Setting up a road bike for triathlons

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Scotttri, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. Scotttri

    Scotttri Member

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    Hi all, I have last years Cannondale R1000 and have just purchased a set of Easton aeroforce tri bars, I was wondering what else I would need to transform my bike into to a tri bike. I've heard things about backward seatposts and things but am not sure. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
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  2. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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  3. Scotttri

    Scotttri Member

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    Thanx, I looked at there site, but I guess i'm after more what equipment i'd beneftit from.
     
  4. John M

    John M New Member

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    Aero position is first, then aero wheels. Other components (in addition to bars) to help aero position may be helpful (such as seatpost), but whether you want these or not is not really a simple question to answer.

    Try the bike fit articles on slowtwitch.com for some good tri fit information. They are biased by Dan Empfield's opinions but his opinions are those of a true expert (he invented the "tri" bike).

    The issue with these components like forward-position seatposts is whether you want to ride a "steep" seat angle or not. The steep position is built around the tri/TT bike seat angle of 76-80 degrees as compared to the typical road seat angle of 73-74 degrees. If you want steep on a road frame, you need a forward position seatpost. Some argue that proper aero bar position requires a short "cockpit" (distance from seat to bars) and this is accomplished by either the frame having a shorter top tube, using a short stem, moving the seat forward, or some combination of these. Other factors that come into play are stem/bar height, and seat height.

    In opinion, the priorities in selecting correct aero body position should be comfort, power, and aerodynamics, with the ultimate goal being to achieve the most aero position that does not compromise power output and that can be maintained comfortably for the duration of the race.

    If you are a beginner, the easiest thing to do is to accomodate your road position with the aero bars. Take a look at the slowtwitch articles, consider a professional fit, and be careful not to crash.
     
  5. Scotttri

    Scotttri Member

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    Thanx for your help John
     
  6. Orcanova

    Orcanova New Member

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    Aerobars are the first step but make sure they are low enough to get you at least as low as when your hands are on the drops. I see lots of people riding on aerobars but sitting too high because they never adusted their stem downward to compensate for the extra height clip-on aeros create. If you are sitting higher than if your hands are on the drops then you are defeating most of the purpose.

    There are two factors that help make you more aero on aero bars. One is a more aero upper body (more parallel to the ground) so that more wind goes over you rather than under you, and the other is arm position so that your arms are pulled in front of your body rahter than creating drag out to the side. If your arms are too close together you are inhibiting the space your lungs need to draw a full breath, so don't go TOO nuts with arm pad positioning if they are adjustable.

    Next is your position over the pedals which is whear your seat position comes in. For road riding the proper position is KOPS (knee over pedal spindle). This means when the cranks are horizontal, a plumb line from the bone just under your kneecap will touch the pedal spindle. In time trial position, which is what you are seeking, you want to be a little more forward of that, so that your knees are forward of the pedals. So, if you can't achieve that with your current seat/post setup, a more forward seatpost and possibley a longer nosed saddle will help accomplish that.

    Third would be wheels if you are so inclined to drop some coin. Discs are fast (and expensive) but only on flat courses since they are heavy. If there's climbing involved the disc becomes a boat anchor. So, other than rear discs, wheels with lower spoke counts and more aero (deeper rims) help. I have a pair of Campy Eurus wheels and the G3 spoke configuration is said to be extremely aero. One master time trialist I know who is also a frame builder swears his Eurus wheels are almost as fast as a disc. THat may be debateable, but when I bought my Eurus wheels, I was pushing one gear harder than I had the day before on the same course on my 32 spoke wheels. They seem really fast to me and they are incredibly quiet, which would suggest less drag through the spokes.

    In terms of dialing the right setup for yourself, you want to get your knee/pedal position dialed in first, then make any changes to the bars/stem after that until you are in an efficient position then. Wheels you can change any time if you so desire.

    When you are dialed into the most effiecient position possible, you will see a pretty big jump in your times. Your pedaling and power efficiency are greatly increased if you transition from an ineffiecient position to an efficient position.

    One other caveat. Once you change all this up, you need to train in that position for a while so your muscles get used to it. You can't expect it to all work immediately. You need to develop muscle specificity for that task.

    Good luck.
     
  7. oneradtec

    oneradtec New Member

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    Excellent info from Orcanova!!!!!
    That is really all the original poster needs for triathlon...
    Good bike(has that already)
    Good aerobars(has that already)
    Good position(will work on that. Will consider a forward seat post if needed)
    Good wheels(light, aero, low spoke count, deep dish rim(v-shaped)
    Train in the aero position before the event(he will do that)
    Get fit!
     
  8. Orcanova

    Orcanova New Member

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    Thanks for that! I appreciate it.

    I forgot to mention I have a Hed disc and a deep dish Zip front wheel as well and I rarely use them, as it's kind of hilly where I live. But when I do use them on flatter terrain, they are seriously fast.
     
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