Most rookie triathletes that are new and preparing for their first-ever triathlon face a common challenge, and that is the confusion surrounding which bike they should use and which is better. Although different people have different opinions, the truth is that you can use any bike that you’re comfortable with for your first triathlon.
As long as you’re satisfied with the bike and using it to learn the ropes, it doesn’t matter what set of wheels you use. But after you’ve gotten a taste of it, we can return to the triathlon bike vs. road bike argument, and in this article, we shall explain the differences as we advance.
Before we get into the tri bike vs. road bike argument, you need to properly understand what both of them are and the benefits that come with using either of them.
A triathlon bike is a cycle that is designed solely for riding in triathlon races Trusted Source Inside World Triathlon • World Triathlon The first recorded triathlon took place in San Diego, California on September 24, 1974. It was organised by the San Diego Track & Field Club as an alternative to the rigors of training on the track. triathlon.org , and what makes them different from other bikes is the fact that they focus on adding speed and aerodynamics as much as possible for their riders.
While TT bikes are called time trial bikes, and they are racing bikes that are used mainly for individual races that are timed. This type of bike focuses primarily on speed and swiftness, but they’re trendy because they encourage aerodynamics more than everything.
In the time trial traces, science is used as much as possible to make the timed races as accurate as ever. They look at every angle, every gram, and every other thing is taken into account.
Time trial races follow a systematic manner to organize everything well, and these bikes are the best for time trial races. Also, timed races have different lengths and can be run for different periods. Although, the average time of a time trial race at the highest level is around an hour, and it never goes more than that.
But the triathlon bikes are not the same thing, and there are different things you can do on a triathlon bike and not a TT bike. For example, there are fewer rules on a triathlon bike, and they mainly focus on making an athlete quicker.
They’re both bikes used to participate in triathlons and other competitions, and this is cause they’re mainly used on flat and smooth roads to get the fastest speeds. It’ll be hard to find someone using a triathlon or TT bike on a rough surface filled with different obstacles.
A tri bike is a fitter for triathlons and other competitive activities because the handlebars are designed to allow riders to lean their arms towards a position that can reduce wind resistance, and this will allow riders to move faster and have more control.
Also, the aero bars are not as aggressive and fixed as on TT bikes, allowing your core and back to be in a more comfortable position.
If you’re just getting into triathlons and you need help choosing a set of wheels to use for your first race, then you should check out our list of the best triathlon bikes for beginners, as we have compiled reviews from different individuals and gathered information on some good wheels that’ll serve rookies well.
There are multiple benefits of using a triathlon bike, and they include some of the following:
Most of the aerodynamic drag that is produced when riding a bike comes directly from the rider, and using a triathlon bike keeps you in an aero position. This is important as it helps you remain streamlined on the bike, and this will lead to a reduction in drag produced and enables you to stay fresh to go for a run.
Helps on the run
One thing that triathlon bikes are correctly known for is that they help people on the run, and they’re very comfortable. Unlike road bikes, triathlon bikes have steeper seats, and these help your hamstrings and calves relax more when you’re riding, and this saves more energy.
Most newly built tri bikes are known to be designed with multiple storage components, and some of them include options for flat kits, hydration, and nutrition. This makes it more convenient for triathletes during a race as they can easily reach out for what they need.
The triathlon bikes have enough advantages that will make you fall in love with them, and if you want to compete better in a triathlon, then a well-rounded tri bike is the best option.
A road bike is a bicycle used on paved surfaces and racing tracks, and like the triathlon bike, it can also be used for competitive cycling. They’re used for more than triathlon competitions, and they’re handy bikes to own. Suppose you are interested in attaining one and searching where. Here is a compilation of the best road bikes under $500.
A tri bike focuses more on aerodynamics and runs adaptability, while a road bike is popular for balance, stiffness, handling, and comfort, and it focuses less on aerodynamics. And this is because they’re made to work on different surfaces and can go for either short or long time periods.
Although most people may prefer to use traditional triathlon bikes, a road bike can serve as a good alternative for someone just getting into a triathlon competition. The Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike is a good option for amateurs as it is affordable and very comfortable.
In case you’re wondering whether a road bike can perform the same functions and be as efficient as a triathlon bike, well, it can, but it depends on the type you’re using. There are different road bikes, and if you’re looking for something more efficient, you should buy a more expensive one. Check out the best road bikes under $3000 to get a pair of wheels with different features that will help you.
Similar to triathlon bikes, road bikes also provide advantages, and they include the following:
Dropped handlebars for racing
Road bikes have dropped handlebars, making it more convenient to ride as there are numerous arm positions, and you can find more comfortable ones while biking. Also, this allows you to adapt to different riding types and makes it easier to practice and hone your riding skills.
This is one of the advantages that road bikes have in the tt bike vs. road bike argument, as they put most of their focus on the comfort of riders. Road bikes, in general, are more accommodating, and you can stay on them for a more extended period of time.
Your comfort is one of the most important things that should be looked at when riding a bike. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t enjoy your bike ride. If you are looking for a bike that promotes comfort, then you should check out the Eurobike Bikes EURXC550.
Excellent for long-distance riding
Due to the handlebars and overall comfort that come with road bikes, you will have more power to keep on riding for longer distances and periods. Road bikes are the perfect companions for long-distance biking Trusted Source LONG-DISTANCE TRAINING Commonly called a century, a 100-mile, daylong ride is one of the most significant and challenging experiences for a cyclist. However, centuries are accessible to riders of all levels, and even the most recreational of cyclists can conquer a century with the right planning and preparation. www.bike.nyc . If you’re looking for a bike to take on journeys far away, then you should definitely consider owning a road bike.
Now that you have understood the basic knowledge about road and triathlon bikes, and the benefits of both, we shall be discussing the difference between road bikes and triathlon bikes.
When differentiating the two bikes, you have to look at the speed, frames, handlebars, seat post and saddle, wheel and tires, brakes, and gears. There are more factors to look at when telling the two apart, but here are some short notes on the few stated above.
The road bike vs. triathlon bike speed debate is one of the most vital when differentiating between them. Both types of bikes are used for competitive racing, and knowing which one is faster is essential to determine how you’ll perform.
It is well known that triathlon bikes focus more on aerodynamics and thus have more geometric advantages, making them faster than road bikes. However, road bikes are very quick. If you’re looking to maximize your speed and for a way to win more races, then you should go for triathlon bikes.
Both bikes can move very fast and get you ahead of other racers. Although the ultimate goal is to go as quickly as possible, it is crucial to make sure your handling is top-notch, and this is done through proper training and practice.
One of the most notable differences between the two bikes is the design and structure of how they’re made. You can quickly tell apart the triathlon from the road bikes. The triathlon bikes are built with steeper seats than the road bikes, and their seats are positioned at different angles.
The road bikes are angled at an average of 78 degrees, while the triathlon is closer to 72 degrees. The frames and seat angles affect the speed as you can bend your body lower on triathlon bikes, which reduces wind resistance.
The handlebars are one of the most noticeable differences between the triathlon and the road bikes, and triathlon bikes are completely different from road bikes in terms of appearance. Road bikes have the familiar curved handlebars that drop, and it’s been used for decades.
That was until triathlon bikes came into existence, and instead of curved handlebars, they used parallel ‘TT’ bars. Sometimes they can be curved, shaped as an S, or at a different angle from the usual. It all depends on your preference.
This new design on triathlon bikes is made this way so bikers can get a lower aerodynamic position and cut through the wind more efficiently.
Your handlebars give you the control and stability needed when riding in races. If your handlebars aren’t comfortable enough, they can be replaced.
One of the other differences between road vs. triathlon bikes is the seat posts and saddles. It can be said that triathlon bikes have steeper seat posts than causal road bikes, and this is because the riders’ hips are moved closer and become more comfortable to lean over to the cockpit and grab the TT bars.
Some triathlon bikes don’t have seat posts but saddles, and they’re in a position that’s more advanced than road bikes. But before choosing a bike, you have to look at which seat posts and saddles fit your body size, and you should look at your flexibility and the length of your torso.
Using the best wheels and tires should be high on the list of priorities for every rider, as they’re one of the most critical components of the bike.
Good wheels lead to more controls and stability. Both triathlon bikes and road bikes make use of good tires, but there is still a difference.
On both the triathlon and road bikes, you can fit multiple wheels or tires, but it is easier to find disc wheels, deep-dished wheels, or tri-spoke wheels on a triathlon bike. Meanwhile, you can find more common wheels on a road bike.
The tires of your triathlon bike help improve the speed at which you go in a straight line through aerodynamics, and this is good for time trial racing because it increases your agility and an edge while you’re racing.
A set of wheels without proper brakes is almost impossible to find, and both groups of bikes have different brake systems.
Road and triathlon bike brakes are different. One of the main issues with the triathlon rim brakes is that they aren’t as strong as the usual v-brake designs on road bikes. The advantage of using the rim brakes is that it improves thermodynamics, but it leads to less control and power.
But again, disc brakes work on the two bike styles. Although it increases aerodynamic drag, there is an increase in the power of the brakes, and the modulation will allow you to ride at a quicker speed and be assured that your brakes will work better under any circumstance.
Also, you should note that rim brakes don’t work well with carbon rims, and it will increase wear and tear, but disc brakes don’t reduce quality. Note that if you’re having problems with your brakes, you should never forget to have regular maintenance and make changes if needed. It is better to prevent unfortunate situations by adequately maintaining your brakes.
One of the apparent differences in the triathlon bikes vs. road bikes debate is the use of gears. You should know that road bikes make use of a wider range of gears, and this is because it helps with climbing.
While triathlon bikes have a narrower range of gears, this has to do with their intended terrains. There are barely any triathlon tracks that will require you to race up hills, and there’s no need to make use of old gear versions.
The types of gears that triathlon bikes use are one or two sets of shifters, and the first set is placed at the bottom of the extensions, while the other set is on the bull horns. Road bikes run a similar system as their shifters work the same way, which makes use of levers that are connected to the hoods of handlebars.
The gearing for triathlon bikes is quite different as they make use of the standard 53/39t chain set, and this is because the courses are most times flat, unlike road bikes that make use of a completely different chain set.
The cassettes on road bikes are different from the triathlon, and this is due to the fact that triathletes can change their setup depending on the course.
If you have been reading this article, you should now understand what exactly triathlon and road bikes are, their different uses, and the differences between the two of them.
Now that you have that knowledge, an important question that comes is which one works well for you and what is the best option? Well, it really balls down to what you need and your desires. You have to ask yourself what kind of activities you want to perform. If you’re interested primarily in triathlons and competitive races, then it is advised to use triathlon bikes.
But if you’re looking for group rides and riding through hilly terrains like mountains and other rugged pathways, then using a road bike is advised.
Triathlon bikes are used on flat surfaces and riding for short periods, while road bikes are better for steep climbing and longer distances as aerodynamics aren’t a big deal.
But most coaches advise that newbies should use road bikes until they’re more comfortable and ready to switch to a triathlon bike. But whichever bike you choose, you have to make sure you are positioned well Trusted Source Proper Biking Posture Riding a bike can be a fantastic way to spend your time actively, and achieving the correct posture will help you to increase speed, efficiency and reduce injuries. www.achca.org , and the bike suits whatever you want to do.
One thing that riders should always have at the back of their minds is the fact that their safety Trusted Source Bike Safety | New Mexico State University NMSU follows the Essential Elements of a Bicycle Friendly America. These “Five E’s or Essential Elements are what makes NMSU a great place for bicycling. By following the Five E’s, NMSU was designated in 2013 and 2017 as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. bikes.nmsu.edu is essential and should always be the number one priority, and this is done by using the right gear and making sure your bike is well-maintained and comfortable for riding.
Looking at what is better for the IRONMAN triathlons depends on what you’re looking for from the competition.
If you want to complete the race and not focus on awards and winning the competition, then you can use a road bike. But if you’re looking to win and be more competitive, then utilizing a triathlon bike is better suited.
Although TT bikes are mainly used for individual timed races, they are very similar to road bikes, and they can be used for other types of cycling.
Also, they can be used for triathlons and other competitive racing. Some people can also choose to use TT bikes for recreational purposes.
Now that you have known the differences between the triathlon bike vs. road bike, it can be said that they’re both handy and will work well for you in triathlons and other competitive racing events.
But it is important to remember that whichever you choose is fine as they’re both efficient. Although you should look at the advantages of both and decide which suits you more and the purpose of your riding. The triathlon or TT bikes are very much different from road bikes, but there are so many things that you should look at before deciding which to use.