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A Case Against TT Bikes

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A Case In opposition to TT Bikes

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TT Bikes – The Dangerous and the Ugly: Since final Saturday’s Tour de France beautiful 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 all the time a great 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 staff 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 bike owner who heard about 6-speed freewheels however by no means noticed one. Then image me watching on color TV how our Soviet staff in pink skin-suits and white aero helmets smashed the East Germans in gray skin-suits and white aero helmets in a 100 km staff time trial on bikes that regarded unusual to me.

These East Germans in gray

I couldn’t work out what was unsuitable with them till the commentator stated one thing about aerodynamics after which I noticed it – the pink Colnago bikes had a small entrance wheel. It didn’t make any sense to me however I assumed the blokes who rode them knew their enterprise. After that I watched Sergei Sukhoruchenkov blow the street 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 street race

That is when a brand new phrase entered Russian biking slang to explain a motorbike 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 once I made the Soviet nationwide staff, Reginald Vorontsov, the Soviet model of Dario Pegoretti, made a dozen ‘rogatiy’ street bikes for the nationwide staff 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 gear everybody needed by then.


In 1989 Greg LeMond gave us the clip-on triathlon bar and bike producers married it to the prevailing 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 developed the best way 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 street bike; conferring an enormous 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 street bike at that velocity 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 street bike if everybody else is on a TT bike. That a lot is evident.

Pogačar within the beautiful Tour TT

What’s not clear is that this – if everybody saves 60-70 watts, or regardless of the watt quantity is, why trouble 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 automobile racing: if everybody races a manufacturing automobile, does it actually matter if vehicles are powered by 300 hp engines or 320 hp engines? They’ll drive quicker, sure, and possibly the present will probably be extra attention-grabbing due to that further energy however biking time trials are nothing like automobile 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 last 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 delivered to 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 street bike harmful to experience?

That is the checklist.
The 1st step:
Cut back management of the street bike to a minimal. Begin with bike place. Transfer your physique ahead to load the entrance wheel and make it tougher 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 simply’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 greatest lean into a large curve. When you must flip, you’ll should get your fingers off the tri-bar and seize the bullhorns.

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


Step 4: End the package deal with aero wheels. Placed on the entrance no matter you may get away with to maintain the rider on the street 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 street. 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 street with homes both facet he signalled to Wout that he was going to clear his nostril, he took his hand off the bar to do 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 street 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 street, 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 strategy 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 very good bike dealing with expertise. Not a careless 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 transform your place on the bike, it’s a must 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 staff can do with out in the event that they didn’t should experience them a number of occasions in a season. They take further storage room on the street and on the staff base. Extra bikes – more cash for organisers to spend on transfers between levels inflating the price of the race. Extra bikes – extra vehicles, vans 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 should 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 reap the benefits of a TT bike, you must spend time in a wind tunnel including extra bills. Some groups would not have cash for wind tunnels and this lack of funds penalises them in opposition to groups with greater sponsors and greater 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 protected from a crash, nasty damage or an finish to a racing profession as a result of a TT bike is a canine to deal with at excessive velocity on the street. To take a full benefit TT bikes supply, you must spend further time to coach on them. TT bikes add bills to the groups and the organisers they will dwell with out if UCI bans TT bikes from the game.

Remaining 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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