How a bike costing £1,000 won the National 10-Mile Time Trial Championship

Richard Bussell proved that you don’t have to spend thousands of pounds on a time trial bike to be successful

Before the National 10-Mile Time Trial Championship on Sunday August 30, unless you were really in the know, it is unlikely you had heard of Richard Bussell, let alone thought he could beat the more established time trial stars like Matt Bottril and Matt Clinton.

However, this all changed when the RST Sport/AeroCoach rider covered the 10-mile course in an impressive 19.36.

>>> Read more: The best time trial bikes and triathlon bikes 

Watch: the importance of pinning your number on correctly

Xavier Disley of AeroCoach Ltd explained to Cycling Weekly that he first noticed Bussell in a few local time trials and in particular his hill climb results at the end of the 2014 season: “After Richard’s performances in the end of season hill climbs last year, we [AeroCoach Ltd] realised he was definitely worth investing in”.

>>> Behind the scenes interview with Richard Bussell

Disley went on to explain how AeroCoach Ltd has supported Bussell, saying: “We provided Richard with a bike, which was largely made up of second hand parts sourced from other local riders, forums and eBay.”

Bussell rode to victory using a  Specialized tri-spoke tubular and a Zipp 900 tubular both second hand for a combined cost of £450 (Photo: James Gadd)

Bussell rode to victory using a  Specialized tri-spoke tubular and a Zipp 900 tubular both second hand for a combined cost of £450 (Photo: James Gadd)

“ We could have spent more, but didn’t need to. We decided to focus more on his position on the bike, rather than get carried away with spending lots of money on a top end frame,” continued Disley.

The Bike

Bussell told Cycling Weekly that he was confident that he would not be hindered by not having a top end carbon time trial bike. “I have always been a believer that you don’t need to spend thousands of pounds on equipment in order to be competitive,” he said.

“I have performed well in road races using a second hand Boardman Team Alu frame that I found on eBay for £50.”

Watch: what’s faster, a time trial helmet or a standard road helmet?

Bussell’s time trial bike was built with a combination of largely second hand products. Further reducing the cost of his ride, since Bussell was familiar with the course he preferred to ride on feel rather than use a power meter.

Richard Bussell time trial bike

Bussell’s bike had a new paint job costing £50 which included areas of textured paint (Photo: James Gadd)

The table below shows that if you are happy to ride second hand equipment and willing to search for the best prices, great bargains can be found. national 10 products

Amongst the undoubted bargains (in particular the wheels), from a tech perspective arguably the most interesting is that for a cost of £50 the frame was given a custom paint job which included areas of textured paint. The theory being that the areas of textured paint manipulate the airflow over the bike in the same way as the trip strips that were worn on many riders’ legs.

Edmund Bradbury, fourth, National 10-mile time trial 2015

Edmund Bradbury who finished fourth wore Aero Trip Strips on his lower legs (Photo: Andy Jones)

Expensive hobby?

In April 2015 writing for The Telegraph on-line Andrew Critchlow said that when he returned to competitive cycling he was astounded to find that a full season of racing cost him £25,550. This included two fully-equipped racing bikes for time trialling and road races, estimated to cost a combined total of £16,000.

>>> Best cheap road bikes

Although there are riders using similarly priced machines, for the vast majority of riders racing on bikes costing a fraction of those sums, it is refreshing to know that you can still get a very fast bike on a tight budget.