Time trialling on a MTB. Does anyone do it ?

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  • Time trialling on a MTB. Does anyone do it ?
  • I've been thinking about having a go at TTing.
    To avoid buying a TT bike, then finding I don't like it or the novelty wears off after a couple of events, I thought I might have a go on my mountain bike.
    Roadies always strike me as a conservative bunch. What reaction would I get if I rocked up on a 29er hardtail Rohloff ?
    Would it be an unprecedented act of irreverence, or would they just tut, tut and mutter to each other "Oh no, not another one".

    I think my first move is to recce some of the local courses and do my own unofficial timed runs and compare my time with previous results. I'd like to have some idea of how far down the field I would be before I give it a go.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    you might be better to see if anyone local to you has a bike you can borrow.

    to use an mtb to try TT is like trying to make a judgement on downhill having ridden the course on a 'cross bike…

    Premier Icon tonyg2003
    Subscriber

    Years ago Barrie Clarke turned up to a local TT 10 on his MTB and beat everyone.

    You can ride whatever you want (apart from recumbants) on TT's. I know a few people who ride MTBs – mostly it's about challenging yourself. You might get some funny looks but what the heck.

    However I haven't done any TTs for years – too dangerous down here and too boring. I prefer to go for a ride in the woods!

    Premier Icon ddmonkey
    Subscriber

    I think you will find, having done a couple of triathlon's on a MTB, that anyone half decent on a TT bike will be way faster than you. I'm afraid I think it makes quite a big difference, esp. in a TT format I should think.

    Mind you, that's not a reason not to have a go and see if you like it. I'm not sure but you might also find that thre are rules about the bikes that you might fall foul of, depends on the seriousness of the event I suppose. Best thing to do is contact the organisers anad have a chat with them.

    oldgit
    Member

    It would be the proverbial spoon at the knife fight, they'd probably think you were a mentalist.
    The last TT I did (hate the things) was a hill climb and did that on a rigid on-one singlespeed with mud tyres. I did learn that day what a heart attack feels like.

    It would be a horrible way to torture yourself, if you broke evens on a 10 miler you would be going bloody well

    crikey
    Member

    What reaction would you expect if you turned up at Glentress on a roadbike?

    I suspect that the conservative nature of roadies is well matched by mountain bikers…

    To find out if you are quick enough, just do a 25 mile ride; under an hour is good.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    It would be about as suitable as a tt bike on an xc course. All other things being equal you would be pulverised by someone of similar ability on the right bike for the job so it won't really give you much of a clue as to your true abilities. Having said that, unless you are at the pointy end its about challenging yourself so whats the harm.

    Ignore the open events, and find a few club events close to you as it will be far more relaxed, you could probably enter on the line and it'll cost you about a quid. Once you are into open events, its all about seeded starting times on past performances & gets a bit more serious. I've seen people ride mtbs in club tt's before, but not often.

    Stand by for a serious insight into a whole new geeky world that will make bearded singlespeeders seem like the life and soul of the party!

    oldgit
    Member

    I sadly never got under the hour solo, that was pre tri bars days though. Only managed it 2 up.
    Hmmm could I?

    dickydutch
    Member

    Just go for it. You won't get a better work out in circa 30 minutes anywhere!!

    Premier Icon goslow
    Subscriber

    I did a 10 miler once. They did set me off first so I had no one to chase. Everyone on a road bike beat me but that wasn't really the point. I just wanted to push myself a bit… and I did, averaged about 20mph which I was pleased with.

    stick_man
    Member

    I've done two triathlons and some TTs on my cyclocross bike which isn't far removed from a 29er with slicks. I noticed quite a few people on mountain bikes in these events.

    Don't worry what other people think, just have a go and see if you like it.

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    I've not done a TT but I've marsahlled a few. People turn up on bikes. The guys who win almost invariably have proper TT bikes. After that, TT bikes, road bkes with clip-ons, mountain bikes with slicks, fixed gear thingies with wrong-sized wheels and a 3-speed with a chainguard and a bell.

    A large proportion of people are comparing their times against their own best times. So you're fooling no-one if you do your first one on an mtb and the next one on a TT bike and set a new personal best, but (in my limited experience) no-one cares what anyone else is riding unless it looks like cheating (which bringing a spoon to a knife-fight generally doesn't). 🙂

    Joxster
    Member

    I've done a few 10's and 25's on a MTB for training, rattled out a 22.39 on a Raleigh Technium around 1990/91. That upset quite a few TTers

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    p.s. you also HAVE to be a member of an CTT affiliated cycling club to be allowed to ride a TT – no exceptions (unless you lie and say you are member of club x on the start sheet and hope that no one from club x turns up!)

    glenp
    Member

    Getting the position low enough has got to be the biggest factor. My Explosif with short rigid forks, flipped stem, flat bars and 25mm Gatorsins is very nearly as fast as my road bike, and I'm certain it would be faster than a drop barred bike set up a bit taller. The aero drag and bob of a susp fork would not be helpful, but fit road tyres and flip the stem and your bike will not be nearly as unsuitable as "a TT bike on a DH course".

    convert

    No you dont have to be a member, most clubs will charge and extra amount to cover insurance if you are not in an affiliated club.

    Premier Icon Speshpaul
    Subscriber

    Go and have a go.
    You might well find that a lot of local tens a MTB record. Unless you are supoer fast you are only racing your self anyway. My experiance of doing the the tuesday 10 with the MSW, has been ace. If you turn up and have go you're in!
    Last year Matt from Torq had some of his Oz racing mates over, one of them blow holes in the 10 on a mtb. Nice work.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    yes, you do – no exception!

    From the ctt site:-

    Entering Events

    Whatever type of time trial you are entering, club or open, you must be a member of a club that is affiliated to Cycling Time Trials. Being a BCF or CTC member does not generally qualify you to ride time trials unless your BCF Division or CTC District Association is affiliated to CTT.

    Maybe you are thinking tri. I think the ctt do also run some come and give it a go events where the rules are different too.

    traildog
    Member

    Just turn up and do it. The point about testing is that you are testing yourself as much as anyone. Roadies are actually pretty open about equipment, probably more so than mountain bikers it seems. I know some people who do similar road bike events on their mountain bikes. It's about having fun.

    Premier Icon Speshpaul
    Subscriber

    "It's about having fun" i think you are mixing time trialling up with something else:-)

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    what Speshpaul said – TT's are about feeling pain.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    I've been thinking about having a go at TTing.
    To avoid buying a TT bike, then finding I don't like it or the novelty wears off after a couple of events

    Buy a road bike? Much more 'usable' than a TT bike and quicker than an MTB.

    Otherwise, just go and have a punt, as folk have said it's about beating your own time, you're unlikely to win on an MTB, so just go and 'have fun' (note the inverted commas).

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    If your bars are in the right place you can ride with your elbows on the bars and get a pretty good tuck. That's what I used to do with my dad's sit-up-and-beg hybrid (with just normal riding not TTing) when I was about 14 before I had my own bike 🙂

    Just ask Andy Wilkinson, the bike he broke the 12 hour event record and came within a whisker of the Best Allrounder last year started off life as a mountainbike, he has added a disc wheel and tri bars but after all it's not about the bike.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Sorry, no still not cutting it for me. The link from that article (good piece btw) shows the clubs that offer day membership to casual riders for doing their events. You still have to be a member of a club, its just you can join for one day rather than 365. I clicked the link for my area and they list 12 clubs that offer the scheme out of 68 clubs in the area. I know for a fact that 5 of those clubs on the list do not actually run TTs so them being on the list is pretty meaningless. So that leaves 7 out of a total 68 clubs in the area. I'm not fancying those chances of being able choose a random and convenient event to race without being a proper yearly paid up member of a ctt affiliated club and getting away with it. I know that you would be turned away from any club tts within 15 miles of me without being a "proper" club member.

    Don't get me wrong, I think it is rubbish that you pretty much have to be a proper member of a club even to dip your toe in the sport and very typical of the sport in general (I once got stopped on the start line of a meaningless obscure open race because I had borrowed my mates overshoes and whilst still the right colour they had the wrong sponsors logo on) but it is still the case for most events out there.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    but after all it's not about the bike

    To an extent mate it is. Patently. I mean you're not gonna win the club TT on a downhill bike, are you? And to be honest you're not going to on an MTB either unless you are very very much quicker than the other riders.

    Even the difference between a TT bike and a normal road bike is like 2 minutes.

    Who said anything about winning? If you want to have a go then turning up with a mountainbike isn't a problem. If you want to improve then the most cost effective upgrades are narrow slicks pumped up as hard as they will go, a cheap set of tri bars (about £30) will get you a more aero position, thereafter its all about diminishing returns. We all see all the gear no idea brigade in every facet of the sport. Our club will let you ride a try out event without joining especially at the start of the season, Wednesday night 7.00pm on the Huddersfield to Penistone road.

    traildog
    Member

    TT's are about feeling pain.

    That's what I said, it's about having fun…

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I don't kow why you'd think it was fun if you weren't competitive…

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    It's a bit like climbing mountains in the mist innit! Pain and hard work all the way up with no view to speak of and despite all that there is a warm fuzzy feeling in the pub afterwards and an urge to do it all over again.

    You don't go to a tt for the atmosphere though! To be fair more "normal" people turn up to club ones than open ones so you might find someone to actually speak to.

    Lots of replies and overall it looks like it's worth a shot then.
    I've got no problem joining a club if I have to. I just checked my local club's website and it's £15 a year. I can spend more than that driving to one distant MTB event, so if it gets me in to several local TTs, it's worth it.
    I also found this on their site in the Beginner's Guide bit…

    In all but club events, any clothing worn can only bear the name of the manufacturer or the club, any third party name or product is not permitted.

    Sounds a bit stuffy to me. I think team kit looks silly if you're not in that team, but banning it is a bit over the top.

    I don't get this comparison of riding TTs on an MTB with riding DH on a TT bike. Most mountain bikers will join up the trails with a bit of road riding, road riders won't normally take a short cut off road.
    It's a personal challenge. If there's other MTBers there, I'll be racing them. If not, I'll set myself a standard, then try to beat it next time.

    When I mentioned buying a TT bike, I actually had a CX bike in mind that would be more suitable for TTs than an MTB.
    I live about 1km from the nearest tarmac road, so a lightweight racing bike wouldn't be ideal for me. I reckon most of my commute would be easy enough on a CX bike, so I'd been thinking about getting one anyway.

    kcr
    Member

    As above, no problem riding on an MTB if you just fancy trying it out, and you can measure progress against your own times or other riders with similar times. TT-specific equipment is only necessary if you want to get competitive, but you'll see a big improvement from just fitting some slicks and a set of cheap clip-on tri-bars.
    Andy Wilkinson's record breaking bike – actually a converted hybrid, I think.
    The best way to start is to ride some club confined events, rather than open events. This will let you get some experience of riding TTs and you should be able to pick up lots of advice from more experienced people.
    Judging by some of the stuff I read on here, you might find people a bit less conservative than the MTB world. A lot of the cyclists I know ride MTB, TT and road.

    The plain kit thing only really applies to open time trials your local club won't give a stuff if you turn up in a tutu and baggy shorts (as long as the top has sleeves) I regularly ride in a trade team top as do the majority who are too tight to buy club strip.

    Surfr
    Member

    I'm a newcomer to TTing, having started in earnest last season on a road bike. I've since sold that and am riding a cross bike this year (on knobblies). Ours is a welcoming club and has an active MTB side aswell. In the past 2 years of taking part or taking photos, I've seen fixxies, tandoms, hybrids, tourers and MTBs enter and have a go. Nobody carres and indeed you'll probably get a bit if interest/banter if you do try something untoward.

    Here's some snaps of riders on our local 10.

    local XC whippet a week before last years Dyfi

    fastest rider on the 10 at present. Not far off course record

    on the hoods, having a go

    All welcome 🙂

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Fine to turn up and have a go on any bike.. but I'd have to wonder what the point was. If you want to ride 10 miles as fast as you can (perfectly reasonable thing to want to do) then just go and do it. Surely the point of doing a club TT is to compete with the other riders? That is what you won't be able to do on an mtb unless there are other similar riders their on their mtbs…?

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Subscriber

    Milton Keynes cycling club use to have a MTB record for their ten. I think I held it for about a week. I was slower than on my road bike but not by much. They use to charge about £1 for a mid wek time trial not being a member was not an issue

    Its nothing like entering a downhill on a cylocross bike is it! I mean the bike is capable of safely covering the course at speed.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    The point I was trying to make re: ridign down hill on a cyclocross bike vs TT on an MTB was that, to make a fair assesment of the activity, it was best to ride it on somethign designed for the job.

    In both cases you can complete the course but if you;re lookign to decide if it's an area of cycling you want to get serious about doing it on a tool designed for the job is the best way to give it a fair chance.

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