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Time trial bike V road race bike

I currently ride a Cannondale road bike for my triathlons, what are the pro's and con's of purchasing a time trial bike just for triathlon races?



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    I don't know, since I've never had two bikes at once. However, I think a major con would be that the racer wouldn't be used to his time trial bike. The major pro is that the race bike would be kept in better condition.
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    PC67PC67 Posts: 101
    I'm facing a similar dilemma.

    I'm turning 40 soon and my wife has promised to get me a bike of my choice (within a budget, approx. a grand).

    I'm torn between just upgrading my road bike (I'm currently using a Saracen Sestriere 2005 which I actually really like) and getting a TT bike.

    Will performance really improve just by upgrading the bike? Part of me only wants the upgrade for the "snob" factor of having a better branded bike, which is a bit sad. The old Saracen does actually work quite well and is as quiet and smooth as anything. But it sure as hell isn't cool!

    Other things being equal, would upgrading my bike improve performance over 40km?

    Does a TT bike really offer potential speed gains over a road bike over 40km?

    Would I look like a tool cycling a TT bike on my occasional 2-3 hour spins out to the Hampshire Downs? (I expect yes).

    Much as I'd love to be racking up a TT bike on race day I expect just getting a better road bike is the best otion. Maybe keeping the Saracen and getting the TT bike.

    Which TT bikes, if any, are good at close to £1,000?
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    pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    tricky one to answer this as it depends on certain aspects of your race. By far the biggest factor is whats the race circuit like? If its nice and flat(ish), and relativley straight like most tri circuits then a tri / TT bike is generally faster. However if the circuit is more technical and hilly then a racer with some tri bars is generally the better option. Im fortunate enough to have the choice of both, but nearly always train on my racer as its a much cheaper bike! I do get out sometimes on the TT but i would not want to train on it a lot, as any dings / dents will be expensive!!!!!

    With regards to upgrades for a current bike, my racer is a cheap carrera valour. I upgraded it with new wheels, ultegra running gear and tri bars, and to be honest im clocking speeds almost on par with my full carbon TT bike!!! So the difference is not vast - basically i guess it depends on how much spare cash you have sloshing around. My personal opinion is by the "head" i would go with upgraded racer.....by the "heart" i would go with a carbon TT.
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    WellaWella Posts: 188
    I had the same dilemma until I was fortunate enough to be in a position to afford a TT bike.

    So far I've just been out on two test rides as I need to get used to the aero position but what I have noticed is how much faster it is than my road bike. However, I guess the difference depends on the spec of the road bike you are comparing it to.

    I've yet to give it the full time trial test as I have the Paris Marathon this Sunday and I'm doing anything I can to avoid injury at the moment but I'm expecting a PB the first time I race it over 20km.

    To be honest, I only bought it as I had the money at the time and i see it as an investment for the future races, 1/2 ironman etc that I expect to compete in.

    As for the snob factor, I think most people want to race with the best gear possible and if you can then good luck to you.
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    Reading this is beginning to make me feel better. I have this amazing guilt at the moment having just ordered a new tt bike (q/roo) I keep thinking I will not get the use out of it having spent all this money on it. (and my wife wants a new bathroom!)

    Two questions

    how different is it to a road bike if you put normal bars on it


    is it going to make me go faster.
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    pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    By far and away the greatest advantage of using a TT bike is not the aero effect from the frame itself, but the aero position it puts your body in. In terms of frontal area you yourself make up about 90% of the drag, your bike really does not contribute a massive amount! So if you take away the main benefit of the TT bike (your aero "position" tucked on aerobars) it wont be a massive amount different from a normal bike with dropped bars. Yes it will still bring you a little bit forward as the steep seat tube, however you will be sat a lot higher. Yes it will look bling and have nice aero tubing, but always bear in mind you are the main drag on the bike!! My personal opinion is buy a bike that intended for purpose - either get a TT frame and go all out TT, or buy a racer. Just one caveat – tri bars on a racer really do give a good deal of advantage! If you read 220, there was an article the other month about aero biking, breaking down the advantages of aero effects. I think the frame alone is worth about 1-2 mins over 40Km, and that will have been based on a frame with aerobars so the difference in speed isn’t tremendous...Its the sum of the parts, that’s greater than the whole when you combine the lot!

    PS I am not saying a TT bike is better than a racer or vice versa- They are just different machines intended for a different purposes! So think about what your going to use it for before you spend thousands!!!!
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    TTX PROTTX PRO Posts: 225

    As much as TT bikes are fantastic,They can play on your back.I wouldn't purchase a TT bike just for Triathlon, TT bike just are disigned for that, the whole purpose of a TT bike is to get you from A-B in the fastest time possible and then do it again to slash your time.TT bike are built for speed and mine done over 60mph as it is.My suggestion would be is what i find with many triathletes.Get a road bike and stick some aero bar extensions on it.


    Idealy 1500.00 would be a better budget for a TT bike.For that you can get an Trek Equinox 9 wich is a fantastic looking bike or an Equinox 7 for 1150.00

    or you can pick up a specialized Transition comp 06 off evans cycles for 1099.00 or theres a real jem on thier for 949.00.Get this a FELT S32 06 with Ultegra rear mech,105 front mech,Dura-Ace shifters with for your budget would be ideal a you have a bit of cash to spare.You find them at


    PS.The PS part of pdunde has a very good point
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    PC67PC67 Posts: 101
    Thanks, I'm pretty much of a mind now to get a better road bike, or just stick with what I have and get another birthday present altogether!

    I think I'd get little value from a TT and if the time comes when my swimming is more competitive then I may invest in a TT separately so my whole traithlon is competitive. I think a genetic upgrade rather than an equipment upgrade is what's required.
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    PC67PC67 Posts: 101
    Felt F75 2007 or Focus Cayo 2007.

    Focus Cayo has a carbon frame and got an unbelievably good review from a leading bike review site.

    Felt F75 was well reviewed in 220 and got a decent review in Cycle plus magazine, albeit with the caveat that for the price the kit spec could be better.

    However, I think the Cayo review was with general riding in mind, but the Felt F75 seems to be good for tri as it's got lower bars and is a bit more aero.

    Decisions, decisions...

    Anyone got a view?
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    mini__Cmini__C Posts: 44
    Another thing that comes to my mind is the distance your most likely going to race in....

    I mean through my observation @ what the pro's use, in olympic distance races your not going to see anyone with a TT bike and aero helmet...lol..that would be rediculas...you see them...only road bikes with clip on bars!
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    pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    that is purely elite event rules - they are draft legal races and are only allowed restriced clip on bars (profile hammer / deda clip ons etc) that have short reach.......if they were allowed they would probably have aero EVERYTHING, in the world of the pro a seconds advantage over the entire race can be the difference between 1st and 2nd.
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    rixy16rixy16 Posts: 3
    Really does depend on the race.

    I recently competed at the 70.3 Monaco and although I had taken my TT Dolan, I would have bitten your hand off for that Cannondale of yours. Similarly, I wouldn't think to take my road bike to Windsor or London as I know I'd fare much better on my TT bike.

    A mate of mine has done London twice - first time on a Bianchi and second time on a Trek. Even though his swim and run times were almost identical he took almost 8 mins off his bike time!!!

    One other consideration is to buy a TT bike like a specialized transition which can cope with the hills but also nail a lot of road bikes on a flat course. I use my Dolan for flat 40k's, Transition for hilly half's and a Bianchi for longer stuff. plus I train on a dog of an old Peugot so when I get on the Dolan it feels rapid. hope this helps.
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