Best Triathlon Bikes
For those of you who have never done a triathlon but are considering it, one of the biggest investments you will make is your bike.
Compared to running/cycling shoes and gear, a swimsuit, and goggles, your bike is where you will spend most of your time and most of your budget.
So it makes sense to get the most out of your bike no matter whether you are a beginner, experienced triathlete, or a cyclist looking to expand on your training in the saddle.
One thing to keep in mind is that the average triathlete only competes for a few years then moves on or stops training and competing.
As such, there are a lot of used triathlon bikes out there when you are ready to take the plunge.
Road Bike vs Triathlon Bike
The basic differences between a tri bike and a road bike are:
- Tri bikes have aero bars so that you can ride in a lower position for speed and wind resistance, as well as save the hamstrings for the run.
- Seat position is more forward than a road bike, facilitating the aero position and correct muscle utilization.
- Typically tri-specific bikes have integrated handlebars called “bullhorns” that include aero bars.
With these basic differences in mind, it isn’t necessary to blow your bank account on a full carbon, full aero speed machine if you aren’t sure if triathlon is something you will continue with.
The first thing to determine is what size bike you need.
Doing test rides at your local bike shop or researching what other people your size and build have used is key.
No matter how much you spend on a bike, if it doesn’t fit you, it will never take you where you want to go.
Depending on your experience and goals, there are several ways to buy a bike to fit your needs:
A Road Bike Is A Great Cheap Entry Level Bike To Tri Your First Triathlon
Beginner Triathlete/Beginner Cyclist
The best way to begin your cycling/triathlon life is to get a good road bike or hybrid (saving money) and then get some clamp-on aero bars.
Prices on aluminum bikes with at least a carbon fork (to dampen road vibrations) have dropped recently, and you can find used bikes that are very affordable.
Some of these used triathlon bikes for sale now are often some of the best bikes from the past, just a few years out of date.
It’s great for getting in the miles and putting the time in the saddle until your first race.
Options you can include are clipless pedals and additional bottle holders. For more options read our article on Tri Bikes vs Road Bikes
Beginner Triathlete/Experienced Cyclist
If you’ve spent some time riding and training, but not specifically for triathlon, you may be ready to invest in a full carbon tri bike.
A triathlon bike is also known as a time trial bike, so you may already have ridden in the aero position and have your own cycling shoes and matching clipless pedals.
Getting used to the integrated handlebars and the different body position and the impact it has on your pedal stroke may take some time, but you will find these differences can mean a lot more speed.
Becoming more popular are great middle-ground models known as “multi-sport” bikes which are road bikes with reversible seat posts for moving from traditional seat position to forward aero position.
Experienced Triathlete/Experienced Cyclist
The full-carbon speed machines now coming from top manufacturers are made to cheat the wind, fly like never before, and make every bit of your energy deliver results.
These new models include full aerodynamic frames, internal cable routing, integrated hydration systems, and super-light wheelsets.
Whether you go with a new or used bike, the used bike market is very strong.
If you buy new and find triathlon isn’t for you, you will be able to find an active market for selling your bike.
If you want to save some money, then a used triathlon bike may be the best bike for you.
Once you buy your bike – whether it is a new bike or used it be attractive to thieves to keep your investment in your hands you should look at the best bike lock you can find and take the precaution of registering your bike on the National Bike Registry database.