I'm going on a coast to coast tour, fully supported, so only carrying what I need for the day.

I have a Trek Speed Concept I have used for Ironman races and a few multi day tours (75 mile days).

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I used a touring bike with a triple for a similar ride a few years ago. It was great in the mountains (and for being new to riding at the time), but felt slow the rest of the time. Really wanting to take the Speed Concept on this ride...compact crank with 11/28 cassette, Thoughts? Am I nuts?

  • "fully supported" meaning there's a car right there with you? Or "theres a variety of stops on the way" ? What are the uphill climbs like ? A triple would have climbed almost any reasonable grade, but the TT bike may lack the low gearing.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 1:47
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    I'm not sure anyone has ever done coast-to-coast with a penny farthing, but pretty much every other form of bicycle has been used. You know your capabilities, you presumably know the bike pretty well, you know touring, and you'll be picking the route, so you're the best judge of how practical your idea is. Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 1:47
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    It would be helpful to clarify which country you are thinking about doing this in. The distance between the specific coasts and the size of the mountains makes a difference!
    – srank
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 5:49
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    @DanielRHicks pennyfarthingmadness.blogspot.co.nz/2007/10/… (UK coast to coast) or bikeroute.com/NationalBicycleGreenwayNews/2013/03/06/… (US coast to coast)
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 8:26
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    RAAM participants will frequently use aero bar extensions and sometimes full-on TT bikes, so using a tri/TT bike for a coast-to-coast ride doesn't seem too far-fetched, provided the fit is optimized for comfort over speed.
    – Ealhmund
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 17:19

3 Answers 3


It depends entirely on what your are trying to accomplish and what your expectations are. Many RAAM riders opt for a TT style setup, so don't let the long distance dissuade based on "it's not done" that way, because it is (by some riders).

A large consideration may be parts and maintenance. Most traditional touring bikes opt for simpler parts that are easy to repair or find replacements for. I saw a guy attempt a similar thing on a TT bike starting up north on the Haul Road and planning to finish in South America. He crashed soon into his ride and needed a new derailleur hanger and bar end shifter for his fancy bike. Since the hanger wasn't available in town (direct from manufacturer part) our mechanic had to fabricate him a hanger out of scrap. For the shifter, nothing (within reasonable expense) could be done. He was forced to call ahead to a shop in Canada and hope they could get one ordered and available by the time he got there, then ride without it for several hundred miles.

Also, from commentary from links on another answer, tire selection may be impacted. Depending on the rear tolerances on your TT bike, your selection of tires may be limited to less than desirable tires for touring.

The point being that TT bikes tend toward extreme specialization and part styles that aren't often carried in stock. As long as you are aware, careful, bring your own second TT bike, or comfortable with the possible delays (or some combination of the 4) it may be fine.


Most people, even pro racers, would find that everything about what creates a desirable rider position on a tri bike would be close to the diametric opposite in terms of priorities to what you want on a touring bike you'll be on all day, day after day, trying to enjoy yourself.

It's true that this could be mitigated somewhat with a position change, ie taller stem and tilting up the bars. That's fine except that it tends to be the case with bikes like this that any significant change requires fully re-cabling it. Also, presuming it has a carbon steerer, you shouldn't put a steerer extender on it.


I wouldn't do it myself, but for what it's worth, I met a buy biking across Canada last year on a Cervelo TT bike. He was pretty out there though.

He was a former bike courier who decided he wanted to do a bike tour then get into time trialing, and rather than buy two separate bikes for the two tasks, he just bought a TT bike. Repainted it with a hatchet motif, swapped out the fork for another carbon one that had mid-fork eyelets (I'm guess Specialized Tricross), put front panniers and some frame bags on the thing, zip-tied a hatchet to the frame and off he went.

You can check out his setup here: https://www.instagram.com/p/5iamznzhUM/

So it can definitely be done. Whether you'll enjoy the ride as much as your buddies who are on touring bikes or even just endurance road bikes, is another question.

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