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Bike advice

I'm an average 'compete for fun' type triathlete. Olympic time 2:45 hrs and IMUK 70.3 7:30 hrs. My weakest event is cycling. I have a Giant OCR - approx 5 years old but well maintained. Original purchase price around £500.

I can take advantage of the cycle to work scheme and get a bike of value up to £1,000 at good discount (about 40% off), but I was wondering if I was really going to notice that much benefit in upgrading to that level - aside for having a spangly new bike of course!

I'm aiming at a full Ironman (UK) next year and want to make the bike element as 'easy' as possible. Alas motorbikes are not permitted!!

Any guidance greatly appreciated.


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    Hi Andy,

    Sorry to disappoint you but a new bike will not make much difference to your time. A new bike might be a bit more rigid on the road, so all your power goes into your cycling but I don't think that will make a huge difference, unless you previous bike was a complete wreck?

    The only upgrade where I noticed a difference was going from moutain bike to road bike!

    Only hard work and a proper training schedule will get the results you are after.

    Are you part of a cycling club? Doing 10 and 25 mile TT's will certainly help with speed.

    What training do you currently do on the bike? Or do you just get on the bike and cycle so many miles, then get off?

    When I am racing, I try to do at least 3 structured rides per week - one long endurance ride (30-40 miles), one short TT (probably 10 miles) and one interval session where I would do one mile slightly faster than race pace and one mile recovery. I would repeat this 5 times.

    This is based on doing sprint/standard distance triathlons. Your endurance ride and TT would need to be longer if you are doing half IM but you obviously need to work up to these distances. Now is a good time to start.

    Make sure you always have a good 10 minute warm up before doing any of the fast/interval type rides and a good cool down and stretch afterwards. A lot of people don't appreciate the importance of stretching, especially men! It is only since I became injured that I make sure I have a good 20 stretching session at least 3 times a week.

    Hope this helps.

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    MikeyBMikeyB Posts: 135
    I agree that the best way to improve your performance on the bike is by having a structured training program that you consistently stick to. There is no quick fix to buy performance.

    However upgrading from a standard road bike to a triathlon bike with aerobars and appropriate geometry would give benefit to you. At least thats what i keep telling my wife, planning on getting my new tri bike at the beginning of next year.


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    BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    I have to both agree and degree with the previous two posts. Whilst I agree that the best way to improve is through a properly structured training programme a better bike does make a difference. I also have an OCR 3 which I've owned for about 4-5 years. A couple of years ago I upgraded to a Giant TCR Ultrega worth about £1300 at the time. There is no question that the quality of the ride is better, it is smoother, the gears and brakes are more responsive and the overall ride feels far more efficient. Whether or not it is responsible for vastly better times is another thing as I've never tested one against the other (one comes out for the winter, the other for the summer). I do agree with the other guys in as much as I doubt I would benefit greatly from spending another £1000 on a bike.

    There is always the option of upgrading your current bike, but for the money you would spend I hardly think it's worth it.

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    I would also chime in the side of "it's not [just] about the bike" opinions and say that you could probably hope to get some improvements in your training, feel more comfortable on the bike if you:

    - get the bike fitted properly (if you haven't done that already) by a professional service (it is surprising how easy it is to get the measurements and estimations wrong when you try to do it yourself, you just can't see the angles and stuff as well if you are looking at your own position)

    - get some really good clothing (Assos seem to be pretty fantastic and I have started dropping some "if someone wants to buy me something for Christmas" hints around, so we'll see if I'm wearing any of that in 2008) that is comfortable and appropriate for the weather conditions you'll be training in

    - get some coaching

    I have often witnessed the "if I spend money on it, maybe I will be more motivated/induced by guilt to train more on the bike" phenomenon and I think it is usually putting the cart before the horse. Train hard, then spend money on it later (e.g. when you've trained tirelessly and put in some good, smart miles, and it comes time to get new wheels, upgrade them and get some awesome wheels).
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    AndyMAndyM Posts: 7
    Thanks guys and gals for your words of wisdom. I think you must all be my subconscious sitting on my shoulder.

    Alas I guess as rpopper probably gueesed whilst I hoped spending a few quid more (maybe less on the cycle to work scheme) may have made my life a bit easier on those gruelling 112 miles (I will really struggle here - made the cut off at IMUK 70.3 by 10 mins!), deep down I guess I knew that hard work was the key. There are no quick wins in Ironman

    Sarah I wish I was as disciplined as you (or had as much time - not sure which) to make my training more structured and dedicate so much time a week to cycling, but you have all set my head in the right direction as where I need to be come September 2008.

    Thanks again for your advice to all. Much appreciated.

    Happy 'tri-ing'

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