Aero on a budget

OK. As I’ve stupidly signed up to an actual triathlon, I would like to, at the very least, beat my time at the 113 from 2015.
I’ve not looked up the courses yet to see how they compare, but I do recall the bike leg being about 82km not 90km. Don’t know if that’s still the case/the same for the Classic.

One obvious area will be the bike. I did that on my crappy old Spesh Allez with tri bars. Zero aero hear other than a comedy helmet taped up for shits and giggles.

I don’t have much money to help me. So I can’t buy a TT bike, or wheels or a £200 skinsuit (nor would I want to for a single race). But what can I do to help?

1 - Obviously work on position is number 1. Free.

2 - know my power cap and stick to it. Free.

3 - See if my tri bars fit the Canyon. If not, get some that do - ebay? Free or up to £50/60?

4 - shave legs? Is the old Jesse Thomas/Specialised wind tunnel genuine? Free Watts? Free

5 - tyres and tubes. I’ll need to replace my tyres this summer anyway. So don’t mind getting a quick set. But I would want to get use out of them after the race (won’t put them on before as they’ll get wrecked in the turbo and I’m not swapping tyres 4 times a week). £100 or so for both?

6 - from a bit of research it seems an aero lid will give pretty good VFM. Don’t want a twat hat, but would be happy to wear an aero road helmet. But don’t have £200 to drop. Max £100 budget. EBay? Keep trawling sites for a couple of particular models and hope to grab a deal?

7 - anything else I’m missing?

Suggestions for any of the above welcome. Hopefully this can be a bit of a mine of information for new people in the future looking for cheap(er) aero gains where new bikes and wheels are off the table.

Oh and I’m going to hammer the forum for advice this spring! I can sort myself for a running race, short or long. But tri I’m much less experienced. I can get by just fine, but I want to tweak that up to the next level.


All that lot sounds right. I’m no expert but wheels- do you have a set of aero race wheels? Dunno how much faster they make you, but they can strike fear into the hearts of your competitors with that whurrrrrr sound incoming from 6 o’clock.

Agree about second hand stuff. If you sell it on after a season, you have basically had it for free. Eg. i once bought a cement mixer this way, built a wall, then sold it on for a profit of five quid. Not that I’m recommending using any part of a cement mixer in your race. Unless I’m racing too, in which case did you know wet concrete in your tyres prevents any puncture Lol


The bike was 85km, until they changed it to 90km in 2016. So good luck beating your time :upside_down_face:

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Just checked, and my one was closer to 83km.

I’d need to find a 10% increase on the bike to beat my time. That’s taking it up from a 32.5kph average to 35.7kph for a split of 2.31.

Then equal the swim and run and t’s.

I think that’s within the realms of possibility. Min or so extra off the run maybe, give me some more headroom. Swim will be no better. Would have to check transitions, probably not much to be gained there.

I’d say:
Clothes (tight)
daylight to the rest


Ive beaten mine every time I raced! I reckon GB will go fine.

If you’re getting new tyres and tubes, go latex tubes. Poet and I were discussing recently. A latex tube is a few quid more, noticeably more comfortable, and quite a few watts faster. GP5000s are under £70 a pair, test fast, and are super grippy. My Canyon came with them anyway, altho I’d already upgraded my TT wheels with them too.

I don’t think they test great, but I’d have thought the budget Planet X aero helmets are still better than a traditional one?

What Canyon did you get again/whats the code of the bars? I know mine doesn’t have a compatible aerobar set I don’t think. Unless they’re traditional round bars, you may actually find you can’t get any unfortunately, or they’ll be $$$.

Clothing is a massive cause of drag, so as tight and aero as you can get. You could check out the nopinz clearance ebay page. They may have an aero jersey come up or something, if you didn’t want to invest in a tri suit.

Do you have round handlebars on your Canyon? (for clip-ons). Helmet wise, something like a Spesh Evade or Bontrager Ballista perhaps? (you can wear that every day) Do you have a tri suit or a tight lyrca jersey you can put on after the swim? 25mm tyres maybe, with latex tubes. I’d go on ebay for all this.

Obviously changing your handlebars from Drops to a flat bar isn’t going to happen due to faff/cost, so that’s off the table. Can you post a pic of your bike?

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Not looked in depth at aero Road helmets before, but this is a lot off RRP for a known brand who’d have a decent R&D budget I’d have thought

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Your bike time or overall? I’ve never been close to beating my bike times from when the bike was 85km or less…that would be quite a feat! Obviously age means I’m not matching those overall times from my late 30s/early 40s in any case.

My point is that if you’re doing a course that’s increased by 5+km, it’s not apples-to-apples. My fastest time on the ‘original’ course was 4:20 in 2015, then I did 4:38 the following two years on the current course. The two years after that I was a few mins slower again, but that’s just moving through your forties.

Cheers guys. @stenard @Jorgan @FatPom

Yeah i have a long sleeved tri suit, but it’s from 2013! Has probably been used, what, 5 times?! It’s not modern tight, but it’s not baggy by any stretch. I have a couple of nice jerseys (though i could go tighter again) i could be tempted to match up with a pair of tri shorts, and then go for a super speedy switch from jersey to running vest. Reckon the <10 secs that would take would win out in comfort on the run. But unless there’s something fundamentally wrong with the trisuit (will dig it out in the next few days to see what state it’s in) i’ll probs just go with that again.

It’s the Canyon Endurace i have, with round handlebars. So i’m hoping with a bit of juggling of the tape and cables, i can create a little more room to fit my old clip ons. Lucky as i nearly threw them away a few months ago when i was clearing the shed!!

On 25mm tyres now - Conti GP SL. GP5000s were what i had in mind, and did see the chat about the latex inners. So that’s an easy deal.

Was hoping for a couple of examples of helmets, ta. I’ll keep my eyes open for any deals on those. I’m also considering any potential opposition from the FD. A new helmet when i have a perfectly good one in the shed doesn’t do so well in the optics test, but there’s ways around that! haha

I do play the old self deprecation card a lot, i’m not a total noob and i read everything on here. It’s just now i want to actually implement some of it! Thanks for the starters though.

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I’ve just check last years race and I am assuming that the 113, which is what I did, is the same as the Classic and obviously that they don’t change the course for this year.

Anyway it was just under 55 miles or 88.5k. Hope that helps a little :slight_smile:

The other thing is that you have 17 weeks so lots and lots of training will get your time down :slight_smile:

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Given it starts early in the morning, and is often chilly, you could probably get away with a s/s trisuit, and put a jersey over it for the bike, then lose it again for the run. I have a few lycra jerseys I’ve gotten over the years that I’ve used in colder events; not much use offering one to you, as we’re different builds from what I’ve seen (In a Jaaan vs LIONel kind of way)

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Just looked back to 2015.


  • S - 6 x 30-45 min swims in the 5 weeks leading up to the event
  • B - Training was 1-3 rides a week to work (25km each way) in the 6 weeks leading up, and 1 ‘long’ ride of just over 50km. I hadn’t ridden further than that since 2013.
  • R - Done from a good Manchester Mara build 8 weeks earlier. Was in decent shape, and carried that through with continued training in those 8 weeks.


  • Swim - Top 29%
  • B - 186/665 - Top 28%
  • R - 8/665 (less than 0.5 secs behind 7th and 3 secs behind 6th) Pretty much top 1%
  • T - top 10% for T1 and top 2% for T2

Nice run, given it’s pretty mixed terrain (you’ll know if it’s wet then Vaporflys etc will have you all over the place). I only managed sub 1:30 there in 2013 Classic off the back of IM Austria, so I was strong then.

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Crazy similar times to me the year before, well, except the run! As Jorgan says, and as we already knew, that’s your clear strength.

I definitely meandered in transition too, given it was my first longer tri

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I recall there being a tone of drafting ahead of me as well. Big trains of 10+ riders. Whereas i was pretty much on my own, moving steadily through the fast swimmer/slow biker crew.

Whoa, that’s freaky!!!

The overall positions are reasonably similar as well. Though i’m guessing that standards have probably risen since (?), but also times won’t mean as much with the post 2016 course change that @Jorgan mentioned.

I think you’ve covered and thought about most of the easy fixes already.

Presumably if your current lid is black you might be able to swing a new evade etc past the FD without her noticing :wink:

I’d go for your tri suit with the tightest cycling jersey you’ve got then whip it off for the run

Shaved legs

Clip on bars

New tyres and latex tubes - caution when fitting the latex - i’d also try and get around 100km on the tyres. I seem to remember someone who worked for continental saying this was optimal

Perhaps some velotoze toe covers for your bike shoes

Easier said then done but judge your bike against your peers on the day not a drastically different course from 6 years ago!


Dug out a pic of the trisuit from that race…


That will be fine