon Speedmax AL. Slap a pair of TriRig brakes on it, and a nice aerobar instead of the aluminium ones fitted.
I'd say that a good time trial is more about the right position on your bike, rather than the bike. Maybe you should spend some of the saved money on a bikefit to optimize your position on the bike.
Twitter & Instagram - @mathiasbregnhoj
Weight isn't the be all of a TT rig, neither is the aero of the frame itself. (OK, it makes a difference, but most of the drag comes from the blob sat on the saddle, get that right and you are almost there.)
Half way decent set of wheels and kit/drivetrain off an older/spare bike and you'll be set.
I'm currently (and slowly) building up a speedmax AL F+F that a mate failed miserably to sell before he moved (downsized).
Total spend so far is a bit of skin off my knuckles where a bolt had seized. I reckon i'll top out at under €250. Already had an almost complete D-A 9 drivetrain, saddle, brakes, wheels in the house, it all works fine, just a bit tatty round the edges. All i'll need to actually buy is the cockpit stuff, base bar, extensions, shifters and brake levers.
I'm sure if you did a bit of a trawl of your various boxes of kit, you could find most of the bits you need. (or get a cheap groupset in last years colours from the net)
Probably get a decent enough frame from ebay or your local tri forumites.
If you want to put something together for minimal expense/max return - the old Ally Cervelo P2 (aka P1, P2SL, P2k) is a solid frame that is fast and well sized. Or the carbon P2.
Of new bikes the Fuji Norcom Straight is looking very impressive as the lowest model is the same frame shaping as the top one. I suspect that will be my leading recommendation this season as a UCI legal TT bike that doesn't cost the earth. Unfortunately it has a TTV front brake which will not be to everyones liking but the indications are that it is a fast bike. Or for a bit more money the new Trek Speed Concept 7.5 - superbike aero at a much better price.
For a savings of slightly under 5s in a 40km TT the Tririg brakes really don't make sense until you're down to shaving off the last few seconds (poor ROI). And if you're doing that you really should be on a superbike (likely with integrated calipers) as they make a lot more difference than that when compared to the P3 generation bikes.
Getting good bars is a key part of the equipment picture - which is a problem as there aren't any slick aftermarket bars at a reasonable pricepoint. Which is part of what makes the Speed Concept 7.5 as it has the mono bar.
Position should drive all of the above decisions. Your choice of frame will dictate whether you need high or low stack bars (or vice versa). Be prepared to consider the Adamo saddle as part of getting into a good UCI legal position (depending on how tall you are), or maybe Fi'zi:k Ares/Bontrager Hilo. If you can adopt a slick position and generate good power that way you will fast regardless of what you're riding. Though choosing good kit will make you that little bit faster...
My observation is that despite good blob's aero (helmet, skinsuit, attachment of numbers, ...) the bike does make a difference or rather a well selected TT bike does allow for much better aero position of the blob plus it has its own aero advantages. So the geometry of the bike, especially the new superbikes without standard stem, is important. TT is not a long distance affair so comfort is not highest on my priority list but the highest power and most aero position is. TT bikes are also cool looking so aesthetics might play a role too. Other factors might be: what disc wheels will it accept (some frames have issues with wider disks like Super-9), does it have aero positioned brakes which don't catch the chain and are not a pain in the .... to adjust\service (last moment wheel changes can be advantageous), cable routing - electronic shifting is a plus in TT IMHO, proprietary or any bars, stiff BB, ...
Racing and Training Cycling Tires
The biggest challenge with using a road bike for TT's is getting enough saddle-pad drop and the slack seat tube angle. Non glamorous items like a Profile Design Fast Forward seatpost and adjustable stem can get you "close".
Spend money on the skinsuit, helmet, rear wheel cover and position (fitting etc). The cost/performance ratio for the sexy superbike and wheels is not very good in comparison.
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