How to Convert Your Road Bike Into a Time Trial Bike

budget time trial

How to Convert Your Road Bike Into a Time Trial Bike

In a perfect world, we would all have a specific bike for each discipline of riding we do.  A lightweight bike for climbing.  A time trial bike for time trialing.  A mountain bike for the trails.  A cyclocross bike for… well you get the point.  But unfortunately most of us only have enough for one, maybe two bikes.  So we need to find ways to get the most out of our equipment by making it go further.

With only a couple changes you can easily convert your road bike into a time trial bike that will help you compete against and even beat those with deeper pockets than you.time trial bikeInstall Clip On Aero Bars

Installing a set of clip on aero bars to your road bike is the first step in converting it into a time trial bike.  Numerous tests have shown that the rider accounts for the vast majority of drag on a bike so installing a set of clip on bars lets you get low into an aero tuck, reducing your frontal area and drag.

When installing aero bars on your road bike, you may have to make a couple adjustments to the front end of your bike.  First, you might have to lower your stem in order to get into a good position in your bars.  And second, you may need to change to a shorter stem so that you are not too stretched out.  Ideally, when in your aero bars, your back should be flat and your elbows at 90 degrees.time trial bikeMove Your Seat Forward

After installing aero bars on your road bike, you may want to consider moving your seat forward on the rails in order to simulate the steeper seat tube angle of a time trial bike.  The steeper seat tube angle opens up your hip angle for a more powerful pedal stroke while in your aero position.

You will need to raise your seat a couple millimeters to compensate for moving it forward.  And pay attention to the UCI’s 5cm rule if you are planning on doing any UCI sanctioned events (the nose of the saddle must be at least 5cm behind the center of the bottom bracket).

Change Your Seat

The seat you are using on your road bike may not be ideal for a time trial position so you may have to consider changing to something that is more suitable.  Rolling your pelvis forward can put pressure on sensitive areas so you might want something that helps alleviate that unwanted pressure.  Many time trial specific saddles have a shorter nose which will allow you to move the saddle further forward get even more over the bottom bracket.time trial bike

With a couple simple tweaks, you can convert your road bike into a more than capable time trial bike as I’ve shown in my own testing.  A simple road bike conversion may not be enough to win the World Championships but it is enough to let you compete against those with deeper pockets and bigger stables.  Now go out there and let your legs do the talking.