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Newbie has dumb question(7 posts)

Newbie has dumb questionatlguy
Jul 30, 2001 10:43 AM
I am new to cycling, and I have a dumb question... what is the difference between a road bike and a "tri" bike?? Thanks!
re: Newbie has dumb questionLone Gunman
Jul 30, 2001 10:58 AM
The most obvious difference is the tri bike most likely has an aero bar set up for handlebars. And some have a seat tube that wraps and forms very close to the rear tire and the front fork is bladed in design, deep "V" wheelset or disced rear wheel and possibly a flattened oval frameset. The idea is to make the bike as aerodynamic as possible for going fast on relatively flat terrain. Road bike borrows some of the concepts of a tri bike but for the most part needs to be comfortable to climb and ride in the normal cycling, varied position.
re: Newbie has dumb questionatlguy
Jul 30, 2001 11:14 AM
Thanks for the info. So in other words, if I'm looking to buy my first road bike, I don't need a tri-bike? Thanks
re: Newbie has dumb questionjtolleson
Jul 30, 2001 11:17 AM
First, your questions are not dumb at all.

If you are only buying one, I'd recommend a traditional road bike. Most weekend-warrior triathletes rely on regular road bikes for the biking part of tris, and yet it is not great for the casual roadie to ride a century on a tri-bike (obviously it is done). For me, having a tri-specific bike is only for the hardcore and the wealthy, though surely some folks here will disagree.
re: Newbie has dumb questionLone Gunman
Jul 30, 2001 11:33 AM
I would advise against it, and stay away from aero bars for the first bike. They have a place and it is NOT out on the road in traffic or riding with a group. They make handling shakey if not used to them and unless you have the shifters at the end of the Aero bars, you need to move your arm away from the aero bar to shift, creating an imbalance situation for the rider.
re: actually, a very good questionAkirasho
Jul 30, 2001 11:17 AM
... generally, it's a matter of geometries.

Road bikes often have slacker seattube (postions the rider further back on the bike) angles with steeper headtube angles (speeds up steering response).

While aerodynamics do play a part, it's more of the right tool for the job. Many TT/tri courses are relatively flat and straight which favor the traditional TT/tri geometries... on rolling to hilly and/or twisting courses, many triathletes will use a traditional road bike (perhaps with aerobars) rather than a TT/tri specific bike.

There are of course, trends that blend both concepts... and recently, a small debate has begun to challenge "traditional" TT/tri geometries (see The Big Slam at Bicycle Sports web site).

Wheels were also a trademark for TT/tri bikes, but that has faded also... There was a time when you'd only see 650C (smaller wheels) on a TT/tri rig... now they are commonly seen (sized for smaller frames) on road bikes. And, in general, aero wheels are heavier than their non-aero counterparts... if the course is relatively flat... aero wins over a bit of extra weight... again, you'll see aero wheels on both types depending on the course (remember, many folks thought that Lance Armstrong would switch bikes midrace on the mountain TT stage during this year's TdF).

Actually, a very good question!

Be the bike.
re: Newbie has dumb questionJerry Gardner
Jul 30, 2001 12:38 PM