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  1. #1
    Recovering couch patato
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    Spec your dream Alpe d'Huez TimeTrial bike (apart from lightweight)

    Hey all,

    This climb today is about 8% all the way. I can't imagine that the bike people use for flat classics is as ideal for that as it is for such a 40-minute climb.
    Are people just used to the typical roadbike for such climbs, or is it also ideal? I believe some hillclimbers built really weird machines, how much do those help?
    As a Dutchman, I'm intrigued with the Alpe d'Huez, and can't but help to fall for the mania created about it by our media. I want to set a better time. I once did it as a detour in a longer road ride, solo, my only attempt ever, and in 66min I was past the tunnel near the summit. My bike was a 29" mtb bike on quick but heavy slicks, and I carried a full camelbak as ell as my 87kg body. Some room for improvement, especially with a lighter and more efficent bike.

    As grip and traction are irrelevant, and asphalt is really good, I guess light road tires will roll fast enough. A wide handlebar should gie me the open arm position my lungs need, and aerodynamics are irrelevant anyway at my slow pace.
    okay, so I know all about light road forks, light wheels, tires, seatpost, and all that, but what about THE BASIC DESIGN of such a hillclimb timetrial bike? Do I want a steeper seat angle to compensate for the hill's incline? What about handlebar height? Good idea to build it with a spare hardtail frame I got laying around? Is a steep head angle bad to pedaling up in a straight line?

    As I'm follwing the live coverage of Alpe d'Huez, I'm looking forward to hearing your personal records of this specific hill, and especially the ideal bike design for such a challenge. I believe up front a sub 6kg bike is possible, and I could spec that myself too, it's the design I'm asking you about. Ideal frame material, apart from weight? BB height? Angles?

    Thanks in advance!!

    J

    My personal experience with this mountain : On route from Grenoble to Champcella (Mur de Champcella is a great ultra-steep TT climb BTW), we crashed at a terras in Bourg d'Oisans. My friends went for a second round of Coke and Coffee, and my legs got itchy, first time there, and amonst so many famous mountains. I said to meet them again somewhere on the Lauterette, and set of to the Alpe. I found a nice rythem on the middle ring, and cruised on up, enjoying the nice constant grade of the road. In the village of Alpe d'Huez, I couldn't find the finish line, and didn't know I had to go past the tunneel, and even when I went through, didn't recoqnize any of the surroundings and went back. 66minutes to the village, so I guess I was on a 70-72min time there. I ate some muesli and headed back, had some 26km to make up to my buddies, which I found in the middle of a out-of-body experience in la Grave, halfway the Lauterette, man it was hot there. Due to the low grade of the Lauterette, I had been attacking it as if it were flat, which of course had to bite back at me. Next time I'll wear a white cape and pull along an icewater shower. And the Alpe? I intend to break 50mins one day, or whatever the timelimit in the Tour will end up to be, in or excluding the 1.5km of flat leading to it.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  2. #2
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
    Reputation: shiggy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Hey all,

    This climb today is about 8% all the way. I can't imagine that the bike people use for flat classics is as ideal for that as it is for such a 40-minute climb.
    Are people just used to the typical roadbike for such climbs, or is it also ideal? I believe some hillclimbers built really weird machines, how much do those help?
    As a Dutchman, I'm intrigued with the Alpe d'Huez, and can't but help to fall for the mania created about it by our media. I want to set a better time. I once did it as a detour in a longer road ride, solo, my only attempt ever, and in 66min I was past the tunnel near the summit. My bike was a 29" mtb bike on quick but heavy slicks, and I carried a full camelbak as ell as my 87kg body. Some room for improvement, especially with a lighter and more efficent bike.

    As grip and traction are irrelevant, and asphalt is really good, I guess light road tires will roll fast enough. A wide handlebar should gie me the open arm position my lungs need, and aerodynamics are irrelevant anyway at my slow pace.
    okay, so I know all about light road forks, light wheels, tires, seatpost, and all that, but what about THE BASIC DESIGN of such a hillclimb timetrial bike? Do I want a steeper seat angle to compensate for the hill's incline? What about handlebar height? Good idea to build it with a spare hardtail frame I got laying around? Is a steep head angle bad to pedaling up in a straight line?

    As I'm follwing the live coverage of Alpe d'Huez, I'm looking forward to hearing your personal records of this specific hill, and especially the ideal bike design for such a challenge. I believe up front a sub 6kg bike is possible, and I could spec that myself too, it's the design I'm asking you about. Ideal frame material, apart from weight? BB height? Angles?

    Thanks in advance!!

    J
    Frame Design: I would use a steep seat angle and normal head angle. Low top tube to help keep it out of the way while rocking the bike out of the saddle. Not sure about BB height. Whatever material would keep it light and stiff (carbon?).
    Drivetrain: 180 mm cranks, single chainring, 9 or 10 speed cassette. Lightest possible wheels and tires.
    Parts: As little weight as possible above the axles. Rear brake under the chainstays, minimal front brake. Wide Bullhorn-type handlebars (at a height between the tops and drops of drop bars), small brake levers, barend shifter, no bar tape (textured bar). Minimal saddle.
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  3. #3
    Recovering couch patato
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    In the live coverage, I could see Ullrich sitting pretty much forward on an otherwise stand looking TCR carbon. He hardly ever took his hands from his, well, let's call them "bar mitzvah's", part of his carbon handlebar.
    I like your idea of bringing some necessary weight to a lower position on the bike. Good if you're not sitting as still as Lance or Jan. I had come up with the bullhorns, too. It's a lighter design than barends on a flat bar, and you get the open arm position. Then again, Jan was 2nd riding TT style hands in the middle on them bar mitzvah's. And Lance won, riding the tops, not a really wide open position either. I could actually build a 6.8kg (UCI regulation) climbers bike out of the junk littering my bike room. Hmmm, I feel a budget project coming up! Too bad the Alpe d'Huez is over 1000km from here. I want to ride it up within the 33% time limit that threw 2 pro's out of the tour. A near-impossible challenge, I'm 185lb on a good season.
    More idea's? I know hillclimbing is serious business in Switzerland?
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    I want to ride it up within the 33% time limit that threw 2 pro's out of the tour. A near-impossible challenge, I'm 185lb on a good season.
    Be sure to do it after riding hard for two weeks.

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