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Road bike with tri bars or triathlon bike?

I am getting ready for my first season of triathlons previously coming from running background. I am hoping to compete for overall places at local races and place highly within my age group at bigger races. Up until now I have been riding a five year old bianchi via nirone and occasionally a cannondale caad10 when I can borrow it from a friend. I have been thinking about getting a new bike for a while and wondered whether to get a road bike and put tri bars on it or a specific triathlon bike. My initial thoughts were to get a road bike (cannondale super six evo) as I'd use it more in training and would like an upgrade on my road bike, but a friend said a triathlon bike would be better and I should just keep training on my bianchi. What would you recommend for the triathlons themselves...a road bike with tri bars or a triathlon bike? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!


  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    If you are serious about taking up tri then a tri-bike would be best. Tri-bars make a road bike quicker but a tri bike is quicker still on all but the hilliest and most technical courses. You also need to train on it & do get a proper bike fit at purchase. You don't have to go crazy on spend as the most un-aero thing about it is you.

    Is your Bianchi OK? Why not give it a good service, change all the cables (gears and brakes) along with the outers and see what a difference that makes. Should ride like new. Also consider upgrading your wheels and tyres and it will be so much quicker.

    I have a tri-bike (Kestrel Talon ~??1200) and a 12 year old CAAD7 which I love which would cost rather a lot to replace on equal terms never mind improve on.
  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    There's the all important question which HarryD ignores - what distances are you entering, if you are keen on doing sprint racing and going to ITU or ETU champs then a Tri bike is useless to you as these are now draft legal. its unclear whether Olympic will go a similar way.

    if you are focuses on non-drafting racing then definitely a well fitting Tri bike will nearly always be faster.

  • SamCSamC Posts: 3

    Thanks for the replies.


    I had the Bianchi serviced fairly recently and it rides smoothly but just feels a bit heavy.


    I will be doing Olympic distance races Andrew.


    Could a Cervelo soloist be used as both a training bike and tri racing bike with clip on bars and two different seatposts?

  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    With judicious seat post positioning you can make anything more tri friendly.

    I have just ordered a new tri-bike but for the past 3 seasons have raced on a Nirone as well. It's not so much the weight that I'd worry about to be honest, and my reason for wanting a new bike is 100% for the aero benefit of a tri-bike. What you're likely to get with an upgrade is a carbon frame, so better stiffness as well as the weight benefits. On a serious note - the Nirone is a very good alu frame, if you are thinking of upgrading to another carbon framed road bike its a waste of money that should be spent on better wheels and upgrading your drive train.

    Its worth remembering, for the same reasons that the extra weight of an aero bike doesn't punish you on all but the hilliest and most technical or courses the extra weight of a less good road bike is not a massive penalty.

    If I was a betting man, I would say that, within the next 3-5 years the ITU and ETU AG champs for Olympic distance will be draft legal, so a tri-bike would not be applicable.

    Its up to you - if you want the best performance today then get a tri bike but know that, if your main interest is OD (and you don't ever envisage going up to middle distance) you might not be future proofed if Olympic distance racing moves to a predominantly draft legal format.

  • for what it is worth, I just recently decided not to get a tri bike, and stick with my current Cube, upgrade the components and get myself some aerobars. my reasoning is 2 fold: 1) cheaper allowing me to fritter my money in other ways! and 2) I am doing more technical courses around the country, and was given the advice that a TT would not be an option for some of the races, so I went on the basis of not wanting to limit the races I could enter by the bike that I had.

    maybe if money (and space)  wasn't an option, I would buy a TT, and have a decent road bike, AND my commuting bike. that's not excessive is it??

  • SamCSamC Posts: 3

    think I'm going to try and get hold of a second hand cannondale slice and then in the future get a new road bike.

  • BoothyBoothy Posts: 6

    Just splashed out on a giant propel advanced as it seems to bridge the gap between getting a new road bike or a tri bike. I've added tri bars and (crucially) a bike fit to set it all up.

    The bike is much more adjustable than my other road bike so could get an aggressive (but comfortable) position. The tri bars are a waste on my other bike as I just cant get the position right.

    great bike. love it already and would recommend for anyone with this dilemma!


  • lloyd foxlloyd fox Posts: 10
    Having put off having a tri bike, I've not got one a boardman air tt 9.0 and I'm converted just did the staffs 70.3 IM course on and compared to my roadbike it was definitely faster ! And climbs just as well, I'm doing full IM and can see the benefits also my legs felt fresher afterwards
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