TT bike vs Road bike: one bike for HIM triathlon and all year riding

bike

#1

Last year I decided to take triathlon more seriously in preparation for my first half ironman. Part of doing that was buying an entry level ($850 10.3 kg) road bike. I added some aero bars and got it fitted for a more aero position, but feel like upgrading to a proper aero road bike or TT bike would help me move up the field.

Context:

  • I’m a middle of the pack age grouper
  • I’m working on upgrading the engine and this new bike will be my reward for hitting a W/KG goal
  • My budget is in the $5K range
  • I will be doing at least one HIM distance triathlon in 2019 with some shorter courses as warm ups
  • I live in a hilly area and would like to do group rides in the off season
  • I only have space for one bike (<— that’s the biggie)

I am leaning toward an aero road bike so that I am comfortable on it for training and riding around, adding clip on aero bars when in triathlon season. I had been convinced that I would get the Canyon aeroad, but haven’t found very many reviews of using it for triathlon. I would like to get a Canyon since they seem to have the best components for the money and the bikes look the best to me.

So my two questions are:

  1. Would you go with an aero road bike or TT bike if you could only have one?
  2. If you chose aero road bike, would you go for the Canyon Aeroad (pro geometry), Ultimate (pro sport geo), or Endurace (sport geo)?

Thanks!


#2

If you want to get a faster bike split (and my advice if as a cyclist not a triathlete), I’d spend less on the bike, get an aero road bike, clip on TT bars, aero wheelset and a TT helmet. Make sure that whatever bike you get, the handlebars are compatible with clip ons.


#3

I recently bought a Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 8.0 Di2, and I feel like I can help you with some of my decision making regarding the bike.

First of all, if you are buying the latest model, the AeroCockpit doesn’t allow you to install aerobars because of its shape. That is not the case with the Ultimate, if I’m not mistaken.
Second, the Ultimate geometry is still “pro geometry”. In fact, more grand tour riders use the Ultimate than the Aeroad, because of the extra comfort when doing so much kilometers. But so far, after having a bike fit right after being delivered, I find it perfectly comfortable for 100k rides.

So, the decision is whether you want a specific triathlon bike, or a polyvalent super road bike. I’m also racing IM 70.3 Lanzarote in 2 weeks, but I’m not sure if I will have enough time to train for another HIM after that, and will have to stick with olympic and sprint distance. Together with the fact that I like going for group rides on Sundays, and that I live in a pretty hilly location, made me go for the Aeroad.

I decided that I would get that bike because it was the best bang for your buck, specially with the end of season discounts, wanted an aggressive bike to be as fast as a road bike allowed me to, and then if I managed to stick with the training volume, maybe in 2 years I would get a Speedmax, or whatever TT bike I find a good deal on. I’m also not fast enough right now (3.5W/kg), and I would feel stupid being overtaken with a TT bike. And the Aeroad is also lighter, as light as the Ultimate, so that’s another plus against the TT.


#4

I was at a similar cross roads and went with the aero roady for now. I spend more time riding with friends in the group and frankly don’t enjoy the long solo ride of a HIM in particular. I recently did an OD on this bike and was able to run off it very well. I felt good running off my Decathlon alu bike in the two HIMs I did this year, but I suspect I lost a lot of time due to drag (that aero road bike is significantly faster).

From what it sounds like a road bike might be the way to go, unless you chose to get serious in the tri game at which point aerodynamic benefits and the more suitable hip angle will make all the difference.


#5

That was in fact the most fun aspect of any tri event I go to, to overtake 5 figure tri bikes on my bottom end BTwin. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Now on the much faster Ridley the difference is going to much more apparent. And all of that at even lower W/kg than you (the last HIM at about 3.2).


#6

Personally, I have 2 x TT bikes that I use for all my training and racing. A Titanium Lynskey T230 for training and a Giant Trinity for racing. They are both set up similarly. Racing performance is my #1 priority so I went for the TT bikes over road bikes. I must admit that 95% of my training is done alone but when I do occasionally ride on a weekend group ride, it’s generally only a small group of triathlete team mates so we are all normally on TT bikes. If the group rides are important to you, I would go down the aero road bike route and use a pair of clip on aerobars and an ISM saddle to slightly increase your seat tube angle to put you in a better position for Tri races.


#7

Clincher for me in this decision was Chad, Nate, and Jonathan commenting about hating training with the TT bike on the trainer in a recent podcast.

I was debating on the decision for shorter course Dus. Far more utility with the aero road bike, way easier to bring outside and ride where I live (downtown in a large city), at the (likely) expense of overall speed on race day.


#8

I have a similar dilemma. I’d really use it only for HIM so it’s not worth it I don’t think. One question, Does one need to add clipp on aero bars to an aero road bike? Is there any benefit or has the bike been designed in such a way it won’t help ( or could hurt)?


#9

I don’t ride with others so all my riding is on my tt bike. Not all of it is in the aero position however but as I move towards race season more and more is.


#10

I don’t think you need a TT bike. As someone else said, get a roadie with clip-ons, a decent aero wheelset and TT helmet. You’ll be fine. Once you’re a regular FOP guy and have goals like qualifying for 70.3 worlds or Kona, then you worry about a separate bike.

You’ll find riding a roadie more comfortable when you’re just out riding. It’ll be easier to handle. It’ll probably come equipped with better brakes, etc., than your TT bike. Group rides will be more welcoming of you on a roadie, and you’ll be able to race and enter road events as well as tris.

I’ve had a roadie (Canondale Super Six) and a TT bike (Cervelo P3C) for 10+ years. No question I prefer to ride the roadie; the Cervelo is a necessary evil. I haven’t upgraded either one in a long time because my limiter is my engine’s capacity, not my frame, wheels, helmet, etc.

Another note, I raced several seasons up through 70.3 on an old Cervelo Dual, which was basically an aero road bike that you could tweak to make more like a TT bike. I won my AG several times at local sprints and olympic distance, and had a great bike leg at Florida 70.3 on it. All that taught me was that it’s less about the bike and more about the engine. Once the engine is up to par, worry about the other stuff.

Of course, I don’t regret having the TT bike, but I probably didn’t need it. I probably could’ve gotten similar results the last ten years on an aero road bike with an aero setup.


#11

You’ll want the aero bars. The difference in being able to maintain your tuck is immeasurable. Ultimately, the “draggiest” thing on a bike is you.


#12

I used to have a dedicated TT bike, but now i’m also in the using an aero road bike for triathlons camp. I’m less serious about triathlon these days and the TT bike just sat on my trainer most of the time and like others have said it’s gotta be the worst bike to use on a trainer. Finally decided I wanted one bike that could be my roadie, my trainer bike, and my “TT” bike. Ended up going with the FELT AR FRD and and have been pretty happy with it so far.

I prefer the bike in road mode, but when it’s time to prep for a tri I simply add some clip on aero bars, adjust my seat a bit and I’m ready to go.


#13

This will be the route I go when I decide to upgrade bikes. It’ll be a lot easier to sell this plan to The Boss than, “Honey, I need two new bikes.” And then I just get a super kickass aero roadie and trick it out, all the while telling her, “Think of how much money we saved by my paring down to one bike!” :laughing:


#14

That’s exactly what I did, just in the opposite direction. I had a TT bike and a road bike. Sold them both and put all the cash into one “super kickass aero roadie”. :+1: