TT Bike Upgrades

I just finished my A race for the year (IM Chattanooga) and am wanting to make improvements on to my TT bike as I will compete in local TTs and a series of shorter distance triathlons in 2019. I am considering my next upgrade being Sram Force 1X groupset but am wondering if the groupset is the next logical upgrade or if my money is better spent elsewhere.

This was my setup for IM Chatt:
2013 Cannondale Slice (Retul bikefit was done)
Aluminum Vision Bars (OEM)
105 front and rear
Vision Metron 81 Wheelset (most recent upgrade)
Bontrager Hilo Seat
PowerTap p1 pedals
FSA Gossamer Carrnkset
Bontrager Ballista (aero road helmet)

Would love some feedback from other fellow triathlete/tt folks. Cheers!

I think you’d getter bigger gains from getting a proper TT helmet rather than aero road helmet. Also worth investing in a decent skin suit. Could your position be made slightly more aggressive now that you’re not having to hold it for so long?

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Thanks for the reply. Good words…any helmet recommendations? I know they are highly variable person to person.

Good call on changing position. I didn’t even consider that!!

The new groupset would be low on my list of priorities. You can go to a 1x set up by getting a single narrow/wide chainring (size dependent on the courses you will do) and removing your front mech, saves a few watts.

Helmet is probably the biggest saving, Bell Javelin may not be the absolute fastest but tests well for the majority of riders. Giro Aerohead is very popular too.

Skinsuit is next, Bioracer and No Pinz are great, plus you get the number pocket included.

Smaller gains can then be had from a disc rear wheel, aero front brake, aero pedals etc etc. Before any of there I’d have a plan around with your position.

Good luck!

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If you’re able to keep your head still then I think long tail helmets are generally faster. If you’re likely to be moving around and looking down at your garmin then a short tale helmet would probably suit you best. Something like the last bambino. Doesn’t test as being the fastest on most people but it’s more forgiving than long tails!


Love my Giro Aerohead!

Fitness is, of course, your greatest weapon in cutting down time on the bike and throughout the race. I upgraded in 2016 from 105 to Ultegra, and while I didn’t have instant, monstrous drops in my times, it certainly contributes to overall performance, especially at the 70.3+ distances, and I have been chipping away at ever since (35 minute PR @ 140.6 and 9 minute PR @ 70.3). Yes, my equipment is responsible (in part), but fitness, and specifically TrainerRoad, are the large contributors.

I run a HED 60 and HED disc wheel. My steed is a 2012 Cannondale Slice :blush: Love that thing, even if it’s getting long in the tooth!

One of the IM athletes in our club told me that electronic shifting made a very large difference for him as it allowed him to shift while doing technical stuff or braking that required coming out of aero and saving a few precious tenths by being in the right gear coming out of that maneuver instead of compromising entry, exit, and possibly stability.

I’m waiting for the MET Codatronca to be avail in N.America, hopefully early 2019:


I love my Lazer Wasp Air. Snub tailed, big visor and actually breathes decently well compared to my old Giro Selector. Tested faster than the Giro on me as well in a TT position.

When was the bikefit done? If it was early on you will have got more used to the position and can probably go more aggressive (although it now sounds like you might be more bound by UCI rules now?).

I bet you can get far bigger gains by changing your position for far less money than buying any new equipment.

Did you race the IM in overshoes? On mine I think I was the only person who did. They are cheap as chips and do relatively a lot for the money. As they can be put on the shoes/cleats and rolled forward not sure why it isn’t more popular for longer distance events.

It’s all been said before, but I think biggest gain will be from a TT helmet. If you are able to hold an aero position and keep the tail flat on your back, pointy hats are faster. The Kask Bambino is not as fast, but more forgiving. A good skin for TT will also yield results. Position also, but there always seems to come a point whereby any aero gains will be cancelled by loss of power as you get more extreme.

Most TT’s seem to be flat round our parts so power and aero are key rather than losing weight. If you were going to do anything to reduce weight on your bike, I would think about the crankset. I don’t think that FSA Gossamer crankset is particularly light. On your bike, I’m not sure you’d see much of an advantage to changing your groupset.

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Agreed!! I’m a TR subscriber and followed the low volume full plan and saw big gains. Will definitely bump to mid or high for next go as we will no longer have a newborn by then :baby:t2:

Bike fit was done in late June. Most definitely will go more aggressive.

I used Velotoze for 2 TTs I competed in but not for the IM. Definitely would have benefited especially since swim was cancelled and there was a rolling TT start :man_facepalming:t2:

I don’t know that make. I think mine are “desleep”. More like a fabric and you cut a hole for the cleats. I’m sure there are quicker but these just roll up easily past the point your feet get in the shoes so transition is hardly slowed.

I don’t know how short the race would have to be for the time benefits to be outweighed by not being able to shoe up surrounded by swimmers failing todo so whilst cycling.

Since my last fit I’ve slowly lowered the front, brought the arms in and swapped pedals for something with a slightly narrower Q-width. To check I don’t do anything crazy I’ve been using an iPad app called something like BikeFastFit and my turbo. I can’t afford to get a full fit for every tiny change, just once in a while. Also I know my position is different after a long turbo session than the one I can be happy with after a few minutes in a shop.

With narrower arms I feel a bit less stable in blustery side winds and my centre of gravity is forward so I need to shuffle back whilst sharp cornering, but doing it super-slowly hasn’t had any other negative effects.

Ill disagree and be the one who says that a traditional long tail TT helmet is not too far off from a nice aero-road helmet. Exhibit 1, the win tunnel.

20 sec over a 40k tt if you hold perfect form. I’ll argue that if you ever turn your head, stick your tail up or race in a cross wind, then you are just about equal. We are not even talking about heat issues yet.

My money this year is going to a skin suit = 96 seconds, better diet and more time on the trainer.