In one of my earlier blogs I gave the tip not to immediately purchase an (expensive) triathlon bike as a starting triathlete. However, if you do intend to purchase a triathlon bike, here are some points to take into account.
The importance of the correct cycling position during a triathlon
The correct position while cycling is a crucial thing. Because of the fact that a triathlon consists of multiple disciplines; swimming, cycling, and running, you don’t want to waste any energy due to an incorrect cycling position. In addition, an incorrect position can also cause injuries. For these reasons, I definitely recommend you to have a bike fit (bicycle measurement) done before the purchase of a triathlon bike. Moreover, I also recommend this if you already have a bike, but haven’t done a proper bike fit for your bike yet. A correct cycling position is essential and you can gain a lot from this for your triathlon.
A racing bike or a triathlon bike?
You could say that the type of bike depends on the triathlon distances that you want to complete. The shorter distances, respectively, such as a sprint or Olympic distance mainly require aerodynamic bicycles. For longer distances, such as half a triathlon or the Ironman, comfort (the right cycling position!), nutrition and hydration are also very important. Space for at least 1 bottle is required. So, for these distances, it is important to have a bike that also abides to these requirements. I can say that for the longer distances it’s certainly advisable to ride on a triathlon bike.
For the shorter distances, a normal racing bike could stand up perfectly for the task. You might even add a triathlon steering wheel for more aerodynamics. For these reasons, it isn’t really necessary to immediately purchase an expensive triathlon bike as a starting triathlete!
The difference between the triathlon bike (time trial bike) and the racing bike
The difference between the two types of bicycles can be found in the geometry of the bicycles and the bicycle position when riding the bike. Because, in addition to the cycling part, a triathlon also consists of a swimming and a running part, which means that the upper body is already tired before you start cycling. Thereby, you must also have enough energy left in your legs for the running part.
This means that the geometry of a triathlon bicycle also ensures that the bicycle movement matches more closely to the subsequent running movement, making the transition between cycling and running more easier which results in spilling less energy.
Buying a new or second-hand triathlon bike?
It isn’t really necessary to buy a brand new triathlon bike as a starting triathlete. The purchase of a second-hand racing or triathlon bike will definitely be a good option for starting triathletes. However, it is very important to pay attention to the correct cycling position. Especially with a second-hand bike. The body position will be different for everyone, depending on someone’s posture. So, if you are already familiar with a certain brand and its bike fit, I advise you to stay with that brand.
The right bike fit is a must
In the end, the choice for a racing or triathlon bike, new or second-hand, mainly depends on the distances you want to cycle and your available budget, of course. As a triathlete with the aim of cycling the shorter distances, a (second-hand) racing bike will suffice. If your goal will be a half or a whole triathlon, I would recommend you to go for a triathlon bike. Regardless of your goal and the type of bike you decide to purchase, the right bike fit is essential. This is something you should really keep in mind when purchasing your triathlon bike.
A training schedule for your first triathlon
Curious how far you can go? Do you think you can do half a triathlon or maybe even a whole triathlon, but you don’t know where to start? Find more information on the triathlon coaching page.