Home Chat General Chat

Shoes & Bikes

Hi all,

I'm a complete newbie to triathlon and am just getting myself kitted out. I have £500 to spend on a bike and have been thinking of 2nd hand. Any recommendations would be greatfully recieved.

Also i'm confused with the whole shoes and cleats thing.I take it I buy them both separately and the cleats depend on the pedals? Which is best for someone on a budget? I really have no clue about them so the more info anyone is willing to give me the better.

Many thanks



  • risris Posts: 1,002
    hi matt, welcome to the forum and the world of tri...

    i'll let someone else persuade you that the 500quid you have for a second hand bike is best spent on a £1000 carbon monster

    if you are really interested in clipless (cleated) shoes then i think you have 2 routes open - mtb (spd) and road (spd-sl/look type). they each have their benefits and it depends on what sort of cycling you do and how you want to use them.

    mtb type (spd's) are a really good pedal/cleat for the beginner. they are small-ish, metal studs with a 2-bolt fixing. there are tons of pedals and shoes available to match pretty much any budget. wiggle do a really good budget road shoe that takes spd's. you can easily get spd shoes with a recess in the sole to take the cleat so that you can walk (or perhaps even jog) easily in them. they make a great commuter set up - easy to walk in and also easy to get used to and get out of. i reckon you could do shoes and pedals for £60-70 new, perhaps.

    road type (spd-sl / look ) are a bit more geared to the road rider. the cleats are much bigger with a 3-bolt fixing. you can't get the cleat recessed so walking is a real bugger, it's something like a mincing duck trying to fall over backwards. the connection to the pedal is a lot larger, stronger and more secure, the upside is that you feel a good power transfer and control. the downside is that to start with they are harder to get in and out of. most tri shoes are this type. you'll spend nearer £100 for this set up, i think.

    if it sounds like i am promoting the spd's more then you be right for a beginner. i've got both sorts on various bikes and much prefer spd-sl's. once you've used them for a while spd's feel really loose and wobbly. cleats come with the pedals so just make sure the shoes can take that sort of cleat (2-bolt /3-bolt thing).

    sorry, long and rambling, but hopefully helpful.
  • muffsmuffs Posts: 17
    Thanks for the advice. Although it's probably the route I would like to do to get a full carbon bike finance isn't really an option for me at the moment. So the £500 bike is all i've got. I've been looking at a few Trek 1.2 bikes and also Specialized Allez. Are they any good. Bearing in mind I am a complete novice.

    I would also feel a little out of place on a carbon bike (beginner looking like a pro but not delivering the performace and all that). I've already made on cock up like that by buying an Ironman Tri suit (such an idiot).
  • risris Posts: 1,002
    £500 can go a long way! don't worry about looking all the gear and no idea, we all do it.

    i think in terms of a road bike the thing to watch for (and it is mentioned in the2nd hand bike thread) is some frames are quite relaxed/leisure type. they will be fine for starting out on and getting used to but they are harder at getting speed out of them.

    spesh (allez and even more the secteur) are pretty relaxed frames. trek are a bit more racy geometry that should last you a bit longer. i have an allez that i bought 18months ago and mid-way through last season i realised that i was going to struggle to wring much more speed out of it.
  • jacjac Posts: 452
    Try out a few in that range and see what you think..and, as mentioned, in other posts make sure it's a good fit. Get help with this from a decent LBS.
    There are plenty of decent entry-level bikes in the £500 range. My Allez served me well. I upgraded the wheels but overall it's a pretty solid starter. I posted the second fastest bike split in a tri on it, so it's certainly not sluggish.
    I'm sure others will mention the Boardman range at Halfords. They have had great reviews and a mate has the £1,500 pro carbon, which he loves. The starter, at £499, seems pretty well specced and is lighter than some more expensive bikes out there.
    But try out as many as you can.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Amen to above, spend no more than £500 on the first bike because you WILL want to sell spare relatives, furniture etc for that £4K mega bare carbon bling bike but you need to get some miles under your belt before you can decide from your own experince what you want from a bike. If you hunt around you can get a decent steed but please have a search of the forum and ask away we are a friendly bunch
  • muffsmuffs Posts: 17
    Thanks for the advice. It's all a bit of a mine field. I know I'll get hooked on it and am already pricing up the family. I may even be able to cram a few refugees in the loft if the price is right. But I need to justify it all first and start somewhere with the cheaper stuff to begin with. I can always flog it on ebay to raise money when i'm ready to upgrade.

    Thanks again

  • risris Posts: 1,002
    is there any chance that your work might be on a bike to work scheme? i picked up my spesh that way.
  • muffsmuffs Posts: 17
    I've been contemplating that one. They do offer the scheme however i'm looking for another job. I've been toying with the idea of staying just so I can take them up on the offer but I wont be able to cope with another year.
  • My first 'proper' bike was a Specialized Allez and I still love it after 15 months. To save money buy the 09 model. If you qualify for the Cycle to Work scheme, and your employer will play ball, you will save around 35% on EVERYTHING. Details at http://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/. It is essential to get your bike set up properly so go to a proper bike shop who will measure you 100 ways and then set up the bike to fit. In my opinion you will be better off this way than buying a 2nd hand bike of higher calibre.
Sign In or Register to comment.