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  1. #1
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Do you want to know what bike you should buy? Read this first!

    There are a lot of questions on this board that go something like this: "I'm new to triathlons, what kind of bike should I buy? I have $XXX to spend." Or, "I found a deal for bike YYY, is $ZZZ a good price?" Or, more simply, "Is bike QQQ any good?"

    This post will try to answer many of these types of questions.

    First, I want to talk a little bit about the difference between a triathlon bike and a road bike. The primary differences are (in addition to the fact that a tri bike is usually ridden with a bullhorn base bar + aerobars):

    - seat tube angle
    - chainstay length/wheel positioning relative to bottom bracket
    - tube shapes

    "What is 'seat tube angle?'" This references the angle that the seat tube makes with respect to (more or less) the ground. On a road bike, this angle is usually 73 degrees (+-2 degrees). On a modern tri bike, this angle is usually between 76 and 78 degrees, with the general consensus among experts such as Dan Empfield (the inventor of the triathlon bike), being that for most people, 78 degrees, or even 80 degrees (though few bikes are manufactured with a STA of 80 degrees) is optimum. "Why is a steep STA optimum?" There is lots of research (check out the tech archives at http://www.slowtwitch.com) that demonstrates two things: (1) steepening the STA allows for your hips to "roll" forward, flattening your back and creating a more aerodynamic position (the farther backward your seat is, the higher your torso has to be to keep your thighs from hitting your torso). (2) steepening the STA has been shown in many athletes to lead to faster run times, by sparing key running muscle groups on the bike portion of the triathlon.

    "Why do I care about wheel positioning and chainstay length?" In the aero position on a triathlon bike, your center of gravity is decidedly farther forward than on a road bike. If a tri bike had the same wheelbase as a road bike, the tri bike would be very "twitchy". Most tri bikes, to create good handling, bring the rear wheel in very close to the seat tube, often necessitating a "seat tube cutout" (this has aerodynamic benefits as well), and move the front wheel out towards the front of the bike even more. This is usually accomplished by decreasing the head tube angle, and/or installing a fork with more trail.

    "Why do I care about tube shapes?" Well, to be honest, aerodynamic frames are pretty far down the list of "things that will make you go fast". You'll do much better by improving your position, buying a tight-fitting race suit, an aero helmet, and race wheels. However, within your budget, you may as well buy a bike that is constructed with aerodynamics in mind. Look for thin head tubes, teardrop-shaped down tubes, a seat-tube cutout, and an aerodynamic seatpost.

    This is just a summary of what makes a tri bike different from a road bike. For more detailed information, check out the tech section of http://www.slowtwitch.com - Dan Empfield has created a tome of detailed information on this subject, and this is basically just a summary of his research.

    Okay, now that you know the main differences between a tri bike and a road bike, it's time to figure out what's the best bike for you on your budget. The answer is:

    The best bike for you is ALWAYS the bike that fits you the best.

    Buying a bike with a steep STA and aero tubes is great, but if you buy the wrong size (or even the right size in the wrong brand) you'll regret your purchase down the road. It may take you five years to realize that you bought the wrong bike, but you'll be jonesing for a new one regardless.

    To ensure that you purchase a bike that fits you correctly, I recommend either getting a F.I.S.T. certified fitting from a bike shop near you. You can also learn about how tri bike fitting works by checking out the great resources that Dan Empfield (the pioneer of the F.I.S.T. system) has provided over on slowtwitch.com.

    Now that that is out of the way, let's talk specific bikes and specific budgets. Keep in mind that the bikes listed here are a sampling of all the bikes available on the market. They also have a personal bias, no matter how much I'd like to remove it. I'll say up front that my personal bike is a Giant Trinity Alliance, and I recommend it to everyone I meet. I'm also biased towards bikes that sell heavily in the United States, because that's where I live and that's what I know about the best.

    I am also personally biased towards recommending bikes with a steep (78 degree) seat angle, for the reasons I mentioned above in the discussion of seat tube angles. I also have had extensive personal experience riding steep, as well as numerous personal discussions with other riders that ride steep as well. However, since personal experience isn't scientific evidence, I feel obligated to mention this as a personal bias.

    Also, remember that if you have a X dollar budget, you'll only be able to spend, say, X MINUS two hundred on the bike. The other two hundred should be spent on important accessories, such as aerobars, a race skinsuit, clipless shoes/pedals (if you don't already have those), a helmet (aero if you can afford it), etc. Down the road, consider an investment in some race wheels. You can spend anywhere from $500 to $5000 on these, and that's the topic for a whole another thread

    Also consider the following: if your budget is on the low end of things ($1000 or less), many tri bikes available from discount retailers like Bikes Direct are adequate, but will leave you wanting more if you decide to stick with triathlon in the future. It's counter-intuitive, but your best bet on a low budget is usually to hold off on buying the tri bike (buy a road bike with clip-ons instead) until you're sure that you really want to invest in a tri bike. Then, when you're ready, you can spend a good wad of cash on a really nice bike that doesn't need to be upgraded in two years.

    IF YOUR BIKE BUDGET (after accessories) IS:

    $500 or less: buy a used road bike. There are no new road or triathlon bikes in this category that will be satisfactory for hard training and/or racing. Additionally, at this price point, road bikes have more "value" than tri bikes--you'll get a lot more road bike at this price level than you will tri bike. As of July 2008, look for 9 speed components of Tiagra level or higher. Remember to purchase clip-on aerobars for $50-$100 to complete your ride. In the USA, you may be able to find an inexpensive used road bike in the following brands: Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, Giant, Felt. An additional option for wrench-heads is to purchase a cheap frame (such as a Leader frame) and build it up with a component groupset.

    $501 - $1000: buy a (better) used road bike or entry-level new road bike. There are no new triathlon bikes that are currently sold in the USA at this price point, except for inexpensive framesets such as the Leader frame or some Bikes Direct models. Additionally, at this price point, road bikes have more "value" than tri bikes--you'll get a lot more road bike at this price level than you will tri bike. As of July 2008, look for 9 or 10 speed components of Tiagra or 105 level or higher. If you're buying a road bike, remember to purchase clip-on aerobars for $50-$100 to complete your ride. In the USA, you may be able to find an inexpensive used road bike in the following brands: Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, Giant, Felt, Cervelo.

    $1001 - $1499: buy a lightly used entry-level triathlon bike or a nicer new road bike. Buy the tri bike if you (a) already have a road bike OR (b) are sure that 95% of your rides are going to be solo rides and that you will primarily be racing triathlons and not road races. Otherwise, buy the road bike and put clip-on aerobars on it. In the USA, here are some good tri bikes that will sell in this price range lightly used:

    - Cervelo Dual
    - Cervelo P2K
    - Quintana Roo Kilo
    - Felt S32
    - Some of the older Trek TT/tri bikes
    - Cannondale Super Six Slice Si or whatever they called that bike

    $1500 - $2000: this is one of the sweet price points in triathlon bikes. All of the major bike companies make great bikes at this price point. Component groups will vary, from Ultegra/Dura Ace on the Cervelo down to Sora/Tiagra on the Giant. Frames will usually be aluminum, but contain aerodynamic shapings. The key here (and with any bike purchase) is buying the bike that fits you. Remember to check out the seat tube angle of the bike, how long the bike is (known as "reach"), how low or tall the bike is (known as "stack"), and if all of these things fit you. Generally, if you want to ride steep and fast, you'll want a high STA, lower stack and perhaps more reach (if you're a man especially). Anyway, here are some of the popular bikes that sell at this price point:

    - Cervelo P1 (previoiusly known as the P2SL)
    - Trek Equinox 5, 7
    - Felt S22
    - Quintana Roo Kilo/Tequilo
    - Kuota K-Factor
    - Giant Trinity Alliance A2
    - Specialized Transition (the lower models)

    $2500: this is the other sweet price point in triathlon bikes, thanks largely to Cervelo's introduction of the 2008 P2C at this price point, which forced other bike manufacturers to quickly become competitive at this price. Expect aerodynamic carbon fiber frames, Ultegra and Dura-Ace components, durable (but not aero) wheels and a stellar ride at this price. Mandatory reading, for purchasing a bike at this price, is Tom Demerly's excellent review of four tri bikes (Cervelo, Felt, Kuota, QR) at this price point.

    - Cervelo P2 (formerly known as the P2C)
    - Trek Equinox 9.0
    - Felt B12
    - Kuota Kalibur
    - Giant Trinity Alliance A1, A0
    - Quintana Roo Seduza
    - Specialized Transition (the mid-range models)

    $3000 - $4499: If you've got more than three grand to spend on a bike, in my opinion you should seriously consider purchasing a bike in the $2500 range, and investing in some good quality race wheels with the difference. However, this is only my opinion, and there are many bikes sold in this price range that are great (and that may fit you better than the bikes at $2500), including (but absolutely not limited to):

    - Cervelo P2 (Dura-Ace version) (formerly known as the P2C)
    - Trek Equinox 9.5
    - Felt B2
    - Scott Plasma
    - Cannondale Slice
    - Titanium bikes by companies like Litespeed
    - Kestrel Airfoil
    - Argon18 E112

    $4500+: The triathlon "superbikes" all sell for $4500 or greater, starting with the Cervelo P3C (and soon, the P4C). Remember to buy the bike that fits you, and if at this stage no bike feels absolutely perfect, buy a custom bike (you can afford it).

    - Cervelo P3/P4
    - Trek Equinox 9.9/9.9SSL
    - Felt DA
    - Specialized Transition (the super-duper version)
    - Kuota Kueen K
    - Scott Plasma II
    - Argon18 E114

    Note: Almost all of the bikes I have recommended (with the exception of all of the Trek and Scott bikes) are designed around a 78 degree STA (the Trek and Scott are designed around a 76 degree STA).

    Disclaimer: my recommendations of specific bikes are based on my limited knowledge of the United States triathlon market. If there's a bike that you like that I forgot, let me know and I'll add it to the list! If a bike isn't on this list, it probably means I just forgot it, not that it's a poor bike. I don't want this to be an exclusive list, and I apologize in advance if I've neglected your favorite bike.
    Last edited by Rahzel; 11-03-08 at 03:39 PM.

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  3. #3
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    Well Done, but I need to add a 76 degree reaction...

    Reason to be open and accepting of 76 degree STA:

    1. It isn't always more aerodynamic. Yeah, a flat back looks cool, but when your seat is around 78-82 degrees, it is significantly higher(1+cm) than if it were around 76. This means that as a whole your body is sitting higher in the air, meaning a flat backed steep position is often less aerodynamic than a slightly rounded more slack position. Check out the FA positions on biketechreview.com. Secondly, having more weight on your front end often requires wider arms and shoulders. Long ago Lances aero gurus agreed that getting narrow had big gains with less negatives on power and comfort than getting low. For an N=1 perspective, I brought my seat back 4cm and down accordingly, my power files suggest no change in aerodynamics but my crotch neck and power files sure thank me.

    2. Muscle balance. When I run(yes I am an "efficient" FOP runner), my muscles are used fairly evenly. My hamstrings as much as my quads. This is the way running should be done and if you're doing it the right way, you should be using your muscles evenly on the bike. Steep riding causes an excess in use of the quads. A slacker STA(76ish) promotes balanced muscle usage, which should produce more power and allow better pacing for better running.

    I don't think Steep or slack is right or wrong. It's an individual choice. I think however that right now steep is a fad and as with any fad, it's leading to misinformed decisions and consumer pressuring.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triguy View Post
    but when your seat is around 78-82 degrees, it is significantly higher(1+cm) than if it were around 76.
    No, it's not. The difference in seat height when you move 2 degrees forward is very small (less than 1/4cm), assuming that the distance between the pedals and your measuring point on your saddle stays constant. Do the geometry for yourself.


    This means that as a whole your body is sitting higher in the air, meaning a flat backed steep position is often less aerodynamic than a slightly rounded more slack position.
    Do you have aero data to prove this?

    Check out the FA positions on biketechreview.com.
    Frontal Area isn't everything. There are many, many more considerations than just frontal area alone. For example, the angle of your arms with respect to vertical.

    Secondly, having more weight on your front end often requires wider arms and shoulders.
    This is not true, not even "often". The weight distribution on the front end and the width of the aerobar pads are independent variables.

    Long ago Lances aero gurus agreed that getting narrow had big gains with less negatives on power and comfort than getting low.
    This N=1 example is not a good one, because Lance had a back problem that prevented him from getting very low. All the gurus who have done scientific studies agree that for most triathletes, the solution is to get as low as you can (comfortably), then as narrow as you can (comfortably). I don't have a source off the top of my head for this contention, but I'll find one if you want.

    For an N=1 perspective, I brought my seat back 4cm and down accordingly, my power files suggest no change in aerodynamics
    Of course your power files won't show (or even suggest) any change in aerodynamics! Your power meter doesn't measure aerodynamics! Admittedly, one puts out less power in a more forward aero position, but the aerodynamic gains more than make up for it.

    but my crotch neck and power files sure thank me.
    The fact that your crotch and neck hurt when you move forward suggests an improper fit, not any inherent flaw in a forward position.

    I don't think Steep or slack is right or wrong. It's an individual choice.
    I think riding steep is right, and riding slack is wrong. It is a choice, but if you ride slack you may be making the wrong choice. I have scientific evidence to support this contention. Unless you can provide scientific evidence that supports riding at 76 degrees over riding at 78 degrees, we'll have to agree to disagree.

    Source: http://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/What_...ngles_222.html
    Last edited by Rahzel; 07-02-08 at 08:35 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rahzel View Post
    No, it's not. The difference in seat height when you move 2 degrees forward is very small (less than 1/4cm), assuming that the distance between the pedals and your measuring point on your saddle stays constant. Do the geometry for yourself.

    Frontal Area isn't everything. There are many, many more considerations than just frontal area alone. For example, the angle of your arms with respect to vertical.

    This is not true, not even "often". The weight distribution on the front end and the width of the aerobar pads are independent variables.

    This N=1 example is not a good one, because Lance had a back problem that prevented him from getting very low. All the gurus who have done scientific studies agree that for most triathletes, the solution is to get as low as you can (comfortably), then as narrow as you can (comfortably). I don't have a source off the top of my head for this contention, but I'll find one if you want.

    Of course your power files won't show (or even suggest) any change in aerodynamics! Your power meter doesn't measure aerodynamics! Admittedly, one puts out less power in a more forward aero position, but the aerodynamic gains more than make up for it.

    Source: http://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/What_...ngles_222.html
    Actually the two biggest aero gurus in the bike world believe in slack(75-77) riding, Steve Hed and Jon Cobb, I was fit by one of them.

    If you don't realize that a person can back calculate aerodynamics from a power file you don't realize much when it comes to utilizing a power meter. Do you own one?

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    All right I have another free minute or two....

    I did the calculations, and my saddle dropped .75cm when I moved my seat from an approxiamate 81 to 77. In the middle of both our guesses.

    Lets get one thing strait, CdA is how aerodynamics are measured and it is Coefficient of drag multiplied by Frontal Area. Or alternately, drag force at a certain speed. Your suggestions, angle of arms(which effects frontal area), is not in the measurement of Aerodynamics(it's not Cd, and it's not A) its a variable in position aerodynamics and an important one that has an effect on both Cd and A.

    Frontal area is huge in the world of aerodynamics, because it's the one variable anyone can measure! This is because the human body's position on a bicycle will have a coefficient of drag around .6-.7(and in general smoothe rolled in shoulder, and a low head position help the most with this), this is large but an unmeasurable variable(unless of course you have time and a powermeter). However, frontal area can range in great amounts, as much as 15%(about the same as Cd). However, to measure my FA all I need is black clothes and a white background and a little time.

    You know whats great about what Steve Hed and Discovery's findings about Lance? It's not N=1 anymore. They have applied the principles to Ekimov, Leipheimer and many of the High Roads team members. All of whom have great success at time trials, many of whom can get lower than lance but first, they get narrow.

    As far as my steep riding position, I ran fine off the bike with it. Usually top run split but the ability to sit on ones ass bones instead of ones taint is a much finer choice.

    ________________

    You know why I think I'm right? I say it's up to the individual. You say we all should be doing things the same way, which even Dan Empfield doesn't say. I think more consideration should be given to the bike-run combination than what works for most people. People should consider their run first, what fatigues on them easily and what muscles are they using in their stride. If people get big time hamstring fatigue running, great power away at 80*. However, if you do a track workout and your quads are screaming at you, maybe you want to save that part of your leg for the run and move your seat back.

  7. #7
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    So... I hate to be the new guy to bring this one up (actually I don't but it seems polite to say so) but this is supposed to be a sticky on which bike people should buy when getting into the sport, and while I enjoyed the discussion on seat positions, I don't even own a bike yet and I am still interested to know more about which bikes people prefer and why.

    You are both obviously very into riding and possess a rather in depth body of knowledge in regard to cycling. I'd like to hear your take on what kind of bike a new rider/newbie to tri's should look at when making a first bike purchase.

    I have come to the understanding that which bike is not nearly important as how it fits and how comfortable you are while riding. More important is getting familiar with the bike and then if you get seriously into the sport, buy a great bike! (but thats an opinion formed in about weeks worth of reading and a total 140 miles total logged on a borrowed bike)

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triguy View Post
    Actually the two biggest aero gurus in the bike world believe in slack(75-77) riding, Steve Hed and Jon Cobb, I was fit by one of them.

    If you don't realize that a person can back calculate aerodynamics from a power file you don't realize much when it comes to utilizing a power meter. Do you own one?
    To be fair, I do not own a power meter, and upon further thought I do now see how one can calculate drag from one's power numbers, provided that one is able to accurately measure speed on several runs over an identical course!

    In any case, it seems we will not convince each other, but in this particular instance that's fine. This is, after all, a resource to help triathletes decide what bike to ride. I believe 78 degrees is better, you believe 76 degrees is better. Fortunately, this isn't American politics so people can choose what's best for them! (and two tiny degrees seems to be what separates the two American political parties these day anyway yuk yuk yuk)

    As a bookend to this debate, I will say this: I have obviously written my original post with a bias towards 78 degree seat tube angle bikes, which i fully admit to. Triguy, if there are any 76 degree angle bikes that you feel I should include on my list, please let me know and I'll put them on there! I know of several 76 degree bikes (and one 74 degree bike, the Kestrel Talon) that I left off the list, but mostly because those are European bikes and I don't know a lot about them (or how to buy them in the U.S.)

    I have a strong opinion on this matter, but I don't necessarily want that to shine through on the original post. Again, let me know how you feel I can improve the original post and I will do so, in the interests of inclusiveness

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    Excellent sticky. Now can you please just do one on the Look v. Speedplay, which pedals threads (true, mostly in the roadbike forum)?

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    Not sure if you're talking about used up there, but Cervelo's website lists the P2-SL at $2700 base, putting it well out of the $1500-$2000 price range. The P1-SL starts at $1750.

    Great sticky though, thanks for this. About to max out my credit card and needed some guidance.

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    just kidding I was looking at the '09 prices. practically a different bike.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Yep, Cervelo changed the names of their bikes for their 2009 line. The P2-SL is now known as the P1, the P2C is now known as the P2, the P3C is now known as the P3, and the P4 had no prior equivalent.

    I'll change the names in the original post, thanks for bringing it up!

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    Rahzel, what do you think about Jamis? They've got tri-geometry bikes in almost all your price ranges up there.

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    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    I don't know much about the Jamis bikes, other than what's on their website. I've seen a few in person, and they look good but I haven't ridden them. If the geometry fits your needs and the price is right, the Jamis would be a good choice!

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    Ok guys, I'm hours away from a commitment. I can buy a lightly used (500 mi or so) absolutely mint Trek 2006 Team Time Trial for $1900. (Can seen in Archives on Trek site at bottom of page...well hidden!) My alternative is a 09 Cervelo P2 for $2700. Trek is Dura Ace front to back, P2 is Ultegra. I think I'm getting the best deal on the Trek. I'm assuming from the above that the Trek has an STA of 76 vs 78 on the Cervelo but I can't find the Trek geometry on the site. Open to your comments and thanks in advance

  16. #16
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Just a reminder to folks with questions about buying a triathlon bike--give this thread a read. It will answer many of your questions!

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    Advice on how to adjust your road bike for triathlon to save yourself from buying a triathlon-specific bike.

    Written by: Ian Buchanan
    Many riders add clip-on aerobars to their road bikes to make them work better for triathlon. However, clipping aerobars onto your road bike without making other changes in positioning and components is like putting a cook top in your living room and then expecting it to function like it would your kitchen. Additional changes are needed for it to work well. Along with adding aerobars, some other fundamental changes to your riding position and equipment on your road bike can help you achieve your potential.
    Positioning: Aerobars alone do not make a bike triathlon-specific; riding position does. Your road bike is not going to be set up well for triathlon until your bike is fit specifically for your needs when riding in the aerobars. Your bike fitter may have done a good job with your road position when you bought your bike, but I’m sure she determined your position to work best without aerobars. Getting refit specifically for an aerobar-based triathlon position by a fitter who is skilled and well-educated in cycling biomechanics for triathlon is where you should start. With proper set-up and a basic understanding of aerobar riding technique, the vast majority of riders should find riding in the aerobars one of their most comfortable hand positions.

    Components:
    Once you have been fit specifically for triathlon cycling, your current road bike can often be converted to your new aerobar position with a few component changes. Common positioning adjustments include the seat coming forward (to maintain an open hip angle in the new lower handlebar position and encourage an easier muscular transition to the run) and the handlebars being set up lower and with a shorter reach (to make sure your body is as skeletally supported as possible in a more aero and forward riding position). Components that often need to be changed on your road bike to allow for such positioning changes include the seat post, aerobars and stem.
    Seatposts: Depending on your riding position and the seat tube angle of your road frame, most riders will need a seat post that allows the seat angle on their road bike to come forward two to six degrees. If you need to steepen your road frame just a couple of degrees, a Thompson set-back seatpost used in reverse of its original intent can work quite well. If you need a major change in seat angle, Profile Design’s Fast Forward seatpost, available in alloy and carbon versions, allows more than five degrees of forward angle (thus allowing a road frame with a 73-degree seat tube angle to be capable of at least a 78-degree seat angle). Note that the hardware on the Fast Forward is not compatible with some saddles (many Selle Italia models built in the past five years, for example), so be sure to check for compatibility.
    Aerobars: Aerobars all fit differently, and you should understand how any aerobars you consider relate to your riding position and frame geometry before purchasing them. (“Tech Support,” April 2007, covers fit differences between some popular clip-on bars.) Highly adjustable clip-on aerobars, like the Profile CarbonStryke, are often some of the best for adapting a road bike to a triathlon position.
    Stem: When selecting a stem, do not sacrifice positioning and safety for aesthetics and weight. Aerobars can put a lot more leverage on the stem clamp than a standard road bar without aerobars, so make sure to use a secure and strong stem. If one is available in an appropriate length and angle, four-bolt stems (like Ritchey’s offerings) are light, strong and secure.

    Optional Items:
    Additional triathlon-specific component changes on your road bike can further enhance speed and performance by allowing you to stay in your aerobars longer and more comfortably. Bar-end shift levers allow you to shift without leaving your aerobars and can be used with flat pursuit bars to reduce weight and aerodynamic drag. A triathlon-specific saddle can address the increase in forward saddle pressure that is common with shifting rider weight forward and lower.
    Once changes have been made to the bike, you are ready to start riding in your new position. Remember that anytime you make positioning changes, it is important to allow your muscles a chance to adapt to the demands of a new position, so start slowly and build into the changes.
    When the time is right to buy that new triathlon bike, the information from the triathlon-specific fitting you did when converting your road bike can be used to help you find the bike that best matches the needs of your body.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Good points Ian. Remember, installing a Fast Forward seatpost on a road bike changes the handling of the bike significantly. The weight distribution is changed drastically with the forward post, and results in a very twitchy ride. Exercise caution when making this change to your road bike.

    Other than that, modifying a road bike for tri purposes with aerobars and a Fast Forward seat post is a great way to save money and get a decent aero position!

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    Great post… I’m a runner that took up biking a couple of years ago with the hopes of doing some tri’s. I bought a decent road bike and had it professionally fitted. I even purchased an Adamo saddle, since I was having problems with numbness in my groin. Unfortunately the numbness eventually got worse (4 weeks straight) and I had to quit. The distances weren’t great (30 miles) so I’m not sure why I had this.
    Now, I’d like to try again, but only if I don’t get any discomfort. I’m willing to pay a $3k for a bike (which is a good sweet spot according to the links above). Is a tri bike better than a road bike for comfort? I’m hoping to do a half ironman next year. Is there a certain type of bike or frame that is more notorious for comfort?

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    Hi all,

    Anyone have any thoughts about Cervelo P3 SL? Vs other Cervelos like the P3C? Ive just picked up a 2005 model which is in good shape and I'm curious about what anyone elses experience might be. Its got the alloy frame and Campag Super Record gear - which may or may not be standard.
    For the record, I'm tall (6'2") with only road/mtn bike experience to date . Nothing on TT/TRIs.

    Any comments or experience appreciated.

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    Greetings! Im in the market for a near entry level Tri bike and have whittled my options fown to 3 choices. The 2010 Jamis Comet, the 2009 Kestrel Talon or a Blue T-16. They all fit me pretty well, and the prices are comprable. I was just wondering if anyone had any opinions on the bikes themselves. Ive heard Kestrel has had a history of seatpost slipping/cracking issues. Anyone know any details?

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    I've never heard of problems with the Talon seatpost, though a lot of carbon bikes with carbon posts tend to have that problem now a days.

    Honestly, they are quite different fitting bikes, I couldn't fit the Kestrel(it's geometetry is much more slack and upright), with my current position, the Blue I could probably get close, but the Jamis would probably fit. I tend to say fit above all else.

    In the last year and a half I have actually converted back to riding quite steep.

    How did you come up with these bikes as your choices if I may ask?

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    I was more or less matching a standard fitting to my price range. I havent done much work with my LBS on my positioning and have been riding on aerobars for about 7 months now. So my position isnt perfect. Im on a club thats sponsored by a LBS that deals in Felts and Jamis, the talon I'm considering due to fit. Nothing fits me perfectly so I'm trying to keep an open mind.

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    Here is what I'll say in regard to the choice of a bike. My first bike I went to my LBS and said, I have $xxxx, can I get a bike. They put me on top of a bike, made a few minor adjustments and out the door I went. I then started learning about positioning, etc. Thankfully that bike worked for me. When I asked my LBS about getting more aggressive, they said usually they don't people in an aggressive position unless the person asks to be.

    I guess I'm trying to tell you that bike stores will listen to you but in general they'll set you up in a very comfortable position that works for the most people but maybe isn't optimized.

    As I stated, I've become a believer in a steep seat angle. Blue and Kestrel build bikes around slacker seat angles, Jamis and Felt build bikes for steeper seat angles.

    Just to give you an idea of the fit differences: my ideal bike has a stack(height of the bike) of about 49-50cm and a reach(length of the bike) of about 39-40cm

    Talon 54.8 stack, 39.3 reach
    Blue 51.5 stack, 39.5 reach
    Felt 50 stack, 40.5 reach
    Jamis 49.3 stack, 40.2 reach

    So, I guess all I'm trying to say is the Talon with an appropriate reach, would be about 5cm too high for me. Blue, I'd probably need a -25 degree stem, Felt is right on; Jamis maybea small spacer.

    Coming from a road bike, the Talon will feel more similar to you. There is a little bit of adaption time going from a road to tri bike, so don't be worried if you don't feel 100% at home on a true steep geometry tri bike right away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 900aero View Post
    Anyone have any thoughts about Cervelo P3 SL? Vs other Cervelos like the P3C?
    They are a good bike. Still very aero - said to be similar to the P2C in this regard which is only just slightly less aerothan the P3C.

    Only potential concern is the harshness of the ride compared to Carbon frames, especially felt during the longer triathlons. But carbon forks and carbon seat post can negate some of this. FYI I stll race on an alloy P3 (not the SL) as I honestly haven't felt the need to upgrade for what would be a negligible gain. Most important is fit rather than the frame itself.

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