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Tri bike or road bike?(10 posts)

Tri bike or road bike?IlanTX
May 30, 2003 7:01 PM
Being the biker in the family (mtb and road) my brother-in-law asked me to help him find a road bike for Triathalons. I told him he'll need a Tri bike, but he insists on a standard road bike. Will he be at a serious disadvantage in a Triathalon by not riding a Tri bike?

Also, what kind of frame material should I set him up with? I'd think that Aluminum would be the preferred material to maxmize power output and minimize weight (all my bikes are steel, go figure). I'm assuming the materials debate is as subjective in Triathalons as it is in mtbing and roading, but I'm also hoping someone here has a preference when in the midst of a Triathalon.

Thanks in advance.
Road bikeDamn
May 31, 2003 4:51 AM
On the question of frame material, I would have to ask what's you price range? Depending on how much you spend, you can get a very light bike in any material.
As for tri or road bike. If it's his sole bike for training and racing, I'd have to get a road bike. In my opinion, a tri bike's position, bar set up and shifters doesn't make for an enjoyable bike to go out and train on. He can easily put some aero bars on a road bike to get a good postion. On a tri bike, he can't easily ride in different postions, grab the brakes easily or the shifters. He may wind up a bike with shifters on the end of one set of bars and the brakes on another.
That's my take on it, good luck.
re: Tri bike or road bike?gbr3000
May 31, 2003 11:40 AM
As stated before, material is in large part based on what you have to spend. A carbon frame may run upwards of $3000 to $4000. Alumin. is the most common material right now, and its an excellent one as well. However, if he is a newer racer, and i serious about triathlons then a tri bike is the best choice. The geom. of the Tri bike frame is that for several reasons: easier transition to the run (the geom. of the frame uses different leg muscle groups less and more then the road bike, so your running legs are better after the transition), more aero postion for less wind resistance, it extends the body and opens the chest up making it easier to breath, and prevents lower back cramping to some extent. It needs to be kept in mind, the basic tri bike is made to be ridden comfortably in the aero position for long lengths of time. BUT, the tri bike is not ideal of long climbs of say more then an 45min, and heavy pack riding. Putting aero bars on the road frame isnt a good idea. In my expereince when a friend goes out and gets a road bike, does some triathlons, and likes them. Within a couple months he'll have gotten a tri bike. Another option is a slacker seat angle tri bike (about 76 deg. rather then 78). The cervelo ONE, is 76 deg and has the aero bars, but regular drop bars as well and the breaks/shifters are there. Other good bikes for a newer racer are the Trek HILO, and Felt S32. Thats my two cents.
Check out the Cervelo Soloist (dual purpose tri/road bike)js5280
Jun 2, 2003 3:03 PM
Here's a link from Bikesport Michigan, an excellent source for road vs. tri bikes. The Soloist is the only dual purpose bike they give a thumbs up too.

Other great tri info can be found on their home page:
serious disadvantage...Steve_0
Jun 3, 2003 6:21 AM
of course, optimal bike fit varies from person to person; but multiple iron-man winner peter reid rides road geometry. As does wendy ingrahm and karen smyers. And about 1/2 the field at Kona. I'd say those people dont see a standard geometry to be a serious disadvantage.

If he wants road geometry, why are you telling him he'll NEED a TT bike? Many of us who participate dont.
serious disadvantage...gbr3000
Jun 3, 2003 9:49 AM
you answered you own question, it varies from person to person. but please note, peter reid does not ride a full out road geom. its a slacker angle TT bike, it 75 or 76 deg. the main problem with stacking aero bars on a road bike is that it placed your body in a position not ideal for their use making the bike unstable. That was the purpose of the 78 deg. bike. The shorter top tube puts less strain on muscles that would otherwise be hurtin if you had the aero bars on a road bike. the on road v. tri explains all of this perfectly. i go to this store for all my biking needs and these are some of the most educated people on the topic to quote the road vs. tri article. "The most typical scenario with entry level customers is for them to buy a standard road bike, find out they enjoy participating in multisport events, and then buy a triathlon bike several months later. In most cases the customer may have been better served to buy an appropriate triathlon bike first. This would have save them the cost of a second bike and enhanced their enjoyment of the bike."
apparently not the 'most typical' example.Steve_0
Jun 3, 2003 12:09 PM
as evidenced by the large numbers of road geometry at most events, including kona. perhaps most typical of those who ride forward geometry.

Many people realize the majority of their riding and training is done in road format, and the agressive geometry (and associated pricetag) isnt warranted for the 5 races per year, max.

For a race contender? Certainly. For the recreational racer, dubious gain.

For the record, I completely agree with your statment that it varies from person to person, but I would think the person who will be RIDING the bike is in better position to ralize his needs than his friend who is trying to talk him into it.
NEED is entirely the wrong word.sctri
Jun 3, 2003 3:10 PM
The more I compete in triathlon the more I realize that the material gear which we all worry so much about isnt all that importaint.

(as an aside, I have been training with a guy who went to worlds as an age grouper, on a $600 alumium giant 0cr 2)

I prefer road geo, and I think that someone who views your friend can asses that person and his strengths/weaknesses and set them up properly.

A well fitting road bike is nearly/just as fast, and far more versitile for training.

re: Tri bike or road bike?IlanTX
Jun 10, 2003 4:20 PM
Thanks for all the input. I sent him the link to the thread and he was very impressed, though i think he's even more confused now than he was before. There seem to be good arguments for both points of view. At the moment, it looks like he'll be getting a roadie, but it's not for sure yet. I'll keep you posted...
Mod a road bike into a tri-bike w/ aerobars & forward seatpostfbg111
Jul 15, 2003 6:30 PM
Get him a road bike, and buy some aerobars and a forward seatpost for $200 extra. When he wants to race tri's, clip on the aerobars and replace the stock seatpost with the forward one. When/if he wants to do road races, or just train, then mod it back into a road bike. Best of both worlds.