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Road bike to TT Bike(6 posts)

Road bike to TT BikeBhamBike
Aug 18, 2003 8:30 AM
I have a Cannondale R600 that I use for sprint distance triathlons. I originally bought the bike because I wanted versatility. Now I want speed. Can I convert the $1200 road bike into a blistering speed demon or should I save my pennies and wait to by a dedicated TT/Tri bike. Over the sprint distance (14-18mi), I think my road geometry is fine. Can I slowly add forward seatpost, aero and bullhorn bars, bar end shifters, race wheels and essentialy convert my bike to a race machine? Is it worth it?
Don't waste your money until you can......MR_GRUMPY
Aug 18, 2003 8:45 AM
break the hour on a 40K TT. In fact, don't spend big bucks unless you can crack 55 minutes.
Actually, the faster you go...Dwayne Barry
Aug 18, 2003 8:54 AM
over a set distance the less time you gain by using advantageous equipment.
The biggest increase...Dwayne Barry
Aug 18, 2003 8:52 AM
in free speed will come from aero-wheels (assuming you're already in a good aero position), all other equipment changes will make relatively small contributions (if any) to your speed.
aero bars worth it, race wheels maybedotkaye
Aug 18, 2003 9:11 AM
Over the sprint distances, aero bars will get you 1-2min immediately. For less than $100, that's worth it to do now. Syntace is my preference. Adding deep-section aero race wheels will get another 1-2 min, in my experience, but will cost a lot more. I bought second-hand Zipp and Hed wheels off ebay, total cost $275. For me it was worth it, since I've missed a podium spot by less than a minute on more than one occasion. Of course, since I got the wheels, I've been out of the podium spots by 5 min or more.. ah well, I like my new toys..

Generally it's not worth spending the money beyond that. Bullhorn bars don't buy you any speed, the forward seatpost in conjunction with aerobars will make the bike's handling very fast/twitchy/dangerous. On most sprint races I do, there's usually lots of corners, so I'm shifting out of the aerobars as much as in them, not sure moving from STI shifters will get you much.

Once you have aerobars and race wheels, you have 90% of the speed you'll get from a dedicated tri bike anyway. For sprints, I frankly don't think the dedicated bike is worth it. The main advantages of a steep-angled tri bike are twofold: allow you to remain comfortably in the aero position for long periods; and allow for faster running off the bike. 'vantage number 1 is irrelevant for sprints, 'vantage number 2 is contentious at best, though there are a few studies that do show a positive effect.
All of the above is correct, but...Marketing Dept
Aug 18, 2003 9:41 AM
what isn't taken into consideration by most of the posts is that these races are not against others, they are against yourself and the clock.

If you want to argue needs vs. wants, then Lance and only a few Eurosquads are the only guys good enough for anything more than a basic bike.

So, in answer to your questions;
Can I convert the $1200 road bike into a blistering speed demon Absolutely!

...should I save my pennies and wait to by a dedicated TT/Tri bike? I agree that an aero tube steep angle is not at all necessary. Especially if you are used to a traditional bike. And most of all, it would take a truck load of pennies to save for the specific ride.

Check out the pro tri races, I'll bet you will see a 75%/25% ratio of traditional vs. steep geometry even in those ranks.

Over the sprint distance (14-18mi), I think my road geometry is fine. From my 20+ years of tri, I say you are exactly right.

Can I slowly add forward seatpost? Don't bother, but you may need to experiment with stems, perhaps a bit shorter and maybe a bit taller.

aero bar - Yes, this should be your first investment.

and bullhorn bars - no, keep your road bars with sti,

race wheels yes, but start only with a front wheel unless your current rear wheel is a low end (heavy) model.

Then invest in ultra light tires and tubes for race day use only.

Is it worth it?

If you have the cash and you or your kids won't go hungary, YES. Also note, most of the purchases made now are transferrable to a tri specific ride, should you decide to.

Now, put this thing together and go out and take 2 minutes off your best, not because of the money spent, but because you just feel so fast that you were able to turn those cranks faster than ever before.