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A Case Against TT Bikes

A Case Against TT Bikes 2020-09-24Leave a comment

electrical bike A Case In opposition to TT Bikes

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TT Bikes – The Unhealthy and the Ugly: Since final Saturday’s Tour de France gorgeous stage 20 time trial, the race in opposition to the clock has been on everyones lips. So, we’ve been gathering the ideas of Nikolai Razouvaev once more, this time the Russian ‘within the know’ appears to be like on the time trial bike. The professionals and the cons – however principally the cons.

roglic tt
TT bike: Not at all times factor

We’ve been speaking to our Russian Amigo, Nikolai Razouvaev once more and on this piece, he offers us his views on time trial bikes. It’s controversial – however you have been anticipating that. . .

usa 84
The US group in LA ’84

The 1980 Moscow Olympic Video games left a footprint in my reminiscence. That was when aero helmets and skin-suits hit biking scene’s prime time.

And ‘humorous’ bikes.

Image a 14-year-old bicycle owner who heard about 6-speed freewheels however by no means noticed one. Then image me watching on color TV how our Soviet group in purple skin-suits and white aero helmets smashed the East Germans in gray skin-suits and white aero helmets in a 100 km group time trial on bikes that regarded unusual to me.

These East Germans in gray

I couldn’t determine what was incorrect with them till the commentator mentioned one thing about aerodynamics after which I noticed it – the purple Colnago bikes had a small entrance wheel. It didn’t make any sense to me however I assumed the fellows who rode them knew their enterprise. After that I watched Sergei Sukhoruchenkov blow the highway race aside with a protracted vary solo assault. A play like this one, you keep in mind it for the remainder of your life.

1980 Olympics highway race

That is when a brand new phrase entered Russian biking slang to explain a motorcycle with bullhorn bars – ‘rogatiy.’ It’s the identical phrase you’d use to explain a husband if his spouse is sleeping round and all people is aware of this besides the husband. By 1984 after I made the Soviet nationwide group, Reginald Vorontsov, the Soviet model of Dario Pegoretti, made a dozen ‘rogatiy’ highway bikes for the nationwide group and that is what we gained the junior world’s TTT on that yr. Then in 1985, Ernesto Colnago despatched us his masterpiece – a TT machine with 2 Campagnolo disc wheels, the usual time trial tools everybody needed by then.


In 1989 Greg LeMond gave us the clip-on triathlon bar and bike producers married it to the present TT bikes and that’s what we have now as we speak. That’s a fast historical past overview.

Greg Lemond gaat Laurent Fignon in de allerlaatste tijdrit op de Champs Elysees met 8 sec verslaan, foto Cor Vos©

Now my argument in opposition to TT bikes
Everyone knows why time trial bikes have advanced the way in which they did – to make you go quicker though I don’t understand how a lot quicker the bullhorn bikes made us in a time trial. My guess is, not rather a lot. However as soon as we’ve added the triathlon bar, it modified the time trial racing like nothing else did earlier than, not even disc wheels. This innovation took the TT bike to its personal league in comparison with the highway bike; conferring a large benefit.

Benefit – that’s the phrase I wish to zoom in on.

The BikeRadar web site claims the benefit a TT bike offers you is 60-70 watts at 40 km/h, that’s, it takes 270-280 watts to experience a highway bike at that pace and 220 watts to experience a TT bike. Translated into seconds, a TT bike offers you 9 seconds per kilometre benefit. That is six minutes in a 40 km time trial. Insane. Though I don’t imagine the TT bike’s benefit is that staggering, it’s apparent you’d be silly to race a time trial on a highway bike if everybody else is on a TT bike. That a lot is obvious.

Pogačar within the gorgeous Tour TT

What’s not clear is that this – if everybody saves 60-70 watts, or regardless of the watt quantity is, why hassle with a TT bike in any respect? It appears to me the purpose of technological innovation is to have an edge, a marginal acquire (as Sir David may say) over your rival. If everybody has the identical edge, it’s not an edge anymore.

Image automotive racing: if everybody races a manufacturing automotive, does it actually matter if vehicles are powered by 300 hp engines or 320 hp engines? They’ll drive quicker, sure, and perhaps the present can be extra fascinating due to that further energy however biking time trials are nothing like automotive racing. A rider leaves the gate and races alone in opposition to the clock besides now he rides quicker on a TT bike. Each single racer does.

Tour’89 closing TT

In contrast to the drama of the 1989 Champs-Élysées time trial the place Fignon may’ve had an opportunity in opposition to LeMond had he rode with a tri-bar and wore an aero helmet, as we speak racing on a TT bike doesn’t have an effect on the top outcome as a result of everybody takes benefit of a TT bike. And that’s it, there’s nothing extra to it – everybody will get a quicker time on the outcomes sheet. That’s what TT bikes dropped at the game – quicker occasions. One thing else they introduced: complications, damaged bones and ruined careers.

tt crash

Let’s begin with damaged bones
TT Bikes Are Harmful
It’s like somebody sat with a pen and paper and requested himself: How do I make a highway bike harmful to experience?

That is the record.
The first step:
Cut back management of the highway bike to a minimal. Begin with bike place. Transfer your physique ahead to load the entrance wheel and make it more durable to manoeuvre.

Eindhoven - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - scenery - carte postal scenic shot - postcard sfeerfoto - sfeer - illustratie Primoz ROGLIC (Slowenia / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) pictured during aerodynamic tests at the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands - photo Cor Vos © 2017

Step two: Now that you just’ve loaded the entrance together with your physique weight, end the job and place your elbows subsequent to one another on the handlebar. This fashion, you’ve gotten even much less management over the bike now and may solely go straight or at finest lean into a large curve. When you could flip, you’ll must get your palms off the tri-bar and seize the bullhorns.

Step three: Brakes destroy aerodynamics so while you design a TT body, neglect about brakes and concentrate on pace and aerodynamics. If you end the body design, tack on one thing someplace that appears like brakes to move the UCI definition of a highway bike. Don’t fear if brakes don’t work, you don’t want brakes in a time trial.


Step 4: End the bundle with aero wheels. Placed on the entrance no matter you may get away with to maintain the rider on the highway in opposition to the wind gusts. Each time trial, pray that when a rider takes the elbows off the tri-bar to lean right into a nook flying at 55 km/h, a sudden wind gust doesn’t blow him off the highway. Sounds farcical as a result of it’s. It’s farcical and tragic on the identical time. Tragic as a result of TT bikes destroy careers and break riders’ bones. Ask Chris Froome.

That is how David Brailsford described the crash the place Froome broke a femur, different bones and broken inner organs:
“He got here down a technical descent and on to a straighter piece of highway with homes both facet he signalled to Wout that he was going to clear his nostril, he took his hand off the bar to try this and a gust of wind took his entrance wheel, he misplaced management and went straight into the wall of a home.”


A gust of wind
A gust of wind and the dream of successful a fifth Tour de France is simply that, a dream. Do you suppose he’d have gone down on a highway bike? Do you suppose he’s that clumsy on the bike? The man who rode away from the peloton on the descend to Bagnères-de-Luchon in 2016 Tour de France is clumsy?

Or take a look at Alejandro Valverde’s Tour prologue crash. Moist highway, sure however that is an previous professional. Moist or dry, he is aware of what to do but it appears to be like like he doesn’t management his bike in any respect.

Michael Rasmussen was on his method to win 2007 Tour de France (besides he didn’t) when he crashed twice and got here shut to a different one or two as he saved going. Bear in mind how sloppy he dealt with the bike earlier than every crash? It is a former UCI world mountain bike champion and these guys have excellent bike dealing with expertise. Not a slipshod rider.

And there’s the star of the present, the Montpellier TTT stage in 2009 Tour de France. A little bit of a circus.

TT Bikes Require Additional Coaching
As a result of TT bikes seriously change your place on the bike, it’s important to spend hours and hours of coaching to adapt to this queer place. Earlier than a Grand Tour, mucking round on a TT bike is a serious ache within the neck as you’re attempting to tweak your type and on the identical time experience your TT bike to maintain the bio-mechanics tuned in.


TT Bikes Add Additional Expense
A TT bike is an additional bike a group can do with out in the event that they didn’t must experience them just a few occasions in a season. They take further storage room on the highway and on the group base. Extra bikes – more cash for organisers to spend on transfers between phases inflating the price of the race. Extra bikes – extra vehicles, vehicles and buses to maneuver them round and extra gasoline to burn. Extra vehicles and buses, you want extra drivers – extra bills.

World Tour groups rent between 24 and 30 riders. That is one other 40 or so further bikes mechanics must take care of (some riders have 2 TT bikes, plus spares). You in all probability want to rent an additional mechanic to deal with this further work. To benefit from a TT bike, you could spend time in a wind tunnel including extra bills. Some groups do not need cash for wind tunnels and this lack of funds penalises them in opposition to groups with greater sponsors and larger budgets.


As a result of everybody races on a TT bike in a time trial, nobody will get an edge on the rivals from the TT bikes themselves. By design, TT bikes are harmful to experience. Nobody, even a talented, skilled rider, is secure from a crash, nasty harm or an finish to a racing profession as a result of a TT bike is a canine to deal with at excessive pace on the highway. To take a full benefit TT bikes supply, you could spend further time to coach on them. TT bikes add bills to the groups and the organisers they’ll dwell with out if UCI bans TT bikes from the game.

Closing Thought:
The UCI won’t ever ban TT bikes as a result of bike manufactures promote in all probability 40% extra bikes with this scheme. The riders will maintain crashing. The Grand Excursions will proceed to lose main favourites as a result of bikes manufactures wish to promote extra bikes. It’s the way it goes.

# You possibly can meet up with extra of Nikolai Razouvaev’s ideas at: www.nikolai.com.au. #

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