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Setting up a road bike for TT?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to do some of my first TT's soon, looking to get a set of Aero bars to bolt onto my Scott CR1.

Equipment wise I am fairly sound, but what changes might I need to consider for maximum aero/power/comfort when using the bars?

I've read elsewhere that I should consider moving the seat forward, I can see the potential need for this - is it correct?

What about handlebar height after moving the seat? i've got a few spacers under the current headstem, should I look to drop it 5mm for specific TT work? or not bother?

Is it just a matter of getting on the bike a few times and then seeing what works, or can someone please post of adaptions they have needed to make to their bike to go from roadie to TTer.
post #2 of 12

Re: Setting up a road bike for TT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by parawolf
looking to get a set of Aero bars to bolt onto my Scott CR1.

.
Its realy inportant to have the bars set up correctly, i would seggest paying the bike shop to help with this.
post #3 of 12

Re: Setting up a road bike for TT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by parawolf
Is it just a matter of getting on the bike a few times and then seeing what works, or can someone please post of adaptions they have needed to make to their bike to go from roadie to TTer.
It is a good idea to give a few positions a go and see what feels comfortable/powerful (needs a balance, along with fast). It is also a good idea to get set up but that costs. You may consider a separate seatpost/saddle combo which is aimed at tts to switch around with your road post (to combat the geometry of a road frame, having a post flipped around steepens the geometry and makes it more suitable to TTs. doing this every time you want to TT quickly becomes irritating). Otherwise, consider some short bars, like visiontech's clip ons which will suit the longer top tube of a road bike better.
post #4 of 12

Re: Setting up a road bike for TT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by parawolf
Is it just a matter of getting on the bike a few times and then seeing what works, or can someone please post of adaptions they have needed to make to their bike to go from roadie to TTer.
I'd recommend setting your bike up on a turbo and then experimenting until you find a compromise between aerodynamics (ie. a flat back), comfort and the ability to get the power out. Having a mirror set so you can see a side view of yourself while sat on the bike makes it easier.

Neil
post #5 of 12

Re: Setting up a road bike for TT?

First, put the bike onto your indoor trainer. Do all your testing on this to make sure the positioning works out. If you are using the bike for both road racing and time trials, then you might want to consider a second seatpost and a secondary saddle.

What I used to do when I only had a road bike for time trials:
1.) move the seat as far forward as possible on the seatpost.
2.) make sure the stem is as low as it can go. If it's a threadless stem, then the best you can do is remove the stem spacers you have in place.
3.) remove seatbags and any bottle cages (though you may want to keep a small waterbottle and cage for your seattube if it's a long Time Trial

After that check your positioning on the bike. Ideally you want your back fairly flat. The reason you move your seatforward is because you are dropping your handlebar height and forcing your body to move forward. If you don't move your seat forward, you will end up riding on the nose of your saddle which isn't real comfortable.
post #6 of 12

Re: Setting up a road bike for TT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfend
3.) remove seatbags and any bottle cages (though you may want to keep a small waterbottle and cage for your seattube if it's a long Time Trial

.
MIT testing revealed that it is actually more aero to have a bottle on your seat tube.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Re: Setting up a road bike for TT?

Thanks for the input guys. In fact I did set up on the trainer last night. I played around with a few things and found some problem areas, but overall the setup isn't too far out of whack and quite usuable for the occasional TT (for now). Borrowed aero bars from my coach to play with.

Biggest problems though, back isn't flat but i'm comfortable which is a bonus. Legs keep a good range of motion, and I was able to improve my position slightly by moving out a 5mm spacer. Another key thing was that my arms were well stretched forward. That means i'm probably using too much muscle work to keep good posture.

So solutions would be to get a shorter stem (currently on a 110mm steam, so say a 70mm stem would improve the situation greatly) and/or get aero bars that are adjustable fore/aft, so I can move them towards the seat for a similar affect.

i've read that a bike gets 'twitchy' with a shorter stem, but does anyone know if the same problem with a shift of aero bars towards the seat?

After I got myself mostly correct I went for a spin around the block where I did some corners, hills, descents, speed humps and rutted roads just to build a little confidence.

Seems all good for now. A shorter stem would be the quickest and easiest thing I guess, but if I can get the same effect with adjustable aero bars then perhaps that would be even easier. Just bolt on and go.
post #8 of 12

Re: Setting up a road bike for TT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyOCR
MIT testing revealed that it is actually more aero to have a bottle on your seat tube.
LOL, I knew someone was going to retort with this "fact" from that article. If I see someone with an empty water bottle on their seat tube because it's supposedly more aero, I'm going to pee my pants laughing!! Pro riders don't 100% of the time have a water bottle on their seat tube and you know they go to wind tunnels too...
post #9 of 12

Re: Setting up a road bike for TT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyzackery
LOL, I knew someone was going to retort with this "fact" from that article. If I see someone with an empty water bottle on their seat tube because it's supposedly more aero, I'm going to pee my pants laughing!! Pro riders don't 100% of the time have a water bottle on their seat tube and you know they go to wind tunnels too...
Have you heard of/seen a pro testing their bike in a tunnel with a drink bottle in the cage, let alone with a cage? If you have, please provide proof in the form of a photograph or a believable anecdote. But, until then, I'll ride with my bottle on my seat tube until then.
post #10 of 12

Re: Setting up a road bike for TT?

Many people will need a shorter stem to properly accomodate aerobars when using the forward TT/triathlon position. All road bikes get twitchy when adjusted in the manner that you are working on--that is why bikes with geometry built around the forward position (steep seat tube angle, which is what moving the saddle forward achieves), have shallow head angles and long front center measurements.

Wind tunnel testing shows very low drag for some riders with a stretched out arm position, aka the "Superman" position. This definitely requires some training to get accomodated to.

An alternative to the forward position that many use for TTs and triathlons is the so-called "Big Slam" position developed by aero guru John Cobb. This is based on the traditional road position and actually moves the saddle back an little and lower. This recruits the hamstrings more. It also works better using one of those "shorty" aero bars like the Profile T2-SL or Jammer GT the Vision shorty or the Oval A700 Slam. You can do a google for this.

The folks over on the slowtwitch.com triathlon forum includes a lot of TT cyclists (not just triathletes) and the obsess about aero body position. maybe try posting your question on that forum. If you post a picture of yourself, they will happily critique it.
post #11 of 12

Re: Setting up a road bike for TT?

One thing to consider in relation to the set up triathletes use is that it is designed to allow greater use of the quads. This has the added benefit of saving the hamstrings and glutes for the run, something which isn't much of a problem for a straight TT.

Correct me if I am wrong but I think UCI rules (if you are bound by such rules) state you can only have a maximum effective seat post angle of 74 degrees, once again not something that is a problem in triathlon.


Oh damned if I can find the link, but I remember seeing a study of bottle positions/hydration in relation to aerodynamics. It concluded that the most aero hydration you can have is one bottle on the downtube, more aero than no bottles! If I find the study I'll link it.
post #12 of 12

Re: Setting up a road bike for TT?

If you're only going to do TT then I'd suggest you might want to consider getting another bike - if you're doing road & TT then I'd consider making minor changes to your road set-up - for example, moving the seat forward is appropriate and it's a quicky to move it back - you can buy a forward tilting seatpost but it's a few bucks and more of a hassle to change back to the road post.

Just some personal thoughts !! good luck !!
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