What is the difference between a time trial and a road bike?
If you are new to the Triathlon discipline, you properly asking “Should I buy a road or a tri bike?”
The answer depends on your personal needs as a cyclist.
The crucial difference between a road bike and a time trail bike is the geometry of the frame. These machines have more aggressive geometry to keep your riding position aerodynamic to help shave seconds off your time.
Road bikes are more suitable for a variety of terrain. One particularly being climbing.
- Are you looking to focus only on triathlon?
- Are you looking to do some road racing and group rides?
- What type of terrain are you expecting to encounter on a typical ride?
TT bikes are designed with one goal in mind, and that is to be fast. Ideal for when you are doing a Time Trial and need to put down maximum power to win or if you need to be energy efficient to complete an Ironman course.
It is designed to put you in a forward position when tucked down into your aero bars. The bullhorn-style handlebars stacked with aero bars will allow the rider to rest their elbows, helping them into a streamlined aerodynamic tuck.
Why Is A TT bike Faster Than A Road Bike?
A time trial bike brings the rider into a highly aerodynamic position which minimizes drag. This position has proven to save 122 seconds over a 40km time trial. Other than that, the aerodynamic tubing on a Time Trail frame makes a massive difference.
Firstly, it improves the stiffness of the frame and allows for direct power transfer to the pedals. Secondly, the teardrop-shaped tubing improves airflow as well as minimizing resistance.
What are your thoughts? Road bike or Time Trail? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!