TT bike vs aero wheels

by blablablacksheep20   May 23, 2013  

Hi all.
Getting into TT quite a lot, and also considering triathlon.
Just some info about myself, running is not bad,6:20mm pace and cycling I'm hitting 24mins for 10 mile ish.

I'm considering a TT bike so that I get into a better position and aero tuck thus able to put down a better time.

My tt bike would maybe be a canyon speed Max cf 8 @3.6k.


Upgrade to some very nice racing wheels like zipp 404 clinchers with my canyon slx cf 8(2012)

What are your thoughts? I do have aero bars atm Wink

14 user comments

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Or a third option.

Buy some cheaper deep section rims, AND a cheapish TT rig - a good set of wheels will make it fast and you can use them on the canyon.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1734 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 15:26


frame > wheels, 404's wouldnt be great for tt anyway

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 15:46


A good position blows all other potential gains out of the water. So if you can get a better position on a tt bike then it is a good way to go. The steeper position should help on the run too- so i am told- but I believe a good ride should never be ruined by preceding it with a swim or following it with a run.

Personally I would look at Boardman AirTT or a 2nd hand Cervelo P3.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 18:00


ilovemytinbred wrote:
A good position blows all other potential gains out of the water. So if you can get a better position on a tt bike then it is a good way to go.

Would say the same - the rider contributes 80% of drag. But before you buy the TT bike, have you removed the headset spacers? If it's still too high then you could try an adjustable stem. A TT bike will probably be heavier than your road bike. Do you have a skinsuit and aero helmet? Both are useful, inexpensive gains.

Wheels are a good place for aero improvements and can be swapped across to any bike. But Zipp wheels are poor value - unless you're in the top few places you're paying a lot for the name. PX carbon or other ~50mm would be worth considering; a lightweight aero 35mm rim e.g. American Classic Aero 420 is worthwhile and an excellent compromise.

Have you considered your training for time trials and other distances? Do you train on the aerobars to replicate your race position? I could be completely wrong but for many people investing in a coach or tailored training plan would do more to bring your times down than expensive hardware.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2368 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 19:13


try to avoid spoiling a perfectly good bike ride by going for a run or swim before or after.

posted by pj [148 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 20:15


What's wrong with 404 firecrests? Lots of TT riders I've seen use them or the deeper 808s.

Bike Wise my current road bike is awesome but I'm very sad that I'm turning it into TT bike so would like a specific TT bike.

With this in mind, maybe the cf canyon or a second hand TT bike, although getting right size and fit be very tricky so maybe new from shop is best.
If so what options do I have for 2k budget?

posted by blablablacksheep20 [54 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 21:15


Second hand P2?

Maybe even P4?

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1734 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 22:53


Raleigh wrote:
Second hand P2?

Maybe even P4?

Definitely a P3 Wink

posted by veseunr [287 posts]
24th May 2013 - 10:01


you could save 1:47 on your current time (theoretically) with:

Zipp 900 - £1237
Zipp 808 - £855
cervelo p5 - £4000

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
24th May 2013 - 11:00


Haha ^^ as if I'm spending that money.

First thing I'm doing is having bike fit.

Second thing, aero wheels or TT bike, need to decide.

I've seen so many reviews and TT guys rocking zipps they surely are decent?

TT bike wise any other suggestions around 2k Mark.
P3 looks amazing but I think I'll need 4k to get a decent one equal to the Canyon speed max cf8 though :-\

posted by blablablacksheep20 [54 posts]
24th May 2013 - 12:33


I would hold off getting a bike fit until you made the decision TT bike or aero wheels.

And unless you want to turn your canyon slx cf 8 into a TT bike, I would buy a TT bike that suits your budget.

Because position is everything, well almost everything and the best position for riding a TT is not the best position to do anything else. You will end up with your stem slamed, you seat forward and raised.

Late last year, starting TTing on my race bike a Fuji SL, with aero wheels but no TT bars. Was doing consistent but no spectacular times.

Bought myself a proper TT bike for Xmas a 2nd hand Kuota Kaliber with full DA for about 1k (rough conversion AUD to GBP), dropped in my aero wheelset and started racing. 1st couple of race even worse than the Fuji SL. Then I started setting PBs by 10 seconds or so over 10 miles, next couple of races.

Had a proper bike fit, took over a minute off my PB over 10 miles, next few weeks kept on improving by 10 to 15 seconds a race.

So my advice, get a proper TT bike, get a bike fit, then buy aero helmet, skinsuit, shoe covers, aero wheels and my secret weapon a power meter.

I would look for a 2nd hand TT bike, they don't get thrashed that much, or used for commuting (except by crazy people like me who can use their commute as TT training on at least one 11 mile section). A lot of people buy TT bikes to get into tris and do not keep going. Or do and get serious and upgrade after 12 to 24 months.

If you want new, Plant X offer a decent TT bike with 52mm carbon clinchers for around 1.5k. Gives you 500 for bike fit, aero helmet, skinsuit, shoe covers and a healthy chunk of change to put towards a power meter or coaching

posted by nickobec [261 posts]
24th May 2013 - 14:24


That what im thinking, position is everything, tbh a bike fit will be good as they will be able to tell me what size exactly il need for a TT bike and furtre road bikes while making sure my road bike is 100% sorted.

Aero wheels last ages and can be transfered, but i think their gains vs cost is crazy.

TT bike wise, im at the following:

Cervelo P3 (depending on cost)
Canyon Speed max CF 8 (depending on shipping dates and cost lol)

Now for bikes around 2k mark.....
Felt? Canyon speedmax not carbon(they got good reviews but would like first hand experience of them)
any others that stand out?

posted by blablablacksheep20 [54 posts]
24th May 2013 - 16:02


A decent shop would advise you on the correct size before you buy or pay for a bikefit. Your chosen TT bike should be primarily based on this, as they are all different.

Manufacturers skew their wind tunnel test data to their own criteria so no point trying to choose which is 'fastest'.

Zipp wheels are good but they're not necessarily better than the competition. Don't believe the hype.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2368 posts]
24th May 2013 - 17:53


A road bike fit is not going to tell you a lot about the right TT fit. Yes the bike fitter will be able to tell you what size TT frame after a road bike fit, but the nuances like stem length you will need a separate TT bike fit.

I had a dual bike fit, my road race bike and TT bike in the same session. Ended up with two people doing the fit, one worked solely on my road race bike fit, the other on my TT bike fit. Other than checking each others work at the end of the sessions, there was no conferring or swapping technical data during the fit.

The road race bike, very minor tweaks. But I had been racing it for more than 6 months.

The TT bike, I been racing 6 weeks, was being to get comfortable in what I thought was radical aero position. I was wrong, headset spacer removed, shorter stem, elbow rests moved back, seat further forward and raised a little.

Had one training ride, then raced it and took 1 minute off my PB over 10 miles.

My position on a TT bike is considerable different from that on a road bike. For example bar to saddle is 40mm shorter on TT bike. Which is why I am saying TT bike for tris, TT and training for tris & TT. Road bike for everything else (and with clips ons for mountain TTs Wink

So if I had the choice for racing TT's I would go for TT bike over aero wheels.

Though if you are about to buy a new TT bike, why pay for a non aero wheelset on the bike and upgrade later. When you could save in the long run and buy now. The Canyon Speedmax AL9 comes with Reynolds aero wheels.

posted by nickobec [261 posts]
25th May 2013 - 4:07