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How To Adapt Your Road Bike To A Triathlon Bike | Ride Faster In Your Next Triathlon

How To Adapt Your Road Bike To A Triathlon Bike | Ride Faster In Your Next Triathlon


– Do you long for an aerodynamic
triathlon specific bike to go along side your regular road bike? Having both is a luxury that
many of us can’t afford, but on the plus side there’s still so much that you can do to your
regular road bike that will give you similar
benefits you’d experienced with a triathlon specific bike. So today, thanks to our
partners at Profile Design, we’re gonna be delving in to
those aerodynamic alterations that you can easily make to
your road bike that will help you go faster in your next triathlon. (upbeat music) – [Instructor] Adding
clip-on aero bars is probably the most obvious alteration to make. As well as the most effective as our bodies make up the majority of resistance when it comes
to aerodynamics on the bike. So if you play around with your position, and reduce that frontal
area, you’ll easily save some watts. There are a variety of
aero bars out there, but before you start,
just check that your bike has handlebars that are suitable for them. It’s not recommended to use carbon handlebars to attach
metal aero bars with. But even if it is metal on metal, you still want to protect
this part of your bike. So for that, you can just use a little bit of electrical tape. Wrap it around before
clamping on you aero bars. Now I’ve opted for these
carbon aero bars with a slight “S” bend, but you’ll notice it’s quite a small rise. So it actually gives
you quite an aggressive stretched out position. But there’s a huge variety out there. You just need to find the right one that’s effective for you. Now these actually come
as individual poles, which I personally prefer. It gives you the scope
to find that perfect fit. And just check the
ability to move the reach and length of your poles. And these have the added
bonus that you can alter the angle of the arm rest, which will help you get
into that even more secure and comfortable aero position. Now obviously it depends
on how wide a part you want to have your aero bars. But you might need to remove
a little bit of handlebar tape just to give yourself enough space. Once you’ve done that, then just put the electrical tape on. And then lightly tighten
your bars so that you can actually still move them. This will make finding
the correct position that much easier. Because, once you’ve got to this stage, take your bike and set it
up on your indoor trainer. Preferably in front of a mirror or get someone to film it. Or even better, if you can, find a coach. And then you can just
easily adjust your position until you’ve found the perfect fit. – [Instructor] It’s worth
noting that as you move yourself forward into the
aero position at the front, you’ll also want to move your saddle forward slightly to compensate. And in order to maintain
the same angle at your hips, your knees, and your ankles,
you might want to raise it slightly so that you can maintain your power in that new position. Now the final point on your position is to look at your handlebar height. As most aero bars will
attach above your handlebars. So that should bring the
height up at the front which can end up being counter
productive for aerodynamics. Cause generally the lower the handlebars and the lower you are in the front the more aerodynamic you’re going to be. But you’re only going
to improve your speed if you’re comfortable and can still maintain
power in that position. So if you do want to, you might have a couple of spacers which you can take out. Drop the stem down and then place them on top. Which will lower your handlebars and also lower your aero bars with it. So bringing your arms and
hands towards each other on the aero bars will
help with the air to flow more smoothly over your hands and also over your body. But don’t forget, it is a compromise
between being aerodynamic but also being a position
where you’re still able to produce the power. – [Instructor] Now you should
be happy with your position on the aero bars. So just check that they’re firmly secure. And it’s time to look at hydration. We’re gonna start at the front. And there are several options out there. You could use a bottle
or something like this that fits in between the bars, just there. Or you could go for an option that sits more on top of the bars. Also trying to maintain aerodynamics. Both of which have a
straw so you can drink without really having to move your head. And they also have an opening on top so when you do need to refill you can just do that once and get back into that aero position. It is just worth pointing out though, that the act of putting an
aero bottle on your bike is not automatically going
to make you go faster. Because there will be resistance. The idea is that it allows you to maintain that aero position, and that’s where the benefits are. (electronic music) – [Instructor] The humble
top tube bag is often sniffed at by cyclist, but for longer distance races, it’s the perfect solution. Having an area where
you can keep your fuel that’s easily accessible, and it’s still being aerodynamic. Just makes sense. Obviously the bag in
itself isn’t going to make you go faster. But being able to get to your fuel easily with a minimal amount of effort means you’ll stay fueled so you
will be able to go faster and for longer. Having said that though, if you’re only going to
use one gel or one bar and you’re doing a short distance race it’s probably worth leaving the bag off and popping something in your pocket or taping your gel onto your top tube. There’s a great selection
out there of bento boxes or top tube bags. Some bikes will come with
something ready built in. You can opt for a more of a rubber version that’s constantly open that you just pull your gels out through. I’ve gone for the Profile Design bag. It’s really light weight. And as you can see, it’s easy to attach with Velcro. And the zip opens towards
you for ease of access when you’re in that aero position. And it’s great for being able to keep gels or even bits of broken
up food that you want to snack at as you ride along. – [Instructor] It depends how hot and dehydrating the conditions are and as how to many drink
stations they’re going to be in your race, as to how many water
bottles or drinks bottles you want to carry on your bike. Now obviously there’s
the traditional spots. You can have one on your
seat tube and your down tube. But these aren’t the most
aerodynamic positions. That said, they are easy to access. Meaning you can get back into
your own TT aero position pretty quickly. So if you do want to
opt for a bottle here, I recommend using an aero bottle and having it on your down tube. Carrying your bottles behind the saddle has proven to be more
aerodynamic than on the down tube or the seat tube. You can either opt for a
single or double bottle cage, like I have this time. Now obviously when you
reach to take the bottle, it will disrupt your
aerodynamics when you’ve got to sit up and reach behind. bUt the ideal scenario is
if you just use it once during the race, take it out, you refill
your bottle at the front, and then place it back. Therefore you’ll still be getting great aerodynamic benefits. The benefit of a double cage, if you only need to carry
one bottle of water, you can use your spare
one to keep your spares. Your inter tubes, your tyre
levers, and your gas canisters either inside an old bottle
or you can even tape it to your bottle cage. These are just a few simple
changes that all add up. And together they can end
up making a significant difference to your aerodynamics. So play around with your set up. Find out what works for you. And remember, there’s no point
being completely aerodynamic if you can actually only hold that position for a few minutes. If you haven’t yet done so, just click on the globe. You can subscribe to GTN. And we’ve done an
investigation looking at the difference of riding on your
aero bars to your drops. And that video is just here. And if you want a comparison
between a time trial bike and a road bike, then there’s a great
video on that just here.

41 comments on “How To Adapt Your Road Bike To A Triathlon Bike | Ride Faster In Your Next Triathlon

  1. I see you don't use a split nose saddle. Any reason for that? From what I read and heard , you should switch to one if you add aero bars.

  2. Great video. In addition to Heather's advice i'm using a fast forward seatpost that brings you even better positioning. A new saddle (split nose, tt specific) could be also an option if one's butt hurts after time.

  3. When I tried to use electrical tape under clip-on bars it always finally moved and never stayed really firm. I do not recommend it. Do not use any tape, use carbon paste and tight at right torque.

  4. @Heather – Nice video. But there is one correction: There are plenty of composite carbon handlebars on the road bike market that are designed to accommodate clamp-on aerobars. My first carbon handlebar was a WCS Carbon Evolution from Ritchey and it was reinforced a couple of inches on either side of the stem clamp area so aerobars could be safely clamped on. Today I'm using an aerodynamic Canta Ergo Carbon handlebar from Profile Design and it, too, is reinforced for clamp-on aerobars.

    So the advice to viewers should be this: "If you have a composite carbon handlebar, check with the manufacturer to see if your model is reinforced for clamp-on aerobars before adding them. Most carbon road bars are not reinforced for them and will be damaged if you clamp aerobars onto them. But it's perfectly safe to use clamp-on aerobars with a carbon handlebar that is designed for them."

    This is a feature that I always look for before purchasing a new handlebar. If it doesn't support aerobars, I don't buy it.

  5. What kind of road bike is best suited for this, my girlfriend has an endurance bike and this BMC looks like aero-road bike.

  6. Good video Heather, but I would have included a set of racing wheels. I have a set of Mavic Cosmic Carbon 55s with aluminium rims (about $1000). One bike for both training and racing so I know I'll be comfortable and not "squirely" when racing.

  7. With the aero bento boxes my top tube narrows like your bike and if the box can move backwards it turns upside down. Nice yours has the cable around the stem to avoid that. For riding position I moved the saddle forward, up and tipped nose down a bit more. Might be an idea to measure front and rear of the saddle relative to the bottom bracket to keep the relationship the same.

  8. Love the way that the GTN presenters have found their feet…but surely a little something dies inside Heather when she has to present a massively tedious yawn-fest of an advertorial for 'profile design'… or Mark has to yet again drag out another pair of 'on' sneakers…Not sure what I'm objecting to here…I've got a load of profile stuff and it's great…and 'yes'…I know GTN is a commercial vehicle rather than a charity…but a little more subtlety to maintain the illusion that we are humans… rather than data/ dollar might stop people writing rubbish like this…

  9. you have missed out the option of the profile design forward seat post that will bring you in to a better position

  10. nice video… as for me, i had to replace my seatpost with the fast forward seat post by profile design in order to achieve a more aerodynamic position.

  11. store food in your bibs shorts if you have them tight enought then they wont fall out and it will make your muscles look a bit bigger 🙂

  12. the Redshift Sport's dual-position seat post would've been worth mentioning, you can have it set for your road position and your tri position without having to get your allen wrench out every time you want to switch your saddle position, but as its really obvious and apparent in this video that Profile Design is a show sponsor, that probably wasnt allowed.

  13. While you were at it with Profile Design, why not include the fast forward seat post as an added option to get that steeper seat tube angle? 🙂

  14. If you have a double bottle holder, you can use one of the bottles to squeeze gels into, along with enough water to make them drinkable. If you put lines on the bottle, you can work out approximately how much to drink to get one gel.

    If you are moving your seat forward and up, you will also need to tilt your saddle nose down a bit.

    Top-tube bags can actually make you go faster! If they are reasonably streamlined, they extend the length of your stem, and the air moves around the stem more efficiently. A bit like how TT bikes have wider forks.

  15. Interesting that you suggest moving the saddle to tweak the reach when in a GCN bike fitting video they state that once the saddle is in the correction position relative to the pedals then the reach is adjusted on the stem side, not by moving the saddle.

  16. Very tacky and unethical to not clearly label this video as a massive advertisement. At least GCN marks their advertorials.

  17. Ok, I've got to say this once and I'm not trying to 🐝 cheeky about it…but Heather's accent is what just got your channel another subscriber!-) I'm newish to biking (serious as opposed to cruising aroynd) and I love all the technical specs…it's just easier to listen to Heather describe it as opposed to a math geek with no speaking ability~ I live here in North Italy 🇮🇹 and will do my first Triathlon this May;-) Thanks again for the free content!-) 👌🖖✌️

  18. i love this bike design. also very informative, I just got my aero bars so now to look into the other stuff, thanks!

  19. The seagulls appear to take exception with your claim about the bottles proven to be more aerodynamic behind the seat than on the seat tube.

    And I have to agree with them: while the bottle itself may not be more aerodynamic on the seat-tube, I believe it serves as a fairing for the rear wheel and reduces the drag of the bottle-bike-wheel unit as a whole. But I'm not a science major, so if any of you fluid dynamics graduates have a link, I'd appreciate being corrected.

  20. Lmao I invented the hose drinking kit that goes into your bottle and you suck in to drink, no hands or removing the bottle from its cage. The hose goes up to the helmet area into a mouth piece like mic port.

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