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Familiar dilemma?(4 posts)

Familiar dilemma?Java
Nov 27, 2001 10:49 AM
A friend of mine is about to buy a new bike (he's coming off a 12 year old Bianchi w/clip-on aero-bars) and isn't sure whether he should get a full-on tri-bike (ie. KM40 or P3) or a nice lightweight road bike (ie. Trek 5900) with a clip-on aero bar for the occasional tri-race.

As you can tell, he's got a fairly generous budget. However, he doesn't want to buy two bikes (one road, one tri). He's hoping to qualify for an Ironman distance (he runs a sub 3 hour marathon) next summer and will likely never enter a road race, though he's enjoying fall group rides. See the dilemma?

Any thoughts as to whether a tri-equipped road bike is a big mistake or an entirely workable solution? On a hilly course, would a sub-18 lb road bike w/aero bars compensate on the hills for what it would lose in aerodynamics (and possibly comfort) compared to a heavier tri-bike?

My bias is toward road (I ride a Trek 5200), but I don't want to steer him wrong.

Many thanks.
re: Familiar dilemma?brider
Nov 27, 2001 1:34 PM
Check out SlowTwitch for an interesting comparisson of the pros vs age groupers bike geometries at Hawaii Ironman this year. Seems the pros rode predominantly steeper seat tube angled bikes, while the age groupers rode more standard road geometry. The question really is whether your friend is comfortable on a full-on steep aero set-up. The best way to try it out is to get a seat post that can be turned either way and try out the forward position (ignore the effects this will have on handling for the time being). Is the opened-up hip angle a help or a hinderance? Really, there isn't a wrong way to go here, just what might be better, and you'll never know until you try them out.
re: Familiar dilemma?colosipm
Dec 4, 2001 7:34 AM
I'm sure you've alrady thought of this, but check out the kestrel talon. It has a seat post that has two seperate settings, one that allows a 73 and one that allows a 77 I believe. If your friend has a bunch of money to put into a bike, just equip this with some dura ace and some nice 404s for hawaii and have at it.

There's also something called the "big slam" position which is getting more and more popular these days. Check out john cobb and bicyclesports.com The seat tube angle here is a compromised 75.

I wouldn't worry much about what the pros ride, they're competing for the title and need a fast bike leg, hence, their extreme aero position. Most age-groupers are looking to make it through the bike and just be able to run afterwards. If your friend is a great runner, he'll probably benefit from being comfortable on the bike, then worry about running

Hope this helps
re: Familiar dilemma?Kudzu Kannibal
Dec 6, 2001 7:29 AM
Man I have this same problem. I never put much money into a road bike, like my mountain, because it doesn't take the punishment that my offroad does. So I got a Scott Waimea when they discontinued them and upgraded everything.

My problem is, this is a great bike for Olympic distance and below, but riding this bike in a Century (or Ironma). OUCH! Not even sure in a Half as I did and I was very sore going into the run.

The bike has a few advantages. It's forward position is beneficial for achieving aero, although I cannot see that putting the seat back a few degrees would make that much of a difference, depending on your aerobar configuration. The other benefit, in which people mention very little about, is that the position also moves the work of cycling to your quads and away from the hams. WHY? Triathletes try to reserve power for the run and for long distance running your hams are extremely important, right?

Also, smaller wheels have two upsides: Faster acceleration and less drag. Some people think you can climb better...well for short climbs where you accelerate out of the seat momentarily, YES, MAYBE, I don't think this theory applies in longer climbs to where you sit back and use a full pedal stroke to get up and over. Say for instance, riding the SIX GAP ride in North Georgia!

Now, I have seen that a few manufactures, like Cannondale, now make their tri-bikes with 700C wheels. My problem is, the smaller wheels are gone, but the forward positioning is still there and I was told this was a big reason that I feel so ragged coming off the bike after longer rides. Any truth to this?

Anyway, I stand 1/2" under six feet. I plan on keeping my tri bike, because no one is going to buy an 8-speed, aluminum Scott Waimea. No, too many amateur triathletes think they have to drop $3000 on a carbon or beam bike. Nothing makes me happier than to pass these people during a race.

So, should I look into getting a road bike (I have disassembled an old one for parts) with road geometry for an Ironman race?

Comments?