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Bike Choice for a Novice

I've entered my first super sprint triathlon in September this year so I now need to buy a bike.  Are there any you can recommend for a novice or ones you think I should steer clear of?  I have a limited budget of £500 for bike & helmet.  All advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks very much.

Eleanor Simpson


  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425

    For £430 you can get a B'Twin Triban 5 from Decathlon which seems to have received decent reviews or for £500 a Boardman Road Sport from Halfords - not seen any reviews but their bikes usually score well

    As they are not 'big names' the quality of kit & build is usually fairly high for the price

    I would go for a bike designed for racing rather than sportives as they should race faster due to their more aggressive design, unless of course sportives are of interest

    Hope this helps



  • As a fellow newbie to triathlon, the only thing I would add to HarryD's comment is that no matter what your budget, you MUST ensure that your bike fits you. Having a bike that fits you will do more for your performance and comfort than price!

  • Boardmans always rate highly in 220's reviews so I'd second that - plus as they're stocked in Halfords you can try before you buy.

    I second Steve's comments on fit for this. For me that's true of the helmet as well - it has to be comfortable and secure, with no 'hot spots'. I'm using a Specialized Echelon II at the moment which I think cost me about £50 from Evans. Not the fanciest helmet, but the fit is perfect for me!

  • Thanks very much for taking the time to reply and your advice is of great help to me.  I shall get myself down to Halfords a.s.a.p.

  • Shocking advice from the editor but then 220 have a Boardman fetish. 

    Go to any reputable bike shop (this clearly excluded Halfords as they regularly put forks on back to front) and you will get a quality bike from a quality brand and a proper bike fit for £500-£550. Well worth it.

  • risris Posts: 1,002

    i've heard little but positive things about boardman bikes (they review well at a lot of places, not just 220), but i'd be astonished if the staff in halfords can fit a bike. i might be wrong, but it's not what they're famed for. you will at least be able to ride a few sizes to see what works for you, which is better than nothing i guess., 

    you might find that the decathlon bods have enough knowledge to make sure the bike it right for you, but it does depend on whether there is a shop nearby. 

  • Have a look on wiggle on the net you can get some bargains and reviews are normally good.
  • Yeah - wiggle might even, if you are lucky, send you the product you ordered - but hey, their service can be masked by a tiny pack of haribo. Wiggle customers also have no bike warranty unless the bike is subsequently set up by a qualified mechanic - worth knowing that's all.

  • We have gone off topic! My advice to you Eleanor is to...

    spend a Saturday or day off going to your local, independent bike shop. They are usually friendly and have good ranges and most importantly live cycling and tri - they can advise you properly. We all know Halfords cannot. 

    take your time, make sure you get the correct bike for you. If you go to your local bike shop they should offer servicing with the bike, a bike fit and a lot of time for you in the future. The internet does not offer this.

    Saving £50 now online or in Halfords will cost you at least this in the first year on servicing and taking it somewhere to make sure it is safe and good to ride. Value is not the initial price, value is what it costs you during its lifetime.

  • DDTTRIDDTTRI Posts: 21


    I bought my bike from a local independent bike store, instead of fitting me properly they just looked up my height in a book and told me the frame size.

    I now have a bike that is too big for me and cost me a pretty penny after a bike fit, to adjust stem etc.

    Regardless of where you buy your bike from, i would recommend finding someone you know that knows their stuff and taking them along with you. If you don’t know anyone join a local club! Watch some youtube videos to understand bike fit and don't rush into buying anything

    Also do not discount second hand bikes! You will find a lot of people (triathletes in particular) will buy a inexpensive bike to do their first few events, then get the bug and want to upgrade.

  • James8011James8011 Posts: 44

    Im not disagreeing with Boardman-but the budget end are Halfords at the moment and my local 2 shops couldn't adjust a mates derailleur, and everyone i seem to speak to has the same problem. Cant wait to see the 2k boardmans going for sale exclusively.


    You need to go into a reputable bike shop, one that knows bikes, racing, and performance.

    I think Dawes are doing great frames at this range, you need something that is reasonable in weight, especially if you have not done a lot of cycling. I would run from the commuting bikes, the geometry is set up for a very comfortable ride in and out of traffic.

    Carrera TDF seems a popular bike and the vanquish- but its halfords.

    If you are clever get the boxed bike and assemble, it will help your bike knowledge a little. After all most bikes come with the wheels,handlebars, seatpost off in the box all it is, is for halfords to put them on (how hard could it be)

    Helmet, please make sure it is marked they wont let you race without it safety marked. 

    2nd hand market if you don't know anything about bikes, ask your local TRI club members, a majority of triathletes are the nicest people in the world and will help you at least with advice.


  • kerm231kerm231 Posts: 1

    I almost bought a BTwin bike from Decathlon but instead opted for a Mekk Pinerolo from my local independent bike shop and love the thing. It's not the lightest but for well under £500 it's never going to be. Ive commuted on it almost everyday for a year and raced on it, unable to afford anything else.

    I took great delight in whizzing past plenty of gorgeous Cervelos, Boardmans, Bianchi's, and Felt's in my last event!


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