Encyclingpedia: Time Trial Bikes

Time Trial Bike Overview
Time trial bikes are built for one thing – speed. In a race against the clock, the slightest aerodynamic advantage can mean the difference between gold and silver. A time trial bike will usually feature the latest in technological advancements and is constructed from lightweight materials. A rider’s position on the bike is just as important as the shape and weight of the bike. Therefore, time trial bikes are often custom made to an athlete’s body to ensure the best aerodynamic position and optimal power output. Notable components on a time trial bike include deep dish front wheels, carbon fiber disc rear wheels, aero bars and specially-shaped geometry.

Time trial bikes often use a carbon fiber rear disc wheel. Extremely lightweight, the rear disc wheel is shaped to maximize airflow around the wheel and reduce the amount of wind resistance while riding in a forward direction.

The geometry and shape of the tubes are more aerodynamic on a time trial bike compared to its road race counterpart. Note the narrow,
aerodynamically shaped seat tube that extends from the saddle to the bottom bracket. The shape is designed for cutting through the wind. The back of the seat tube is slightly carved away to allow for the rear wheel to sit closer to the bike’s frame, reducing wind resistance on the rear wheel.

A deep dish, 16-spoke front wheel provides maximum stability and aerodynamic advantage as the first part of the bike to come in contact with the wind.

The specially-designed fork and downtube are shaped with minimal wind resistance in mind.

The aero bars allow a rider to extend themselves over the front of the bike in the most aerodynamic and efficient position possible. The gear shifters at the end of the bars allow a rider to shift up or down without interrupting his position. The second set of bars is used for climbing, sprinting and braking.

The handlebar pads affixed to the top of the aero bars allow a rider to sustain a comfortable position when racing for extended periods of time. The downward position of the bars also allows a rider to remain in an aerodynamic position.