Road to TT Conversions and TT Bikes for Tall Riders

Hi All,

I wanted to know about people converting road bikes to tt bikes successfully?

I am just thinking for someone my size (6'5) with a 63cm Cannondale CAAD 10 frame that has SRAM FORCE groupset already just sitting in the shed doing nothing I wondered how many alterations i would need to make in order for it to be used as a tt bike and would it be cheaper to change the seat post, clip on bars, extend the head stem etc rather than buying a tt specific bike which may or may not fit?

Also I am reasonably 'long' in the legs but longer in the torso and wanted to know people's thoughts on specific bike brands that cater or atleast take into account the taller riders?

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Reply By: TriathlonOz - Michelle - Monday, Nov 25, 2013 at 13:50

Monday, Nov 25, 2013 at 13:50
Hi Justin,
So since you'll probably want to get TT shifters rather than just clip on aero bars, I would advise against getting a fully fixed TT aerobar set that doesn't offer any adjustability so you can fiddle and get it right.

The key points to convert your road bike are:
1. get your elbow angle to 90 degrees. This position gives you the best support to distribute your weight on your arms, taking pressure off the saddle.
2. when the pedal is half way (crank & foot parallel to ground) your knee should be more forward of the pedal spindle than it is on the road bike. The more forward position is important. It gives more comfort to the lower back and shoulders and allows you to get into the aero position.

The problem comes down to the length of your bike's top tube.
If its too short for this position you'll be knocking your knees on your elbows so then you're going to need to also change your stem (your choice how much you spend), and/or set your seat back further (your choice how much you spend).

You should be able to do the conversion for much less than the cost of a new TT bike but depends on how many parts/carbon you need to buy! The same thing can happen when you buy a new TT bike though. Whilst I bought a second hand TT bike, (Argon E118), the frame was the right size for me but there was no way I could get the 90 angle in my elbow (even with the seat all the way forward on the rails) so I had to swap out the bars. I had to spend the extra to take off good quality parts and replace with parts that fit me but I didn't replace with the same quality. In fact my cockpit is setup with using (cheap alloy) adjustable extensions that we positioned underneath the flat part of the bar with armrests above. I note that some of the pros do this too (so perhaps avoid a fixed/non-adjustable TT aerobar cockpit). I am so low that my profile drink bottle touches my front tyre so I have to use mounts to lift my drink bottle higher (and cut my straw tube short so it doesn't poke me in the eye!). The other thing is how close you get your hands - the closer you can get your elbows the better for aero but many people can't get comfortable in the shoulder/neck position to go in very tight and if you're not at 90 degrees the whole muscular stress is wrong. So this is something you want to be able to adjust to find what works for you.

Being on the other end of the height spectrum the issues are much the same for you. You are going to need something that gives you adjustability in the cockpit but if you've already got the bike you like and fit on, then yes I would agree its worth giving a go and shouldn't cost anywhere near $5K that it would to buy a new TT bike.

Sounds like a fun project! Would be keen to see photos when you're done.

Some wish for it, others work for it!

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