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What is the difference beween...........(4 posts)

What is the difference beween...........jeffss
May 7, 2002 6:22 PM
Fairly new to the sport of road biking and I do not understand the difference between a raod bike and a tri bike. Is there really a difference or is it more of a marketing thing?
"...really a difference or more of a marketing thing?"Ahimsa
May 7, 2002 6:46 PM
A little of both.

Put it this way, do you do triathalons?

If no, then forget about it and stick to road bikes.

If yes, well....maybe someone else will explain it further, but aero position is the biggie. I'd hate to ride a "tri" bike around town. Ugh.


A. (Rode a red, fixed gear, front wheel drive "tri bike" once... when I was two.)
Tri bikes and road bikes.guido
May 7, 2002 11:23 PM
Tri bikes are for time trialing, going as fast as possible riding alone. They position the rider as horizontal as possible to cut the wind. The rider is hunkered down in a diving posture, with elbows inward, resting on foam cushioned cradles on the handlebars, like a paraplegic without forearms or hands, steering with his elbows.

This positioning puts alot of weight over the front wheel, which makes the bike squirrelly. It also rotates the body forward in the saddle, which takes weight off the sit bones and puts it on the soft tissue in the crotch.

If you enjoy steady, intense, solitary workouts, a tri bike might work great. But if you go out to ride in a pack, they'll be wary of your squirrelly bike. You won't be able to stretch or move around on the bike like they can, and it will be an uncomfortable situation.

Road bike geometry balances rider weight between the two wheels, roughly 60% over the rear, 40% in front, which makes handling alot more fun. The handlebars are level with the saddle or slightly lower, and can be gripped in different positions, on the tops, on the brake hoods or in the drops, so you can move your upper body around, sit up, stretch your back and neck, take your arms off the handlebars, and do long hours in the saddle in relative comfort sitting on your sit bones.
Not entirely truebrider
May 8, 2002 5:11 AM
Yes, tri-bikes are for time trialing, but to say they are "squirrelly" and not balanced is misguided. If you tried to achieve a forward position on a road bike, I would agree. However, true tri-bikes have a geometry that makes them more stable in that position. Also, tri-bikes are geared towards making the transition from bike to run much easier. It's obvious that you're biased against tri-bikes, possibly because your view is bourne out of a couple rides on either a modified road bike (forward facing seatpost and clip-on bars) or an ill-fitting tri-bike. I would recommend a professional fitting for EITHER a road bike or a tri-bike. And the nervousness of roadies when a tri-guy appears on a group ride is not always from the "squirrelly" nature of the rider, but more from (in my experience) a lack of brake levers on the aero-bars.

My advice for people doing time trials and occassional triathlons is to use something very similar to your road bike (or maybe even using your road bike), with clip-ons and TT specific wheels. You'll get a lot more power out of that bike than you would trying to accomodate a new position that you don't use that often. If you're going to do a lot of triathlons, however, and you're going to use the bike a lot, then go with a tri-specific bike.