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Do we get ripped off?

Do we rip ourselves off?

I think that rookies get caught up in the hype of tri gear when starting triathlon and don't research enough, spend unwisely more so that get ripped off. I remember a post where we all put up the costings of our purchases over a year and they were very high. I spent a modest 400 on my bike and added another 400 to it in upgrades and now im saving for another better bike. Knowing what I know now, and if I could turn back time I can say that Id probably spend more money, but buy better quality gear, and not have to upgrade as much as I am doing now. Also I would not have bought half the stuff I have in my "Tri box of goodies".

As regards price of tri gear. Ireland is v expensive, especially bikes. (if i am wrong someone please show me the shop).Bike quotes are 40-60% more expensive than online and UK.Wetsuits; I got quotes for a blue seventy helix €150 more expensive that I get it online or in UK. I can get some deals but not as good as I would hope to get.

The cost of triathlons here are usually approx 50 euro and they are run well. Not a rip off imo.

The next big rip off ill get will be the swim coaching price ill be told on the phone at lunchtime.



  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    That's absolutely exactly the demo that shops are marketing. I think its summed up well by the fact that the whole image protrayed in EVERY magazine is that '900 is a small budget for wheels'. Your bike came with wheels (most likely) yet everyone believes that they're practically unusable.

    People, myself included, like having what they think of as the best gear and having upgrades in performace that they associate with spending more. My wheels were only 450 though... I'm ashamed to leave my bike in transition a moment longer than necessary, lest I be shamed into a new set of Reynolds of Zipps.

    People aren't unwillingly ripped off, it is completely the image that the sport is selling. If the registration fees for some races are too high, then I won't enter. If the cost were not worth it to me, then I'd ride my commuting bike in races. The gear, the race cost, the whole thing is a luxury as much as women who collect 50 pairs of shoes or my neighbors old Porsches. Luxury things = voluntary rip off.
  • deeessdeeess Posts: 150
    Vendors can only charge what the market supports - so yes, we are authors of our own misfortune.

    It was interesting to see reaction to the F3 (I think) tri at Dorney lake recently - £50ish entry fee but no timing chip, crap management etc. I imagine people will vote with their feet on that one and avoid next year - suggests there are some standards required.

    Tri is a growing sport however and I can envisage a host of new entrants over the next few years ploughing money in without the benefit of experience to direct where it is most efficently spent - you'd think this would help support prices for the products (good or bad) for a while to come.
  • I don't feel ripped off by kit, pretty much whatever we need is available in different models / grades thus giving us choice. Using wetsuits as an example, the Orca S2 is an entry level suit for £100 which i think represents value for money.
    Bikes are a slightly different case but I still think you can get good value for money on a basic bike. I suppose I'm lucky in some respects that I'm so cynical about big bussiness that I never believe anything will make me go faster other than myself.
    What does annoy me is event pricing, £55 ish for a sprint tri seems very high and I begrudge paying it. I will be planning my events next year very carefully and trying to avoid the co orperate type events and concentrating on the smaller local ones, which are usually about £30 and which I enjoy more anyway.
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    Do we get fleeced? Yes – I suspect we do. But then we get fleeced everywhere … those lovely juicy strawberries in Waitrose come off exactly the same conveyor belt as the scabby ones in Tesco… at the same time (R4, Farming Today). Bridgstone tyres? That will be £105 each sir. Oh – the budget tyres… £40 instead. Heinz Baked beans, 45p a can, Morrisons half that. Etc.

    Then there’s the cost of leisure activities anyway… 90 minutes at the cinema… £6? £10? Depending on whether its local flea pit or some ghastly multi screen. A public pool swim – £4? Theatre ticket for 2 hours… £12-£50. Latest DVD rental… a fiver. Fancy a takeaway curry… tenner. Bottle of nice wine, w/out being extravagant… £7-£10. Pizza express visit for a family of five… £60 . League Two football season ticket… dunno… £500 a year? Wembley/Twickenham/Lords ticket for a day’s play/match £60. Round of drinks for a small grop of freinds… £15. So what consitutes “expensive” with that in mind anyway?

    Middle Class sport? Certainly a sport that yes you will shell out a few hundred quid a year to do if not a little more. But then again, those non-aspirational, “working class” types (nothing like my grandfather’s family who worked on the land or the river medway, who _were_ “working” class mind) maybe shell out £40 a month to Sky, have a several hundred pounds 72 inch plasma flat screen TV, and HP on their newish car while wearing Man Utd/Chelsea/whoever football tops at a ton a piece. So I’m not convinced its a middle calss sport by dint of financial outlay – only by aspiration maybe. There seem to be plenty of triathletes driving R reg vauxhalls and the like!

    Race prices – always a bone of contention. You can do an Audax for as little as a fiver… or a TT for a couple of quid. You can do race across britain or whatever its called with james Cracknell for 1K. You can do Pewsey or Highworth tri for about £25 no frills but immensly fun and rewarding – or F3 Dorney for £55. Cotswolds was £40, chip timed, fantastic organisation. Aquathlons cost £12, duathlons the same. 10Ks maybe £8 to £10, HMs £12-£40 (can;t recall what Paris cost now). A “Big Swim” – £10. Sportives… dunno .. £25? So a big swim, a sportive and a 10K race adds up to £40-ish quid… Hmmm… so are triathlons good value then, or are the individual events a rip off? (I do have Economics A-level 1981 so have some answers for the apparent anomalies

    Smaller events have lower overheads and rely on repeat custom probably w/out attracting those from far afield. Big venues attract far flung punters so losing this year’s through displeasure arguably doesn’t matter because they will be more unknowing types next year signing up. I wouldn’t go back to F3 in a hurry, neither would I do bath half. I’d do Paris half again though, as well as the Foxtrot Five.

    To a degree you are held by the short and curlies, but I don’t see much being offered tri wise below £20. Either 220 or Tritalk had a similar discussion a while ago and a plan was hatched to organise a dirt cheap triathlon for “pence” on a non profit basis. that’s gone very quiet.

    So, summarising – yes we probably do get fleeced… some of the time. To a degree we also volunteer to be fleeced in some areas (Oakley glasses v Aldi specs, full carbon tri bling v £800 road bike, £25 carbon skewer…). But we are similarly fleeced and voluntarily so sometimes in every walk of life.

  • Didds,

    Just wondering if the reason for say the Highworth Tri costing £25 as against the £55 for F3 had anything to do with proffit making rather than costs ? or am I just being cynical.

    Ps I did highworth last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, I only just scraped in this year because demand was so high.
  • I came back into the sport in 2008 after a 17 year break. I bought an 80's vitus frame for £60 from a cycle jumble and bought the parts off e-bay inc a Giro aero helmet £45.
    I bought a wetsuit for £70 off e-bay and did Ripon (2008) as my first Tri since 1991. I had never used the wetsuit in open water only tried it on, my first open water swim was the triathlon.
    I was out of the water in 21.36 in 27th out of over 400, my bike was awfull but only to be expected having done next to nothing. My last tri (4th) last year was Bala where i was first over 40.
    This year having bought a deep rim front (£70) and a spinergy rear wheel (£90) which came with a 9 speed block (didn't need to change my 7 speed chain either) both off e-bay, my bike time came down by 5 mins at Ripon but this year i had an awfull run.
    You don't have to get ripped off, i could have spent thousands more on equipment but i'd like to bet i wouldn't be any faster, i would although look better but that's not the reason we do the sport is it? The performance comes from the triathlete, once you've spent a certain amount i.e £600-£700 on a complete bike anything more is just a waste of money, a few seconds in an hour's cycling is only worth it if your going to win or be there about's. And get this...my gear levers are on the down tube also off e-bay!! my goggles are from pre 1991 that have only just started leaking through the foam seal.
    Keswick 8th individual
    Wetherby 16th
    Chester 19th
    Ripon 49th
    Blithfield 27th first 0ver 45
    Allerthorpe 19th
    Stockton 8th individual once cock ups and relay's taken out.
  • willtriwilltri Posts: 436

    Basic price on wiggle £80.00!!

    Time saved per pound £10,000 per second (possibly)
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    that bottle cage HAS to proof that people choose to be ripped off!

    IMS: one reason for the price differential between F3 and Highworth will be the cost to hire the facilities of course... I doubt Highworth pool costs as much as Eton Rowing Club! But AIUI Highworth is a tri club race, versus a promotors race.

    I don;t have an issue personally with a race being a profit orientated event - but it has to provide value for money (a subjective viewpoint...). I could see - in extremes - that a £100 tri may be great value for money wheras a £10 tri could still be a rip off. But it would have to really bad to be poor value for a tenner... and blinding for a ton to be wrth it. I'm not sure I'd cough £100 (well, for an Oly or a srint anyway) to see which it fell in!

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Only if you want to, only if you fall for the marketing hype..even in the face of experience telling you that this, or this, or this & this WILL MAKE YOU FASTER, will not actually unless you put the training in.
    I agree that some kit is overpriced I avoid the issue by not buying, waiting until sale time, wait for next years model to supercede, because as we all know change of color always makes faster, or wait for the analysis to come in that..no...not faster.
    Business in general is obliged to make you want the next best thing..even if its not better, its newer...so buy it.
    I love Garys TV comment in a different post...encapsulates this perfectly.
    So for me it run shoes in the sale/TKMaxx, run tops the same, pretty much all running kit actually, bikes well I don't buy one every year & I shop around of course, swim kit, last lot John Lewis sale, before that JJB & TKMaxx.
    My wInter cycle kit mostly lasting from last year, but new overshoes from Aldi avail from Thursday 17th I believe.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    I echo a lot of above. You can spend silly money if you want to but you do not have to

    My Focus Izalco cost about £900, to buy the components alone would cost that so if I desired to get a carbon frame then I could swap them over as it is so well specced. This is by happy chance as I never thought beyond the purchase to the next level but there must be loads of people who have bought kit, basically been missold stuff that is either not fit for purpose or not upgradeable.

    The trouble is we get memorised by the bling. Who am I trying to kid that an £80 carbon bottle cage will be of benefit if I was insane enough to buy one? Am I that good that this difference is what I need, of course bloody not I am a fat 52 year old knacker who still can't get rid of a couple of pounds around his belly.

    Look on ebay for cycle shorts, a basic pair, yours for under a tenner; triathlon shorts £30!

    Event fees, I have been fortunate that most of the events I have done have been well organised and £35 or under. I wouldn't go to a 'mass' tri like the London but I would go to small local one, OK I don't expect to get a bling laden goody bag but if it is fun, safe and well organised that is what counts. Not chip timed? not a problem, am I that good that millisecond accuracy is vital? No, a few seconds here or there is not really going to bother me.

    Perhaps tri clubs could form a network of mutual support and put on events by triathletes for triathletes, even a series of Super Sprints for a tenner, no goodies, no prize money just the glory, the applause and a certificate, hell that would solve the train or race dilemma. It would encourage greater membership of the respective countries' triathlon associations. If I do 6 races a year and pay £5 for a day licence where is the incentive for me to spend £50 for annual membership? If there was a series of Super Sprints that were affordable they would be a fun, competitive training sessions for my ‘A’ races and the economics would dictate annual membership.
  • GGGG Posts: 82
    In my opinion we get completley ripped off on certain things.

    I think Triathlon does seem to appeal to men experiencing a mid life crises, and that possibly drives the price up and the ammount of "extras" available.

    When I first started running regularly, i had a pair of silver shadows, a cotton shirt and a pair of rugby shorts and I kept training becauseI loved it and wanted to get fit and beat people.

    When I see guys with brightly coloured shoes, compression gear, tri shorts, gps watch, oakleys, those gay little sun visors at a 10k race i wonder what is driving them. Are they hear to be the best they can be or are they here to pose and nonse around because they dont seem to be the guys running quick times.

    Example, skins are around £25 quid. I tried a pair, no real difference, look good though.

  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Agreed there is the 'bling' factor e.g. the £80 carbon bottle cage; I also had/have a pair of Silver Shadows but now would not run in them as I know the difference a good pair makes (Asics are my favourite closely followed by New Balance). Nothing wrong with a cotton T/vest (although they rub my nips something chronic) and rugby/football/running shorts but I wear my tri suit on 10K races as well so that I get continuity.

    I am afraid I am not that good that GPS watches etc would matter to me and again to be honest I cannot be arsed downloading all the info and analysing it. Having said that for my own reasons I do a lot of treadmill work and that has all the info I need - seems to work OK - from being an overweight knacker who would struggle to do 10k in under an hour, I can knock off 10k in 45 with a PB of 44:29, came 16th in my age group out of 186 in the Sheffield 10k (591 out 0f 5,500).

    Some swim coaching wouldn't go amiss but my £89 Orca S2 fits well, doesn't rub and keeps me warm enough. My bike cost £1,200 altogether and was bought after months of research and has certainly paid dividends. I would not change it unless I was to go 'long' and would simply swap over most of the components to a carbon frame as it is well specced otherwise I wouldn't change it as I love it.

    I don't see anything wrong in blokes getting blinged up if it makes them happy (as long as they don't start racking up debt and/or damaging family finances) after all you can't take it with you and I doubt if anyone on their deathbed would regret not spending more time in the office.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    GG wrote:

    Example, skins are around £25 quid. I tried a pair, no real difference, look good though.

    Did you get the right size? My skins look awful, but work quite well.

    I agree with Zacnici, cotton t stay in the gym for me as if i run in them the nips bleed quite badly. I also know what running in the wrong trainers can do, as I very nearly ended up with shin splints as a result. So i would buy 'good' trainers, good tops and compression for recovery. I also have a gps watch, because i'm a geek and i love the stats, it also helps me to pace myself to the speeds that i want, lets me know my speed in speed sessions/tempo runs etc. I find it very helpful. I'm unlikely to win any race, but I find the gps watch very helpful. I don't have one of those stupid visors though...they just look slow
  • GGGG Posts: 82

    Just read my post again. Can I just assure I was not slagging anyone off on the forum or trying to be the big man. At the end of the day we can all do what we want.

    There are expences in traithlon such as bike, race fees, training shoes, wetsuit and almost anything to do with cycling that are expensive but essential (like some race fees).

    I suppose at the end of the day its worth what your willing to pay.

    Im going through a change in my thinking towards sport at the moment after feeling a bit frustrated the last year or so with triathlon. Cross country in the winter and track and upto 10k on the road in the summer is where my heart is. Its just simpler, cheaper and more appealing to me. Run 800m and there is no hiding place, the best pair of spikes wont make much difference. Unlike a TT say where a guy on a hoofing bike could take a few minutes out of you evening though your the fitter man. Thats my main issue.

    Just wanted to explain myself becuase to be fair I did sound a bit of a t**t in my earlier post
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    GG, no need to worry I didn't think that at all about your post. Each to their own, and I know what you mean about the cost to benefit etc. Tri can be expensive particularly compared to running (which is what i did before i started tri) and there can seem to be a bit of posing - but no more so than with running or even in the gym.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Same here, know where you are coming from. I think there are levels where money can buy performance but by carefully applying bang for buck, research and yes training there are improvements to be had but - diminishing returns. And yes it is all too easy to get sucked into the bling thing
  • Triathlon is a funny sport because unless you are in the elite - or a top age grouper - you are really competing against yourself more than the other competitors. We generally measure our successes in terms of time taken rather than our position in the field and yet we try to buy performance gains with every new bit of kit we purchase. If we buy a new, sleeker and more expensive wetsuit (or bike etc) and then get a personal best for that discipline then did we really become a better triathlete? There is certainly an argument that once our performance gains are being limited by the equipment we are using then it is time to improve the gear but of course the lure is there to buy the latest bit of go fast gear and then congratulate ourselves on the new PB... :roll:
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    antonyfromoz wrote:
    Triathlon is a funny sport because unless you are in the elite - or a top age grouper - you are really competing against yourself more than the other competitors. We generally measure our successes in terms of time taken rather than our position in the field and yet we try to buy performance gains with every new bit of kit we purchase. If we buy a new, sleeker and more expensive wetsuit (or bike etc) and then get a personal best for that discipline then did we really become a better triathlete? There is certainly an argument that once our performance gains are being limited by the equipment we are using then it is time to improve the gear but of course the lure is there to buy the latest bit of go fast gear and then congratulate ourselves on the new PB... :roll:
    A PB is a PB though, even if we bought it - if not then i will have to start training more...
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