Ready to Race – Trek Speed Concept

May 13, 2016 2:52 pm

I signed up for a couple Duathlons this summer.  The first one, a local event, is in a week so I moved my Enve carbon tubular wheels over to my Trek Speed Concept bike.  Moving the wheels was easy enough but changing the brake pads to carbon specific pads was much harder than on a regular road bike.  I guess that is the price you pay to have an aero bike that takes great efforts to make things as aero as possible.

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Things were also made more difficult by the difference in clearance between the Bontrager brake shoes and typical Shimano brake pads.  Things were such a tight fit I had to remove the entire brake shoe from the bike to do the swap.  That meant removing the covers for both the front on rear brakes to get easy access to do the swap and to make sure I had the brake shoes aligned up correctly.

So how fast is the Speed Concept?  I think it is fast but even though I have taken it on several rides, totaling over 300 miles, I was not sure I am much faster than on my Trek Domane.  The race in one week is mostly part of my training program and even though it has steep one mile climb I plan to use my Speed Concept to get the full experience.  My real target is the Nationals Duathlon Championship in Bend Oregon, the last Saturday in June.  They finally posted the course description. It looks like about 2.2% average grade for 6.5 miles where you turn around and go down to the start.  You repeat this lap again for about 1500 feet of climbing over 40K.  I started to wonder if using my lighter road bike would be better than the Speed Concept so I did some estimates.  Using my weight and the 19 lb Speed Concept, assuming I stay in the aerobars, putting out 160 watts on the uphill and 130 watts on the downhill, I used a very useful Bicycle Calculator to get these values for the outbound and return.

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Using my road bike which is 3.5 lbs lighter, same wattage but on the bar tops for climbing and hoods descending I get this result

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If you add the outbound and return together and double for the two laps, you get this comparison for the Speed Concept time trial bike vs. my lighter Trek Domane road bike.

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This means for 40K the Speed Concept could be upwards of 12 minutes faster than my lighter road bike, which of course assumes I am in the aero position for the entire time.  Not only is it faster, I use less energy so have more left for the final 5K run.  This also doesn’t consider all the aerodynamic advantages of the Speed Concept over the Domane.  So the money I spent on this new bike should bring some significant speed improvement assume ideal conditions.  I only wish I could spend money to improve my running speed by the same amount of time.

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