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  1. #1
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    Question Which TT bike seems like the better buy?

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    I've been doing sprint and olympic distance dus for several years...quite possibly my favorite way of combining my 2 sports. I can hold my own on the bike and it's definitely my stronger leg, but quite often I wish I had a dedicated TT bike. I can ride in the drops for a fairly long while, but after busting my right wrist in 2 spots nearly 3 years ago it gets a little achey.

    Yesterday I competed in a tri/du...one of only TWO women in the oly du. Frustrating to put that kind of work in and have no competition. The woman who won was on a serious TT machine and 3.5mph faster. She's still a somewhat faster runner than I am, but she's also not lugging a spare 20#s. I know that reaching my goal weight would have me at least matching her run speed...but no way will I ever touch her on my road bike (Cannondale SuperSix).

    And next year I'm seriously considering a Powerman du (10k-60k-10k). I think that would be a much more enjoyable on an actual aero bike. I'm also thinking I need to consider some local time trials. I'm about to sell my 29er, because the wrist business has made me far too gunshy to go off-road anymore (with the exception of CX).

    So, I'm sorta eyeballing this Bianchi. I believe it's about a grand cheaper than a BMC I'm also considering...with very similar components (105). The primary difference appears to be aluminum frame vs. full carbon. Both have the same cheap wheels. For that $1k savings I could eventually upgrade the Bianchi's rims.

    I really love the road smoothing ride of my carbon road bike. My previous bike was aluminum with carbon fork and rattled my bones. Granted, we lived with primarily chip-sealed roads at that time. I guess my biggest concern is comfort. Most TT bikes on the market appear to be carbon...would I hate the ride of aluminum, or am I better off spending the same and upgrading wheels? Could upgraded wheels even smooth a potentially harsher ride of alum. and/or make up for any added frame weight..?
    Last edited by zoom-zoom; 07-13-2015 at 07:44 PM.
    Kirsten
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  2. #2
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    The wheel thing: Probably not. Wheel upgrades go for aerodynamics and weight, really. Bear in mind that I have no clue what I'm talking about.

    The frame thing: I've found that relaxed geometry aluminum frames are awful, but the aggressive ones are fine. Perhaps not carbon-comfortable, but then I haven't had the opportunity to test much in the way of carbon frames (that actually fit me, anyway).It's really hard to tell because everyone labels their specific carbon or Al tubing differently. Granted, geometry plays a role in how the tubing goes together and how it transmits vibration, but: Take a look at the same company's road bikes (not the endurance frames), and then if they have a "crit"-oriented road frame, take a look at that too, and compare. While I never had to deal with tri/TT bikes, I'm willing to bet that the carbon used in a TT bike is all about stiff and light, so it may be a wash.

    No way to try one, huh?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owlie View Post
    The wheel thing: Probably not. Wheel upgrades go for aerodynamics and weight, really. Bear in mind that I have no clue what I'm talking about.

    The frame thing: I've found that relaxed geometry aluminum frames are awful, but the aggressive ones are fine. Perhaps not carbon-comfortable, but then I haven't had the opportunity to test much in the way of carbon frames (that actually fit me, anyway).It's really hard to tell because everyone labels their specific carbon or Al tubing differently. Granted, geometry plays a role in how the tubing goes together and how it transmits vibration, but: Take a look at the same company's road bikes (not the endurance frames), and then if they have a "crit"-oriented road frame, take a look at that too, and compare. While I never had to deal with tri/TT bikes, I'm willing to bet that the carbon used in a TT bike is all about stiff and light, so it may be a wash.

    No way to try one, huh?
    Yeah, no real way to try one...our LBS doesn't really do much with TT bikes. They have a couple of BMC and Bianchi in stock, but too big for me. But we can get a killer deal, because we're part-owners. But DH isn't totally sold on the idea. He thinks TT bikes are silly, but he doesn't actually to TTs/tri/du. My wrist and I think mountain bikes are silly!!

    That thing about relaxed geometry and aluminum...I suspect there's something to that. I hated my aluminum synapse. So friggin' buzzy. But I'd rarely be going further than 60k on a TT bike, so I'm not sure the carbon expense is worth it if I can upgrade other things on a cheaper frame. The wheels that come with both bikes are pretty low-rent aluminum ones. I'd love to look at deeper section carbon, but there'd be no $$ left in the bike budget if I went with the $$er frame.
    Kirsten
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    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
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  4. #4
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    TT frame is all about getting speed. Comfort is fairly low on the must have list. Comfort does have effect on the performance of the rider but some how it seems to get left out of TT bikes. Less flex more power transfer is going on here. Less flex generally means harsher ride.

    I've never ridden a pure TT bike except for Litespeed blade years ago. It was no fun. I still have my Specialized Transition Pro that I like. I like the ride. It's not as harsh as pure TT. Wheels I have on it are rolf prima echelon with bladed spokes. The three spoke wheels create more drag. prima with bladed SS spokes less so. I'm not all that convinced of the deep dish wheels. It adds too much rotation weight. And amount of turbulence reduction behind the wheel seems more of a hype.

    Aluminum can be made super buzzy and so can a carbon. Its all matter of how the material is used.

    If you want pure speed get the stiffer frame. Use good light weight wheel. You may want a set of training wheel and a set of ultra light weight wheel for race. drag in the hub is important too so you may want to use Campy Chorus or above, Ultegra or above or Phil Wood parts. I don't think 105 will cut it.

    Spend the money on where it counts. Just my 2 cents.

  5. #5
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    I know technology has evolved a WHOLE lot since the last time I rode an aero wheel - but 30 years ago, they were talking about aerodynamics but the real benefit was in stiffness. Going from my traditional wire wheel (I want to say 28 spokes x 2 - it was a lightweight wheel intended for roadracing, with what were aero rims at the time) to a disc, the difference in power to the ground was ENORMOUS. I never knew how much my rear wheel was flexing under load until I borrowed that disc.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 07-14-2015 at 05:17 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    I know technology has evolved a WHOLE lot since the last time I rode an aero wheel - but 30 years ago, they were talking about aerodynamics but the real benefit was in stiffness. Going from my traditional wire wheel (I want to say 28 spokes x 2 - it was a lightweight wheel intended for roadracing, with what were aero rims at the time) to a disc, the difference in power to the ground was ENORMOUS. I never knew how much my rear wheel was flexing under load until I borrowed that disc.
    These are the wheels that come with all 3 bikes I'm considering. I think they may be the same wheels that were on my first road bike, too...which were really low-rent. I had a spoke bust while pedaling along flat, smooth pavement. I'm thinking that as long as the aluminum weren't a super harsh ride or excessively heavy vs. the 2 carbon frames that I'd be better off throwing money into wheel upgrade. I wish it were possible to test ride, but no one wants to order a small frame that won't sell if I don't end up buying it. Even if aluminum weren't super smooth, I have no sights set on any epic Ironman distances. Longest I'd likely do would be about half that far. It's just far enough to be inefficient and uncomfortable long-term in the drops on my road bike.
    Kirsten
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    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
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  7. #7
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    I'm in my 9th season of triathlon and I've owned a tri bike for about 6 of those years.

    I have to admit that I'm very pro carbon; I'm not sure it makes a speed difference, but they are just more sexy to me, and shouldn't your bike excite you?

    Yes, wheels would be the first thing to upgrade; they don't need to be aero, but you can gain a lot when you trade out basic stock wheels for something nicer.

    Riding in aero can get you some speed increase, but it *is* all about the engine. Don't assume that the new bike will get you 3.5mph.

    Have you considered going used?
    I'd rather be swimming...biking...running...and eating cheesecake...
    --===--

    2008 Cervelo P2C Tri bike
    2011 Trek Madone 5.5/Cobb V-Flow Max
    2007 Jamis Coda/Terry Liberator
    2011 Trek Mamba 29er

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillSlugger View Post
    Riding in aero can get you some speed increase, but it *is* all about the engine. Don't assume that the new bike will get you 3.5mph.

    Have you considered going used?
    Oh, I'm definitely not expecting 3.5mph, but most people tell me that 2-3mph vs similar effort on a road bike is pretty expected. Frequently in these races I do (which are generally not big -- for some reason dus are never as popular as tris) I'm the fastest woman on a regular road bike and often faster than some on TT bikes. With a speedier bike and at my goal weight (15-20#s lighter) I think I could at the very least have the lead women in my sights. Having a visible carrot is far more conducive to pushing harder than having no shot once the lead 1-2 women mount their bikes.

    I'd have no issue going used...the tricky part is we're part owners of a bike shop, so DH thinks it looks bad (and he's not 100% sold on me even having a TT bike, because he does no TTs/multisport -- but I'm selling my 29er, so I can use the argument that I don't mountain-bike, so this is MY thing). We only carry 3 brands that offer TT (BMC, Bianchi, Wilier), which limits my options...especially at <5'4". Pretty sure the smallest Wilier will be a hair too big. The smallest BMC and Bianchi models are pretty close in size and look comparable to my road bike.
    Kirsten
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    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoom-zoom View Post
    Oh, I'm definitely not expecting 3.5mph, but most people tell me that 2-3mph vs similar effort on a road bike is pretty expected. Frequently in these races I do (which are generally not big -- for some reason dus are never as popular as tris) I'm the fastest woman on a regular road bike and often faster than some on TT bikes. With a speedier bike and at my goal weight (15-20#s lighter) I think I could at the very least have the lead women in my sights. Having a visible carrot is far more conducive to pushing harder than having no shot once the lead 1-2 women mount their bikes.

    I'd have no issue going used...the tricky part is we're part owners of a bike shop, so DH thinks it looks bad (and he's not 100% sold on me even having a TT bike, because he does no TTs/multisport -- but I'm selling my 29er, so I can use the argument that I don't mountain-bike, so this is MY thing). We only carry 3 brands that offer TT (BMC, Bianchi, Wilier), which limits my options...especially at <5'4". Pretty sure the smallest Wilier will be a hair too big. The smallest BMC and Bianchi models are pretty close in size and look comparable to my road bike.
    My partner-in-crime had her husband working at a bike shop and got a great deal on the top-of-the-line BMC tri bike; she loves it, but if your hubby isn't sold on the tri bike thing I doubt he'd go for that one And yes, you should be able to race and have a tri bike even if it's not hubby's thing; it's *your* thing.

    Bianchi isn't well known for their tri bikes, but I'm sure you know that fit trumps most everything else.

    The idea that a tri bike is inherently uncomfortable is bunk. You can't rideong distances and get your best top speed if you are uncomfortable, and with your wrist issue, being on the aerobars would probably be a big improvement.
    I'd rather be swimming...biking...running...and eating cheesecake...
    --===--

    2008 Cervelo P2C Tri bike
    2011 Trek Madone 5.5/Cobb V-Flow Max
    2007 Jamis Coda/Terry Liberator
    2011 Trek Mamba 29er

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillSlugger View Post
    The idea that a tri bike is inherently uncomfortable is bunk. You can't rideong distances and get your best top speed if you are uncomfortable, and with your wrist issue, being on the aerobars would probably be a big improvement.
    And the more I read around, the more I keep seeing owners and reviewers raving about the comfort of the BMC TM02. Sounds like the positioning is especially adjustable.
    Kirsten
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    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  11. #11
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    I just saw this article that you may find interesting:

    http://triathlon.competitor.com/2015...uo6R7bvAqmV.99
    I'd rather be swimming...biking...running...and eating cheesecake...
    --===--

    2008 Cervelo P2C Tri bike
    2011 Trek Madone 5.5/Cobb V-Flow Max
    2007 Jamis Coda/Terry Liberator
    2011 Trek Mamba 29er

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillSlugger View Post
    I just saw this article that you may find interesting:

    http://triathlon.competitor.com/2015...uo6R7bvAqmV.99
    I definitely have several places I can improve. Weight and figuring out how to make my ride position comfortably aero for the bulk of the bike leg (which is tough with drop bars and a bum right wrist). My training volume is good, but I should do more structured speed work, probably.

    Though I discovered something very intriguing from the recent race results. The woman who took 1st was only a mere 26 seconds faster than I on the 10k run leg (she was nearly 2min, faster on the 5k). I suspect this was her first olympic distance race, as I've done this race the last 3 years and this was the first time I'd seen her. I've otherwise only seen her do sprint dus and tris. Her bike leg was so strong that I suspect she focused more on TITS than time on foot, and/or she went out too strong on the bike and blew up for the last run. I usually take a more 50/50 approach.

    Compared to my time last year (when I hadn't messed with my saddle height days before the race -- thing I should know better than to do -- and generally had a FAR better, stronger day and fewer training interruptions, allergy issues, and other nonsense during training) she was 8 min. faster...which I think better aero positioning and loss of even 5-10#s off my butt could easily account for (I cut 10 min. off my time between the 1st and 2nd times I did this race without much change to my training). It's a reasonably flat course, so weight loss wouldn't benefit me hugely on the bike, but definitely on the run. I've seen a quick-and-dirty formula that suggests ~3sec./mile running improvement for every # lost. I've generally found that this holds pretty solidly true.
    Kirsten
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    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  13. #13
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    btw, have you considered putting aerobars on your road bike? It's not the same as having a dedicated Tri bike, but it give some aero advantages and would get you off your wrist
    I'd rather be swimming...biking...running...and eating cheesecake...
    --===--

    2008 Cervelo P2C Tri bike
    2011 Trek Madone 5.5/Cobb V-Flow Max
    2007 Jamis Coda/Terry Liberator
    2011 Trek Mamba 29er

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillSlugger View Post
    btw, have you considered putting aerobars on your road bike? It's not the same as having a dedicated Tri bike, but it give some aero advantages and would get you off your wrist
    I have, but I'm under the impression that they'd not be something that could simply be swapped on and off easily -- and I still use my road bike for paceline/group rides (which I do 2-3x/week). Even if I weren't riding on the aerobars, just having them jutting-out is kind of dangerous to riders in front of me, in the event of a crash, right? Plus I'd need to look at a different seatpost to mimic TT geometry, I suspect.
    Kirsten
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    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  15. #15
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    Yes, you are right that aerobars are usually frowned on in pacelines; that whole getting skewered thing

    There is one aerobar that I know of designed to be easily removed and remounted: http://www.redshiftsports.com/quick-release-aerobars/

    You'll never be able to duplicate a tribike geometry on a road bike, but you can gain some of the advantages by adding the aerobars and maybe lowering the stack height; and you can move the seat forward some, but not as radically as on a tribike.

    I have my dedicated tribike (Cervelo P2C) that I use for flatter races and training rides and my Trek Madone with aerobars that I use for hillier riding and racing. I don't do many group rides, but when I do it's on the Madone, with the aerobars.
    I'd rather be swimming...biking...running...and eating cheesecake...
    --===--

    2008 Cervelo P2C Tri bike
    2011 Trek Madone 5.5/Cobb V-Flow Max
    2007 Jamis Coda/Terry Liberator
    2011 Trek Mamba 29er

 

 

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