Beginner Triathlon Bike Buying & How to Buy Your First Triathlon Bike

I put on my super cool bicycle shirt and my
super cool biking hat because today we’re talking about what bike you should buy if
you’re about to enter your shirt triathlon, or get into your first triathlon season. Stick
around for it. A lot of people ask what bike they should
buy is they’re just getting into triathlon. Today we’re going to talk about three options
and figure out which bike is the right type of bike for you to buy depending on how you’re
getting into the sport, and what your intentions are in your first year. For a person that’s
just getting into triathlon by doing one race and they’re not sure if they’re going to be
doing any other races beyond that and they aren’t planning on doing a whole heck of a
lot of training before the race just go with what you’ve got. Here we’ve got my wife’s
$200 Walmart mountain bike and I would have no hesitation to recommend that somebody just
go with what they’ve got sitting in their garage or they could buy from a friend. The
only real downside to this is that you’re going to feel a little bit silly walking past
all the ten and fifteen thousand dollar bikes in the transition zone. It’s not like it’s
going to hurt you you just need a bit of guts to suffer through that feeling of being a
little bit out of place in your first race. It’s not a big deal. And if anyone looks down
on you for showing up with a bike like this to your first race tell them to piss right
off because that’s just stupid at least you’re getting into the sport. So let’s say you’ve
gone through your first triathlon, maybe a couple, and you’re ready to spend a little
bit of money on a bike but you’re not quite sure how your training is going to end up,
how much you’re going to be able to train, or what you really want out of a bike. For
somebody like this I would certainly recommend buying a used bike and not going with something
new out of a shop just yet. The reason for that is that you don’t yet know exactly how
your training is going to turn out, what types of races you’re going to be doing, what you
want out of the sport, so spending retail dollars on a new bike might hurt you in the
long run because just like cars bikes do tend to depreciate. What I would do is go to a
local bike shop, get them to size you up for a bike because that’s absolutely critical.
After you get sized at a bike shop, start looking at things like the buy and sell, Craigslist
and Kijiji if you’re up in Canada. And don’t be too fussy about what brand of bike you
need to get, just look at getting something that’s kind of an entry level price point
that you’re not spending a whole lot, that fits right. And that’ll probably get you through
your first one or two seasons in the sport. Now let’s say you’ve made it a season or two
on that entry level bike and you know exactly what you want out of a bike. You know how
you train, you know what types of races you want to do, this is when you warm up that
credit card and have some fun and go into a local bike shop and have them set you up.
You’ve got two options, the first option that you can do is grab yourself a road bike and
try to turn it into a triathlon bike -WHOA- this is where you end up taking a road bike
like this, putting on a pair of aerobars, and setting it up as close to a triathlon
bike as you can. There’s a fair bit of difference in how your body sits on a bike between a
road bike and a triathlon bike, so I would recommend that if you do go that route get
an aero road bike like a Cervelo S5 or a Specialized Venge and any good bike shop should be able
to set up that road bike pretty close to what a triathlon bike is for. This sort of strategy
works really well for somebody who tends to ride a lot in a group because a road bike
has excellent handling skills, all of the controls are up on the handlebars in one area.
You can brake, you can shift up and down as you need, so it’s just much safer for riding
in a group. But strapping on some aero bars to a road bike and using one for a triathlon
is perfectly acceptable, it really just depends what the majority of your riding outside of
the sport is like. So let’s say that you’re a triathlon through and through: you ride
by yourself, you’re not in a group, it’s basically just solo miles getting prepped for your next
race, that’s when you start getting into the pure aerodynamic triathlon bike that is made
for nothing but going very fast, in a straight line, that’s what it’s great for. For somebody
like that who doesn’t tend to ride in a group and is really just focused on triathlons get
yourself a proper triathlon bike. Why a triathlon bike is so much better than a road bike specifically
for triathlon is for a couple reasons: number one, it’s much more aerodynamic, it’s built
for going in that straight line and getting you down in that aerodynamic position where
the mass of your body is tucked in together and you’re out of the wind as much as possible.
Braking isn’t such a huge concern, taking yourself out of the aerobars and being able
to brake because you’re basically just going in a straight line and if people are following
the rules of triathlon in a non drafting race you’re a long way away from anyone front of
you. The second reason that a triathlon bike is much better for triathlon is the way that
your body sits on a triathlon bike it opens up your hips and you’re much more upright
so you tire out the front and back of your legs a lot more equally than if you’re scrunched
up on a road bike. That means that when you get of the bike you’re going to be fresher
for the run. If you are going to spend money and get yourself a new proper road or triathlon
bike one of the biggest things that I’ll recommend is to not go with an entry level bike. I would
certainly recommend buying nicer components like Shimano Ultegra, Sram Force or better.
And stay out of the thousand to twenty-five hundred dollar bike kind of range, and certainly
go to a three-thousand dollar or up bike. The bang for your buck at that level of bike
is basically the sweet spot. For cheap bikes you’re not getting a lot, the really expensive
bikes you gonna get a lot but it’s not a huge benefit to be spending eight, nine, ten thousand
dollars on a bike. And wheels, we’ll talk wheels another day. That’s all the wisdom
that I have to impart about how to go through the cycle of getting into the sport of triathlon,
and buying proper bikes as you go through the first few stages of getting into the sport.
Happy training out there, good luck in your first triathlon if this season is the season
for your first triathlon. And kill, your next A-Race! Kim hates this hat!