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  1. #1
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    Triathlon Bikes?

    This may be a dumb question, but whats the difference between a triathlon bike and regular road bike? I'd like to try a triathlon and don't want to invest in a triathlon bike unless I find I plan on doing more. I have a Specialized Secteur Compact(I think Elite). Thank you

  2. #2
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    Aero tubing and geometry ... that's about it.

    Tri/TT bikes have steeper seat tube angles (usually 76-78 degrees) which allow you to move forward on the bike, which then allows you to have a lower body on the front of the bike while keeping your hip angle open. This allows you a much more aerodynamic position while keeping most/all of your power on the TT bike.

    The aero tubes tend to be faster than round tubes ... so you save some time there as well.

    Other than that ... not a lot of difference. I've seen some people turn TT bikes into road bikes because the geometry works a little better for them than a road bike ... low front end, steep STA for short femurs, etc.

    For a first Tri ... you will be fine on your road bike. You might not turn in the fastest bike split, but it's your first one. You can see if you like it or not, then if you do ... look at a Tri/TT bike.
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  3. #3
    C6Rider
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    frame geometry is the big difference

    Quote Originally Posted by trek7100 View Post
    This may be a dumb question, but whats the difference between a triathlon bike and regular road bike? I'd like to try a triathlon and don't want to invest in a triathlon bike unless I find I plan on doing more. I have a Specialized Secteur Compact(I think Elite). Thank you
    Road bikes are good for pack riding, cornering and climbing. These bikes generally have a seat tube angle around 73 degrees. Tri bikes are not as versatile. They have a steeper seat tube angle, up to 78 degrees and a shorter top tube.

    My tri bike gets very little use - only for triathlons, duathlons and time trialing. My road bike is for training and long rides.
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  4. #4
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    TT/tri bikes are faster and more effiicient. They're not great for cornering or comfort. They also don't climb terribly well.

    Love my TT bike and wish my area had more TTs.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by spade2you View Post
    TT/tri bikes are faster and more effiicient. They're not great for cornering or comfort. They also don't climb terribly well.

    Love my TT bike and wish my area had more TTs.
    A lot of comfort and climbing has to do with how you set up your TT/Tri bike. Guys that ride Ironman's have no issue riding 4+ hours on their bikes and many pro's don't have issues climbing on their TT bikes.

    My TT bike is set up pretty aggressive (flat back, 12.5 cm drop from saddle to pads, etc.) and I have no issues doing 3-4 hour rides on it, with no comfort issues. I'm also just ever so slightly slower up long (low % grade) climbs on it than my road bike, because my position is where I generally put out the most power for long periods of time. The steeper the gradient, the more the road bike climbs better though.

    So far out of the near 6000 miles I've ridden this season ... 1200 miles have been on my TT bike.
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  6. #6
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    I set mine to be a little less aggressive than most TT bikes, but not quite as comfy as an Iron Man might. After a 40km ITT, I'm happy to step off the TT bike. I keep it somewhat relaxed for SRs and omnium weekends.

    I always feel like I'm working a lot harder to climb on my TT bike due to position and differences in gearing. Doesn't help that my road bike is insanely light.

  7. #7
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    Just for reference ... Below is a picture of my position on my TT bike, though I've lowered the saddle by a few mm, and moved back by about 1.5 cm since this picture was taken with the change from an Adamo to a Specialized Sitero saddle.

    A generally aggressive set up ... but still very comfortable overall and again, no problems doing hard 3 hour training rides on it. I could even see doing a fast century on it if it wasn't too hilly.

    Triathlon Bikes?-20130331_120346-1-.jpg
    Bikes:
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    • 2013 Jamis Nova Race (winter training bike)
    • 2012 Argon 18 E-118


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by trek7100 View Post
    This may be a dumb question, but whats the difference between a triathlon bike and regular road bike? I'd like to try a triathlon and don't want to invest in a triathlon bike unless I find I plan on doing more. I have a Specialized Secteur Compact(I think Elite). Thank you
    There are two types of bikes used for different forms of triathlon.

    Traditionally time trial bikes are used for triathlon races, those have been well illustrated by the image Wookiebiker posted. Recently there have also been so called "draft legal" forms of triathlon such as the ITU World Triathlon Series. Those are regulated such that it is not allowed to use a time trial bike and instead forces athletes to use regular road bikes with at most very short clip-on aerobars.

    If you are interested in triathlon I would suggest having a look at the two different forms and available races.

    There are various (affordable) options to make a normal road bike more like a time trial bike. Profile Design, for instance has a "Fast Forward" seatpost that moves the rider position more forward. Clip-ons too are readily available in many forms.
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