Thinking of moving up the ladder in triathlon and getting a Triathlon bike but not so sure if it’s the right call for you.
I would say most triathletes must have gotten to this point of whether or not they should get a triathlon bike. In this article, I will address several areas for you to assess if it’s time for you to get yourself a triathlon bike.
Let’s get the first question out of the way: Are triathlon bikes comfortable? Triathlon bikes are not designed to be comfortable, they are designed to be aerodynamic, light, and to allow the rider to exert maximum effort against the pedals to get the most speed out of the ride.
With these things as the top priority, comfort is not the primary goal. For guidance on your triathlon bike purchase make sure to check out our Triathlon Bikes: Complete Entry Level Buyer Guide
How Long You Need to Get Used to Triathlon Bikes
Getting used to any new bike could take as little as a day for some people, but as long as a month for others. It depends on a myriad of things that are specific to the rider. However, it is widely agreed that it takes around two months of regular use or riding around One Hundred Miles to get used to the handling and triathlon bike position.
This is also true from my own personal experience.
Some things that will influence how long the break-in and acclimation period will take is the rider’s previous experience.
What type of riding experience does the cyclist have? Have they ever ridden a triathlon bike? Is the rider coming from a road bike, a mountain bike, a cruiser, or some other type of bike? All of these things will have a significant influence.
Because triathlon bikes have a different geometry than most other bikes, this is a major factor in getting used to a new triathlon bike. It will likely take a new rider quite a while to get used to the stiffness, quick-handling, lower stability, higher center of gravity, and riding position of a triathlon bike.
Getting used to riding in an aero-tuck position with aero bars will also come with a learning curve.
Also check out our post on Where Do You Position Your Genitals When Cycling ?!!
Are Triathlon Bikes Faster Than Other Bikes
How fast are triathlon bikes? This is a great question and something that most people want to know when they start to have an interest in triathlon bikes.
When it comes to speed, there are only 2 dominant types of bicycles: (1) Triathlon bike (trials bike) (2) Road Bikes. Road bikes are what are raced at the Tour De France, and obviously, Triathlon (trials) bikes are commonly used at IRONMAN and other Triathlon events.
Now that we have a suitable rival to compare Triathlon bikes to in the form of road bikes, let’s not waste much time. While they are not as comfortable as other types of bikes Triathlon bikes are decidedly faster.
Why? Everything about Triathlon bikes is designed for speed. For a detailed breakdown of the geometry and all the features that make a Triathlon bike faster take a look at this article: Is a TT Tri Bike Faster than a Road Bike?
For a quick breakdown, Triathlon bikes put the rider in a more advantageous position for speed: The bottom bracket of the bike and the seat post are closer together at a steeper angle than a road bike.
Triathlon bike seat post and bottom bracket are around 78 degrees while the typical road bike is only 72 degrees. This allows a greater output of force against the pedals, and also triathlon bike riders typically have a higher seat position than a road bike cyclist, all in the name of speed and power output.
The frame of a triathlon bike is also angled, oval in shape, and swooped to reduce drag, this means that the frames are faster and more aerodynamic.
Drafting other cyclists is not allowed in Triathlon events, so these bike frame dynamics are needed. For a good breakdown of road bikes vs triathlon bikes (source).
Before making up your mind, we highly recommend that you check out our Best Road Bike for Triathlon Beginners (700 To 2,600 USD Bikes)
Are Triathlon Bikes Lighter Than Road Bikes
It might seem contrary to the performance goals of triathlon bikes, but they are actually heavier than the average performance road bike.
For more on this: check out our article on How Much Should A Road And TT Triathlon Bike Weigh? Does It Even Matter!
How come Triathlon Bikes are Heavier than Road Bikes? Triathlon bikes do not get their performance gains from having a lighter weight, but instead, the performance gains are in the geometry of the bike. The shape and slope of the frame tubes, the wheel design, and the aero-bar are what allows a triathlon bike to be, aerodynamic, and allows for more force against the pedals. (Source)
How Much Do Triathlon Bikes Cost
What is the average price of a triathlon bike, and is it worth paying more? The average price of a triathlon bike is around 4,900 USD with the low end costing around 1,700 USD and high end 12,000 USD .
Check out this article for more on Why Are Triathlon Bikes So Expensive?What To Look For & Is Used A Good Option!
When to Use Triathlon Bikes
When should a person choose a triathlon bike over another style of bike? Is it okay for a non-competitor to purchase a triathlon bike? What advantages do triathlon bikes have over other styles of bikes? Should you run out and buy a triathlon bike?
If you are looking for the greatest performance and to maximize your speed in non-drafting triathlon races, then a triathlon bike is a good fit. For more on this, check out our post Are Triathlon Bikes Good for Long Distances? When Not to Use Them!
Now, do you deserve a triathlon bike, and is it the best fit for you as a new competitor? It likely is not. If you are new to the sport, then a low-cost road bike could work well for you. It is possible to outfit such a bike with clip-on aero bars, you can change out to lighter aerodynamic wheels, and so on. Also check out how Fast Forward Seatpost on your road bike can drastically improve your experience.
It is not allowed to use a triathlon bike in road bike races, thus, Make sure that you like the sport and will stick with it before making such a large purchase. Perhaps save it for when you are deeper into the sport and want every edge you can get.
As a new triathlete, the best bike will likely not help you as much as one would think at this point.