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Can one bike do it all?

I am 30 years old and have taken part in my first sprint distance triathlons this year using my trusty Merida Ride 77. Despite being a relatively poor swimmer I have really enjoyed the training and events and wish to build up to a half iron man in summer 2016. I'm not going to be on the winners podium any time soon but to cover this longer distance comfortably I need to upgrade the bike. I have a budget of around £4-5k but would not want to spend all of that on a tri specific bike as I also take part in group rides and sportives that often take in a bit of climbing.

I am wondering whether or not to invest in a higher range aero bike such as the Cervelo S3, Canyon Aeroad CF SLX, Boardman Elite Air 9.8 or higher end Giant Propel that could potentially do both jobs with a bit of change in set up and clip on aerobars, or to go for 2 entry-mid level bikes such as a Dolan Scala and Tuono. Any thoughts or advice?

Comments

  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 419

    James,

    Other things being equal (bike fit, training adaption etc) a tri bike will be quicker than a road bike with clip ons. I have both.

    There is a diminishing return, with a very steep drop-off, in performance for money spent. The aero benefits of a top end bike can be outweighed by the shape and position of your drinks bottle. The biggest determinant is you, how aero you are and how well you deliver power.

    So how about a Cervelo R2 road bike (keep the tyres for turbo or winter use though) and a Specialised Shiv Elite for tri. Insist on a bike fit as part of the deal and get an aero helmet (e.g. Giro Air Attack Shield) for races.

    In my last two tri's it's been noticeable how many on very expensive tri bikes were riding on the horns most likely because they didn't feel comfortable in the aero tuck position. Also noticeable were those on £3-5k tri bikes and £80 road helmets with the aero properties of a parachute.

    This is my view and of course I might be wrong.

  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    James

    An interesting dilemma. At the Eton WC qualifiers I saw an interesting solution to this problem.

    As someone who intends to buy a TT bike towards the end of the year (but is doing a 70.3 this weekend) I do feel you can be decent with a roadie on clip ons. I am also acutely aware that shifting is a real pain in the arse when you have to pop out of the tuck to change gear and this can really upset your rhythm.

    A solution to all your problems might be a Ceepo Mamba (aero frame, with geometry designed to be interchangeable between road and TT). You can get a custom build on this, and what you could do is road bars with clips ons and Di2 shifting (I saw a lady at Eton do this on a Giant Propel). This allows you to have shifts on the extensions as well as brake lever shifting. If your budget is 4-5k this might work (frame is 1200 last I checked so you'd still have 3-4k for ultegra Di2 (1000 ish on Wiggle) some carbon wheels (maybe not brand new Zipps but something decent) and a decent cockpit... You might very well have your do it all machine. Then switching between Road and TT could just be a small shift in your saddle position.

    Similarly though Harry's suggestion is also very sensible. I guess what I would say is that if you are trying to do the "one bike" solution you will get more out of your TT position if you have Di2 and therefore both bar end and brake lever shifting especially when riding a half ironman.

  • NJLNJL Posts: 7

    Hi

    I have a Giant Propel Advanced 0 with the Di2 and some deep section racing wheels - the Di2 certainly assists in shifting on the Aero Bars and it comes in at £2k for the bike.

    For what i needed, an all rounder, it seemed like the obvious choice. Full Ultegra Di2, Aero Frame and enough money left over for a quality set of race wheels. 

    I use it for Triathlon and general rides and it's brilliant for both.

    For your budget though, there are tons of options for Aero Road bikes that would work well on both...

  • Hi there! It is nice to read such wonderful advice as I also had that same question. I really appreciate the ideas you've shared. 

  • NJL wrote (see)

    Hi

    I have a Giant Propel Advanced 0 with the Di2 and some deep section racing wheels - the Di2 certainly assists in shifting on the Aero Bars and it comes in at £2k for the bike.

    For what i needed, an all rounder, it seemed like the obvious choice. Full Ultegra Di2, Aero Frame and enough money left over for a quality set of race wheels. 

    I use it for Triathlon and general rides and it's brilliant for both.

    For your budget though, there are tons of options for Aero Road bikes that would work well on both...

    This is the dillemma I'm having at the moment, one bike or two??. I think I have settled on getting one bike, as NJL I need a good all rounder. Choices narrowed down to Giant Propel Advanced Pro 0, Cervelo S3 or Argon 18 Nitrogen.

    The Giant is winning as its cheaper, slightly, and has nice carbon wheels. Be very interested to hear your opinions NJL on the Giant for both Tri's and general road riding as well as how you go about setting up the aero bars with Di2 shifters.

  • If you are racing just for enjoyment and not the podium I'd go for a decent road bike and clip on aerobars. I've done everything from sprints to ironman on that set up and my times have been in the top third of the pack. It's also very satisfying to overtake someone who has all the kit but hasn't put enough work into the engine!

  • Don't rule out the Felt AR series, very aero but also have reversible seat post if you want to get a more open hip position. 

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