,thirdcrank wrote:In the days when I used to read everything avidly, I remember an article in the comic about Raleigh TI team equipment and they made a lot of economies like using steel BB spindles rather than titanium. I still think that the choice of things like what type of bike is used for a TT is driven by what goes fastest.
The Super Record Ti parts would not have been a good choice for a racing team that did lots of miles BITD; after quite a short time most of them acquired a reputation for breaking, in particular the BB spindle and the pedal spindles. In the final (and most popular) incarnation of the super record groupset, the only Ti parts that made the cut were the pivot bolts in the rear mech.
All kinds of things were tried to make TT bikes a bit faster. It seems obvious now that aerodynamics were key but things like low-profile bikes were arguably more of a distraction from what is really important than anything else. And the fashion of drilling holes in everything actually makes you slower....
For important TTs, Hinault had his mechanic strip the BB down and replace the grease with oil; all in a search for the lowest friction. He'd have done better with aero rims, helmet, better skinsuit etc. It took Fignon losing the TdF by a handful of seconds to a tri-bar wielding LeMond for the pros to wake up to aerodynamics a bit more.
So at any one time riders (driven by fashion, marketing, weird beliefs, and on odd occasions good science) will choose whatever they believe will make them fastest. Invariably this is not optimised, quite, and it is always possible to do these things better; certainly with hindsight, often with foresight.