Time trial bicycle

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Time trial bikes used by the Astana team in 2015 Bornem - Ronde van Belgie, proloog, individuele tijdrit, 27 mei 2015 (A061).JPG
Time trial bikes used by the Astana team in 2015

A time trial bicycle is a racing bicycle designed for use in an individual race against the clock. Compared to a road bike, a time trial bike is more aerodynamic, has a shorter wheelbase, and puts the rider closer to the front of the bicycle. It may have either solid disc or spoked wheels. [1]

Since the cyclist in a time trial is not permitted to draft (ride in the slipstream) behind other cyclists, reducing drag of the bicycle and rider is critical. [2]

Time trial bicycles are similar to triathlon bicycles. Triathlon bicycles have a steeper seat tube angle, which pushes the hips forward and saves the hamstrings for the run. TT bicycles have to follow International Cycling Union (UCI) rules. UCI requires that the saddle nose of the TT bicycle must be 5 cm from the centre of the bottom bracket. [3]

An aero seatpost on an Orbea Ordu with positions marked "chro" and "tri" Aero seatpost.JPG
An aero seatpost on an Orbea Ordu with positions marked "chro" and "tri"

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Time trials have been part of cycling for more than a hundred years. The first time trial was run in 1895 after a ban on road racing was imposed by the National Cyclists' Union. It wasn't until 1939 that the time trial made its world stage debut as an official stage of the Tour de France. It was originally used as a method of drawing more people to listen to the Grand Tour on the newly available radio broadcast of the 1939 race. The main thing that distinguished the first time-trial from the traditional form of road racing was that the riders started at intervals instead of one large group and they raced against the clock instead of each other. Unlike road racing where the a rider can hang in the peloton and draft off of other riders to conserve energy, time trial races put the rider out alone on the course. There are no breaks and no one to draft off, causing a rider to push as hard as they can the entire race. Bicycles have also evolved to accommodate this new form of racing, with most of the breakthroughs occurring in the last 40–50 years with the introduction of triathlons.


  1. Liggett, Phil; Raia, James; Lewis, Sammarye (2005). Tour De France For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. p. 121. ISBN   978-0-7645-8449-7.
  2. UCI Rule book page 35 "PART 2 ROAD RACES". Archived from the original on 2011-06-23. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  3. "What's the difference between a triathlon bike and a time trial bike?". 220 Triathlon. Retrieved 2021-01-05.