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  1. #1
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    Difference between road and tri bikes?

    ...apart from the type of bars...

    Hi there,
    I am looking around at a few bikes for road use and a few I have found have been technically classified as triathlon bikes, but they don't have the triathlon handlebars instead having road dropbars.

    Are the bars the only difference?
    ...or is there something more sinister such as a difference in geometry.?
    Will I run into any trouble using these tri bikes with drop bars for road use?

    Thanks in advance

    PS - Apologies if this has been covered before, I had a look and found a few topics that brushed it but didn't quite cover it. Feel free to link to a topic that does cover it and I'll give it a read.
    I want to live.

  2. #2
    Triathlete John W's Avatar
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    The geometry is different between the two types of bikes. Tri bikes typically have a steeper seat tube which forces the biker to a bit more forward lean. This design eases up some of the tension and degredation of the legs while saving more for the run.

    The downside (as I see it) is that if you cannot get into the aero position with the aero-bars, you will have more weight on your arms and therefore fatigue your triceps more. A tri bike really is best set-up for the tri-bars.

  3. #3
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    not to completely hijack this thread but how many regulary ride a tri bike on the road, or ride a road bike with aero bars? I ask this because I feel comfortable in the aero postions and I'm considering using tri like bike on the road.

  4. #4
    Flatland hack Flak's Avatar
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    Do what make you feel happy, but dont be surprised if ppl get annoyed at you riding aero in a group. Less stability and control.

  5. #5
    Triathlete John W's Avatar
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    Agree with Flak. Riding aero in a group is just dangerous. You can't get to your breaks fast enough in times when a quick stop is necessary.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by John W View Post
    Agree with Flak. Riding aero in a group is just dangerous. You can't get to your breaks fast enough in times when a quick stop is necessary.
    I don't ride in groups. I've only been riding for two seasons, is it a natural progression to ride in groups? What would be the difference from riding using the hoods and using the outer portion of aero bars (dont know the technical term).

  7. #7
    Triathlete John W's Avatar
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    It's a matter of the time it takes to get to the breaks when every hundreth of a second counts. It's easier to slide from the hoods to grab the brake - and you are assisted by gravity. To get from the aero bar to the break requires sitting up - this is slower and requires more work.

    There's times when a group is cruising along and a biker in front of you goes or hits the breaks quickly and you will find your nose up his butt if you can't get to your breaks fast enough.

  8. #8
    I get high on lactic acid ^*^BATMAN^*^'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John W View Post
    It's a matter of the time it takes to get to the breaks when every hundreth of a second counts. It's easier to slide from the hoods to grab the brake - and you are assisted by gravity. To get from the aero bar to the break requires sitting up - this is slower and requires more work.

    There's times when a group is cruising along and a biker in front of you goes or hits the breaks quickly and you will find your nose up his butt if you can't get to your breaks fast enough.

    That and....even if you are sitting on the basebar with your hands on the brakes. The geometry diffence with a Tri/TT bike makes it much more twitchier. A road bike will always handle better.

    The reason why alot of people progress to training with a group, and on a road bike is to help develop your cycling skills. You can only learn so much about bike handling and riding when you are by yourself.
    Road Bike- 2003 Trek 2000(out of service, rear triangle bent, looking for replacment)
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  9. #9
    Duathlete indygreg's Avatar
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    when you are on the hoods on a road bike your fingers are already on the brakes . . . safest position. In the drops you only have to open hands and reach for them.
    When on aerobars you have to get up and get a hand to the brakes, which is why no one wants them on a group ride. And as someone else said, a road bike handles better and gives you (and those around you) a better chance to dodge trouble.
    Run, Bike, Run.

  10. #10
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    People also don't appreaciate the prospesct of 4 horns in a crash either. But back to the question at hand, a tri bike should also have more meat on the frame around the bottom bracket and the backstays will generally be beefier both in design toward better power transfer. Look at the back triangle on this bike http://www.fahrrad.de/images/k-factor_1024x768.jpg compared to this bike http://www.company7.com/colnago/grap...LX%202006L.jpg

  11. #11
    Senior Member Edonis13's Avatar
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    i ride a road bike with clip on aero-bars and i dont need to sit up to shift or brake. it does take me a second to get on the brakes though. that being said i take them off when i ride with other people.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    I've also heard experienced riders say that you can even vary the fit on a Tri/TT bike depending on which of those events you are doing. For a Tri/TT bike, you can adjust the position slightly (according to what these people were telling me) to either put more or less load on your hamstrings. People doing TT don't care about saving themselves for a run, so they don't mind the extra load. People doing Tri adjusted their fit a bit differently to take the load off certain parts of their legs and save them for the run.

  13. #13
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    good point, you will also find that people raise and lower the front bars depending on length of the race, in a shorter race where comfort is less of a factor it is "how low can you go"

  14. #14
    Single Speed freak langster 2008's Avatar
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    good advice , im on the verge of purchasing this for £850. But will this be more aero than a normal road bike, i want something i can also use on club runs. Whats the advantage of this over a normal road bike with a tri extension fitted after?
    "Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat"

  15. #15
    Duathlete indygreg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by langster 2008 View Post
    good advice , im on the verge of purchasing this for £850. But will this be more aero than a normal road bike, i want something i can also use on club runs. Whats the advantage of this over a normal road bike with a tri extension fitted after?
    Not sure, depends on geometry. It could have a road bike geo, a Tri bike geo or somewhere in between.

    If it is the same as a road bike geo then there really is no difference between it and a road bike that you put aero bars on. The downtube looks to be a bit more aero, but that is only going to do so much. If it's geo is somewhere in between a tri and road geo, that would be a nice mix if you only have one bike. If it's geo is like a tri bike, then it would race well, but would not be as ideal on longer group rides as it would be more aggressive in position and if you road the hoods you might not be comfy as more of your weight would be on your hands. This is because tri geo puts you much further forward. That weight is not a big deal on your arms when in aero, but would really wear on your hands in the drops
    Run, Bike, Run.

  16. #16
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    For those who have gone from a Road bike to a Tri Bike, what type of speed improvements did you find?

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