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Old 12-18-01, 04:54 PM
  #18  
D*Alex
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Let me try to be more helpful, and less flippant:
A tri-bike, for those who don't know, is similar to a road bike, but has a higher BB, shorter cranks (both to allow pedalling through corners), short chainstays, short top tube, and often has CF 3 or 4 spoke wheels. They are designed for trialalons, and nothing else. they are usually quite light, expensive, and are rarely used outside of triathalons.
Of course, you could use a road bike, but you would most likely need to use very short (160mm or so) cranks. An ATB with slicks will have the BB height, but will be about as heavy as an anchor. You could even use a lead-sled boarwalk cruiser, but I can't imagine anybody actually doing such a thing.
Tri-bikes are quite specialised, and there really is no "entry level" model. Used road bikes are the entry end of the tri-bike spectrum.
The "ATB with slicks" setup you mentioned will get her to the finish line, but certainly as a backmarker. If she is good enuf in the running or the swimming, she may stand a chance of finishing somewhere above the lowest 10%. An ATB rarely has the kind of top-end gearing needed for road racing, unless the course is very hilly.
FWIW, a truly competitive road or tri bike will set you back more like $3500, not $800. Racing ain't cheap.
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