General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Tri Bike vs Road bike/aero bike questions Rss Feed  
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2014-04-11 9:34 PM


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Subject: Tri Bike vs Road bike/aero bike questions
I will be doing my first 70.3 this summer.

I own a trek Domane which is felt to be the more relaxed of the two trek road bikes (vs madone). I've considered placing aero bars on it (any suggestions for first time aerobar user)...but the bike shop guys keep saying it won't work with this type of bike and I'll be put into an awkward position.

So my questions are:
1) is this true aerobars won't work?
2) what are the main dif in geometry of road vs tri bikes?
3) If I were to try aerobars what would be best for my road bike/for first time user?
4) I ride a 54 trek domane road bike. What might that translate into as far as size for a tri bike?

Honestly the 1-2 mph I might gain from aero wont make a dif to me as I'm a BOP/MOP finisher since I'm not a great runner (no podium aspirations). though I wouldn't mind the additional hand position giving my hands /wrist a rest. When I spin I really like using the middle of the handle bar extensions which gives my wrists /hands a break and I can pretend to be in aero.

Have to admit to some envy of those on tri bikes or roads with aero as they all tend to pass me during the ride portions of a tri ( I tend to be one of the fastest out of the water, see all the bikes to the left and right of me in T1 and unfortunately see many of the same bikes on the rack in T2 - which means these guys either didn't make it thru the swim or more likely passed me on the ride - a bit depressing).

thanks for any response.


2014-04-11 9:45 PM
in reply to: gzh6464

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Subject: RE: Tri Bike vs Road bike/aero bike questions

You can add aero bars to your Domane...but it won't be ideal.  It will still "work," but just not nearly as good as a true tri bike, and not quite as good as it may on a more aggressive road bike such as the Madone.  The reason is that the stack (how high the headtube/handlebars are) of the bike is made to be higher on the Domane, thus adding aerobars won't get you as low or as aero.  It will still be more aero than riding in the traditional position with your hands on the hoods though.

If you can get a pair of cheap adjustable aerobars, I would add them.  If nothing else, it's an additional position you can ride in.  If you're a MOP/BOP rider, then you'll be out on the course for 3+ hours and it's nice to be able to take some of the pressure off your hands by riding on the aero bars for periods of time.  Plus you'll be faster when doing so.

But one thing I would advise is that you do not change your road bike position when adding the aero bars.  Slap on the aerobars and adjust them as best you can without touching anything else.  If this means you can only ride in the aero bars for 5-10 minutes at a time...so be it.  It's still better than nothing.  Don't worry about the weight penalty of adding aero bars either.  The difference is likely very small and can easily be made up by riding aero for a short time.

 

2014-04-12 1:56 AM
in reply to: gzh6464


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Subject: RE: Tri Bike vs Road bike/aero bike questions
Originally posted by gzh6464

I will be doing my first 70.3 this summer.

I own a trek Domane which is felt to be the more relaxed of the two trek road bikes (vs madone). I've considered placing aero bars on it (any suggestions for first time aerobar user)...but the bike shop guys keep saying it won't work with this type of bike and I'll be put into an awkward position.

So my questions are:
1) is this true aerobars won't work?
2) what are the main dif in geometry of road vs tri bikes?
3) If I were to try aerobars what would be best for my road bike/for first time user?
4) I ride a 54 trek domane road bike. What might that translate into as far as size for a tri bike?



My first 70.3 I did with an old Giant road bike, time was 3.15 for the 90km ride, averaging 27km/hr. The next one I did, months later using the same bike with aero bars & aero helmet and a bit more training (not heaps) I got a 2.40 for the same route and similar conditions. I probably didn't have a good aero position, but felt much more comfortable, relaxed and faster than on the drops or hoods. I'm not saying you'll experience a massive improvement by adding aero bars, but you will see some speed gains, plus you should feel more comfortable.

Re bike size, generally people go smaller for TT bikes, but get a bike fit.

Re aero bars, just get some cheap ones, as you'll probably end up getting a TT bike that will come with decent ones anyway.
2014-04-12 9:25 AM
in reply to: gzh6464

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Subject: RE: Tri Bike vs Road bike/aero bike questions
Adding aero bars to a road bike is a compromise, but you can minimize the negative impact by taking some precaution. First, get aero bars specifically designed to be used on a road bike, shortie bars, aka ITU bar, something like VisionTech MiniTT works well. Second, don't fiddle with your position, make sure the aero bars can be fitted to you, not you to the aero bars. I.e. keep the saddle position exactly where you are right now.

You can't "translate" sizeā€¦ first of all, a road bike is very different than a tri bike, so the geometric relationship will be significantly off. There's nothing magical about the tri bike itself, the biggest gain comes from the position that the rider can be put in. Since an aero position is a series of compromises between aerodynamics, efficiency (power) and comfort, all based on YOU and your circumstances and race/ride criteria (distances, terrain, experience, etc.), do not underestimate the value of a bike fit. You should really get a bike fit FIRST and only after that start looking for tri bikes that fit YOU.
2014-04-12 12:01 PM
in reply to: audiojan

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Subject: RE: Tri Bike vs Road bike/aero bike questions

Originally posted by audiojan Adding aero bars to a road bike is a compromise, but you can minimize the negative impact by taking some precaution. First, get aero bars specifically designed to be used on a road bike, shortie bars, aka ITU bar, something like VisionTech MiniTT works well. Second, don't fiddle with your position, make sure the aero bars can be fitted to you, not you to the aero bars. I.e. keep the saddle position exactly where you are right now. You can't "translate" size… first of all, a road bike is very different than a tri bike, so the geometric relationship will be significantly off. There's nothing magical about the tri bike itself, the biggest gain comes from the position that the rider can be put in. Since an aero position is a series of compromises between aerodynamics, efficiency (power) and comfort, all based on YOU and your circumstances and race/ride criteria (distances, terrain, experience, etc.), do not underestimate the value of a bike fit. You should really get a bike fit FIRST and only after that start looking for tri bikes that fit YOU.

Exactly.

Some of the best-summarized information I've read out there is here in Choose Your Bike:

http://www.elitebicycles.com/tech_tut_fit.php

 

2014-04-12 1:07 PM
in reply to: gzh6464

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Subject: RE: Tri Bike vs Road bike/aero bike questions

I'm going to agree with the bike shop guys. If you bought the Domane because it felt "more relaxed" then chances are putting aerobars on it and doing nothing else to the bike (not re-fitting) would just feel awkward.  You'd just bend at the waist more and that would just close your hip angles and reduce your comfort and power. Go for a ride and spend 20 minutes on the drops (not on the hoods, not on the tops, but down low).  That is close to what riding an aerobar will feel like.

But if you want to try them, I suggest the lightest possible ones, like carbon or aluminum. Too much weight on the front-end can make the bike very skittish. No big old-school hoop ones, instead separate bars.  The "ski jump" ends are usually more comfortable than the S bend (also known as R bend for "racing bend), and ignore straight bars.  Profile Design makes good ones. 

The purpose of a tri bike is to put the huge non-aerodynamic rider in the best possible low-air-drag position known as "aero position".  The bike has significant changes to the geometry of the entire bike to accommodate this. I'm going to link some images off the Internet from http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/bikes/difference.shtml, you should read the article.

 

Bike angles

And here's another image showing real bikes and how the tri bike rotates the entire rider so the hip angle in aero is still about the same as the road bike rider.  Tri bike aero position isn't just bending at the waist.  To answer your question about sizing, you can't really compare road to tri or even different makes.  People measure from difference positions.  There is a system of measurement known as "stack and reach" which is more standardized. Find that on the Internet too.

Here's an image that's floated around a while (from another article http://gearwestbike.com/articles/tri-bike-or-road-bike-pg54.htm)

 Pretty clearly shows the differences.



2014-04-12 3:48 PM
in reply to: brucemorgan

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Subject: RE: Tri Bike vs Road bike/aero bike questions

Originally posted by brucemorgan

I'm going to agree with the bike shop guys. If you bought the Domane because it felt "more relaxed" then chances are putting aerobars on it and doing nothing else to the bike (not re-fitting) would just feel awkward.  You'd just bend at the waist more and that would just close your hip angles and reduce your comfort and power. Go for a ride and spend 20 minutes on the drops (not on the hoods, not on the tops, but down low).  That is close to what riding an aerobar will feel like.

I'm with you (and the bike shop guys).  The Domane has such slack and relaxed geometry that slapping on some aerobars would probably cause more harm than good.  On a Madone... okay.  Not on a Domane.

2014-04-13 7:29 AM
in reply to: brucemorgan


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Subject: RE: Tri Bike vs Road bike/aero bike questions
Thanks a lot for the info especially brucemorgan. Sill tossed on what to do. may try a pair of short bars if nothing more than to give me another hand position and give my hands wrists a rest. Doing the 70.3 to simply finish...not podium or specific time goals (will determine that during the race and see how things are going). I do tend to ride a lot in the drops especially on flats and I had my bike fit into as aggressive as you can go on a Domane. Handle bar is set as low as you can get to the head/top tubes.

Not ready for a dedicatd TT bike especially since where I live is pretty Hilly. Looked at a 51 cervelo P1 offered locally, excellent price, but obviously it wasn't fitted for me. it felt small (I didn't adjust the seat as I should have)...
2014-04-13 10:52 AM
in reply to: gzh6464

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Subject: RE: Tri Bike vs Road bike/aero bike questions
I have a Giant Defy (also relaxed frame geometry) and while I know it is not ideal, I put a set of Profile Design aero bars on it. I like it primarily because it gives me another position for my arms, and relieves a lot of shoulder stress. I can go faster, too, which I like.

I've only been doing this "tri-thing" for a year, and only sprints so far, but I can definitely see the advantage of a dedicated tri-bike. Training aside, all of the tri-bike riders I see passing me :-) look much more comfortable, powerful and relaxed in aero than I feel.
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