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BIKE: what was the one thing that made you faster?

As someone in his 2nd year of Triathlon and making the move from Sprint to Olympic, I wonder what was the one thing that made you faster?

So, fitness and training aside, as we'll assume that everyone is putting in the mileage and going aero, what made the biggest improvement to your bike time?


  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    wow, that really is quite an interesting question! I went for frame as altho I now have a lovely carbon frame the weight difference with the alu one isn't great, but the geometry and above all the stiffness make this thing like a rocket ship. I don't use a compact chainset, do they really make you faster? esp as i don't spin awfully fast, i prefer my big gears! Also i have just put a set of michelin pros on my race bike but i've yet to test them!
  • agent_tiagent_ti Posts: 306
    I would think, wheels 1, tyres 2, frame 3, compact 4. But right at the top should be training!
  • clarkey30clarkey30 Posts: 270
    Good question

    I went from a hybrid in my first year to a mid range road bike for the second and took nearly 30 mins off, so im upgrading again to carbon, however i think the biggest thing is that with a new bike comes the want to ride it, so i guess training is the difference
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Went for the frame,but what makes me go quicker is that I am sick of finishing last,I know someone has to,and short of following Mr D.Dasterdly's race plans,committment to succeed.
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    The things that made me faster on the bike were carbon frame & getting more aero this included position and kit (wheels, helmet etc)
  • gunforhiregunforhire Posts: 457
    Cheers. Interesting so far...

    In the Poll wheels and tyres are neck and neck, as the go-faster accessory.

    My reason for posting was I wanted to know, training and going aero aside what was the BIG eyeopener, what was the item that made you get the PBs.

    As someone going from Sprint to Olympic this year: I'm putting in the road miles, I've bought the Turbo Trainer, I'm doing bricks whenever I can BUT I'm still on that old bike. Where does training end and carbon take over?! [:D]

    Basically, I'm not a newbie anymore but still have a lo-o-ong way to go before I actually stop 'doing' triathlons and start 'competing'. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
  • MGMG Posts: 470
    I think there is another factor which has been overlooked, a good bike fit and set up by a professional, and I think some would be surprised that their ride is dramaticaly imroved by a few tweeks here and there.

    With that all sorted I think that wheels have a large effect on times. I shelled out for some 50mm carbon rims last year and my times have dropped for the ride.

    However for "bang for buck" you cant beat a proper bike fit, I know someone who was riding a frame that was miles too big for him (although this was the frame which his measurments suggested) and only knew as a result of a fitting session.
  • BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    None of the above, exactly. But graduating to an alu/carbon frame and most importantly: learning about cadence was what made a big difference to me. I went from trailing behind my DH on rides to now having to wait for him to catch up. Disadvantage is that I now have to learn all the routes, which used to be his responsibility, because I just can't stay behind him anymore!

    Seriously - increasing my cadence was a biggie. I used a decent bike computer and the turbo trainer to improve this and the difference is huge.

  • First timerFirst timer Posts: 139
    It's great having all the hi tech stuff on your bike but at the end of the day the only thing that will make you go faster is YOU. It does not matter what you ride if you not fit you wont get faster.

    If you want to add anything too yiour trusty steed then my advice would be to have good quality tyres and chain then the rest is up to you.

  • EdstgEdstg Posts: 83
    no entirely sure you're right first timer. i think if you made the same person ride a bike course on a hybrid and then on hardcore TT bike. my bet would be that the TT bike would be faster, implying that YOU is not the only thing that can make you faster?
  • pigsy65pigsy65 Posts: 25
    I agree with First Timer. When you start out. I got my road bike but was unfit and overweight (still overweight lol ) I struggled to do 35k on the bike. with months of training behind me now I average 8kph faster over 40k and find 40k easy so will do the route twice if I got time.I now love the challenge of hills too.I have improved my peddle stroke and my cadance has gone up from 80/85rpm to 90/95 rpm.

    When your fit and cycle correctly then the aero bikes/bars,carbon, tyres etc, become areas to make gains.IMO


  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    None of the above.

    1. Correct bike fit (which includes decent aero position)

    2. Getting used to your tyres and gearing. If we're 'ignoring' the effects of training the next thing that speeds me up is knowing exactly what gear to be in for any given speed and incline approaching. When to change chain rings, when to stand up and when to mash the big gear. When to brake, how hard can you corner etc. Just getting to know your bike is a huge advantage.

    3. Comfortable kit.

    Incidentally, I moved away from a compact chainset because I was no longer using the small chain ring even when keeping to 90rpm. Also, I was seriously running out of cogs on the flat.

    If you really want me to choose from your list then I'll say frame as it was part of a better bike - though the fact that it is carbon is neither here nor there. Carbon is not some magic wonder-material. You can get a crap carbon frame if you like. The important thing for me is that it is stiffer and lighter than my old frame, and it fits me better.

    Second place improvement is NOT choosing a compact.
  • jon_gjon_g Posts: 318
    faster wheels for me. not carbon ones, just upgraded from the standard cheap wheels my bike came with to some bontrager race x lite. more aero and better bearings and flat spokes. knocked some time off for me, worked out that that was the best bang for buck upgrade for me as i couldnt afford a new carbon frame and my bike is setup for me
  • BARNYBARNY Posts: 157
    Compact all the way for me,, closly followed by Wheels
  • In my first season I rode a borrowed (but v.good) aluminium frame Look bike. After that I bought a carbon frame Felt, and improved by several minutes on an OD race time (1:24 down to 1:15 in consecutive races). So, my answer feels as if it should be the "aluminium to carbon" option, but the trouble is that I can't say exactly how much of the improvement was down to the bike. For a start, I trained a heck of a lot more for my second season than for my first. Additionally, my carbon Felt is set up exactly for my height (6'3") and body ratio (long legs), whereas the Look bike (which actually cost more) was set up for a 5'9" mate with short legs - I look at the race photos of me riding the Look and my aero position is so bad that it's almost like I'm riding a mountain bike. It also didn't have aero bars, and I'd credit them with a serious improvement in my time and subsequent run fitness.

    Sorry. Not a particularly clear answer. I think that carbon is genuinely worth the money (though I take the point about cheap carbon being worse than good aluminium), but I would also rate a proper fitting and aero bars as being key non-training related improvements.

  • i wear black, its cheaper and quicker [:)]

    Jokeing aside i cant really afford the above appart from the tyres (i call them my summer tyres) however what you lose on the up hills you gain on the down.

    Areo bars have made a massive difference, so much so i unclip the shoes, stick my legs out to the side and shout weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee at the top of my voice
  • langers08langers08 Posts: 19
    Most important thing is aero position (incl aerobars) for which frame is integral. Weight of the frame is not important (but is if there are a lot of hills). Then aero helmet (you look like a prat but at least you're a fast one) then deep section wheels. Haven't got round to shaving the legs yet...
  • WannabetriWannabetri Posts: 219
    I got a new bike (a tri) one with full aero bar integration and it's just sublime. Learning to ride it, and stay aero was a different store.

    Interested to see so many rate wheels up there as this is the 'toy' I am thinking of buying next!!
  • jacjac Posts: 452
    Cadence and cycling shoes for me.

    Cadence has made a big difference. Am able to go faster for longer. Sometimes the cadence target zone alarm on the Cateye is a tad annoying though!

    And cycling shoes..I've had a couple of falls but they've been worth it in terms of adding speed, fluidity to my cycling.
  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    Getting a bike to fit right. After getting my cockpit sorted and my body in the right position (even though it didn't feel like the right position the first few times I tried it) you can really just put out more power with the same effort. Going from "stock" to a bike with the right stem, stack and saddle position made it easier to put out 20 more watts, sustained for an hour. Getting it all done wasn't cheap, but it was whole lot better than buying a new frame to save 200g curb weight and 30g or drag.
  • pacman2102pacman2102 Posts: 247
    The most important thing with any bike is the engine( the person riding it) , yes all the fancy kit does help. But we have a guy who in our club who spent £5K on a bike and it looks the dog's but in the end of the day he hasn't put the work in our ride enough to get the most out of such a bike and on a 100km ride last week he dropped out after 50 K even thou he was cycling at his own pace rather then everybody else.

    If I had to choose something it would be frame then toys as shoes and the turbo make a vast amount of difference.

    I am only in my first full season (started mid last year) and put a hard winter in up to a 100 miles a week on the road or turbo and my speed and endurance has improved beyond my expections
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