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Tri bike or wheels/bars?
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Considering upgrading my 2016 Specialized Roubaix SL4 Comp to a QR PRFour Disc. However, a good set of wheels for the Roubaix would run almost as much as a PRFour (yes, depending on the wheelset). The Roubaix is super comfortable, and has served me well. I'm working on increasing my distances from primarily sprint and Olympic for the past several years (been at this since 2012) to half-IM in 2020 and full-IM in 2021.

Basically I'm looking for opinions on the cost/benefit of upgrading my current rig (wheels and aerobars) or a new bike. I'd have to sell the Roubaix to help defray the cost of a new bike if I went that route (I don't subscribe to the "n+1 rule").

Any input is appreciated!

- JB
"There are only two days in a year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday, and the other is called tomorrow." - The Dalai Lama
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Re: Tri bike or wheels/bars? [OtterJohn] [ In reply to ]
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Save the money, invest it in bitcoin, and buy everything you want with the winnings come winter.

Honestly, just get the aero bars and a bike fit. Once that's done, train.

___________________________________________
Ironman Lake Placid - 2019
North East Regional Long Course Championship - 2019
Bucks County Marathon - 2019
American Zofingen Ultra Distance Duathlon - 2020
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Re: Tri bike or wheels/bars? [OtterJohn] [ In reply to ]
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The best I ever rode aero race bike Propel with 50mm wheels, skinsuit, clipons, and TT helmet came to a .270 to .290 CdA running the Chung aerolab math on them (they were looped runs with a small rise).

The 10 year old Felt DA TT bike with same body kit items, came in at a .215 to .220 on recent runs on the same math.

That CdA might not be actual, but I trust the delta at least. As I consistently get close to that number.

I wasn’t a believer in getting a TT bike till I tried it and ran the math.

It’s worth it.
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Re: Tri bike or wheels/bars? [OtterJohn] [ In reply to ]
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Start with a good bike fit. Once you have the coordinates (and have confirmed orthodoxy), work out if it is possible to get your current bike there. This can usually be done with some creativity (suitable selection of low-stack aero bars, stem, seatpost and saddle).

I would stick with the current bike if you can, a road bike is much more versatile than a TT. Maybe once you get to the longer races then a dedicated second bike will make sense.

Wheels can be added later, and can always transfer to a new bike. But they (and a different frame) are small fry compared to getting your body in a good position. If it's cost/benefit you're after, fit a rear wheel disc cover and just buy a deep front wheel.
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Re: Tri bike or wheels/bars? [burnthesheep] [ In reply to ]
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burnthesheep wrote:
The best I ever rode aero race bike Propel with 50mm wheels, skinsuit, clipons, and TT helmet came to a .270 to .290 CdA running the Chung aerolab math on them (they were looped runs with a small rise).

The 10 year old Felt DA TT bike with same body kit items, came in at a .215 to .220 on recent runs on the same math.

That CdA might not be actual, but I trust the delta at least. As I consistently get close to that number.

I wasn’t a believer in getting a TT bike till I tried it and ran the math.

It’s worth it.

Was your body position the same?
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Re: Tri bike or wheels/bars? [MattyK] [ In reply to ]
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I couldn't agree with this more. I am one of the folks that bought the TT bike while already having a road bike and I wish I would have done what you described below. Was I faster on the TT bike than on the road bike? Sure was! But I always find myself wishing I had a road bike fitted out the way the ITU triathletes have theirs set up. Stubby aero bars and all! The bike is just so versatile. Better for climbing, better for handling, and you can still get pretty darn aero.

Do I regret buying the TT bike? No, I don't not. Why? Because I really enjoy doing time trials. But it's just not as ideal for anything else.

I will make the investment in a high end roadie set up like the ITU triathlete at some point...but not now. I don't have the money after making the spend on the TT bike.


MattyK wrote:
Start with a good bike fit. Once you have the coordinates (and have confirmed orthodoxy), work out if it is possible to get your current bike there. This can usually be done with some creativity (suitable selection of low-stack aero bars, stem, seatpost and saddle).

I would stick with the current bike if you can, a road bike is much more versatile than a TT. Maybe once you get to the longer races then a dedicated second bike will make sense.

Wheels can be added later, and can always transfer to a new bike. But they (and a different frame) are small fry compared to getting your body in a good position. If it's cost/benefit you're after, fit a rear wheel disc cover and just buy a deep front wheel.

___________________________________________
Ironman Lake Placid - 2019
North East Regional Long Course Championship - 2019
Bucks County Marathon - 2019
American Zofingen Ultra Distance Duathlon - 2020
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Re: Tri bike or wheels/bars? [MattyK] [ In reply to ]
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MattyK wrote:
burnthesheep wrote:
The best I ever rode aero race bike Propel with 50mm wheels, skinsuit, clipons, and TT helmet came to a .270 to .290 CdA running the Chung aerolab math on them (they were looped runs with a small rise).

The 10 year old Felt DA TT bike with same body kit items, came in at a .215 to .220 on recent runs on the same math.

That CdA might not be actual, but I trust the delta at least. As I consistently get close to that number.

I wasn’t a believer in getting a TT bike till I tried it and ran the math.

It’s worth it.

Was your body position the same?

It wasn’t possible to get the road bike any better in terms of position. Similar idea but couldn’t execute it on the roadie. It was also a bit unstable to ride.

I posted photos here for it and worked on it best I could.

Then got the TT bike and didn’t look back.

My TT fit has pretty recent video if you search my user name and “felt da”.

Way back you might find my roadie fit also in an old topic.

Basically, getting a decent hip angle on the roadie was tough.
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Re: Tri bike or wheels/bars? [burnthesheep] [ In reply to ]
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burnthesheep wrote:
It wasn’t possible to get the road bike any better in terms of position. Similar idea but couldn’t execute it on the roadie. It was also a bit unstable to ride.

I posted photos here for it and worked on it best I could.

Then got the TT bike and didn’t look back.

My TT fit has pretty recent video if you search my user name and “felt da”.

Way back you might find my roadie fit also in an old topic.

Basically, getting a decent hip angle on the roadie was tough.

No worries. I was pretty happy how my position turned out though, and it's suitably stable.
https://forum.slowtwitch.com/forum/?post=6422705
The combo of offset post and ISM gets you a long way forwards.

Not saying a dedicated TT bike won't be better, but for me it's not $thousands worth of better... Yes I spend about 45 minutes to swap the cockpit and seatpost, so I don't do it often, but I'll live with that twice a year as an excuse to change the cables.
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Re: Tri bike or wheels/bars? [OtterJohn] [ In reply to ]
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I DID THIS!!!
It was the stupidest waste of money ever. I put 50mm Rovals on it, and had to use a negative angle stem, to get the bars low enough to resemble an aero position (VERY HARD with the Roubaix geometry). When I was done (don't worry, I removed the frame mounted bottles) I had a fat framed fungo bat wind catcher with $1500 wheels that was unstable as hell. Then I bought my tri bike... even with the stock aluminum wheels, my Cervelo demolished the Roubaix in some personal but well controlled TT's. Then (because I love this kind of stuff) I put the Rovals on a 52 year old Reynolds framed race bike... and it TT'd better than the fat ass Roubaix. Then I put the Rovals on the Cervelo and have never looked back. And just about the time I was getting ready to sell the Roubaix... the POS sorry excuse for a bottom bracket BB30 started squealing. LSS, I took it in the ass and let the Roubaix go for $650 and seeing it leave my property was a beautiful sight.

Athlinks / Strava
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Re: Tri bike or wheels/bars? [OtterJohn] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for all the input, I truly appreciate it!

Seems like there are two distinct schools of thought on the question I posed. I don't do group rides, so that's not a concern...100% of my training is indoors, and I train on the bike I race on. I think the biggest debate for me would be the time savings...I've had people on $15K super bikes pass me, and I've also passed others on similar bikes. Here in the PNW we have a lot of hills, chip-seal roads, and a lot of technical courses...so the roadie would be a benefit there. And watching a lot of ITU, I see them competing (albeit at shorter distances) on aero roadies without issue.

Lots to think about, and I still need to kick around the ideas with my wife...if I could convince her to make the same modifications to her rig or get her a TT bike, I might be able to swing it. ;)

Thanks again, everyone!!

- JB
"There are only two days in a year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday, and the other is called tomorrow." - The Dalai Lama
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