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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Froome Dog’s TT Weapon

Chris Froome’s TdF TT bike – complete with 3D PRINTED BARS! :-) So I’m not normally much of a Pinarello fan, but this thing is so full of tech and cycling awesomeness it just blows me away. Check out the 58/46 chainrings! Barring any incidents between now and then, you’d be hard pressed to bet against Froome winning the Stage 20 time trial.

Opening 2017 TdF Time Trial

I love a good time trial. I think it’s a great way to open a Grand Tour and put a few time gaps into the top of the field. Sure it can be a little boring to watch but I love the tech and checking out the aero – or not – riding positions of the field.

Great to see big G in yellow after the opening stage! He wouldn’t have been my pick if I were laying down some money, but a worthy stage winner. My money would have been on the German TT powerhouse that is Tony Martin (he still came in a respectable 4th at 8 second back). Froome dog looking strong too. It’s a long three weeks until the end of the Tour, but he’s looking like he can repeat past victories and claim another Yellow in Paris. Check out his TT position, jet plane aero. Team Sky are looking STRONG!

Photo credit: www.steephill.tv

2015 Aussie TT Champ Richie Porte was further back than I was expecting, although being a super wet day the top GC guys probably weren’t taking many chances. I hope he has a cracking Tour. My opinion is he CAN win the TdF, but I’m not sure he has the team strength behind him to unseat Sky. With only one Stage down there’s still over 3500km of racing to go and hopefully a good mix-up of GC racing!

Winter project: Converting the TT bike into a fast road bike

This winter’s project is to convert my Planet X time trial bike into a road bike. I love riding the TT bike, but there’s not much of a TT scene around here and I’m not getting enough use out of it. It’d be great (I think) to use it as an aero road bike for a while.

With a bit of Googling I tracked down a pair of new old stock SRAM Rival 10-speed shifters to compliment the rest of the 10-speed drivetrain. These were harder than expected to source now that everything has gone 11-speed, I had to get them sent over from the UK.

As I’m not even sure if I’ll like how it rides with drop bars I didn’t want to splash out on a completely new groupset. I think I can live without that one extra gear now now. The old SRAM Rival stuff is actually pretty ace and the bike is already sporting  SRAM carbon cranks. Of course the SRAM eTap upgrade kit would have been nice… ;-)

As for bars I’m waiting for a good deal on some carbon aero topped bars, possibly 3T or similar. Although it won’t be a TT bike anymore I still want it to be slippery and these just look fast, which is half the fun!

The geometry of the Stealth frame will make for a fairly aggressive position so we shall see if it even works as a roadie. If not, I can always convert it back! Anyways it’ll give me something to tinker with on those cold winter weekend mornings.

Zwift’s Watopian Landscape

Hats off to the programmers and developers at Zwift. They really have created a fully immersive and impressive landscape in “Watopia” for us to lose ourselves in. It sure beats staring at a garage wall or numbers on a screen! Paired with a smart trainer that changes resistance to simulate gradients, it’s the ultimate in indoor cycling.

From cruising along the Ocean Road boulevard to climbing through Swiss style villages into the Watopian Alps to circling an active volcano, there really is an abundance of highly detailed landscapes to amaze the rider. Of course it’s hard to soak it all in when pushing hard, but it does take your mind off being on the trainer! #RideOn

Winding roads through the virtual Alps.

Descending like a pro as the sun rises over the virtual ocean!

The “Zwift Me” is totally cool and calm when climbing hard, just like real me…

Watopian whale selfie though the underwater tunnels!

Some evenings are just too good to spend on the trainer!

Some moments are just too good to waste on the trainer. My plan for the evening was to get home from work and jump on Zwift for an hour’s sweetspot session, but perfect weather (combined with an internet outage, hehehe) convinced me to unshackle myself from the trainer and head outdoors for some magically mellow miles.

A quick photo stop on the jetty to capture a perfect late summer evening…

I took my trusty time trial bike out for a spin as I need to clock up some more time in that position. Well, what a fantastic evening for it! I wasn’t pushing super hard or staring at my Garmin stats, just enjoying the fresh sea air, but I still managed to pick up some Strava PRs (including a couple of Top 5 times). Some days, there’s just no better way to spend and evening than outside on two wheels. #moremilesmoresmiles

* Photo critique: Yeah I know, I didn’t remove my light, saddle bag or water bottle and also forgot to line up valve stems properly. At least it’s in the big ring! ;-)