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TRI-bike; take two(7 posts)

TRI-bike; take twochazman
Jul 28, 2002 3:18 PM
OK, so I finally decided on a TRI bike and go to the shop to get sized up. The guy at the shop talks me out of it and convinces me that (since I do not own a road bike) if I train on a tri-bike I will hate myself. I am buying the bike because I want to race triathlons in the next year or two. I ride mountain bikes for recreation and train extensivly for marathons. I think tri would be a great way to do some road racing without having to worry about killing people due to my lack of road skills (e.g. no drafting in tri-s).

Any opinions on what I should do bike wise?
re: it's up to you but...Akirasho
Jul 28, 2002 3:34 PM
... he's kinda right...

TT/Tri bikes can have very specific geometries which make them ill suited to some terrains (not impossible, just less efficient than a true road geometry frame).

If you're just thinking of Tris, and are unsure of where your future lies in that sport... a road bike is a safer overall bet to begin... if after a fashion, you decide that Tri is gonna be your thing... then start looking at TT/Tri specific geometries... and keep the road bike for courses and distances where it might be more appropriate (the Cervelo Soloist is worth a look )

There are of course, exceptions and other opinions.

We abide.

Remain In Light.
re: TRI-bike; take twooutacontrol
Jul 28, 2002 4:19 PM
Another bike that is designed for both the road and Tri's is the Kestrel Talon.
Some thoughts--longsn69
Jul 28, 2002 4:36 PM
The LBS saleman's claims against buying a pure tri-bike are hooey. I'd say the personal ideosynchrosies of one's biomechanics negate such a broad and sweeping comment. Personally, my first two non-mountain bikes were both tri-bikes, first a Cannondale 2.8 R700 with a moderate tri geometry (75 deg. STA), and later a Softride PowerWing 650 dialed into a 78 deg. STA. I hated neither in terms of their riding characteristics; in fact, I really enjoyed both of them.

I currently own a road bike with, by way of comparison, a relaxed STA of 73. Why did I switch? I got out of tri-ing for a while, moved to a non-bike-friendly city, and wanted something where the brakes and shifters were colocated for safety (...and I really wanted an excuse to buy another tribike eventually).

There are,however, things to consider before going tri. First, stay out of your aero bars when group riding. Not only is it poor etiquette, but it's also potentially dangerous since you can't brake instantly nor are you as equally balanced. Second, balance can feel weird. More of your weight is distributed forward and that can give the bike a twitchy feel, but, again, it's easy to adapt to. Finally, unless you have a great LBS, 650 wheels can be hard to find tires/tubes for locally, assuming you buy a 60 wheeled-bike.

I'd say that the best policy is to ride as many styles as you can including aggressively angled/short top tube tri bikes like QRoo, moderately angled tri bikes with longer tubes like Cervelo (seat clamp at the rear) or Aegis, box geometry road bikes, and "longish" top tube road bikes like Lemond.

The bottom line is that you can race tri's on anything with any set-up. Aero bars and deep dish wheels are great, but they're not a requirement...nor will they initially provide substantial time savings. They have their place, but don't limit yourself to bikes so equipped if you find something you like more.

...And, ultimately, BUY WHAT YOU LIKE.

Good luck,
my .02SteveO
Jul 29, 2002 4:20 AM
from personal observation, the majority of triathletes use road bikes. From Sprints (mostly beginners) to Kona (unarguably all very serious athletes) the majority of the field is road bikes.

there's a reason for it. A road bike is (generally) a more practical, more comfortable bike for most training/riding, and even a 'serious' triathlete only races a few tris per season.

So for those 4 races per year, one may finish their sprints in 1:07 rather than 1:08, finihshing 168th rather than 169th. Is it really worth it?
my .02sn69
Jul 29, 2002 5:09 AM
From my experience, most amateure/part-time triathletes ride road bikes. I'd guess that's due to bicycles' general expense and, like you said, that most people only race a couple/three tri's a year.

However, at the bigger races like Kona, Wildflower, Vineman, IM California, etc..., you typically see half if not more dedicated tri-bikes. Unfortunately, I can't get last year's bike survey to load from Slowtwitch, but Emp's opening story suggested that the age group Kona field was split half and half.

Also, I'm still not convinced that either one is more comfortable than the other as a generalization. Again, I think it comes down to fit and personal preference.

I totally agree with you assessment of times/cost benefit. If the guy wants a tri-bike, he should buy it because he likes the bike, not because it MIGHT shave 20 seconds off of his overall time.

1/2 and 1/2SteveO
Jul 29, 2002 5:38 AM
agreed, kona is usually 1/2 and 1/2. I figured majority by subtracting pros from the equation (heck, I'd own a TT bike if it were GIVEN to me).