How to improve bike handling for TT riding

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wintershade
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Location: San Francisco, CA

by wintershade

Hi -- Simple question. How do I improve my bike handling skills, particularly in aerobars for TT riding. Despite riding an Enve 5 front wheel (generally regarded as "tame" for it's depth in crosswinds) and a Disc in rear, I find I'm just very nervious riding in aero in 1) moderate+ cross winds and 2) a higher speeds, especailly in crosswinds. I've made some fit changes to my bike (widening pads, which has helped at expense of aero), but it's not enough. I'm consisently racing 10%+ below my power targets because I'm holding back due to fear of crashing and/or sitting up on the base bars.

One thing I considered was getting a mountain bike, and riding that all winter instead of spending it on the trainer.... but really, I'm at a loss....

jlok
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by jlok

I think you need to power through crosswind instead of holding back. Also, maybe stronger core muscles to allow more stability from saddle.
Litespeed T1sl Disc / BMC TM02 < Giant Propel Advanced SL Disc 1 < Propel Adv < TCR Adv SL Disc < KTM Revelator Sky < CAAD 12 Disc < Domane S Disc < Alize < CAAD 10

by Weenie


Jugi
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by Jugi

Could you post a side profile picture of your riding position please?

Js2
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by Js2

Is it simply because you're on a tt bike and the way it handles is very different than a regular road bike? and how long have you been riding the tt bike. My friend that is a good mtb'er also said tt bike handling in the aero position is really weird.

mentok
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Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:58 am

by mentok

Agree to those above that say that it's just a TT thing. I've seen road bikes with clip-ons that handled kinda funny due to position, but it's pretty rare. TT bikes just feel different.

Slim posibility that you're running the front tyre too soft, but unlikely to be a real problem. The weight split is considerably different, but you'd have to be running super soft for this to be an issue.

So the answer is probably aclimatisation to develop confidence. Do more hours on the TT bike both on the turbo and on the road to get more comfort and confidence. On the turbo you'll just get more used to the position so it's less unfamiliar on the road. On the road you're actively practicing. Use shallow training wheels if you feel you need to in order to minimize the impact of cross winds.

Nefarious86
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by Nefarious86

Step 1: Shallow alloy wheels.

Step 2: Power thorough winds rather than backing off.

Step 3: Lots of hours. Image

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jcrr
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by jcrr

Echoing what has been said- the specificity of TTing requires considerable time to develop comfort with all the things that come with TTing, in order to go full gas.

A couple other thoughts-
*Spend time riding with a rear disc to get familiar controlling it as a sail. A windy lonely country-side road may be a good place.
*Depending on your weight, position, etc, you *may* be better off with a mid section wheel on the front that you feel comfortable with. The idea here is to have the side windloads be +/- balanced front & back. Too deep and the front will be pushed harder than the rear. Too shallow, viceversa. Works for some, not all, and again, lots of hours.
"If it ain't broken, it could be lighter"

CarlosFerreiro
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Location: Shetland, Scotland

by CarlosFerreiro

Don't fight the bike to hold it straight when a gust hits - allow the wind to push you off line, just smooth out the path a bit and then ease it back again gradually.

Multebear
Posts: 1320
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 10:11 pm

by Multebear

I´d spend a lot more time on the TT bike. You don´t even need to get that much time in the aero bars. Do a lot of training in the bull horns. It's all about learning how the bike handles. TT bikes tend to handle slow since they are meant for riding at hight speed, where you don´t want fast and twitchy handling. It takes time to feel comfortable with that kind of handling. But do a lot of regular rides in the bullhorns in some semi technichal places, where you learn to feel confident in how the bike handles. I´m pretty sure this will give you more confidense when you´re riding in the aero bars as well, since it´s all about feeling confidence in the bike in general.

That said, a larger size of balls are needed riding fast without being able to reach for the brakes. That´s just part of TT´ing.

Multebear
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by Multebear

Nefarious86 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:33 am
Image
That chain seems a bit on the shorter side?

RocketRacing
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by RocketRacing

If you look at kona, most of the tri riders do not have discs. It is a course known for wind btw.

I say drop the rear disc for now, and train with something in the 50-60 range.

I am new to it also, but my bike came with reynolds 58/62’s so i think it is a good starter set. I live in an area with wind most of the time. I will try a rear disc, but onlt when i am more comfortable: just temember that in some conditions, very few to none of the pros ride discs/really deep rims.
wintershade wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:35 pm
Hi -- Simple question. How do I improve my bike handling skills, particularly in aerobars for TT riding. Despite riding an Enve 5 front wheel (generally regarded as "tame" for it's depth in crosswinds) and a Disc in rear, I find I'm just very nervious riding in aero in 1) moderate+ cross winds and 2) a higher speeds, especailly in crosswinds. I've made some fit changes to my bike (widening pads, which has helped at expense of aero), but it's not enough. I'm consisently racing 10%+ below my power targets because I'm holding back due to fear of crashing and/or sitting up on the base bars.

One thing I considered was getting a mountain bike, and riding that all winter instead of spending it on the trainer.... but really, I'm at a loss....

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jcrr
Posts: 133
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Location: Seattle, WA

by jcrr

RocketRacing wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:48 am
If you look at kona, most of the tri riders do not have discs. It is a course known for wind btw.

I say drop the rear disc for now, and train with something in the 50-60 range.

I am new to it also, but my bike came with reynolds 58/62’s so i think it is a good starter set. I live in an area with wind most of the time. I will try a rear disc, but onlt when i am more comfortable: just temember that in some conditions, very few to none of the pros ride discs/really deep rims.
wintershade wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:35 pm
Hi -- Simple question. How do I improve my bike handling skills, particularly in aerobars for TT riding. Despite riding an Enve 5 front wheel (generally regarded as "tame" for it's depth in crosswinds) and a Disc in rear, I find I'm just very nervious riding in aero in 1) moderate+ cross winds and 2) a higher speeds, especailly in crosswinds. I've made some fit changes to my bike (widening pads, which has helped at expense of aero), but it's not enough. I'm consisently racing 10%+ below my power targets because I'm holding back due to fear of crashing and/or sitting up on the base bars.

One thing I considered was getting a mountain bike, and riding that all winter instead of spending it on the trainer.... but really, I'm at a loss....
Pros (and amateurs) do not get a choice at Kona. Discs are NOT allowed at the IM world champs. :smartass:

I'm not criticizing your choice of wheels or approach, but if one wants to go full-gas at proper TTs, one needs to train w a disc in order to maximize speed.
"If it ain't broken, it could be lighter"

Nefarious86
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by Nefarious86

Multebear wrote:
Nefarious86 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:33 am
Image
That chain seems a bit on the shorter side?
Its fine, 56/42 osymetric makes chain sizing a bit more snug than usual. Still plenty of swing left in the mech and is never ridden with that much cross on the chain as it rubs pretty horribly on the last 3 sprockets. I was just lazy that day as I rolled into the Carpark and crossed it knowing I'd swap it to the Little ring before it went into the car.

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RocketRacing
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by RocketRacing

jcrr wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:13 am

Pros (and amateurs) do not get a choice at Kona. Discs are NOT allowed at the IM world champs. :smartass:

I'm not criticizing your choice of wheels or approach, but if one wants to go full-gas at proper TTs, one needs to train w a disc in order to maximize speed.
Did not note the kona rule. IT makes sense though. I suspect they are protecting the age groupers from themselves given the winds.

My wheels were not as much as a choice, as what came with the bike. I really like them, and they are like lambs in the wind. I am very comfortable going into and out of the aero bars, so I am ready for a disc. After that will come a deeper front wheel.

My advice for any new nervous rider is as follows:
- get comfortable gettign in and out fo the drops smoothly and quickly.
- get comfortable in cross winds in the aero position. If you are really getting blown around, you may just need to run a shallower front wheel. They are the source of most problems, not the rear. Discs are said to have minimal effect (I would not know as I have yet to run one, but the slowtwitchers swear by them).
- if you are a light rider, you will just be more prone to being blown around due to physics. Get as aero as possible, and accept that you may need to have less agressive wheels vs heavier riders, or be willign to live with more risk.
- long low bikes may have marginally less issue with side forces.
- don;t make sudden changes/corrections if you get blown. Work with it and gradually correct.
- give yourself more clearance to the side of the road.
- get a garmin radar. trust me. You want as much info as you can get for training.
- the faster you ride, the lower the effective wind angles you see (stability increases). Power through it.

I will share what little wisdom I have, as my FElt IA disc is new to me as of about 3 weeks, and I have maybe 500k on it (58/62mm wheels). I am only 60kg. I was fully expecting to be blown around/over (in aero and persuit bar position). I have actually found the bike to be far more stable in winds vs my FElt F series standard road bike with 56mm aero wheels. I was shocked given the deep airfoils. I fully expected massive side forces. I do not know what is in my head, and what is due to more weight on the front wheel... or the front wheel itself, but it is what it is. My theory is that there is less sudden air detatchment due to the deeper airfoils keeping air attached longer, and more easily recapturing it in wind gusts. Side force is not the problem when you are going fast... rather sudden violent loss of air attachment along the various airfoils (resulting in sudden changes in side forces). I think that these are things that laminar flow wind tunnels to not quite model.

my other counterintuative experience was that non aero wheels acted worse in cross winds than aero wheels. Again, I think for similar reasons to why my tri bike is more stable in cross winds than my road bike.

by Weenie


wintershade
Posts: 242
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:12 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

by wintershade

RocketRacing wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:45 am
My advice for any new nervous rider is as follows:
- get comfortable gettign in and out fo the drops smoothly and quickly.
- get comfortable in cross winds in the aero position. If you are really getting blown around, you may just need to run a shallower front wheel. They are the source of most problems, not the rear. Discs are said to have minimal effect (I would not know as I have yet to run one, but the slowtwitchers swear by them).
- if you are a light rider, you will just be more prone to being blown around due to physics. Get as aero as possible, and accept that you may need to have less agressive wheels vs heavier riders, or be willign to live with more risk.
- long low bikes may have marginally less issue with side forces.
- don;t make sudden changes/corrections if you get blown. Work with it and gradually correct.
- give yourself more clearance to the side of the road.
- get a garmin radar. trust me. You want as much info as you can get for training.
- the faster you ride, the lower the effective wind angles you see (stability increases). Power through it.
This is some good advice. Thanks for that. Especially your comment on powering through the wind. It's kind of counterintuitive to go harder/faster when you're getting blown around, but it really helps. Slowing down or soft-pedaling in the wind (which is my natural instinct) just results in getting more thrashed about. It reminds me of docking a sailboat, sometimes to maneuver you just need to give it more throttle.

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