General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Get a tri bike, or a road bike? Yes. Rss Feed  
Moderators: k9car363, alicefoeller Reply
2011-08-01 6:28 AM

User image

Extreme Veteran
715
500100100
Chicago, USA
Subject: Get a tri bike, or a road bike? Yes.

This is based on my experience, but if you agree (or not), post a reply with your findings.

For athletes considering their first bike purchase, if the idea is to get involved in triathlons, there is often a dilemma: what kind of bike to get when you're starting out? A road bike with traditional geometry and road drop bars? Or, a tri bike with a steeper seat tube angle and full aerobars?

Each type of bike has advantages. The road bike has the brakes and shifters in easy reach, the drop bars have lots of hand position options, the bike will be welcome at group rides, it's faster (and safer) for fast descending and cornering, it's more versatile for utility riding like riding in traffic, trips to the store, commuting, etc. But a tri bike is typically faster and the frame is more aero (both pretty important qualities for a race bike), allows you to get in a better position for generating good power while in the aero position, can sometimes be more comfortable for riding on aerobars (if fit correctly), etc.

But there's also a third option that gives you the best of both worlds (and might even save you some money and from buying extra bikes). And that option is a tri bike but fitted with road drop bars and well-designed clip-on aerobars. In many ways, it is the true multisport bike because it makes for an aero tri bike that is equally fast on super fast descents as it is on pancake-flat time trial courses.

It also give you three options as you progress in skill and experience: (1) keep the drop bars and clip-ons on the bike and use it that way for training and multisport racing. Or (2), keep the drop bars on the bike, take the clip-ons off, and use it for road riding if your triathlon passion morphs to a bike racing passion (99% of tri frames, with a few small position tweaks, can--and do--function perfectly well as a road frame). Or (3), switch out the drop bars and clip-ons for full aerobars if you want fully maximize your aero advantage on flat courses.

For a visual, here's a photo of a Felt tri bike set up exactly this way (this bike belongs to pro and 2X IM Kona winner Tim DeBoom) for a race with considerable climbing and descending:



Edited by DarkSpeedWorks 2011-08-01 6:56 AM




(roaddb2.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
roaddb2.jpg (115KB - 3 downloads)


2011-08-01 7:44 AM
in reply to: #3623123

User image

Veteran
305
100100100
Wichita Falls
Subject: RE: Get a tri bike, or a road bike? Yes.
Or you could just buy an S5...
2011-08-01 8:00 AM
in reply to: #3623123

User image

Pro
6191
50001000100252525
Subject: RE: Get a tri bike, or a road bike? Yes.

I put roadie drop handlebars on my tri bike simply because when I rode on my tri bullhorns, even for short periods of times, my pinky finger and ring finger would go numb. My bullhorns and aero bars could be seperated, so I just kept the original aero bars.

I'm way more comfortable riding in traffic, on steep downhills, or anywhere I think I need to be very close to my brakes... or on those long rides when I need to move position for a bit to stretch out, because I'm not yet able to hang out in aero for 2+ hours.

Not the right setup for everyone, but I'm really happy with it.

2011-08-01 9:23 AM
in reply to: #3623192

User image

Extreme Veteran
715
500100100
Chicago, USA
Subject: RE: Get a tri bike, or a road bike? Yes.

macfights - 2011-08-01 7:44 AM Or you could just buy an S5...

 

Sure, but two things: You can get a better position for tri more easily on a tri specific bike. And then, I think its safe to say that an S5 might be kinda pricey for a beginner triathlete ... Wink

2011-08-01 9:45 AM
in reply to: #3623123

User image

Pro
5890
5000500100100100252525
, New Hampshire
Subject: RE: Get a tri bike, or a road bike? Yes.
Well... yes and no... keep in mind that Norseman is a very unique race and that Tim DeBoom basically has the bike set up as a compromise for this race. I would bet that it's set up to be comfortable in the aerobars, but he wanted to have the drop bars for all the climbing (and there's PLENTY of that in Norseman).

If you plan to have only one bike, you need to keep in mind that this is a compromise. It won't necessarily handle as well as a standard road bike, not will be as fast/comfortable as a properly set up tri bike...
2011-08-01 10:56 AM
in reply to: #3623476

User image

Extreme Veteran
715
500100100
Chicago, USA
Subject: RE: Get a tri bike, or a road bike? Yes.

Great input, but here's more food for thought:

 

keep in mind that Norseman is a very unique race and that Tim DeBoom basically has the bike set up as a compromise for this race. I would bet that it's set up to be comfortable in the aerobars, but he wanted to have the drop bars for all the climbing (and there's PLENTY of that in Norseman).

I am sure norseman is unique (as is every race in some way), but in Northern Calif (where I started tri racing), there are lots of courses with tons of climbing (and descending).

 

If you plan to have only one bike, you need to keep in mind that this is a compromise. It won't necessarily handle as well as a standard road bike, not will be as fast/comfortable as a properly set up tri bike...

In my experience (and that of many other riders who've tried this), a tri frame will handle totally fine as a road bike. Some riders even use tri geometry frames as a criterium racing bikes, and crit racing requires very, very sharp bike handling.



2011-08-01 11:04 AM
in reply to: #3623429

User image

Champion
9407
500020002000100100100100
Montague Gold Mines, Nova Scotia
Subject: RE: Get a tri bike, or a road bike? Yes.
DarkSpeedWorks - 2011-08-01 11:23 AM

Sure, but two things: You can get a better position for tri more easily on a tri specific bike. And then, I think its safe to say that an S5 might be kinda pricey for a beginner triathlete ...


To your first point - if one has a good aeroposition on their tribike, then there is a good chance the drops are not going to be an option for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

To you second point, I would say an S5 is much more affordable than a bike with Di2.

Shane
2011-08-01 11:10 AM
in reply to: #3623123

User image

Melon Presser
52077
50005000500050005000500050005000500050002000252525
Subject: RE: Get a tri bike, or a road bike? Yes.

I thought the third option was getting a roadie and having the bike fitting configure it for tri ...

The deciding factor for me (not that I've ever actually paid this much for a bike) was that you can get a great road bike for about $1500 from which there ain't much difference even if you're going to sink $6000 into it.

However, there are *no* comparably great tri bikes you can get for $1500.

New Thread
General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Get a tri bike, or a road bike? Yes. Rss Feed