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The Old Question - which bike etc

ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385

Having completed my first Sprint 2 years ago on a £60 Halfords bike with knobbly tyres, I became hooked and did my first full season of Sprints - using a Giant SCR2 (and even got a 3rd place in my age group 50-55 at the Spalding Tri) I am really hooked and will be embarking on Olympics this season and dare I say contemplating an Ironman next year.

I intend to keep my Giant for training and realise that for the longer distances I need a fairly decent bike. I have been 'Googling' etc and humbly ask the more exprience of you what you think of the following - or indeed other suggestions. Budget preferably not a lot but up to £1.5 K even £2K to £2.5K on a push.

Focus Tria - seems to be highly rated as holding its own against £1500 bikes for what seems silly money

Orbea TR2 - beautiful again seems to be highly rated

Kinetic One - like the custom made apsect

Planet X - strange name but seems quite well rated

I am realsitic that at 51 I am not going to set the Tri world on fire but I am looking for a bike that is fast, forgiving, durable etc. Yes damn it, the Holy Grail of bikes.

Thanks to all in advance for what is the usual newby type dumb question




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    gaterz1981gaterz1981 Posts: 233
    I am looking into a specific TT frame in next year or so. I like the focus one myself. Its a sensible amount of money and looks good. I think it will all come down to personal preference and your sizing.

    Have you looked at quintana roo? If your anywhere near yeovil then go into the triathlon shop there.
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    ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    I had a look at the Q Roo Tequilo and Seduza but the riders' reviews seem to slate everything except the frames. I must admit I am somehwat intrigues by the Focus Tria as the limited reviews so far seem to be very favourable albeit the opinion is that the wheels should be upgraded.

    What I am looking for is something that will be a quantum leap from my existing bike a Giant SCR2 (which I fell off today trying out my new clipless pedals - does everyone do that or am I naturally clumsy?). I would like to compete with the new bike over Sprint and Olympics and next year a full Ironman.

    I seem to be also coming back to the Orbea but for £800 more will I be getting £800's worth of extra performance? I know diminishing returns kick in etc - brain hurts
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    TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    I had a ride on a cannondale slice carbon 105 the other day, which for 1500 is an awesome bike. The best bit is it has a fantastic frame, which is the same at the top end model costing 4000! it has a 105 groupset which is pretty good, the wheels are a possible upgrade tho.

    The best bit about it is, because the frame is so good, and most of the components are pretty good, you can upgrade wheels etc and you wont need to upgrade the frame.

    I will possibly be buying it on friday! either that or I may really treat myself to a felt b2, at 1000 more!
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    treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Well done tommitri,a good choice, I 've been telling others about the value of the slice on various other threads. Your testatmony would be welcome.
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    TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    It was your suggestion that was reason behind the decision treefrog! I went to my local evans...Grrr i know, bloody bike chains, but not much I can do as no local shops stock Cannondale round near me I dont think.

    Anyway I got the chance to test the cannondale and the other one I was looking at the B2 on a trainer, and then a few quick loops around the car-park, I had to plead for that one! and the Cannondale easily matched the B2 which cost a grand more. I think the wheels may need an upgrade at some point, but for 1500 I cant see any other bikes that can match it.

    I'm just hoping when I get out on it properly it will feel as good as it did in the shop!
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    TTX PROTTX PRO Posts: 225
    if it was my money i would go for the Kinetic-One.As strange as it may seem the reason being is that there current TT does look and is aerodynamic and has a lot of very good aspects like the cutouts,you'd think its off a felt B2,the thick seat and chain stays also help in terms of aerodynamics.To top it all off though you have the best advantage over all the others,Custom sizeing,a frame that is built specificly to your body witch is vast advantage it also means you have a better riding possision than any one else and you least likely to have some of the disadvanteges that come with the sport ie.. back pain becouse your in a much better riding possistion and for [color=#8b0000]£1,789.95 [color=#000000][size=2]you cant go wrong.The only downside is that more than one company use this design.Element Six also use the same design but they only do off the shelf sizing.[/color][/size][/color]
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    ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    You know I think I may stump up for the Focus Tria, seems to be highly regarded and by all accounts gives bikes costing almost double a run for their money. Will probably drop in a set of DT Swiss R1900's and swap the Easton Vista's from the Focus onto my Giant SCR2 for training.

    Thanks as always, your thoughts much apprecaited

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    fixiebobfixiebob Posts: 6
    I am new to triathlon but a keen time trial cyclist and have read great things about the planet x bike for the spec it seems great value. A friend of mine just got a Felt B2 for under £2000 and raves about it.
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Zacnici, please let us know what you finally do. I'm particularly interested to see how the Focus Tria turns out. I have recently had my head turned away from the promises of cheap carbon frames in pursuit of lighter and stiffer alloy at the £1000-ish price point and the Tria is another bike that seems to fit the bill.

    Dammit. I was all settled on a Cannondale, too.
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    ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Gosh darn it, have had to make a decision ... I even looked into getting a bike from America, sickening that they can get a bike in dollars that we pay in pounds and even with carriage and duty would save a few bob. I thought there was supposed to be a downturn in the economy, you wouldn't have thought it, not one reply from 5 enquiries after 2 weeks, and these were sites that boasted about international delivery so it's either the old 'you're not American therefore you must be highly suspect' attitude, or they are rolling about in mountains of cash and can't be bothered with my funny limey money or they simply just can't be arsed.

    Drum roll ... decided to get a Focus Tria. I am not dripping with money, the reviews are all favourable and with my Wiggle discount got it for just under £950.

    So now eagerly awaiting my new machine and wil report in due course.

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    ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Well good news and bad news -

    Good news got the Tria, took 5 minutes to set up from the box.

    Bad news took a tumble on a run so hobbling about and not been able to take the Tria out on a spin yet.

    Impressions - the green is not as bad in the flesh.

    Very well nailed together - I would not expect anything else from a German company.

    When you start to tot up the individual component prices it's an absolute steal.

    Top tip - Wiggle give discounts according to how much you have spent cumulatively with them, so if with a mate or two you spend £100 you get the bike for £950 and if you spend £500 get it for £900!! I haven't spent much this year but did get a wetsuit and a few other bits and pieces from Wiggle so I only got £50 off - but better than a poke in the eye.

    Would be nice to have a downloadable PDF manual - in this day why is this such a hard thing to do? Got a generic manual instead with an MTB on the cover - great help!

    Instead of some DT Swiss wheels as in a previous post of mine got some barely used Easton EA70's from a friend (thanks Gary) and swapped those for the Vistas that were fitted.

    So all in all the whole set up has cost me £1,050 (£100 for the Easton EA70's - thanks once again Gary). This is actually money I have now rather than money I will have to save up or borrow. Will it prove to be a performance booster or money down the drain because (it will confirm) I am crap - time will tell but at least I will look good on the event photos and that's the main thing right??

    I am sure that there are better bikes for my level but £800 better? Marginal returns probably, which for the young guns out there are important but for a 51 year old hovering at the mid level for his age group with spondylitis, dodgy left shoulder from an old car accident and a bad back possibly not. In fact with the money I've saved I can always upgrade components as I go along or even swap everything over onto a carbon frame should I decide that is the way to go in the future.

    Will put in a separate post as to options - do I sell the Vistas on ebay or keep them with a set of wet weather rubbers for when it's honking down? Inclined to keep them as not convinced I would get a lot for them.

    Will keep you updated when I actually get mobile again.
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    I'm a new and proud owner of the Cannondale Slice 105. It's an awesome bike for the cost but unless you're an odd size I really think you'll struggle to find one on sale now.

    Having decided to take the plunge a couple of weeks ago I was advised by my local Cannondale dealer that I wouldn't be able to find a 58 or 60 anywhere as they had been sold out for months and the 09 version would be released early (at extra cost) as a consequence.

    I googled the bike and the only one I could find that would fit as at Tri Store in Eastbourne and that one is now in my garage!!!

    Good luck with whatever choice you make.
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    ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Foot suffuciently recuperated and having spent the last week or so setting up the bars, seat etc. took the Tria for a spin. It's certainly nippy! It feels so much more stable than my Giant SCR2, gear changes nice and smooth, brakes progessive. The only problem is because of the paint job, logos and FSA cockpit it looks like I am some kind of pro triathlete and not some 51 year old knacker with a dicky right knee, back, spondylitis and arthrhitic left shoulder ( should be doing tiddlywinks really) - I have nightmares of being overtaken by someone on a GPO pushbike!

    Seriously, this bike suits me very nicely, it has proper tri geometry and as I have been a runner for 30 odd years it should (in theory) allow me to get more quickly into my stride on the run section. I have noticed that friends who have been cyclists until taking up triathlons although faster than me in the bike section using their road bikes are noticeably slower on the run section. Having said that for the first 500 - 750 m I find myslef running awkwardly after leaping (well perhaps performing a gentlemanly dismount) from my Giant road bike.

    My first run out was over a short 12K circuit, there was quite a gusty wind and as I am still tweeking the bars and seat and not used to be being 'aero' thought I would concentrate on getting a feel for the bike, transiting from upright to aero and vice versa. The circuit also includes some 'technical' bends so I was only able to get into aero for a few minutes at a time. Result - I completed the circuit in a comparable time to my Giant road bike but with what seemed to be far less effort, my runners legs felt perfectly at home - woo hoo! When I did get aero I found that I had to immediatley change up a gear as the effort required to cleave my way through the air was reduced and was therfore able to travel faster.

    I found myself accelerating quite dramatically whilst freewheeling on a sub 1% incline, thanks to the Easton wheels (EA70's from a friend, not the standard Vistas) and Schwalbe Ultremo tyres, when starting off from home and on even slight inclines the pace picked up markedly.

    Conclusion, I am very pleased. The geometry should assist and not hinder my strong section - the run and even if I do not set the world on fire with my bike time I am hoping that there will be at least a modest improvement on both my bike and run times.

    If you get together with friends and spend £500 with Wiggle you can pick this bike up for less than £900. The cockpit alone would cost about £350, crankset and BB about £150, SRAM Rival Derailleurs about £60, Wheels and tyres £200, Fizik saddle £60 tot that up and it comes to about £900 so you are getting the frame, headset, cables and bar tape for free - doesn't sound right but it's true - that has got to be a bargain.

    Bopomofo, if you are thinking of the Tria then I happily fall in line with the professional reviewers and recommend this as a nice bike for the money.

    I have saved between £500 and £750 on what I was budgetting for my first proper tri bike and if the time comes when I really need to get a carbon frame I can swap over most of the components and buy upgrades for very little cost.

    Proof of the pudding in the eating they say; my first event is next week, realistically I will still be getting used to a whole new way of riding and my main concern will be to navigate the course safely, the speed will hopefully develop.
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    ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Took the Tria for another spin this morning, still windy but not as gusty as yesterday. The route is a short one of 12K, 14 pronounced bends, another dozen which are deviations from route rather than bends, 60% of the route is on inclines of between 1 and 3% and road surface ranging from average country lane to 'where's the shock absorbers!'. Went aero for about 75% of the time, clocked a time that was 5 minutes faster than yesterday on the same route and 2 1/2 minutes faster than my PB when weather was perfect! Astounded.

    Gear changes nice and positive from the SRAM Rival setup, a marked difference over the Tiagra on my Giant but then that is not to denigrate the Tiagra it does a good job for the price

    I took in the advice given from other postings and found that if I relaxed instead on tightening my grip on the bars when aero that I became much more stable and grew more confident about riding in this style despite the best efforts of some wankers who decided that it would be a great idea to overtake a cyclist on a bend on a country lane even though there was traffic coming from the other direction - but then that's Lincolnshire drivers for you.

    The importance of correct cadence was also evident. I found that jockeying with gears and cadence gave the impression of rapid movement but with stability and fluidity. The muscles employed and foot position is also quite different and with my runners legs it seemed more natural and less fatiguing(been running with my Dad since I was 10 - back in 1967 there were no such things as people running on the street - used to get some quite funny looks).

    So Bopomofo and Gaterz1981, in my humble opinion this is a cracking bike for the price, a bargain at £999. If you clock up £500 worth of purcahses with mates at Wiggle you can get a discount of £100 and £100 of purchases will get you a discount of £50.

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    steverstever Posts: 1
    great to hear that the new bike is great

    some questions

    is this your only "proper" roadbike

    my prob is i can only afford 1 decent roadbike

    im swithering between a "tri" bike like the tria or go for a sportive bike

    and stick some aero bars on as i plan to move from sprint tris to longer distance

    standard tris next year [:D]

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    ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    I still have my £60 Halfords Apollo MTB and last year which was my first full season my wife bought me a Giant SCR2. That was a quantum leap from the Apollo, the SCR2 is about 6Kgs lighter but funnily enough the Apollo was great for climbing up a local hill as it had a 28:28 gear ratio whereas the SCR2 is 30:25

    Anyway the SCR2 was/is a great little bike for teaching roadcraft (and will be used for training) as I have always been a runner and last year was the first time I rode a bike over 1/2 mile since I was a nipper (barring my first tri in 2006). My LBS suggested the SCR3 would be good enough but the SCR2 would have the edge. In retrospect I should have gone for the SC3 and saved £75.

    It became apparant in this season that I was just hitting a brick wall and was not progressing on my bike time. After a lot of research I came to the conclusion that my leg muscles were so used to running that trying to get them to be good 'cyclist' muscles was problamatic. The research unearthed some scientific papers which cocncluded tha a tri specific geometry bike eases transition from bike to run and utilises the running muscles more effecetively. But which bike - in this game it is about dimishing returns and after lots of research and soul searching got the Tria. Impressions as posted above.

    What can I say.

    If you are not a cyclist but are a seasoned runner then it may be worthwhile biting the bullet and getting a tri specific bike like the Tria rather than a road bike as the tri bike will utilise your muscles better. If you go for the Tria and you gang up with a group of mates to buy stuff from Wiggle you could get £100 knocked off, even if you only buy a tri suit and running shoes the £100 spend will get a 5% or £50 discount. The component cost alone is about £900 so it's fantastic value and has a proper tri geometry which is what you

    The aero position is definitely something you have to get used to but better on the Tria (V comfy and stable) than bolt on bars on a road bike (took mine off in fact as I weaving all over the place).

    If you have £900 - £1,500 spare a tri bike may be the best option, if not a 2nd hand SCR3 or equivalent will get you around the course, be kind on your pocket and if you are neither a cyclist nor a runner may be better as you will develop cyclists legs and the bike leg is where the time is to be had.

    I'm no expert, still learning but the Tria seems so far a good decision and the way to go for me.

    Hop that helps



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    ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Final post on this thread from me.

    On all my training runs turning in average improvement of 10% on my times. Focus was yet to be tried in competion.

    Did the Norwich Sprint, did a projected time based on my old bike and turned in a time about 4 minutes under on the Focus (best guestimate as timing for my and many other competitors went skewiff). Overtook or caught up with about 12 others (I had a rubbish swim) only 2 people overtook me and they were those who should have done, i.e. 23-25 year olds on £3,500 plus bikes. Could have gone faster but not used to the speed it can churn out so hung back a bit as my intent was to get a feel for the bike under race conditions so might have been able to shave off another minute or so, but objective met and more.

    Not only that, have been turning times for the 5Km run of 22mins on tarmac and 24mins X country - this time just over 20 minutes and that was X country! Legs were much fresher into the run and got into my stride almost immediately. Not bad for a 51 year old with knackered knees, back etc.

    Pudding eaten and proved.

    Met 2 other guys who had the Tria and they were similarly chuffed.

    I am not going to say any more now in case lots of people start buying these and knock out edge that I now may have!!

    Thanks for all your views long may we be tri-ing
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Exellent info, Zacnici...

    My next bike choice has been whittled down to either the Tria or the Dolan Mythos. As you see, I'm dithering over whether to go for a TT bike or a decent road bike. My current steed is an old Halfords Valour with a few upgrades.

    I thought I'd settled on the Dolan, to be honest... but now you've got me wavering again.

    Choices, choices.
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    combatdwarfcombatdwarf Posts: 258
    Whilst it is a while away I am hoping to do the 70.3 at Wimbleball next year and I am dithering between my trusty roadbike (Spesh Allez with a triple) or looking at a TT (Kinetic-One or Slice/Tria)- what is the Tria like up hills? I prefer the aero position but I am a touch concerned that out of the seat climbing and changing gears might be a little challenging (without STIs)...
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    TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    Your info on your experiences with the tria has been really enlightening mate, if thats the right way to put it!

    Ive been thinking about a new bike for a while, and will unfortunately be posting another one of those what bike questions again as it has come down to either a Planet-x stealth or kinetic one TT bike.

    But your info on the tria has made me think about it as a possibility, with the spare 500 (as I was looking to spend about 1500) could go on a set of planet X wheels.
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    djtvdjtv Posts: 28
    Excellent posting Zacnici, very informative. I too am seduced by the great value of Focus bikes and was dithering between the Tri set up and the "standard" road bike such as the Cayo.

    Does anyone know what the difference would be in time saved on a Sprint/Olympic Tri between a Tri bike and a Road bike with clip on Tri bars?

    I guess there is also a saving in the run to be had from the more efficient set up on the Tri bike vs. the Road bike. Is this quantified anywhere?

    I do like going out for my long rides at the weekend and if I was to invest in a new bike I would want to use that for more than just racing, I hear that the Tri bike can be a little uncomfortable and hence would not normally be used outside of specific training and racing, is that correct?

    Thanks in advance.


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    combatdwarfcombatdwarf Posts: 258
    Just to add another degree of confusion to the mix - is there a significant benefit from a full carbon TT (Kinetic-one/slice) or an aly frame (Focus/Specialized)?? Seeing the review in this months 220 there seems not - what do people think?
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    ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Glad you found my postings useful, I like to contribute where possible and have gained a great deal of info from postings

    My understanding is that a Road bike with the same frame composition, weight and component set up will always be faster per se than the Tri bike as a 'cyclist' uses a larger muscle group than when using a Tri bike. The Tri bike is designed for the lean forward, pedalling back and down position which although is less efficient in terms of sheer power output then gains an advantage through greater use of 'aero'.

    By fitting aero bars to a road bike, the same offset of power output loss to aero advantage is achieved however the aero position on a road bike throws out the weight distribution which further degrades performance.

    Again my understanding is that the Tri bike utilises those muscles employed in running and hence there is a quicker bike to run transition, whereas there is the 'jelly leg' squat run experienced when transiting from a road bike. I further understand, and please correct me if I am wrong, that if you are a cyclist the muscle groups developed are not only different to those employed in running but could actually hinder running performance.

    I have always been a runner, never picked up a bike until 18 months ago and as a consequence was getting panned by the guys that I meet up who have always been cyclists, on the other hand even though I am 15 years older than some I was beating them on the 5km run by up to 8 minutes. It was to capitalise on my runners legs (and also to look good in the photos - sorry bike is not red) that I went for the Tria after ages researching. The decision was made by wife who basically said 'will you come away from the computer and buy the damned bike'.

    The Tria in only a short period of time has appeared to live up to expectations. It is faster and uses my muscles more efficiently and leaves me with fresher legs. I just could not believe that I had not only knocked 2 minutes off my PB for the 5Km run (which was on tarmac) but had in fact knocked 4 minutes off my PB for the run on a similar surface i.e. gravel and sand. This I can only attribute to having fresher legs as described before.

    Now if you are a cyclist then possibly getting a Tri specific bike may not be the best option, from what I have read it would probably be best to get a road bike properly set up for aero a la time trial and pull out all the stops in the bike leg and accept that you will lose a minute or so on the run. But again I stand to be corrected.

    The only event thus far completed was the Norwich Sprint (2 other Trias), whilst many parts of Norfolk are as flat as the proverbial, the route was undulating and had a couple of 5 - 10% inclines. Never had to stand up and stomp and kept aero for about 90% of the time. Will let you know about the stand up bit in a few weeks as doing the Lincoln sprint and there is a sod of a short hill at Burton. There I will probably fall over as not only do I have knackered knees, shoulder and back but also have a slight balance problem.

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    djtvdjtv Posts: 28
    Zacnici, thanks again for the valued input.

    I too am a relatively good runner in Triathlon terms with respect to other racers and my other disciplines so I would put myself in the "runner" category as oposed to the "cyclist" category.

    I was approaching the bike/run conundrum from a different perspective than you. During a race I am running for half the time I am riding and hence if I can save the same % of time on the bike as I lose on the run through my bike choice then I have a net gain still.

    i.e. I am prepared to gain 4 mins on the bike at a cost of 2 mins on the run.

    So whilst being a "Runner" I am now tending towards going for the road bike set up as opposed to the Tri set up. This appears contrary to your advice, now I am confused.



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    ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
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