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Tri vs. Road (what are the differences?)(3 posts)

Tri vs. Road (what are the differences?)Tony
Nov 11, 2001 3:26 PM
Hi, I've recently been interested in getting into cycling. I've seen people race on the television in Europe (Tour de France) and i've also seen people in Triathalon competitions ( IronMan). Competitors in both seem to have slightly diff types of bikes. From what i can see, the tri handlebars seem to be diff, more leaning forward..what benifit does that offer? Also, what does aggresive geometry mean? how does that differ from non-aggresive geometry? does it make you faster? Which type of bike is more comfortable? also wheels.. what is 650c vs 700c? is that the diameter of the wheel?
thanks for any advice.

Tri's include a swim and run where the Tour is just bikespookyload
Nov 12, 2001 11:24 PM
Just kidding. Just spent last weekend working Ironman Florida and am amazed by these athelete's. I mountain bike race and road ride for training, and can't imagine the training these guys go through. One guy was saying he rides in the morning, swims at lunch, rides again after work or runs depending on the day. What a monster! As for the bike questions, more agressive means you are farther forward on the bike so as to put you on the aero bars more comfortably. Some bikes won't allow for this, so they put seatposts on that have a forward bend to get you into that position. It will put you in an aero postion with more comfort that way. Most tir geeks use 650c wheels, but some use 700c. I think the 700c wheels are people who do both. The 650c wheels are supposed to accelerate faster, which doesn't make since as the bike portion is a sustained effort and not a sprint. All it really does is lower you gear ratio and force you to ride a bigger gear to attain the same speed. I don't know where that standard started, but it really doesn't make sense. Most tri people just buy what the others have, which is why they use 650c wheels in my opion. You need to decide what you want to do because the bikes make a difference.
Comments on 650 wheels & forward seatpostsbrider
Nov 13, 2001 9:17 AM
Actually, there are benefits when climbing as well. Historically, the smaller front wheel allows for closer drafting (ala the funny bikes used in track pursuit, though drafting isn't allowed in most age group triathlons), and allows a lower handlebar for a more "aero" position. For many people, the size of the bike far outweighs any benefit that the 650 front wheel allows as to a lower handlebar. For smaller riders (on, say, a 50cm bike or smaller), the benefit is there, plus the added benefit of no toe overlap on the front wheel.

As for the forward seatpost ona standard road geometry -- this is something that was done early on in triathlon history, and is still used sometimes to this day, but is a dubious compromise. This tends to place too much of the riders weight on the front wheel, negetively affecting handling. The triathlon specific geometries have a longer front-center to more evenly distribute the riders weight and maintain good handling characteristics.