/ would you use a time trial frame for ironman triathlon ?

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misterb - on 05 Sep 2013
Hi there,
i've signed up for the nottingham outlaw ironman man triathlon next year , it has a pretty flat bike course which is nice.
I'm wondering if it's worth using a time trial frame for it?
At the moment i use a ridley orion carbon frame which i think is designed for sportives and the like , could i just whack a set of aero bars on that and hope for the best.
If it helps i am aiming to average between 19-21 mph for the distance so at this speed is it worth investing in a frame that i can transfer all my components on to for the race?
I am not planning to win the race or owt but it would be nice to set a good time and maybe place well in my category , 40-44
Any advice is appreciated.
Nick
Southampton Tom on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb: Depends how much cash you wanna splash
People certainly ride TT bikes on long distance tri and people certainly ride regular bikes. At the speed you're talking about you will gain from a more aero position. The frame geometry will allow you to get a better aero position as well. That said for IM comfort is also pretty important as you'll be on the bike for a while
My TT bike has done the Outlaw (I haven't), I bought it specifically for my first 70.3 and found that not only did my average speed go up by a good 3mph but I felt fresher coming off the bike for that. Its a complete bike though with deep section rims as well. I'm not certain but depending on the wheels on your current bike you might do better spending the cash on wheels and aerobars.
ClimberEd - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb:

Short answer is that you will go much faster on a TT bike.

The long answer of how to do that is up to you and how much cash you have.

:-)
misterb - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to Southampton Tom:
3 mph !!!!
christ that's a lot of extra speed.

My bike has about a 100mm drop from top of saddle to top of bars so its reasonably flat i suppose, but really comfy over longer distances.
I should just buy some aero bars and try them i reckon.
My wheels are just shimano rs 30's , 30mm deep section , they seem pretty reasonable but were bought as do it all wheels with the intention of purchasing better ones for racing in the future so your ideas sound good, thanks for the suggestions.
cheers
nick
misterb - on 05 Sep 2013
Aly - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to ClimberEd:
> (In reply to misterb)
>
> Short answer is that you will go much faster on a TT bike.
>


Well, I suspect he'll go faster on a bike that he feels comfortable on. It's all very well buying a TT bike but if you can't hold a position on it, and aren't comfy riding it for 3-4 hours then it's a pretty poor investment. Also, riding in an aero position changes the geometry and muscles that you use so it's not a great idea to switch from a standard road bike setup to a TT or aerobar position without allowing yourself to get used to the position. I've won triathlons on a standard road bike (+ extensions) and I don't think a proper TT bike would have made a huge difference, though it depends a lot on the course and on a flat course (like the OP suggested) the benefits will start to increase.

In reply to the OP: Whatever you get make sure you are used to riding the bike, and are comfortable in the position. With the (relatively slow/long TT) speeds you're aiming for I suspect you wouldn't gain masses from a TT bike compared to a well set-up road bike with aero bars but then you wouldn't have that pyschological edge, or get to buy a shiny new toy ;)
I'd be incredibly surprised if you gained 3mph purely from switching from a good road bike + aeros setup to TT unless you were averaging 25mph+ to begin with but who knows...
Christopher Smith - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb:
> (In reply to Southampton Tom)
> 3 mph !!!!
> christ that's a lot of extra speed.

Not my personal experience, but a friend of mine also reckoned he gained approx 3mph when he did the ironman on TT bike rather than road bike.
Enty - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb:

I would abslutely use a TT bike on a flat 112m TT. However the secret is comfort so you need to set it up asap and get as many miles in as possible between now and next year.

E
ClimberEd - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to Aly:

I'm assuming he gets comfortable on it, practices etc.

A badly fitting tri bike is a tool that is not functioning correctly.

(believe me I know, mine was awful 'out of the box' )
Aly - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to ClimberEd: Sorry, I'd sort of assumed that's what you meant but though I'd mention it!
misterb - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb:
im loving the idea of 3 mph extra over that distance and wouldn't mind blowing a grand or so to do it as like every one says i'll get some shiny nice things out of it too.
I've got a good 30 mile flat ish ride that i can lap on so i've got the track to train on.
I've got 10 months to train and get used to a TT bike so that should be ok it will just mean faffing around a bit with bits.
I have brakes ,crank , front mech, bars and some other bits off my single speed i could use with the new frame and wheels.
i could then just buy these
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/shimano-dura-ace-7700-9-speed-bar-end-shifters/rp-prod13648
a rear mech and some aero bars and i wont have to take apart my road bike
(he says, convincing himself it's a great idea to blow the best part of 1200)
johnj on 05 Sep 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to misterb:

Hello, I'd look at it in terms of return, are you going to ride a lot of time trials if so yes I'd buy the frame for testing on, if this is a one off no I wouldn't buy the frame. If not sure first I'd buy the clip ons and get as many miles in my legs over the winter in the low pro position and then decide if it was worth the investment for a frame in spring.
Aly - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb:
> (In reply to misterb)
> im loving the idea of 3 mph extra over that distance and wouldn't mind blowing a grand or so to do it as like every one says i'll get some shiny nice things out of it too.


Whilst a TT bike will obviously be faster over a long, flat TT I'd be quite interested to see if just switching to a TT frame really makes that much difference. There must be some good research out there but I suspect the time savings are based on a 25+mph average so you'd have to work out what the savings are for mere 'mortals' who can't ride an IM bike leg at 25mph! I've forgotten how much wind resistance changes with respect to speed but it's some kind of exponential increase is it not?

When I was starting training I measured that aero-bars clipped onto a standard road bike made me about a minute quicker over 10km at ~24/25mph. If we generously assume that a TT bike, aero helmet and skinsuit make the same difference again then you are gaining ~1.5mph over a road bike with clip-on bars - and that's at 25mph. The speed gains at lower speeds would be less. It's very 'back of a napkin' but if you're lucky a TT bike might make you 1mph quicker at an average of 20mph?? That's still a good gain over 180km but not quite the 3mph mooted above.

If you're in two minds over a TT bike you could always buy an aero set of light wheels, some clip-on aero bars and get a quality bike fitting. You'd probably get the bulk of the performance improvement for about a third the price of a new bike, plus you'd have a nice set of race wheels to use on your TT bike if/when you get it?? I guess it all depends on how much each second saved is worth :)
Bimbler - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb:

I think its pretty clear that on the course you mention a TT bike would be quicker... I think the discussion now is what TT bike are you going to get ;-)
misterb - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to Aly:
i really won't get 25 mph out of myself over that distance and i won't be wearing a skinsuit and aero helmet so i might stick to the faster aero wheels and a set of tri bars ideas.
thanks for the ideas everyone
andrew549 on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb: One of the big gains is clip on bars and position and then aero helmets so it might be worth having a look at getting one.
malk - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply: as a matter of interest, what sort of times do triathletes do on rowing machines for say 2k/5k?
thermal_t - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to malk:
> In reply: as a matter of interest, what sort of times do triathletes do on rowing machines for say 2k/5k?

Bit of a weird question! If they haven't trained specifically for rowing....then probably not that fast! Sub 7 mins over 2k is considered pretty good going.
nniff - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb:

This is an interesting article - it puts the money into perspective

http://cyclingtips.com.au/2010/04/biggest-bang-for-your-buck-in-time-trial-equipment/

Clip on bars and an aero road frame for me. I still struggle horribly!

Still, Surrey 4-up team TT for me and three other gentlemen of a certain age. We're setting off near the front and expect to finish near the back, 34 miles later! Weather's broken nicely too - it's probably going to be tipping down :o(
ATRG on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb:
Have a read of this: http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/article/how-aero-is-aero-19273/

Essentially, you get about two thirds of the gains of a full aero set-up with clip-on bars and a tt helmet. Further, the suggestion is that the biggest difference between the tt bike and racing bike is the position you can sit in and not the bike itself. With that in mind, if you move the seat forward on your road bike (possibly with a new seatpost) and move the bars down (remove spacers and consider a different stem), you can get almost all the gain you could get with a dedicated TT bike.

Aero wheels might help a bit too but again you can get the effect without all the cost by buying the aerojacket disc wheel covers from bike science.

With the 1000 you save you can get some awesome training trips in and maybe a bit of specific coaching.
FrankBooth - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb:
Have you considered hiring a TT bike to try out and compare for a week or so?
ads.ukclimbing.com
Chris Harris - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to misterb:

I live just near the end of the cycle route & it goes past my house. You see plenty of the leading riders on TT bikes, disc wheels, the whole shebang.

I'd describe the area as undulating rather than pretty flat, there's certainly some up & down even if there's nothing you'd really call a climb.

It was extremely hot this year & there were some very tired people going past with a marathon still to do.

Nutters.

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