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Tri-Bars and STI shifters?

Something that has been bothering me for ages: whether my next bike should be a time-trial bike or a road-bike?

I'd really like a TT geometry frame, so I can get a good aero position. However, I don't want the bar-end shifters that you get on an integrated tri-bar, because I would rather be able to change gear when I'm hanging onto the bull-horns going up a hill.

My existing road frame with clip-ons is fine for this, but the aero position isn't as good as it should be.

I guess the ideal solution would be a TT bike, with STI shifters in place of the normal brake levers, instead of separate brakes and bar-end shifters.

Is this making sense?

So... I noticed on the Planet-X web-site last night a set of Xentis bars that allow just this. However, delicious carbon loveliness like this costs about £500 which is way off budget. Does anybody know if I can get a similar set of bars for virtually no money? Surely I'm not the only person who would like the effectiveness of an integrated tri-bar combined with the STI flexibility for climbing?


  • Yes it's making sense but to my mind it would be too much of a compromise. It's expensive (as you've discovered) and it would mean having to come out of the aero tuck whenever you changed gear, which defeats the object of having a low-pro bike.

    Climbing with bar-end shifters is no hassle at all really. You're not aero anyway if you're climbing hard (you're on the bullhorns) and you just need to put one hand out and change gear. Much better to be doing that when you're doing 12mph up a hill, than destabilize yourself and lose energy and aero-efficiency at 20+mph when you're sprinting along the flat. Do you need to change gear that often when climbing anyway? If you're riding efficiently then you will have selected your gear as you begin to head upwards then you just need to hang on and grind/spin, maybe changing up or down if the gradient changes.

    As for the wider question of getting a road or tt bike, I would say it depends on your level of experience and the type of racing you do. If you're into middle/long distance on hilly courses then, unless you're a very strong and experienced cyclist, I would stick with a road bike. Riding 56 or 112 miles in the aero position is tough. Really tough. If you race sprint/Olympic distance then stuff it - get a tri bike if you can afford one! [:)]

    Another way of looking at it: You have a road bike anyway, and if you are happy to use this for long/hilly races then you could get a tri bike too.

  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Thanks for the advice IronJohn. Incidentally, I do the Olympic distance (and sprints) only. Not yet contemplating a 70.3 or Iron, although I think there is at least one in my future plans...

    I keep coming back to the issue of changing gears when you're in the 'wrong' position.

    So, at the moment I have Sora shifters on my drops, and some clip on tri-bars. I've got used to getting up to speed on the drops, then changing UP one gear and moving to the tri-bars. If I need to change gear when I'm on the tri-bars I reach over and hit the button. Easy. When I'm banging up a hill, either sitting up on the hoods or standing, the shifters are right where I need them.

    Now, if I had a 'proper' tri bike. I'd be fine for changing gear to cope with little gradient changes. Also I see your point about just reaching forwards and changing when going up a hill. What bothers me is this: how do you change gear when you are standing up, properly suffering on a hill.

    I'm coming to the conclusion you have suggested: The correct answer is "Don't use a tri-bike on a course that requires lots of standing up on big hills". I'll do what you suggest: get a tri-bike for the mainly level Olympic distances, and use my road bike for the lumpy or long races and for all that lovely hill training.

    The only difficulty now is to decide which Planet-x bike the bank manager will let me get away with.

    Thanks again!
  • Bopomofo wrote:

    What bothers me is this: how do you change gear when you are standing up, properly suffering on a hill.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much, mate, honestly. Shifting gear on bar-ends while standing is just something you could practice. Otherwise, you just sit down for a sec, change gear, stand back up again!

    Ah - the lure of the shiny stuff on the Planet X website!! I'm sure you know this already but don't be blinded by the bling! *

    * I wish I could afford one though [;)]

  • With the advent of Dura Ace Di2 electronic shifting - surely the best idea (if you're a millionaire) is a pair of Xentis Base/Tri bars with Di2 STI levers and bar end shifters fitted too!
  • AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 174

    Been there, done the thought process and bought a TT bike for racing.

    I had a similar dilema when moving from 20 years plus on a mountain/hybrid to a drop bar bike.

    A few months down the line, everything becomes instinctive - just like changing gears on my TT bike.

    It's something you just adapt to doing.

    Keep your road bike for long training runs, bad weather and commuting and get a TT bike for racing and dry training sessions.

  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Oh BopomofoI saw the answer about 2 days ago, a kit to enable front and rear deraillerur shifting from bar end levers in addition to STIs - damn can't find the link now. Watch this space
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/product-Prof ... -22412.htm

    Is this what you are thinking off?
  • AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 174
    Had to think about that one Zacnici until I found a better pic:

  • Jeez! Check the post dates, peeps! This thread has been resurrected from January 2008!

    Mind you, it may help to tell you all how I solved the problem of changing gear when going uphill on tri-bars: I learned to ride my bike.

    Anticipate when to stay on the tri-bars, changing gears in advance as any cyclist does i.e change down before your cadence drops rather than after. When you get to the bit of the hill that is going to need out-of-seat grinding you set your gear and get up. Easy.

    It really isn't a problem. I've just put my bike back into winter spec with drop bars, layback seat-post etc instead of a forwards seat post and TT set-up. The first thing that struck me is that it is more comfy over shorter (say 25 miles) distance as a TT bike than as a sportive!
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