How To Buy Your First Tri Bike | Entry Level Bike Guide For Triathlon

How To Buy Your First Tri Bike | Entry Level Bike Guide For Triathlon

– Now buying your first
dedicated triathlon bike can be a pretty big step
for any aspiring triathlete, understandably, it’s
a pretty daunting task given the potential cost that bikes have. But you needn’t be breaking the bank. So to help you out, I’ve
actually come along to my local bike shop and actually, my first sponsors doing a
triathlon, Total Fitness, but we’re going to take a
look at some of the typical bikes that you may see
when you’re looking at entry level bikes and searching for that new bike for yourself, and I’m
going to give you a few tips and recommendations as
to what to look for. (electricity humming) Okay, so coming into
triathlon we always recommend just riding whatever you have, at least for your first triathlon or two, even if that is simply a mountain bike, just to test the water before spending any of your hard earned cash. But once you have got the bug, which we no doubt you will do, then you’ll probably likely want to invest in a dedicated triathlon bike. Now personally, I’d always recommend coming in to your local
bike shop like this where you can actually
see the bikes in person, and perhaps get some specialist advice from the staff, and if you’re lucky, you might be able to jump
on some of those bikes and try them for size and make sure they actually fit for you. But we’ll get into that
a little bit later on. But here now, I’ve got
what you’ll probably be presented with yourself
whether you’re shopping online or in your local bike shop. We’ve got here a road bike, and on this side, a TT, or triathlon bike. And a road bike is a really
versatile bike if you like it. It’s absolutely in its
element on the road, weaving down lanes, climbing, descending, riding in a group, I’ve even
actually taken mine off road at times, but I’d probably
advise against that. But in all seriousness,
their handling’s fantastic, which is why they’re the bike of choice for pure road cyclists. So, if you’re after all
that I’ve just mentioned and perhaps just want to take
part in the odd triathlon, maybe once a year or so, then I’d really recommend
this kind of bike. It’s not the fastest option,
but you can improve on that by clipping some aerobars
onto the handlebars up there, and that’s going to
improve their aerodynamics. And yet I’d say this is a
really good choice of bike when you’re starting out in triathlon. This was actually my choice
when I first got into things, but then of course we have
the dedicated triathlon bike. And these come in all shapes and sizes and all price points, but the entry level, there’s a few things that
you really want to be looking out for and focusing
on to make sure that you’re getting the most
value for your money. The first, and probably the
most important in my opinion, is the fit, you can have
the most amazing bike, but if it doesn’t fit you it
will more or less be useless, or at the very least, very uncomfortable. And this actually backs
up my suggestion for coming into a bike shop like
this and checking out the bike, making sure it fits, and finding
out which size is for you. Particularly as a lot of brands have slightly different sizing and geometry. The 54 centimeter in one
brand can be very different to a 54 centimeter in another brand. But now moving on to probably the biggest determinant in a bike’s pricing, and that is the frame material. Now you’ve likely got two options here, carbon fiber or aluminum. Now in my opinion, carbon
fiber is the nicest feel on the road, it’s
light, it’s responsive, it’s what the pros are riding, but with that comes a
slightly higher price tag. Aluminum, on the other
hand, is slightly heavier, it’s a stronger material, it’s
less prone to being damaged, and let’s not forget,
actually a lot of the pros were riding on aluminum framed bikes a little over a decade ago. But let’s focus on that
weight thing for a second, ’cause this actually does
tend to be a big concern from a lot of people out there, and I get a lot of questions about this. Weight actually doesn’t
matter on the flat, and won’t affect your speed all that much. In fact there’s a lot of very
good time trialists out there faster than you and I that
are riding on heavier bikes, aluminum, and even steel framed bikes. But of course when you get to the hills, the weight does start
to matter a little more. Now I’m not going to bore
you with the science and the relationship between speed,
weight, and aerodynamics, but essentially there is a tipping point where the weight does start
to matter a little more on the hills, so all I’m saying is, if you are living in a fairly hilly area or you have a race entered
that is quite hilly, then it’s just something to
bear in mind and be aware of. But now moving on to
another factor to consider, and that is the components on the bike. And these are parts like the cranks, the chain rings, the cassette, the gears, the brakes, the shifters, and so on. And these can actually
really change the feel and the enjoyment of
the bike and the ride. And actually on an entry
level bike like this one, you’ll normally find it
will come fully equipped with a fairly mid-range group set, which is absolutely
fine to start out with. The nice thing with the components is that you can actually just
change them in and out and upgrade them with time, so don’t feel like you
need to go in with the all singing all dancing
top of the range group set because you can change them as you go. Now a question that I
do get asked quite a lot is actually which components
have the biggest impact? In other words, which components
should you be spending the money on to start out with? And what I normally say
is actually the parts that are moving, things like
the cranks, the chain rings, the wheels, those are going
to have the biggest impact. The things like the gears, or
the shifters, or the brakes, those can stay, as long
as they’re working, they’re not drastically going
to change the bike and the ride. But a bit of a follow on to
the components is the storage. Now this is particularly
important in triathlon given the length of some of the races and the need to store
spares, fuel, and fluid. Now we tend to see full integration within some of the top end bikes where we’ll have a fully integrated
hydration system between the aerobars here and the bento box, as this bike does here, and
various other areas for storage. And these have actually been much needed in triathlon for years, so
they’re absolutely fantastic, and as I mentioned already, these tend to be integrated within some of the top end bikes. But we are starting to
see that trickle down into to some of the lower
end and entry level bikes, as we’ve got just here
with the bento box example. But if your bike that
you’re buying doesn’t come with this level of
integration, don’t worry, because you can actually
add some of this afterwards. We’ve got brands like
Profile Design, XLAB, which do products that you
can just attach on afterwards, we’ve got a little bento box there, or a hydration system there, to really fill that need for that storage. And my final point to consider
is the condition of the bike, and obviously this isn’t relevant for a new bike such as this, if you’re buying it
from a store or online, you kind of just hope
they’re in good nick. But I do appreciate that there are some really good second hand deals out there, as other triathletes are starting to pass on some of their old bikes. But what I would say is just
be wary and be cautious, in particular with the frame. If they’re maybe damaged,
they’ve got a dent, a crack, or they’re corroded, you
probably don’t want to be taking on a problem bike like that. But on the flip side, if the frame is fine and the components are
just a little bit worn out and maybe need replacing,
try and look past that. You might be actually taking
on an absolute bargain. I know a lot of friends that
have taken on second hand bikes and turned them into
top end racing machines. As I mentioned earlier, you can easily just change in and out and upgrade your
components nice and easily. Now if you have enjoyed today’s video made sure you hit that thumbs up button, and if you’d like to see more from GTN, just click on the globe and subscribe. If you’d like to find
out a little bit more about what a triathlon bike is, Phrase has done a great
explainer on that just here, if you’d like to see Phrase’s bike fit, you can see that by
clicking just down here.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Who is thinking about getting a triathlon bike? What thoughts and concerns do you have? Leave us a comment!

  2. Road bike with clip on aerobars has been my go to and I've loved it! Don't have to break the bank to have good performance

  3. I'll be sporting a good old fashioned steel frame bike with downtube shifters for my first triathlon. Simply stuck some clip on aero bars and we're good to go! I can't wait to upgrade to one of those TT speed machines tho…

  4. I got a used cervelo p3, from 2010, the frame was perfect and hasnt changed very much iver the years making it fine to modernize.

  5. Biggest difference between a carbon and an aluminium is shape and aero !

    You can't really have an aluminium frame that have the deep and profiled tubes of a carbon bikes due to the material and weight penalty.

    Carbon is a no brainer for TT, second are the wheels.

  6. I cranked out a 4:59 bike split at IMFL on a Cannondale Caad10 with clipon aerobars. You can be fast without top-end equipment. The biggest thing you can upgrade is your engine. A big engine will make any bike go fast!

  7. Would also need to mention that the feel and speed is greatly improved by running a decent set of carbon wheels on a bike. More so than a replacing eg 105 with Ultegra components.

  8. For TT/Tri Bikes I Would heavily suggest getting a bike fit on a fit bike system suitable for the events you want to race before you start looking at bikes. Fit is more important than anything else and knowing which brands and sizes suit you is key. Not all bikes will be good for all people. Go to any amateur triathlon and there will be endless people with terrible fits on bikes they shouldn’t be riding. A good independent fitter will be able to tell you what to look for before you go near a bike shop.

  9. Aluminum is not less prone to damage, actually the complete opposite. If you have damaged a carbon frame, you would have dented an aluminum one. Many brands offer lifetime warranties on carbon, while only 5 years on aluminum.

  10. Also consider what type of saddle that goes along with the bike. It can make a huge difference with the bike that you go and choose – a more comfortable one will make your ride that much enjoyable!

  11. For an Xterra Tri do you recommend anything different than a normal mountain bike? I was thinking about buying a hybrid bike (for road and mountain), but read it can't handle very rough trails, which they may have in an Xterra? I'm thinking about doing my first triathlon, but the only one close to me is Xterra, so that's why thinking about doing that, but plan on only training on the road.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *