I have started doing triathlons but don't want to invest in a Time-Trial bike until later. What are the problems with converting a road bike to a Time-Trial bike?

  • 4
    TT bike is not the same as Tri
    – paparazzo
    Feb 25, 2016 at 12:17
  • You've done a couple of triathlons? What do the other starters have? Ignoring the high roller rides, you'll probably note which is more effective. Remember, its not about winning the race its about beating your own times.
    – Criggie
    Feb 25, 2016 at 13:18
  • 2
    What kind of tri? Short-course, long-course, draft-legal? Are you hoping to be a contender, or MOP? Can you afford two bikes, or only one?
    – R. Chung
    Feb 25, 2016 at 16:35

2 Answers 2


The geometry is the major problem with converting a road bike into a TT/Tri bike, road bikes have you sitting much farther back relative to the contact points on the handlebars.

You may be able to offset this with a different seatpost that puts you farther forward (assuming saddle is adjusted all the way towards the front).

Other changes may include a shorter stem, different saddle.

You may be able to make your road bike work, just don't expect to be comfortable mid ride switching from the aerobars to the hoods/drops. You have to pick one and stick with it.


The specific problems will depend on your current road bike. You can use clip on aero bars and a nice set of deep section wheels to make a considerable performance improvement over a normal road bike setup.

It will never be as fast as a proper tri bike, but as an intermediate step its a good compromise. The 2 main things you will miss are aerodynamics and shifters on the aero bars.

When you do come to upgrade, as noted by @Frisbee, TT and Tri bikes are not the same thing, Tri bikes can offer better aerodynamics since they don't need to conform, to UCI regulations.

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