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Bad idea to use a Tri Bike for endurance riding?(17 posts)

Bad idea to use a Tri Bike for endurance riding?Rebequita
Jul 26, 2001 9:25 AM
I am just getting into cycling and am in the market to buy a road bike. I actaully decided to train for a centry ride coming up in November. I am finding that the price of a new road bike is pretty high. I have a friend who is willing to sell me her Softrides Triathalon bike for a good price. Is it a mistake to buy this bike if I will be doing some endurance riding and have no plans to train for a triathalon any time soon!
Jul 26, 2001 9:27 AM
No problem, as long as you can tolerate the low body position for hours on end, or can possibly raise the handlebars/aerobars. Lots of people do it.

Okay, but...MeDotOrg
Jul 26, 2001 9:33 AM
...take it for a long ride before you buy it. A lot of people find the the tuck of a Tri Bike a little uncomfortable...A lot depends on your riding style...
Get a road bikeWhatever
Jul 26, 2001 9:52 AM
Most road bikes are designed for comfort over the long haul (at least that is the gold standard...some builders have to trade off comfort for stiffness, others have got it dialed in so there is no real sacrifice either way.) And an important part of that comfort equation is your position on the bike.

Dedicated tri-bikes have very steep seat tube angles, designed both to let the rider lean forward on the bike (lower profile cutting through the air) and (so I have heard) also to work the leg muscles in a way that leave them something left over for the run.

The Softride suspension beam design is rarely used by dedicated roadies, and only by a subsegment (albeit a very loyal one) of the tri-guys and gals. That should tell you something. If you want to go out on Saturday and just enjoy hauling around with your friends, up and down and all around, and you have no intention of doing triathalons any time soon, stay away from (1) dedicated tri bikes with steep seat tube angles and those funny-looking aero bars, and (2) beam suspension bikes. It sounds like this bike strikes out on both counts. Also, if you do decided to experiment with bi- and triathalons, you can always clip a set of aero bars onto a road bike for a short event. Way better to have a compromise there than for the other 99% of the time you are on the bike.
Not if you do Ironmansmr_spin
Jul 26, 2001 9:55 AM
If you are doing Ironmans or half-Ironmans, you gotta train on the bike you'll be racing. But for centuries or other more social rides, I'd say get a road bike. I train with a lot of Ironman triathletes, and most of them have regular road bikes.
don't forget...ak
Jul 26, 2001 9:56 AM
most of the road racing governing bodies don't allow the use of bikes like Softride. I'm not sure exactly what the rules dictate, and which governing bodies apply them, but in general they require the frame be composed of two structure-significant triangles. I know your post didn't mention any raod racing, but if you ever want to get into it you'll need a new frame.
ok for USCFDog
Jul 26, 2001 10:09 AM
As far as I can tell, only the UCI (international professional racing) has strict rules about bikes. The USCF rules have no restrictions on the bike, other than length, width, turned down handlebars, no aerobars except timetrials, and safety. A Softride is ok.

People use the darn things for RAAM, so they can't be that uncomfortable. They are very adjustable.

Agree With Sloan and MDOJon Billheimer
Jul 26, 2001 10:47 AM
Softrides are one of the preferred bikes by ultracyclists precisely because they are comfortable. Also, a good friend of mine who is a ranked Ironman triathlete loves his Softride precisely because of its comfort. If the bike fits you properly, the more aero position should not be a problem since the steeper seat tube angle simply rotates your whole body forward and down, thus preserving your normal "road bike" hip angle. The only possible downside that I can think of, assuming the bike fits you, is that it's not the best climbing setup. But if you're not doing a lot of climbing, such as mountain tours, that's not a problem. It'll be a very quick bike on flat centuries.
Handling!grzy mnky
Jul 26, 2001 10:56 AM
When you mention that your intended use is long endurance type riding you may want to think about the climbing/descending aspect. Typical tri-bikes don't handle fast technical descents very well. They also tend to get blown around more in cross winds, especially if they have deep dish/aero type wheels.

Overall I'd say go for it since it's a good deal, recognize the advantages/disadvantages, and if you really get into riding you'll begin to form some opinions about what you like/dislike in a bike. You can then get exactly what you want and either keep the tri bike or probably sell it for what you paid. Bottom line: the tri bike will get you out riding right away and in the end it shouldn't cost you much if you sell it.
re: Bad idea to use a Tri Bike for endurance riding?Jofa
Jul 26, 2001 1:20 PM
The only thing that distinguishes a 'tri' design from a 'time-trial' design, is that the tri bike invariably has a steeper seat tube (seat is further forward). The reason for this is aerodynamics: the ideal aerodynamic position is one in which the upper body is horizontal (shoulders are level with pelvis). This is a difficult enough position to achieve even for cyclists who specialise in Time Trialling; the bend at the waist is extreme, if the ideal position of a rearward saddle is to be retained. Chris Boardman has an astonishingly low tt position, for example: he passed me once in a time trial years ago (it was a 10: he was my 6 minute man, or so... do the maths) and it seemed, spookily, as if his entire head was below my handlebars... of course, I didn't have long to see. For Triathletes who invariably are runners first, this bend is very difficult to achieve... the design solution was to steepen the seat angle, enably a horizontal back, but not so extreme a bend at the waist.

Enough of the history lesson.... in fact, I doubt how relevant it is anyway: I understand the Softride has a large adjustment range for the seat, so any ordinary seattube angle can be synthesised. Given this, you should b able to get a normal TT position on it. The advantages of this crazily over-designed bike are lost on me, however, I'm sure you can make it fit. I presume however that it isn't equipped with ordinary drop-handlebars etc; A TT bike is rarely ideal as an only bike... if you take it, I'd probably get a normal road bike as well, for general use, training, looking around and so on.
Go for it.bladecycling
Jul 26, 2001 1:56 PM
If the bike fits, and the price is right then go for it. I ride a Zipp 2001 which has the basic bike design as the softride. I do ulta-endurance events, time trails, and use it as my every day machine. I would suggest seeing if your friend will let you use it for a week, to see if it's right for you. The softride will feel bouncy at first until you learn to develope a smooth pedal stroke. Once your used to it you'll welcome the beam's ride over harsh roads.
another vote for a road bikeDAS
Jul 26, 2001 2:20 PM
I say stay away from Tri-bikes. They are for one thing...triathons. Road bikes, on the other hand, are good for centuries, criteriums, climbing, handling, weekend rides, etc. If you do get the triathlon bug, I'd get the clip on bars first to see if that does the trick. Otherwise, I'd recommend a nice comfortable, general purpose road bike for any and all road riding you want to do. My experience with people using tri-bikes is that they are only happy on the straight flats, in their hunched over position. They don't like climbing or turning. Not sure where you live, but where I live climbing and turning are KEY.
re: Bad idea to use a Tri Bike for endurance riding?T riBuddha
Jul 26, 2001 3:28 PM
1. they are highly configurable, so no worries about the seat tube angle. A big difference between road and tri is the length of head tube, usually shorter with tri so can get into aero bars, use some spacers or higher stem
2. change cowhorns and aero bars for sti and drops.
3. test it out over a few rides, maybe difficult to get use to. some people swear by their SR, other never get use to them
4. value is going to depend on the price you pay for it. Check out e-bay for current prices.
Don't Buy Just 'Cause It's a Bargainjtolleson
Jul 26, 2001 5:10 PM
I think the discussion is somewhat missing your point. You're talking about going a somewhat unconventional route (softride tri bike) in selecting a bike for sport touring (like a century) because a friend's got one that fits your budget.

Believe me, I understand the temptation. But I'm assuming that steed is not exactly bargain basement price, and I have to think you'd be better off finding an entry level road bike (Trek 1000, Cannondale R300, whatever) or a used bike more suited to your purpose, especially if this is your first foray into such distances and time in the saddle. The unknowns outweigh the benefits.
Get the Softride!!JBergland
Jul 27, 2001 4:43 AM
A lot of what has been posted so far is pretty accurate. However, do not make the mistake of considering a Softride (even a one that is called a Tri model) a 'Tri only' bike. This bike can truly be both a road and Tri bike. Soft rides are infinitely adjustable. I know this first hand because I bought a Power V a couple months ago and I'm still dialing it in. The main reason why Softrides can serve both a road & Tri applications is that you can adjust the seat tube angle. Change out the handlebars and you can have a bike that is road race worthy or a TT/Tri missile!! Using a Softride for endurance training should not be any problem at all. in fact, this is the bike of choice for many endurance events (as some have already mentioned). The only thing I might suggest if you purchase a Softride is talk to someone, or better yet, have someone help/show you how to get the bike set up correctly for you. I spent a better part of a month adjusting this or that before I finally called a 'Tri Geek' who knows a lot about Softrides.

Good Luck!!
Get the Softride!!cycleguy
Jul 27, 2001 6:17 AM
I checked the Softfide out before my last purchase. I also know a local cycling coach who rides one. And have talked with a few other owners and all loved them. But I would try an extended multiday test before buying. If set up is proper it can be an everday ride.
Many thanks for all the advice!Rebequita
Jul 27, 2001 10:11 PM
Many thanks to all of the advice. After much stress, deliberation and taking all your comments into consideration I decided against the tri-bike and just put down a deposit on a new road bike.