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Can I really just add clip ons?

I need a sanity check.

I've been getting all wrapped up in wanting an aero road bike I can use for Olympic distance triathlons.

Felt seem to keep popping up as they have a reversible stem.

Is it really going to be as easy as reversing the stem and adding some clip ons to convert this from a road to TT bike, or am I falling foul of marketing hype?

I was also thinking it would be good to have satellite shifters on the aero bars. Is this only possible if I get Di2 or is there another solution?





  • risris Posts: 1,002

    i would say it is some of the way there... ish. 

    the geometry for a tt bike can be quite different to a road bike - the angle of seat and head tubes for example. the way you ride them and what you want from them is different, too. the different geometries affect handling, stiffness, comfort among others. 

    you can take a road frame and make it more tt-like, and a tt-bike and chuck drops on it, but the fundamentals remain. using one for the other will at least be a compromise, and at worst an unrideable, uncomfortable mess. 

    i have a road bike only, with clip-on bars. i have had it fitted for both a tt/tri position and a regular road position. as a road bike is it better, but as a tri-style bike it is pretty good. not amazing, but not uncomfortable and tolerable for long-ish days in the saddle.

    i would say the reversible stem just narrows some of the compromise more. it won't be perfect (for example - your shifters will be on the brakes, not onthe aero-bar ends, so every time you change gear you slightly foul the aerodynamics). how much are you going to muck about switching the bike from one 'mode' to another - in reality?

    satellite shifters at the aero-bars are a lovely idea, but i don't know of any split shifters for non-electronic systems. Di2, Ui2 or campag equivalent only to my knowledge.

    last thing is - all this stuff is fine, but no substitute for actually riding a bike. the best expenditure to get fast at cycling is quality time on the bike. there's little marketing hype that mentions it, though! 

  • Hi Ris

    Thanks for your input,

    In truth it will mainly be set up as a road bike, but I like the idea of using it for tri too.

    It's a shame you can't get the satellite shifters mounted on the aero bars yet as sitting up to change or pushing the wrong gear will both slow you down.

    I'm not sure Di2 is worth the additional cost if the result is you have to sit up anyway?

    I think getting it properly fitted for both will be the key as you could be set up great as a road bike, but all wrong as a TT.

    I'm still tempted though as it's an excuse to spend a little more on one bike, rather than have two! 




  • risris Posts: 1,002

    i find i don't so much sit up as take one arm off the pads/extensions to change gear. it's not a massive position change but i'm sure someone somewhere has measured the watts. 

    if you had Di2/Ui2 the satellite shifters on the extensions is achievable so you wouldn't move hands to the hoods to change gear. mechanical systems can't be split like that to my knowledge.

    there is a piece online somewhere (i can't recall who did it off hand) where they used a track to test and compare different aero kit - tt bike, road bike with clip ons, wizards hat, etc. my recollection was it was all specialized bikes (transition and s-works frames i think).

  • smd13smd13 Posts: 1

    in reality if you should never consider spending the fortune on Di2 etc for satellite shifters when you can buy a mid level tri bike second hand for that! As mentioned above, money can't beat time on the bike so use your road bike & clip on combo and get out on it more!

  • Thanks again for the input, I'm planning  visit to the local(ish) felt stockist this weekend and may well drop my desire for Di2.

    A lot of the tri courses I've done I've felt like a road bike would have been better than a TT bike anyway, as they tend to twist and turn and have some hills in. In particular I remember doing Llandudno on my planet X stealth and wishing I was on a road bike.

    I guess with the seat post reversed you'd feel the felt wasn't as good up the hills as when it was in the road bike set up?

    I really notice the difference when on my planet X and I hit a hill. I find it really hard to stay in the saddle as I just don't have the power I'm expecting. I guess this is to do with the post angle and have to admit I've never had the bike properly fitted? 





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