Cheap TT vs good Aero setup

Hey everyone! I have an aero question. I’m a Triathlete racing from sprint to half iron distance. Me and mate have quite a healthy rivalry especially when it come to the bike leg. We had both been racing aero Road bike with clip ons. However he’s just bought a Canyon speedmax! I can’t justify spending 3k on another bike (just spent £2700 on a mtb) Ive been looking at the Ridley Cheetah TT frame. I’m not sure if a cheap TT frame will be faster than my nice aero Road bike that has a fast forward seat post and clip ons? What are your thoughts? Thanks

I think the big gains are wheels, so could hunt for a second hand disc wheel for the rear. Should get you pretty close.

And avoid spending 3k!

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My completely unqualified idea is that it isn’t so much about the frame, but more about the position a TT frame allows you to get into. So I’d look at the geometry and try to work out if you can get more aero on the new frame.
The frame itself of course also helps save a few watts, but IMO that should come after finding a great position.


I have a nice set of profile deep section on it. 50mm front 80mm rear.

I’m thinking the fast forward seat post should put me in a pretty similar position to a TT bike. Maybe I’ll get a bike fit. I think Matt Boterill is doing some good online sessions at the moment.

I was just thinking about that, if you want to improve your aero-ness maybe better investment would be to talk to one of the aero guys or even book a session at the boardman centre (if they do them right now). It’ll be a lot cheaper than £2k, and even if you find out you do want TT frame, at least you’ll know what to look for.

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Which reminds me, has a new owner been found, I’ve not heard anything.

The Halfords group closed it for good the end of April

“This review has now concluded, and the difficult decision has been made to close the performance centre with immediate effect."

“It remains our hope that an operator can be secured for the centre we all love.”

Well then I’d agree with the other posts, you’re prob the biggest source of drag so the bike fit probably would be good. If it can get you in a tt position then you’re sorted.

Plus things like helmets and slippery skin suits.


Ah rubbish, I didn’t know that! Thought it was just closed because of covid and might be open again.

You don’t mention what aero road bike you have, so it is kinda hard to give any feeling re: that frame vs. the Cheetah.

That said, the Ridley is nothing special for an aero design POV. As others noted, the gain will be from being able to get in a better position.

Also, a TT bar set-up is more aero than drop bars with clip-one. Further, if you swap out the round base bar for something like the Zipp Alumina Vuka base bar, you can save a few watts there. The Vuka is pretty cheap and would be a worthwhile investment. Obviously a carbon aero base bar would be even better, but also $$$.

A TT frame will have a lower stack and long reach (generally) than a road frame. So you would be able to move farther forward without having to run a long stem and potentially be lower than your road set-up.

That said, I ran a converted Cervelo S2 as my Tri bike for a few years and was every bit as aero on that bike as I am now on my Shiv TT. Had to get a -17* stem however to get low enough…but it can be done.

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All the staff were made redundant prior to COVID so if they do find a buyer for the building they are starting from scratch with staff too.

From what I can see all the ‘premium’ Boardman bikes and frames are gone too, just the low end models sold through Halfords available.

Halfords have done well to crush the Boardman name.

A bit different but I converted my sportive road bike to a TT bike. Disk cover, forward facing seat post and ttbars. The next season I bought a TT bike. At the end of the TT bike’s season it was only 16s faster than my converted bike season. I’m a bit faster now on the TT bike but I put it down to training.

As an aside, my mate won our club scratch championship on an Aero road bike with clip ons and was actually slower when he got a TT bike. Position wise I guess the former suited him better.

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Yes, Nothing to do with CV19 the review started well before that, closed other facities as well (not seen what they where.) I know they were cutting the bike range, didn’t know what. I went for a Quality Manager job there five years ago, glad I didn’t get it now with all the cuts.

They closed the cycle republic shops too, I think they only bought them not too long ago either. Its a bit strange that they are following through with that 2019 review, with the massive increase in popularity cycling has now. But maybe a more cycle friendly company will pick up the business.

Position > Clothing > Wheels > TT frame

Or something along those lines - basically the frame itself is probably the last of your considerations if you can achieve Position.


I put a Zipp base bar and extensions on an old road frame, slammed the stem, put an ISM saddle on and turned the seat post around to bring my position forward.

No doubt I was faster than my aero road bike and the position felt quick. I PR’d lots of segments and was reasonably happy.

Then I got a good deal on a TT frame and integrated cockpit. I took 3 minutes off my best times on my regular segment (41 min down to 38 min). I haven’t been under 40 min in over 10 years of trying.

Same clothes, same tyres, etc etc. for me (n=1) the TT frame made a huge difference. The more aggressive position on the TT frame was probably easier to adapt to because of the time on the road frame with aero bars - but that is hard to know - but most likely the gradual adaptation was helpful.

Whichever way you go, make sure it feels fast :slight_smile: psychology is important!

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I’m having a bike fit on Sunday, hopefully this will get me a bit more slippery. I’m never going to challenge for national titles or anything but would like to be competitive.