Tri-bars ?

by Littlesox   November 18, 2012  

Discussion took place yesterday at the cafe, where my mate put forward the view that tri-bars are a waste of time at our level.

He said that if we were Wiggo or Froomie, time-trialling at the highest level, looking for marginal gains and carrying out wind-tunnel tests, then he could see the merit.

But racing a club-level, recording 10TT's of mid 20's for the loss of comfort and risk to stability, they didn't make that much difference.

He went on to say they were akin to go-faster stripes on cars, and that most people had them because of the look rather than improvements in drag co-efficient.

Has he got a point?

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This is a good read on the subject:

http://www.cyclingtips.com.au/2010/04/biggest-bang-for-your-buck-in-time...

in terms of time saving per pound spent they're the best upgrade you can make, followed by shoe covers, a skinsuit and an aero helmet. then the gains are more marginal and the equipment a lot more expensive.

this isn't gospel, but it's useful. it's generally held by the people i've spoken to over the years than tt bars are worth something around a minute over a 10TT, which is a similar gain to the 122s over 40km in the article above. that's a significant stick of time and enough to move you up considerably on the leaderboard. so yes, they do make a difference.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [6733 posts]
18th November 2012 - 10:15

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Not being 'all technical' about it, and my racing days are well over, but I can give my personal experiences.
I have a hybrid for commuting and when going to work (North Easterly direction) the wind is usually behind me and I keep on the normal bars all the way - no probs there.

On the way home however (now South Westerly), other than a handfull of times, I am continually against the wind - down I go on the TT's (once clear of the city) and what a difference. On the upright position, normal hybrid bars I would be coming to a near standstill, but down on the TT bars does reduce the wind drag substantially and I get home quicker for sure. Once used to them they are easier on the legs, back and time on the saddle against a strong wind.

I for one would say they are a godsend on my commute home. They, for me, are not a bit 'asthetic' and there for the looks - they are there for a reason and work a treat.

I think it's all to do with your arms being together, shoulders tucked in, lower on the front and a large reduction in the frontal body area, sort of pointed - afterall, it's the biggest part we have to propel through the air, let alone a head-on wind.....

Regards,

Trikeman. Wink

Grunt, puff, pant and groan goes the old man - but he gets there in the end. ;o)

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posted by trikeman [346 posts]
18th November 2012 - 16:20

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As well Tri Bars on most [road] bikes look...

Displeasing.

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1704 posts]
18th November 2012 - 16:59

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Well, the bike in the entrance hall of the billionaire's house in episode 2 of The Killing III shown yesterday had tri bars Cool

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posted by Crosshouses [108 posts]
18th November 2012 - 17:29

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You always run the risk of looking like someone we all know and love.

Screen shot 2012-11-18 at 18.09.20.png

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1704 posts]
18th November 2012 - 18:08

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The real question is: do you want to buy kit to go faster in time trials?

If the answer is yes then tri-bars are the first thing to try. Mine didn't lead to a leap in average speed but what I did appreciate was the improved comfort, especially in longer events.

Next up I'd use fast rolling tyres, 50mm or deeper section wheels and a skinsuit.

An aero helmet can save a bit again but not as much as the above items, and if one thing makes a TTer look a bit silly to an onlooker it's the smurf hat. But it serves a purpose.

I disagree with Dave about overshoes. I was under the impression they saved a handful of seconds at most. There are some useful numbers in the Aero Shopping List table in this article:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/aero/aerodynamics.htm
More here:
http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/article/how-aero-is-aero-19273/

On a purely aesthetic level I like the retro/classic look and simple outlines (as well as the cost saving without the dedicated TT kit) but I've grown to appreciate a super-slippery time trial bike for what it is. Time trialling is about aerodynamics and anyone who has got the bug will want to get faster both by being stronger and by being more aero.

If your mate doesn't like the TT 'look' then that's fine; he should organise an old skool series and see how many people bother entering.

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posted by Simon E [1649 posts]
18th November 2012 - 19:12

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Simon E wrote:
T I was under the impression they saved a handful of seconds at most. There are some useful numbers in the Aero Shopping List table in this article:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/aero/aerodynamics.htm

That table quotes only 2 seconds saved over 40km which doesn't sound right (and would mean Fignon would have beaten Lemond).
I'm guessing it's talking about the bars themselves rather than how much more aero they make the rider by adjusting their position as the rider creates far more drag than the bike.

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posted by TheHatter [805 posts]
18th November 2012 - 19:22

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Simon E wrote:

I disagree with Dave about overshoes. I was under the impression they saved a handful of seconds at most.

they save a handful of seconds, and they're dead cheap. so in terms of seconds saved per pound spent, they're near the top of the shopping list Smile

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posted by Dave Atkinson [6733 posts]
18th November 2012 - 20:33

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SORRY, I just had to

Why not get yourself on Aero bars? (from Drunkcyclist)

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/148135_4419193225...

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posted by Gkam84 [7538 posts]
18th November 2012 - 22:02

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TheHatter wrote:
That table quotes only 2 seconds saved over 40km which doesn't sound right (and would mean Fignon would have beaten Lemond).

The table quotes 13 seconds for lycra shoe covers over 40 km. Or do you mean the Cinelli Aero Bar? I think that's a profiled normal handlebar.

There would be other differences between LeMond and Fignon on that day in 1989 which would be more significant - physical and mental condition on the last day of a 3 week stage race (Fignon had a horrendous saddle sore that meant he was incredibly uncomfortable) never mind other aspects of equipment choice, maybe even tyre pressures.

The rider produces around 80% of the drag, which is why the real differences between single components e.g. front brake are small, because it's a tiny fraction of the whole. Rider position - essentially your frontal area - is far, far more significant.

More here:
http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/article/how-aero-is-aero-19273/
The clip-on bars give a 1 mph gain over a rider doing 25 mph w/o bars, aero helmet another 0.5 mph.

@Dave sorry I forgot you'd said "per pound" re. shoe covers.

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posted by Simon E [1649 posts]
18th November 2012 - 23:14

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