Aero Road Hyperbike vs TT Superbike

Hi Guys

SO… I know this topic is partially addressed in a podcast(linked) as well as this post (linked), but I feel the answers do not completely cover the issue.

Lets leave kit, helmet and wheels out of this issue as I will not be changing them.

Lets say my TT bike is a Cervelo P5, fits well but heavy as a donkey (my build is 10.5kg with tool bottle).

Lets say my road bike is a shiny new Trek Madone SLR 6 ( not a featherweight but 8.3kg with saddle bag).

I have put the numbers into best bike split for Ironman 70.3 Buffalo City (South Africa) course (pretty much uphill in one direction and downhill in the other) and it seems to be much of a muchness when increasing the drag by 5% and decreasing weight by 2kg to try to get the difference between riding the two bikes. (linked)

I previously did 70.3 Turkey which is a flat as a pancake course with a cervelo s5 (8.7kg) and spent the entire race in the drops, used the best bike split calculations for the cervelo p5, and the time I ended on was not different from the prediction/calculation (calculated for cervelo p5 170 watts for 2:40, actual NP was 173 watts on cervelo s5 for a 2:38).

Is there even a significant difference between a high end aero road bike and a high end tt bike?

Would I have went faster in Turkey with the TT bike than what was calculated by bestbikesplit?

Should I take the road bike to Ironman 70.3 Buffalo City? It is a lot easier to climb with, and I am not certain of whether the TT bike will really give me an advantage or not.

For a full Ironman I will not hesitate to use the TT bike as the course is long enough for the gains to be really significant in terms of time, but more and more, for the shorter distances, I am finding the comfort and aerodynamic/weight trade off of the hyper aero road bikes to be insignificant (in terms of performance) different from the really impractical and super complicated TT bike. The road bikes are simply easier to travel with and just feel better to ride. I am running similarly off both bikes.

Please discuss to your hearts content…:smiley:

High end aero road bikes are just getting better and better these days, so the lines between the categories begin to blur. If you feel that Buffalo City will be an easier effort on the road bike than the TT due to the climbing, I would definitely follow your intuition and take the more comfortable and lighter option with you. I definitely understand where you’re coming from on the traveling point - TT bikes are super complicated and quite a pain to pack and unpack sometimes when compared to a more “normal” road bike.

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Another point/question is how much slower would professionals be on hyper road bikes in these half and full distance triathlons, they almost always choose the TT bike option…

But are the differences only significant at that level (or for competitive age groupers as well)?

Perhaps I am just too slow at the moment to see the benefits?

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100% TT bike if you train/adapted to the position and comfortable. Going down and on flat terrain I’m a good 1.5mph/2.4kph faster at the same power on the TT bike. I am able to generate the same power on the TT bike so it’s probably faster going up anything in the 1-3% range but, I don’t know for sure.

The TT bike will be faster on most courses but for a long event consider how well you can hold your aero position when fatigued. You may be faster on the TT bike at the start but you lose that advantage if you keep having to get out of your position a lot later on, and have to drag that extra weight up the hills anyway.

For tri, one position or the other might be less damaging to your ability to run too.

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Are you sure you have your position optimized on the P5? Unless you’re riding on the base bars the entire time, there is no way that the S5 is as fast as the P5 over almost any course. Remember that your body position is number 1 most important factor to your CdA and the TT bike will allow you to get into a much more aerodynamic position.

Found this thread from the search when about to post something new. Trying to work out the gains from an average TT bike vs top end road bike with clip-on bars.

As it’s club 10 season I’ve been doing some local 10m TT of late. This year I’m doing on my new Giant Propel with Giant’s aero road bars, clip-on extensions, standard di2 and 50mm deep carbon wheels. I’ve had some good results for me, getting into the top 5 and going sub 22 (21.59 but that still sub 22!). 2.30 quicker than my best last season.

This has made me think maybe I should get a bit more serious about my TTing. I can’t afford a top end TT bike (especially after buying my new road bike this year), but I could probably stretch to something like a Ribble Ultra TT at £1999 but then things like disc wheels would be out. I could also consider an older secondhand model but not sure on the aero advantage vs a good aero road bike. Does anyone have view of what the gains might be here or if I’m better get a disc wheel and di2 blips for my existing road bike set-up.