From TT to Road bike: Aero topped handlebars

A little update on my winter project! As outlined previously I wasn’t getting enough use out of my Planet X TT rig so over the winter (still very much winter here in Tasmania) I’ve been fettling away to convert it from time trial weapon into a fast road machine.

Since my last update, I sourced a set of 3T Aero Nova handlebars. These are aero topped carbon fibre drop bars with internal cable routing. Sexy as hell I gotta say!

This was my first foray into internally routed cabling and it was quite the job. Luckily the bars came with hollow plastic tubes to help feed the cables though which made the job easier, but certainly not easy. The cables were fine, but there was a LOT of poking and prodding and swearing involved to get the fatter housings fed around the tight bends. It took the best part of an afternoon to get right.

Hoods pulled back and cables run through the feeder tubes.

Once fed through and seated properly, finishing the cables to the brakes and mechs was a breeze. The Planet X is old school so externally cabled – it may not be as pretty but it made my life much easier. To finish the job I went with my favourite bar tape, Lizard Skins 3.2mm DSP wrapped to just past the hoods. Classy.

The black colour of the bike and the bars don’t quite match, mildly annoying!

My first test ride was only a short 35km local loop just to dial in my position, index the gearing and get my head around SRAM DoubleTap shifting. Not sure I’m a huge fan of it yet, I guess it doesn’t help I’ve been rocking Ultegra Di2 for a bit! I’ll pass judgement and do a comparison to Shimano 105 further down the track. It still needs a little more fine tuning to get the shifts spot on.

The bike on the other hand is dead set awesome! :-)

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Stealthy Bike P**n

Just a bit of weekend bike porn for you. :-) I’ve had my Planet X Stealth for a couple of years now without many changes except for the wheels. They were a bit of a “you only live once” purchase while I was working for Sigma Sport. Those Roval CL60 carbon deep section babies really hum along! Now I’ve just got to get back to fighting fitness so I can do this bike some justice over the summer months.

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#ridelots

A week of falling TT records

It’s been a month of falling records on the UK TT scene! First up the men’s 10-mile record was obliterated by Marcin Bialoblocki who clocked a mind blowing time of 16:35 averaging over 36mph to do so. He crushed the old record of 17:20 set by Alex Dowsett and is now the only man ever to go under the 17 minute barrier!

csasspzwyaa74leMarcin Bialoblocki looking 100% aero on his record breaking ride.

James Gullen of Pedal Heaven also went under Dowsett’s old record with a time of 17:09 an incredible ride overshadowed by Marcin’s superhuman effort.

Then a few days later the women’s 10-mile record was also smashed (again). This time Hayley Simmonds took the record back from Anna Turvey, posting a time of 18 minutes 36 seconds to become the only woman ever to have gone under 19 minutes!

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Reunited with my TT bike!

After three months at sea packed up lovingly in a cardboard box inside a shipping container, my Planet X Stealth time trial bike has finally arrived safe and sound to me in Tasmania! Oh how I’ve been waiting! I put it back together last night, adjusted everything millimetre perfect and then spent an unhealthy amount of time admiring all that beautiful carbon fibre.

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I took it for it’s inaugural Australian spin earlier today. It was great to finally get back down into that TT tuck and purr along the blacktop upon that carbon frame and 60mm deep carbon wheels! I even searched out a few flat roads around Hobart Airport to get those wheels humming.

The legs could do with some work after too much time off, but the smile factor of the ride was certainly off the chart. #happydays

Getting more aero! #freespeed

As the weather was rubbish today and I’d already logged 175 miles this week I decided to have a closer look at my position on the time trial bike. For various reasons I only got in a handful of rides on it last year so I’m hoping I can find some form in 2016 as I really enjoy riding the Stealth. I knew my current position wasn’t great so there was always going to be room for improvement.

I got a new helmet too so I needed to see how that fit. It’s a medium tail MET Drone Wide Body, as used by MTN Qhubeka last season (see image above). With the help of my turbo and some iPhone video I got tinkering…

Here’s my starting position, the same measurements as last year:
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And here’s where I ended up after a bit of tweaking:
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It feels comfortable and looks a lot more aero. Notice how the tail of the helmet sits flush into my back. Of course getting really aero is only part of the equation as I need to see if I can still ride comfortably and put out some power in this position! Here’s the two photos in a side-by-side comparison:

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I’m still not 100% happy with saddle choice – something to look at – and I could really do with a Sigma Sport SanRemo 2.0 Speedsuit to complete the package! ;-) Once the weather improves I will go for a proper spin around my local testing roads and do a bit more fine tuning. #aeroiseverything

Aero helmets?

Spare time is a dangerous thing. In the ever lasting search for marginal gains I’ve been looking at getting a new aero helmet for this coming season. I know I should work on the legs instead, but every little helps, right?

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There’s a huge array of different styles at different price points, many of which cater towards the massive and often overpriced triathlon market. The trend now is for short-tail aero helmets such as the KASK Bambino. There’s also the latest batch of aero road helmets, all advertised to supposedly be faster and give you the best of both worlds (I’m not a fan).

So what difference does a helmet actually make? Well here’s a video from the Specialized “Win Tunnel” comparing three of their own helmets; a normal vented one, an Evade aero road helmet and their completely aero S-Works TT lid.

You have to take this video with a grain of salt of course. It’s produced by Specialized so no doubt they are going to say their time trial helmets are faster, but it’s interesting to see some of the differences nonetheless. There are real gains to be made here if you’re racing! Now, where did my wife hide my credit card?