Critique (roast?) my DIY TT position with Redshift aero kit on road bike

This I definitely agree with.

WRT his normal road position, I guess I just think it depends on what he wants and what events he rides.

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Yes, I have this issue more recently as well! It seems to be exacerbated when wearing some winter bibs that are particularly slippery. Some people say this can be driven by having too long a reach but…

OK good to hear - I never felt “bunched up” until spending some time on the aero bars - but yea, now I do feel like I could have more reach in the drops (assuming my core keeps up) so this makes me feel better that I’m thinking in the right direction.

Regarding sizing, has never come up as an issue in a couple prior fits - but the bike was originally configured with three spacers under that stem. I originally bought it as a rural road commuter when I first started riding in 2015. I was lucky a friend steered me to this 2013 on clearance instead of a hybrid - it was enough bike to get me sucked in, and now in past couple years, I’ve been starting to optimize position more. Just not looking to drop $5K+ on a new bike at this time because I’ve not run out of things to learn on this bike. Over time, I put Di2 on it, 42 mm aero carbon wheels for summer, I like that it’s standard parts for bars/stems/seats etc. so lots of options to help figure out my limits, I can put a 28 mm tire on for light gravel, even has mounts for panniers - it’s a good do it all bike for where I am now.

In terms of wants and events - the reason I started down this rabbit hole on the road position was simply noticing how much faster I was going on some longer flat uninterrupted segments for same power output as I got lower, cleaned up commuter club kit to tighter jersey, etc. It made me a believer in chasing “practical” aero - meaning aero where I can still enjoy a 100 mile ride on the bike.

I’m also thinking of going for a 1 hr 40k TT on this setup as a personal goal next year - based on 30 min testing so far, I’m pretty confident I can do it. Maybe after accomplishing that, if I’m still into it, I’ll think about how much the bike is holding me back.

So based on all of this, consider it resolved - I’m definitely going to try a longer and lower angle stem as next step, and that will also likely trigger some serious seat investigations!

And tonight, will play with the S-bar rotation / elbow position for Petit.

I really appreciate the thoughtful input here!

An update from Petit tonight -

I realized I had spaced the redshift mounts offset from my stem by the width of my Wahoo mount that I had tucked in between. So tonight, I took that out, brought them up against the stem, rotated the S-ends inward, and now I have only 0.5 inches between the bars. (probably equal to ~0.75-1" without the thick tape) With my hands on the bars, without gloves, it was nearly closed up.

I also moved the elbow pads out one position each to help compensate bringing the bars in.
Coupled with the inward rotation of the S-ends, it looks like it puts a little bit of inward angle to my arms which I’d guess may be a bit worse for frontal area - but does that really matter when your torso is still right behind them anyway? Is it actually be beneficial to have the forearms making a bit of a wedge closed at the front to shed air down your side?

In any case, it was perfectly comfortable riding it setup like this for an hour on Petit tonight!

I also stopped ~15 mins to adjust my nose up about a mm - this seemed to help reduce tendency to creep forward, and no adverse effect seen - will have to see how road position feels tomorrow.

You guys also got in my head because I felt like I kept putting my elbows up further on the pads thinking “man, I need a slightly longer stem to get my elbows where I want them” :laughing:

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The very first picture, side profile, it looks like you could be straining where the wrist bends downwards. Just be mindful of that. Maybe you’ll be fine, but if there’s any strain or tension, it will show itself on long rides.

I so rarely actually hold my aerobars like that… he could figure out a way to stack his hands too.

A little tilt might help, or aero bar extensions with a ski/j-bend to then to bring the hands up.

I had an old ritchey base bar and extensions on my last tri bike. They were s-bends like that and aside from being a pain in the ass to mount a BTA hydration setup, my wrists were always cocked forward like that. It strained that tendon and just made riding very uncomfortable. When i went to get fit, the fitter told me he didn’t know why they made those s bend bars in the first place because hardly anyone could get comfortable. And they weren’t particularly aero. Switched to a new base bar with j-bend extensions and immediately it was better.

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An update to this virtual fitting thread after acting on some of the suggestions from @mcneese.chad, @kurt.braeckel , @Power13 and @cartsman -

  • I got a new stem with 10 mm more extension and reduced rise (13->6, but also added 5 mm spacer back under so it’s not too much drop all at once… taking it slowly)
  • Finally replaced the 2013 stock saddle with a Bontrager Aeolus Elite - some initial sitbone adjustment, but used to it now and the cutout seems to be way better to allow rotation and no numbness!
  • Rotated the bars inward to tighten up the area between arms - also moved elbows out slightly to make a little more V-shape
  • And some fun stuff… new P09 helmet for Christmas (they are on sale at Garneau and can be dropped to $120 if you use welcome code!) and found some used dura-ace Di2 bar end shifters on e-bay. Added a tiny JC-41 just under stem so I can still do the entire road/TT conversion in under 30 seconds!

I’ve been doing the weekly pettit workout in position for full 60 mins indoors and some of my SS intervals on them to test things out. Finally did a couple 30 min SS TT intervals outside yesterday with a 5 min break, and it seemed as comfortable as I could ask for now - my fitness still gives up first :rofl:

Original photos are further up in thread for comparison - I think it’s improved quite a bit, but feedback is welcome!

It’ll be a while before I can compare any data to fair weather runs in a meaningful way, but on a 12 mile run yesterday, with no interruptions, minimal elevation changes, it got me 22.8 MPH at 236W (avg and NP equal - paced it well). This was in just above freezing temps using file tread winter tires, heavy winter kit/mitts, regular road helmet, and no meaningful wind either way. Bike had all the crap shown on it including frame pump, soft bag, extra bottle cage… So I am optimistic this will reach 25 MPH based on how much I know the winter setup holds things back, opportunity to strip stuff off, and the helmet is still an unknown.

The other thing that is a very strange sensation is how ridiculously wide the bars feel after riding on the aerobars. It seems there is a trend to go narrower and potentially has surprisingly significant aero gains for all riding, so maybe that is something to still think about.

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Those sound like good changes and I like the impact shown on the pics. Looks like a good starting point and you can work on dropping more over time. Nice revisions.

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Nice improvements…the P-09 is a helmet that regularly tests well for many people, so it is a solid choice. Also, it seems to line up well with your head / back profile, which helps. :+1:t2::+1:t2:

I’d love to see you work towards flipping that stem eventually…that would be my next step, if it were me vs. removing spacers. You can then work on spacers later.

Sounds like you had a solid test run as well…it is always fun to see the real speed once you lose the winter clothes and tires!!

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Thanks, and yes, I will definitely keep seeing if I can inch down lower.

I was using a stem calculator that said if I flipped now, even with new 6 degree stem, I’d be looking at over 2 cm more drop with that one change, so I’ve been using the 5 mm spacer in conjunction to not do anything too drastic all at once. I was planning to step down from current flip up+spacer, flip up no spacer, flip down+spacer, then flip down no spacer, which should keep the changes between 5-10 mm per step and give me up to 23mm more drop if I can get there.

How long is reasonable to adapt to each change on mid volume plans? I have been trying to make sure I don’t cross over a point of losing ftp in the process only making changes after at least 6 weeks. As long as I am at least flat on ftp and can hold up fine on century rides, I figure a more aero position will be worth chasing.

I did see a ton of positive feedback on the P09 as well, so figured at 40% off, why not give it a shot! As they say on the podcast, there is a lot we can learn from the tri crowd - some great forums but also high tendency to degenerate into flame wars compared to here!

Adaptation is really pretty individual…the good thing is that it is also easily reversed if you go too far. Personally, I think people can adapt far faster than they realize. So try removing a space next week and see how it feels.

I would not get too caught up in your FTP, either…your fitness won’t necessarily change, it is just adapting to the new position. And your hoods / drops are still there, so you can always revert back to them.

Keep us updated!!

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Nothing further to add other than that position looks much better to me. It just looks more sustainable and comfortable in the hips and shoulders. Went back and looked at the originals and my shoulders just hurt looking at where your elbow pads used to be.

Wow, have not followed this thread but your fit improvement is quite good. Looks like you are in quite a decent position now with respect to what you have to work with. As others have said, working to get lower in the front end will help with overall aero gains but if you can hold that position and put out power, you will be ahead of many people on full TT setups that are not fit conscious like you are.

I would maybe suggest seeing if you can relax the shoulders more to allow you to shrug a bit more. Might require the dropped front end slightly but otherwise it looks like you are pretty optimized for a road bike fit. Work on the rotation and getting a bit lower if you can, and getting your head a bit lower to have your helmet more flushed along the neck/back interface would help.

Theres also some studies done to say that a head down position is better than a heads up for aero gains (also helmet choice influences this) but I would not advocate this as your normal position unless you are experienced. Having the head down is always a danger and if you go this route, you need to implement peeking (looking up every bit to see in-front of you) as a race day strategy. Something you can consider doing eventually but only try this on courses that you are very comfortable on and where you know the roads and cars. Not looking ahead is always a danger.

So I decided to spend today’s Round Bald workout collecting some data :slight_smile:

Conditions for this test were:

  • Rail trail with no discernible grade except one bridge that rises over a road
  • About 11 mins out, 10 mins back on same course; broke into two laps to separate turnaround and most of the time required getting back up to speed
  • Each out and back was 240 +/- 1W average, and NP/AVG were always within 1W - very well paced to my plan
  • ~38F - full winter kit - face partially covered, thick winter gloves, Gore shoe covers, jacket - well fitted, but miles from a skinsuit!
  • Nothing stripped off bike - two bottles, frame pump, soft bento tool bag - even had very non-aero bell :rofl:
  • Was lucky that it was quiet - never once had to break position or use brakes so data should be pretty good quality
  • Used lap timer between visual setpoints to get time/distance
  • Probably lost some weight in each test from sweat/vapor loss
  • GPS data - my speed sensor magnet is broken
  • Road bike with the redshift aerobars, forward seatpost

So with that - I was sadly disappointed by my new P09 helmet :frowning: Or perhaps the Ballista is really that good? I also expected more of a penalty for the IRC file tread x-guard tires over the GP5000TLs on carbon rims.

I used bikecalc to basically dial in the parameters to line up with my baseline run, and then modified the wattage to see from that point, how much it estimated I would have needed for each speed increase on the 2nd and 3rd runs.

I’m also going to try re-analyzing on strava segments more inside the run as a second check against any differences in speed transients for the first minute at each end.

The winter clothes definitely cost me close to 2 MPH so could be interesting to repeat at higher speed - but overall, the differences are probably less than what many people would expect.

Anyway, thought it would be interesting to share and maybe others have some ideas… haven’t gotten around to trying to back a CdA out of it yet.

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I thought I should share a final post on this since I got so much great advice here…

A few weeks back, I nailed my season goal of a 40k TT < 1 hr using the redshift setup on my roadbike. To be precise, 58:56!

More surprisingly, I had a bit of an off day, and only averaged 248W to accomplish it! Mentally I knew after the first of three laps that I was going fast enough that I didn’t need to hit my planned target of 260W to get under 1 hr - so maybe that let me give in a little as well.

As for the final fit, I eventually flipped my newer 6 deg stem to -6 as @Power13 encouraged - but I still left one 5 mm spacer below it. I found I started to have problems on long rides without the aerobars when I got to this point - in fact, I even backed off this position for a few weeks before returning to it after some plank work - but the entire time I felt great riding on the aerobars. I made the video still below just to document the final position I used based on input from this thread.

For training - I probably did about half of the SSB2 HV plan in TT position outdoors in late spring as it was more comfortable than my road position. (those aero sessions led to piles of KOMs along the way :laughing:) Throughout the year, I probably did about a 50/50 mix of road and TT - but those weeks of SSB2 HV were huge and I am now closely following the SS progression thread on here as I want to take that to the next level now. I think it did far more for me than sustained power build did prior to that, and I had done SSB MV a couple times over last fall/winter with decent results, but still lacking long interval capacity. I can now routinely do 20-60 min efforts that used to be once a season kind of extraordinary output - yet also PR’ed my entire short/mid power curve this year as well. Overall, I’m becoming a convert to the Kolie Moore way of thinking about these issues - SS is great, but no more wasting time with 8-10 min SS intervals, and will also set my FTP more conservatively based on long tests so that it’s sustainable in volume.

My 1 hr attempt was an ideal course - three flat loops around a lake, around 80F, no significant wind, no traffic to deal with (no drafting either) and only one turn required using brakes. On my bike, I had a top tube soft bento box, XLAB torpedo BTA hydration, and no bottles/cages/pump on the frame. I did keep my likely very non-aero Varia though… can’t ride without it now. Also was the first run I ever did without gloves which I suspect helped. TT helmet, aero jersey/bibs.

After hitting some of my best power outputs ever at a series of 10 mile weekly out and back TTs, and knowing that I wanted to push my position further, I decided if I could hit my season goal, I’d get a TT bike - and I did! So - stay tuned to the bike fitting mega thread as I start trying to translate and further improve this fit over to a Cervelo P3! (I have a pro bike fit planned soon as well)

A big thanks to everyone who contributed on this thread and helped me earn my new bike :champagne:

And hopefully some of this info is useful for anyone else considering the Redshift seat/bars in the future - it was a fantastic gateway for this year to learn if I wanted to stick with TTs and a great device for anyone not able to manage a second bike. I recommend it 110%.

Redshift final

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