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Upgrade Trek Madone with Aero wheels or buy an aero road bike

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Upgrade Trek Madone with Aero wheels or buy an aero road bike

Old 04-22-19, 07:16 PM
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ckc 189
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Upgrade Trek Madone with Aero wheels or buy an aero road bike

Hey everyone,

I have been riding for about 6 months, I had bought a used 2008 Trek Madone 6.5 when I started and I had my first triathlon last weekend and Im hooked! I want to compete in more but I am extremely competitive, I got top 14% in the bike portion after only biking for a few months. I noticed the only people I was getting passed by were legitimate time trial bikes. I rode one time with clip on aero bars and I hated the lack of control I felt with them, but I do try to get very low on the drops. I have Bontrager RXL Scandium wheel set on the bike now and I am trying to figure out if putting a nice set of aero wheels on my bike will get it close to a time trial bike or will I still be getting left (assuming they are putting down relatively the same power). I dont think I would want a time trial bike, but I wouldnt mind upgrading to a more aero road bike like the Cannyon Aeroad if it would be a noticeable difference. Whats everyone's opinion?
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Old 04-22-19, 08:45 PM
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Aero wheels and aero frameset won't make a very big difference. They are among the lowest bang for the buck improvements you can make. Even though they look really cool, I think they should be the last things that you buy.

If you want to make a huge difference, focus on your positioning and the aerodynamics of your body. A set of aero bars that you can live with -- and that get you into a good position -- are probably the biggest single improvement you can make. Improved body position, compared to the drops, can gain you 1 1/2 to 2 mph. That's huge. Very close behind them would be an aero helmet and well-fitting skinsuit. For less than the price of a set of wheels, you can go with the bars, helmet, and skinsuit and end up with many times the improvement that the wheels would have provided.
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Old 04-22-19, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ckc 189 View Post
Hey everyone,

I have been riding for about 6 months,

Whats everyone's opinion?
Ride more, worry less about aero.
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Old 04-22-19, 09:04 PM
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I think $5 lycra shoe covers can make a small difference also.
Is cycling the last event ? If not, removing shoe covers might take more time than they save.
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Old 04-22-19, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ckc 189 View Post
I am trying to figure out if putting a nice set of aero wheels on my bike will get it close to a time trial bike
No. The big defining difference between a time trial bike and a road bike is posture. When riding along flat ground at high speeds, aerodynamic drag on your body is the vast majority of resistance on the system, and a forward TT posture combined with aerobars allows you to massively cut down on your aerodynamic profile and have a relaxed upper body while doing it. Swapping from a not-very-aero wheel to a super-aero wheel might save you a couple tenths of a mph; swapping from a road posture to a proper TT or Tri posture can save a couple mph.

The trick is, getting the full benefit of aerobars isn't as simple as attaching clip-ons to a road bike. Aerobars allow you to support loads of weight on your upper body at low effort, so you can rotate your fit forward on the bike; seated position farther forward and a bit higher, handlebars lower. Some road bikes can sort of be converted to a decent TT fit, but even then, turning it "back into a road bike" gets more involved than just not using the clip-ons. And some road bikes simply won't have suitable geometry for the conversion in the first place.

But, an aggressively-fit road bike with clipons is solidly advantageous over a pure drop-bar road fit. A much bigger bang-for-your-buck gain than aero wheels, at any rate.

//==================================

The optimal solution would be to get the aero wheels for your road bike, get a fancy TT bike, and then also get a third bike.
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Old 04-23-19, 12:36 AM
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No offense, but if you've been riding for six months, be you probably aren't putting out the same power as people who've been cycling for many years. Even if you really and swam for years. Specificity.

Climbing it's all about watts to kilograms, on the flat it's mostly watts to air resistance. A $200 skin suit will save you more time than $2,000 wheels. The other cyclists probably put out more power (because they've been doing bike race discussion workouts for years) and have better aerodynamics, mostly because of posture.
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Old 04-23-19, 12:47 AM
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Get a time trial bike and get used to it.
If you are the competitive type and want to do triathlons it is the only way to go.
A road bike (even with aero frame wheels etc) is still giving up a significant amount to a TT bike.
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Old 04-23-19, 06:43 AM
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Ya, I'd keep riding, and do some focused interval workouts. When I began riding I tried racing after about 6 months, I had just gotten used to clipless pedals, could hold down 17mph solo, and had recently completed an 8hr century. I got dropped and lapped so quickly my mind was blown. It wasn't until 2 years later and very specific training that I was able push the pace in races and A-rides (and have confidence that I won't be dropped), while using the same bike.

My recommendation if you want greater speed and power is to get a powermeter and follow guided, zone based, training.
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Old 04-23-19, 08:10 AM
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Im definitely not saying I am on the same level as them, but I do have a background with mountain bikes, just not road bikes so I have at least a decent baseline starting out. I do have a tri suit that is skin tight but is a "skin suit" something different?

Besides this triathlon, I have never rode in a group so I dont know what "legitimate" road cyclists can do. What is a normal speed that a solo road cyclist can keep on relatively flat ground? I have been able to stay pretty close to 20 mph, and when doing a more hilly ride, I normally average between 18-19mph.

So it seems like If i want to get more competitive, at a minimum, I need to get used to aero bars or spend the money and get a TT / Tri Bike. Do people that have a TT bike ride it all the time for training and everything or normally ride a road bike, but pull out the TT for races?
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Old 04-23-19, 08:52 AM
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If you want to get more competitive, I would suggest another option of getting a power meter and learning how to train with it.
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Old 04-23-19, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ckc 189 View Post
So it seems like If i want to get more competitive, at a minimum, I need to get used to aero bars or spend the money and get a TT / Tri Bike. Do people that have a TT bike ride it all the time for training and everything or normally ride a road bike, but pull out the TT for races?
You would use the TT bike for personal training to get more comfortable using it but it's definitely not something that is terribly welcomed on group rides unless everyone is training with their TT bikes that day. On the trail I normally ride I see some solo folks with their TT bikes quite frequently, they're just not in a group.

With that said, I wouldn't buy a TT bike and use it only for race day. Anything Tri related you want to rehearse and practice with as much as possible. Heck, my brother in law who frequently places top ten uses a Motobecan Le Champion with clip on TT bars and always does great in his races. A TT bike is not necessary but it's definitely made more for the task than your standard road bike.

Whatever you chose to ride with, practice EVERYTHING with it. We've spent a few hours practicing our transitions in the yard. I've spent time practicing getting on and off the bike as quickly as possible. Haven't yet mastered getting on my bike with shoes already clipped into the pedals but that's for the next one. Practice getting the shoes on while you start the bike portion of the race and focus on getting into as aero of a position as possible. Practice it all since T1 and T2 is where you can lose ALOT of time.
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Old 04-23-19, 10:35 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
No. The big defining difference between a time trial bike and a road bike is posture. When riding along flat ground at high speeds, aerodynamic drag on your body is the vast majority of resistance on the system, and a forward TT posture combined with aerobars allows you to massively cut down on your aerodynamic profile and have a relaxed upper body while doing it. Swapping from a not-very-aero wheel to a super-aero wheel might save you a couple tenths of a mph; swapping from a road posture to a proper TT or Tri posture can save a couple mph.

The trick is, getting the full benefit of aerobars isn't as simple as attaching clip-ons to a road bike. Aerobars allow you to support loads of weight on your upper body at low effort, so you can rotate your fit forward on the bike; seated position farther forward and a bit higher, handlebars lower. Some road bikes can sort of be converted to a decent TT fit, but even then, turning it "back into a road bike" gets more involved than just not using the clip-ons. And some road bikes simply won't have suitable geometry for the conversion in the first place.

But, an aggressively-fit road bike with clipons is solidly advantageous over a pure drop-bar road fit. A much bigger bang-for-your-buck gain than aero wheels, at any rate.
Good post!

OP, maybe start with a skinsuit and TT helmet? Powermeter? There are less expensive things than buying a new bike that can make incremental improvements--that can be transferred to a new bike when you are sure this is something you want to seriously pursue. Judging by your post I'm assuming that you are cost-conscious and not made of money.
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Old 04-23-19, 10:40 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by BluFalconActual View Post
If you want to get more competitive, I would suggest another option of getting a power meter and learning how to train with it.
I meant to suggest this too.
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Old 04-23-19, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ckc 189 View Post
I dont think I would want a time trial bike
Yeah you do.

A properly fitted tri bike with a BTA bottle setup and even just some really basic 50mm used roadie wheels will be faster than all the "add ons" you can do to a modern aero road bike. Also more stable and easier to ride. You just swam, you have tired arms..........you really want to try to do the Belgian tuck on the hoods for a couple hours?

If you're on a budget, get a used Cervelo P2 frameset and build that up. Do a Wheelbuilder disc cover over a cheaper training wheel. Buy speed laces for the running shoes.

You can probably build up a used P2 frame with the known aero mods in 11speed trim for under $1000.

Basically this: but I'd find a frame to build up so you can get 11spd stuff on it
https://richmond.craigslist.org/bik/...842756878.html
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Old 04-23-19, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ckc 189 View Post
What is a normal speed that a solo road cyclist can keep on relatively flat ground? I have been able to stay pretty close to 20 mph, and when doing a more hilly ride, I normally average between 18-19mph.
Just install the Strava app on your phone to compare your times to other riders on the same routes you normally ride. You'll get a good idea of how you compare to others in your area after a few rides.
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Old 04-24-19, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ckc 189 View Post
Besides this triathlon, I have never rode in a group so I dont know what "legitimate" road cyclists can do. What is a normal speed that a solo road cyclist can keep on relatively flat ground? I have been able to stay pretty close to 20 mph, and when doing a more hilly ride, I normally average between 18-19mph.

So it seems like If i want to get more competitive, at a minimum, I need to get used to aero bars or spend the money and get a TT / Tri Bike. Do people that have a TT bike ride it all the time for training and everything or normally ride a road bike, but pull out the TT for races?
As a separate answer from my earlier post, don't worry about it on the group ride. Most groups have A/B/C. Start in the B. Say hi before leaving and ask a few questions about the group and route. Feel it out for a couple weeks, then see what you think. Most B groups on rolling terrain are your normal seasoned clubbies that have plenty of miles per week but don't really care to race or do crazy interval training. Your A's will vary wildly. Some A groups might only be 20mph, some might be 23+ race pace.

Also, if you're mostly going to do triathlon/TT, then I would ride that bike most of the time. Ride the roadie if you care for a social hour with the group ride.

I don't do my VO2 work on the TT bike though, I'd prefer not do my 2min or 3min intervals at some ludicrous speed around corners and stuff in the aerobars. So, for those, I use the roadie.
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Old 04-24-19, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ckc 189 View Post
Besides this triathlon, I have never rode in a group so I dont know what "legitimate" road cyclists can do. What is a normal speed that a solo road cyclist can keep on relatively flat ground?
My friend is a serious roadie.

His bike split for the Ironman was 25mph average for the 112 miles.

He and his team shoot to finish century rides under 4 hours as a group.
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Old 04-24-19, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Aero wheels and aero frameset won't make a very big difference. They are among the lowest bang for the buck improvements you can make. Even though they look really cool, I think they should be the last things that you buy.

If you want to make a huge difference, focus on your positioning and the aerodynamics of your body. A set of aero bars that you can live with -- and that get you into a good position -- are probably the biggest single improvement you can make. Improved body position, compared to the drops, can gain you 1 1/2 to 2 mph. That's huge. Very close behind them would be an aero helmet and well-fitting skinsuit. For less than the price of a set of wheels, you can go with the bars, helmet, and skinsuit and end up with many times the improvement that the wheels would have provided.
What he said. Exactly the advice I would give.
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Old 04-24-19, 09:07 AM
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ckc 189
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
My friend is a serious roadie.

His bike split for the Ironman was 25mph average for the 112 miles.

He and his team shoot to finish century rides under 4 hours as a group.
Wow, thats pretty insane! Not even close to his level! lol
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