Training on a Tri Bike vs Road bike

Hey everyone!

I’m a recovering mountain bike rider who’s fallen in love with the road. I put on a lot of miles last year to improve my fitness to the point where I can start dipping my toe into competitive events. I plan do to some Triathlons and time trial events next year. I do not yet have a TT bike which leads me to my question.

Is there an advantage to using a TT bike on my trainer over the winter rather than using my road bike? If so, is it enough to justify getting one right away rather than waiting 4 months for the local spring cycling convention where I can likely score a great deal?

I’ll suffer either way, I just want to be sure I’m suffering effectively.


If you can get a TT bike for winter training it will help. Probably not ‘necessary’ but worth it if you can. Train how you will ride.

The TT position affects your riding, breathing, and other factors, so the sooner you are on that ride and getting used to it the better off you will be.


also if you don’t have a TT bike you could start by adding aero bars to your roadbike as @Cody.Moore said to get you used to the position

I’ve done most of my training on the road bike, but racing next year is likely to be mostly on the TT bike. Can I use different 4DP tests to switch between bikes?

For example - finish current plan (on road bike) and take 4DP test. Store this for future reference
Before start of new plan, swich to TT bike and take 4DP test (It’s just another workout right…) and then use this profile
If I switch back to training on road bike, use older 4DP profile, but potentially take HM at start of plan to tune FTP and MAP values.

Seems like a lot of effort, but from previous races I know I ride differently and hence testing on the two different bikes will produce two different rider profiles that get incorporated into the training plans.

This would be a super cool feature but we don’t have that in there yet.


Can I do it manually? Test taken on 25 December = road bike. Whenever I want to train on that bike I apply the 4DP test from that date.
Test taken on 1 January = TT bike. Whenever i want to train on that bike I apply the 4DP test from that date.

The switching would only be done before applying a training plan, so the correct profile is used

The workouts in the app are calculated dynamically based on your profile so you could switch that way but I can’t promise that there isn’t potential for an odd behavior here or there if you are switching frequently. @rebecca.bell can you please check us on this?

I feel guilty now, I picture @rebecca.bell and doing multiple full frontal tests just to check out my ideas… :grimacing:


I have my road bike on the trainer right now because the bike matches the trainer cassette. To help my body adjust to aero position when I finally swap the TT bike on the trainer, I try to ride some 90-110 rpm ride segments with my forearms on my bars. It’s actually a more aggressive position so I’m hoping that it will help me maximize aero positions on my TT and track bikes. If anything, it reminds me to tighten up my core because quads bouncing off the abdomen is annoying.

@RichardK and @Cody.Moore I don’t see any reason why switching the metrics shouldn’t work but I would be cautious. As an alternative, I would either manually adjust the 4DP values in your settings or I would suggest just adjusting the individual intensities in the workout so that the metrics match whichever bike you’re using.
Our coaches (@Coach.Suzie.S and @Coach.Mac.C) might have some more insight here about training consistency and using the same set-up when preparing for a race.

As a mountain biker/off-road triathlete, I’m sorry to hear that we lost you to the road. :wink:
As the others have said, it is beneficial to have a TT bike on the trainer so you can get used to the position. It is very different and your power profile will change from the road bike as well, so you’ll have to do a Full Frontal on the tri bike to get accurate numbers. I would make sure you have the TT bike at least 12 weeks out from your event, although longer is better if possible. Just depends on your finances/budget.
Another couple of things to consider with a TT bike is that the position will affect your legs on the run differently from the road bike when doing bricks. You’ll also need to spend some extra time on bodywork when training on a TT bike more. Your hips are flexed far more than on a road bike, so your hip flexors, psoas, quads, chest (pretty much all of the muscles on the front of your body) will get very tight and need more rolling, stretching, massage, ART, etc… In addition, the muscles on the back side are utilized less, which makes them more prone to holding onto that lengthened state and turning off. In this case, you’ll want to do more activation and strengthening exercises. The SUF strength program would be a great addition to your plan because there is a lot of emphasis on the posterior chain- hamstrings, glutes, and core.

Unfortunately, I don’t know any more about switching your profile/metrics, but if you can do it manually, then yes, I’d encourage it. If you’re within 12 weeks of your event, you should be training on the bike you’ll race on. Any farther out isn’t as important, but if you feel especially uncomfortable on it or your power metrics are significantly reduced, then start training on the tri bike as early as possible.

Best of luck to you both!

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Thanks for the advice @Coach.Suzie.S!

I will start looking at TT bikes so I can get the required time in.

Currently I’ve been doing a lot of rock climbing and Deadlifting to keep my posterior chain strong. It sounds like I’m good to keep going with it.

I come from a road racing background and raced bikes exclusively . I’ve only done a couple of bike races since then and have been riding my tri bike almost exclusively. I was riding a tri-specific bike for about a year but then put aero bars on a road bike that I never took off. So I ride a road bike with aero bars. I wish I knew how triathlon training on a tri bike effects road racing and vice versa. I read someone’s point of view here and I also still think there’s no substitute for putting in long days on a tri bike if you are doing long course racing. I may switch it up a little next season.

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Just reviving an old thread!!

I’ve just built up a TT bike for the trainer with some old second hand bibs and bobs as I’ve got a TT event coming up. I did a half Monty in the TT position and the results were pretty close to full frontal in the road position. MAP was down a bit though.

I’ve done a few sessions in the TT position now and the metrics seem to cross over pretty well. I’m thinking the difference in the watts you can put out in the two positions is pretty close at the FTP level, but maybe as you go up to MAP and beyond you can get a few more watts out in the road position.

Interested to hear what other people have found.

Ps. Obviously I will have to do a TT full frontal soon. Just trying to delay the inevitable!!! :boom: :goat:


Road bike and Tri bike have distinct differences to accommodate the needs of different types of riders and activities. Road bikes are designed for versatile riding and generally feature a more upright riding position compared to tri bikes. On other hand, Tri bikes are built for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, however, they typically have a more aggressive riding position, with a lower handlebar and more forward-leaning rider posture.