Triathlon - Upgrading my bike
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01-16-05, 08:11 PM
I am somewhat new/new again to triathlons. I did a sprint tri a few years ago but never seriously got into it for various reasons - work, time, etc. Things have changed now and I want to start again. I have a decent level of fitness still and decnt time to work out. But I am totally clueless when it comes to the bike. I was thinking about upgrading something on my bike (cannondale w/ shimano 105 components). Funds are somewhat limited right now but I can spend some money and plus my birthday is coming too. I had my bike in a shop a while back and they suggested upgrading my pedals first, said what I had on there was pretty bad. Honestly I wouldn't know. What advice would more experienced people offer? Not totally sure what I can spend, 2-300 at least, maybe a bit more if I wait a little longer.
What kind of pedals do you have? Any clipless pedals that you are comfortable with would likely be fine. If you don't have aero handlebars that might be worth looking into. If you want to spend several hundred dollars a more aero wheelset would be good. For tri riding I wouldn't worry that much about weight, but aerodynamics and fit/comfort are very important.
#1 FIT, A good fit for the "specific type of triathlon distance" you will do is the most important.
You want an efficient position, with comfort and power in mind and "aero" last. This may mean changing your seat post, seat and stem to get it right - this is where i would put my money first. If you put your $$ in the fit, and quality components of seat post, seat and stem - they can end up on your yet to be named new tri-bike somewhere down the road).
ie. I have 2 tri bikes (see hot tri bike thread) and several road bikes, but my tri-bikes are set-up for specific event distances. My Trek is specific for Ironman and my Cannondale is specific for shorter events like bike TT's, olympic distance up to 1/2 Ironman distance. The improtant thing to remember is that IF your set-up if too aggressive it can effect your ability to run strong out of T2. You don't want to access too much of the running muscles on the bike so that you come up short in the run. Unless you are a top racer and have the experience, talent and skills to just let all hang out there on that edge of crash and burn - which I'm not. I do however run several marathons a year as well as a ton of other running events so my run tends to hold it's own - but I can really tell the difference of running off of each of my bikes.
#2 A good aero bar
This will improve/tweek your position, allowing you to be more areo which can in turn save several positions in a race - but it does effect your bike fit. You can't just slap it on and call it good. Again position - position - position makes all the difference. Just because you see some guy way forward and doing well in a race DOESN'T meat it's right for you.
Pedels?? Come on guys that's personal as to how much float you like and how "hot spots" effect each person differntly. I have seen guys jump to the speed play and back to Dura Ace because of the hot spots - it's a personal comfort call. I use Dura Ace on all my bikes and like them fine. Getting more power from body to bike is a combination of athletic ability - shoes, peddles and crank stiffness.
01-18-05, 02:36 PM
Use your shifters and derailleurs until they break and then replace them. Get yourself a good set of wheels that are light and strong. There are only a few moving parts on a bicycle, and the wheels are the heaviest of them. Light wheels will enable you to accellerate faster and hold your speed better. I'd recommend Mavic Ksyrium SL's, but if you do not have $800 for a set of wheels, I'd look about on the road forum to see what the kids are using these days.
Yes, I would also agree that good wheels would be the #3 on my list - but the most $$$ option for an upgrade. That's why I place Fit #1, it's the least costly way to improve on what you already have.
I have the Mavic Ksyrium SSC SL TdF wheels on my Trek Madone and they are one of the best road wheels out there. However, for a Triathlon if you are going to really get into the sport - I would go with Zipp 404's, which is one of the best all around deep dish wheels out there. Zipp has been the wheel of choice at Ironman Kona and most all of the larger Tri events for the last several years. Zipps will tend to cost you a little more than $1,300, if you opt for the ceramic bearings, add $1,000 to that. Good products cost big dollars and the reason why this sport can become expensive and get out of had real quick.
01-18-05, 08:19 PM
Thanks for all of the advice. I am probably going to sit tight for a while and see if I can save a little more $$$. I live in NJ and don't forsee me getting off the trainer for a while still, so in no rush to do anything. The reason I asked is when I had my bike in for a tune up the shop suggested upgrading the pedals. I didn't think they were trying to push a sale because they really went out of their way to help me with a saddle, plus there are a bunch of other things that they could have pushed if they wanted to make a sale. They had basically suggested leaving the bike as is other than the pedals (I have 'Look' clipless). But I just couldn't see any benefit in changing the pedals.
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