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Major Contraversy!

I'm going to be deliberately contraversial here and stir the pot! Here goes...

The profusion of "cheapest" & "rip-off" flavoured threads lead me to surmise that many members have had little or no sporting background and indeed have got into sport later in life (better than never ... I know , I know!)

There seems to be a bit of a mis conception that sport and exercise should be free and cheap, and yes it should be if you are doing noncompetitive sport or a bit of leisure/ fit for life activity. However if you get involved in competitive sportbe prepared to pay for it and be prepared to train properly for it - not have a brisk walk.

Decent kit for any sport is expensive - you get what you pay for and UP TO A POINT better kit will return a better performance (due to better comfort, performance or ergonomics).

There is NO SUBSTITUTE FOR TRAINING & FITNESS (regardless of kit) and a competitive athlete will have an active lifestyle (cycle to work, walks with family etc) and to do yourself justice at any event you have to do at least 1 proper hour per day every day

Entry to all sports evnts is costly because it actually COSTS THE ORGANISERS quite a bit to stage them (they don't host them as a reward for all those people who train

...... and lastly triathlon is a very expensive sport (club rowing its just club membership travel fees and entry fees). In triathlon you have to pay all the fees and kit for 3 sports.

If you turn up to an event on with speedos, a cheap dual suspension moutain bike and cheap canvas plimsoles you'll have saved money but you'll be TOASTED regardless of natural ability.

Discuss (as I run for cover!)



  • I may try the speedos, mountain bike and plimsoles. Sounded like a challenge...

  • I for one agree with you treefrog, there is nothing you have said that i can find to disagree with! But i think all those threads regarding "cheapest" and "rip off" are not directly due to people wanting to get into triathlons for the absolute smallest outlay. I think its more about VALUE for money. I for one am new to the sport and am not one for buying the cheapest of anything (just ask the wife) - i also do not want to get swept away and buy kit that is too elite for my current level in the sport. Therefore i am concerned with VALUE, not cheapest, and QUALITY, not rip-off.

    Those who have been in the sport for a while have invaluable experience in buying kit and us newbies are hoping we can get some buying tips from the forum - thus the questions on cheapest and rip-off.

    However, and like i said to start with, i entirely agree with your point of "you get what you pay for", and that sport is not FREE!
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    I've tried to post a long reply, but keep getting an error message.

    Basically, I agree to a point, but I think tri is very expensive compared to other sports. You could play say football or squash to a pretty decent competetive level with decent kit and equipment but you wouldn't have to spend anything like what you would for triathlon.

    The football equivalent of an "all the gear" £4000 carbon bike is a pair of boots costing £150.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    I disagree with the statements to a certain degree. Treefrog, I note that your stating triathlons are expensive and they are. However from what you say, it seems your trying to alienate those who

    a) don't have loads of spare cash/ don't earn loads of cash

    b) those who want to try the sport incase they don't like it.

    In the case of b) is it not better to work your way up to that nifty looking bike, or the new running shoes after rewarding yourself after having completed your first triathlon. Yes the some of the gear is cheap, but its cheap for reason. Buying a cheap pair of running shoes is never going to be same as buying a pair of newton's but its what you get out them that is the key.

    I for one would take no notice of someone who turned up in speedos, t-shirt and plimsoles. I would have no idea what background they had, at the end of the day its the sport they are interested in.

    Personally speaking, I was glad I bought the cheap end of the scale bike as I realise that I do enjoy the sport and my cheap bike will now serve me well as a training bike.

    Also in this day in age, we should be encouraging folks to exercise when they can, if you have a spare hour every day then fair play to you. I spend most of mine travelling about all over the place and usually can only spend about 4hrs a week tops at the moment. Does this mean I should be alienated from the sport? I would say to no to that. I know I'm never going to be an elite athlete and win gold at the olympics but I still enjoy the training and the sport in general.


  • al_fordal_ford Posts: 119
    Spot on treefrog.

    Here's controversial - I don't think triathlon is that expensive. After you have the bike (£500-£1000), wetsuit (£100) and trainers (£70) you can be fairly competitive at age group level.

    You'll need trainers for most sports and if you are a keen cyclist you've already got a half decent bike good enough to compete in tri's. A wetsuit you can get second hand if you choose.

    The expense comes when you start to look at the nice shiny extra you can buy to make yourself more competitive. Thi sis a personal choice not a necessity.

    The most expensive part of my training is the £15 a week I fork out for swiming and car parking at the local pool. Cycling is free and so is running.

    As treefrog says - let's stop whinging and get on with training. You only have to pay what you want to for kit. Yeah we all want good value and the internet shopping phenomenon has seen a rise of everyone looking for the cheapest available with no regard to service.

    If you want an expensive sport look at horse riding, sailing, motor sport, mountian biking (yes you do have to replace broken kit after almost every race!), flying, parachuting, sky diving, climbing ... the list goes on.

    How much did I pay to train yesterday....oh yeah nothing!
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    shadoweone my point is that exercise is and should be cheap and should be encouraged but that the participation in competitive sport demands a siginicant outlay and the commitment to proper training.

    I believe that many people are labouring under the misconception that competitive sport should be for free and that its just not fair that kit costs so much - nevermind having to actually pay to enter an event (which will be hard work!)

    You are quite right that the cost of competitive sport should not be prohibitive to those who do not have the ability to spend loads and that a good athlete on low-end kit will hammer a less able athlete using cutting edge kit, but the plimsole /make it yourself brigade do not have a mission.

    As for time to spend training many people would train more if they could, and they compete knowing that they won't win but these people would train more and do want to improve , in fact do want to win.

    Triathlon is a competitive sport it demands a certain minmal outlay and commitment to training if you meet these demands you will progress and enjoy it

  • See i kind of agree and disagree,

    Kit for triathlon is obviously going to be more epensive then other sports people tend to play, carbon fibre is more expensive then leather FACT.

    so i wouldnt of bought a nice shiny bike and all the bits if i couldnt afford them (at the time.) But as someone said earlier you get what you pay for.

    i agree that training is cheap, get out and run - get on your bike and ride.

    BUT entering triathlons themselves are very expensive based on number of entrants comparitivley. (especially anything with MAZDA in the title)

    add this to the fact that you have to "enter early to avoid dissapointment" and your looking at 3 or 4 entries online at the same time which is up to £200+ in one hit. A a 24 year old paying a morgagte this is the side i view as expensive!

    my training partner and i are looking at doing a sprint distance around the local area (swim in our pool, bike out and back to a park for the run) but this is missing one of the main parts of races, the camaraderie of other athletes you have never met before!
  • How about just doing more small races around the country, that are cheaper. granted, the atmosphere isn't the same, but it's either money or racing. And if you're really bothered about missing out on the bg events, train harder, get sponsorship! :P
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    Treefrog, I agree that exercise should/ is cheap but my point is that we should not discount those simply because they don't have the latest flashy gear. Yes the basic kit is there and this can be sorted quite readily and affordable, but some folk simply don't have the cash. On that basis, should we ignore them? I think that is very narrow minded.

    Its free to go out running, going to the pool will cost £3/£4 and cycling speaks for itself but your last statement is the one that I really annoyed me. If someone does turn up in t-shirt, plimsoles etc should they be discounted? No.

    I personally don't think triathlon is that expensive. For decent mid-ranged kit that an average person will buy then its not that expensive.

    On the point of winning, I want to win everything I particpate in, I hate losing but the fact is that I know I'm up against elite athletes who have better coaching etc, does this put me off - No.

    At the end of the day without having new people enter the sport then its lost.
  • I got the impression that what treefrog is saying is not that people should be excluded, more that you have to accept things in this world cost money, especially triathlon. You don't get nothing for free! Of course people shouldn't be discounted because they have cheap/midd-range priced kit. But if something's expensive, it's expensive. It's not about accepting people, it's about accepting that triathlon is an relatively expensive sport.
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    It strikes me that in this world you only ever get what you pay for! So if you get cheap races you get a lack of marshalls and facilities.

    Seems that you pay around £6-£10 to enter a run at 10: so if tri is three sports then £25-£30 quid seems right!

    When it comes to kit, well theres only so much that is esential and the rest is only if you want it. The trouble is when you start with best intentions not spend your life savings it all changes and you wont to upgrade top carbon and newton's. If you aint got the cash you just need to race to what you can afford.

    treefrog isnt excluding people just making the point that its going to cost, and thats the way it is!
  • EdstgEdstg Posts: 83
    After the initial outlay there are very few costs involved at all. I keep hearing on this site that there are great and cheap traithlons all over the country(except london of course), so there is VALUE if you look for it. However the bigger events are costly to put on and complex to organise. I know everyone seems to bitch about London but imagine the logistics involves in getting 10,000 triathletes competing over 2 days over different distances and i think you get an idea of why it is expensive. I've done it a few times and have never seen any problems anywhere, except people on cheap bikes getting in my way(JOKE)

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Shop around boys & girls..I for one have never paid full price for trainers, I only got Newtons after umming & ahhing when I got 25% off the top, that being the most I have paid for runners ever..my Xmas prezzie to me. I love Assos kit..I watch wiggle, parker International etc for their best deals & buy when they are cheap (F1 uno bibs 07 model £58.67, your bum will thank you so will your bank account.) Stll more than some are willing to pay, but I am not accumulating large piles of high priced kit, but I do cycle to work every day, I do not drive, & teach 3+ spin classes per week so my behind luuuurves a little luxury. Not sure if that contributes to the debate or not..oh & I do know folk who tain train train & enter 1 or 2 events a year..thats not expensive.
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595

    Looks like we're all agreed on a few levels... that getting into the sport need not break the bank (a swimming costume plus a second hand commuter bike plus something to run in and hey presto - you're a triathlete... (provided some of your kit is red)) but there seems to be division over the cost of events.

    It's inevitable that events with a certain cachet will bump up the entry fees - I don't want to pay for an entry to London as it doesn't seem worth it, though for me there's the additional expense of travelling down from Yorkshire. Similarly, some other "high profile" (read, professionally marketed) events seem distinctly pricey to me.

    I like to engage in discussions around price because I'm English and like a good moan, and because I work as a buyer and have an inability not to seek to understand cost (!) but ultimately the choice of whether to enter a £65 event or a local evening duathlon for £2 is up to me and I will vote with my wallet.

    I neither begrudge nor envy people who choose to ride London on a £4k bike. If I felt that the only way to get the level of competition I want or need was to enter expensive events then I might feel more annoyed, but I'm not all that good, so I can be competitive in a local event, enjoy myself and not feel robbed for entry fees!

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Hear hear..a good point very well made.
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    I have competed in a high level club triathlon where a punter actually did turn up in speedos, a dual suspension Toys R Us bike and plimsoles amidst earnest guys who had trained but were on old 5 speed racers, with wind-surf type wet suits and the silver shadowsand then the serious club racers. The club racers had a good time, the earnest guys enjoyed it and some gotten bitten, but the punters were a joke and should not have been allowed to race!

    How do I know this - because I was one of the trained earnest guys (I was super fit for rowing & my bike was a top end DeRosa at the time). I came last in the swim by a long way I was in the top15 in the cycle and then died a million deaths on the run to finish near the bottom; but at least I showed repect to the sport and my fellow competitors unlike the clown in the plimsoles.

    The penny also dropped that coming last-ish is crap and that I had to invest time and money in order to do myself justice. I did not compete in another triathlon again until I had done the specific training and had the correct kit and guess what I was in the middle of the pack

  • EdstgEdstg Posts: 83
    sorry thats a step too far for me - one of the joys of triathlon is that it is not elitist and people in plimsoles have as much right as the man in his newtons, and as far as i have experienced those in plimsoles often get cheered louder than the "serious" age groupers on tri bikes.
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595

    Hmm, I can't tell if tf's tongue is in his cheek or not there!

    If the punter in plimsolls with a crap bike has paid the same entry fee as you and doesn't impede your progress, or behave in a dangerous or offensive manner then I reckon he has as much right as anybody else to be out on the course.
  • bathtubbathtub Posts: 280
    treefrog wrote:

    How do I know this - because I was one of the trained earnest guys (I was super fit for rowing & my bike was a top end DeRosa at the time). I came last in the swim by a long way I was in the top15 in the cycle and then died a million deaths on the run to finish near the bottom; but at least I showed repect to the sport and my fellow competitors unlike the clown in the plimsoles.

    Sorry, I dont quite get this but in what way did you show respect to the sport and fellow competitors as opposed to "the clown in plimsoles"
  • I love competing in all my local tri's/aqua/dua's. But i'm realistic about my performance. As long as I can see/feel improvement from event to event, and my times reduce (even only by seconds) then i'm v happy.

    All the events i've entered from 2000+ to under 100 people have all had the same feeling - Competing for personal acheivement is just as important as the gifted few how can acheive a podium finish.

    Local tri clubs will no longer exist if they only accept elite athletes with all the gear.

    If we are starting a culture of "you can't play in those", whats next, will we be putting maximum swim times to alienate slow/beginner swimmers.

    I hope this thread was started as a discussion exercise, not a statement in elitism.

  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    When I started competitive running I used to wear Dunlop Greenflash pumps,and got a few reasonable results.So if I choose to turn up at a Triathlon and use the same footwear I would be treated as a joke.Buy what you want,wear what you want,race where you want.I still rate the Hi tec Silver Shadows as some of the best value trainers available.A number of people seem to think that high value equipment is a substitute for less training,a glance at the results for the London Marathon since its inception shows a huge downturn in sub 3 hour finishers as the years have progressed yet entries have gone up and equipment quality has improved.

    Oh and I did manage a 10.4 sec 100m wearing the Greenflash pimps.
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    The respect thing is simple I have a bucket load of respect for the guy who dressesup in a chicken suit and does the marathon etc, but I just cannot fathom how or why an untrained person would turn up to an event in dodgy kit. I do not begrudge him, really, but I do have to question his motive - does he know what its all about. Hence the original point do those who question the cost of kit & entries and talk about a brisk walk as part of training know what triathlon is about.

    Yes it is about enjoyment but I do not enjoy losing

    I was always under the impression that evryone was out to win (whether to win means the race outright or your age group, set a PB or beat your mate/rival) I cannot understand that an athlete would enter a race not wanting to win (again I use "to win" in its most catholic sense) and the plimsole brigade to my mind are like that.

    (Nivagh at that particular race he did impede me mucking about on the bike course)

    I remember IM Austria some years ago a friend of mine entered and did not train to save his pride he went and did it he dropped out 1st lap of the bike suffering from cramp .. no suffering from delusions more like!

    Anyway lets not get too worked up about it all!

  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    ps lets not let this get out of hand it was meant to stir things up and to point out that 1. Triathlon is a demanding and serious competitive sport and should be treated as such 2. success comes through investment of time and money 3. If you're not prepared to work at it and spend you will not fulfill your potential (aka FAIL for the non PC) and that is not really much fun.

    I am genuinely sorry if I annoyed anybody with what is an elistist philosophy

  • jonnnijonnni Posts: 32
    Hey great discussion

    For me it is about enjoyment. One should not judge others for how they get their enjoyment (as long as they don't disrupt others)

    Let's be clear I am definitely middle of the pack (or lower) but I think we should all be a little more tolerant - we don't know and should not judge the plimsol guys background, motives or goals

    I did a 10k run last year and some guy turned up in green flash (wasn't you Jon E was it?) and a trench coat. I stood next to him in my running gear and Sauconys with a 'what the fxxk are you doing here' smirk on my face. As I said I am middle of the pack so did 46 mins and he was well ahead of me.

    It's not about gear it's about bottle and enjoyment

    ps can you get arrested for excessive use of brackets (or parenthesis) in an online forum?

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  • jonnnijonnni Posts: 32
    I think people who post more than 30 lines have no place in a modern forum!

    Only joking - Great post gripper

    Yep all abilities should be welcomed

    I am never going to win a Triathlon - it is not that I am not competetive it's because I am 40 and 14 stone and never sat on a road bike until 2008.

    Yes I know we all have choices and theoretically I could train hard and win my age group but do you know what? - I just love being out there giving my all - that's winning for me!

  • jonnnijonnni Posts: 32
    Hate to be picky but isn't it controversy?

    These poeple who just don't compite at speelling - realy they shold not even enter!
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    I am reminded of a story i heard many many years ago, no doubt aprocryphal.

    A MAJOR photographer (Lichfield springs to mind? Could have been david bailey...) received an invite to a dear friend's wedding. He asked what they would like as a wedding present.

    They replied they would like HIM to take the wedding photographs. He politely declined saying he wanted to relax and n ot have the palaver of all the equipment etc. But they insisted, saying it was THE best present he could give them. He relented.

    On the day he turned up with an instamatic... no 35mm with super dooper lenses, light meters etc etc. Just an instamatic. They were mortified.

    The pictures?

    Apparently... absolutely brilliant. Perfect.

    Summary: Its what you can do, not what you spend.


  • GGBGGB Posts: 482
    Interesting subject ....

    I beleive at the moment I am in triathlon for the fun of it and to achieve a few goals - I am not in it to win it ... I wouldn't stand a chance lol ... I think you should spend whatever you can afford and keep it at that - its not about the money its about the enjoyment of the sport.

    I have been drag racing road cars for several years and my car, costing less than £3k, has whooped the ass off many cars costing over ten times that amount. Its not the cost that makes the difference its the person in charge on the day ;) and in Triathlon that is YOU.

    its not to say you shouldn't spend money on kit or upgrades but a lot is down to your ability and a slow cycllist is not going to be that much quicker on a £5K bike than a £500 one IMHO.


    I meant to add that people do sport for various reasons and mostly for the aim of personal goals and not just to win outright.

    I do think it is not a cheap sport - but it certainly is an enjoyable one ... well I haven't even competed yet but the thought of it is enjoyable ;)

  • GHarvGHarv Posts: 456
    For my 50p isn't this discussion about the difference between competing (taking part) and being competitive?

    If you want to take part/compete then do what you like and i think most of us will be at a taking part/competing level and then once we get used to taking part we aim to get better.

    Moving on to getting better this will involve more training/more structured training and invetitably better gear. I know to really improve my bike i need to move into the £1500 bracket of bike (Soloist et al). But until the CFO loosens the purse strings i'll have to make do with my SCR.

    However, if we want to be competitive say top 25 top 50 top 10 then there can be no substitute for the right gear and right training every last drop or % counts.

    Dave Scott even got to the point he rinsed his cottage cheese under a tap!

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