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Aero Road vs Triathalon

Old 07-15-18, 10:49 AM
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Zachanonymous
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Aero Road vs Triathalon

Generally speaking, is there a downside to riding a Triathalon bike "as a road bike"? From what I know the design puts the rider in a forward position as compared to the traditional road bike, does that affect how your muscles adapt and function? I assume the traditional road bike is the most ergonomic design? And does the "Tri" bike stray far enough that it would make a difference?
Appreciate your knowledge.
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Old 07-15-18, 11:02 AM
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I use a Tri-bike for my road rides. It was adjustable enough that I feel like I'm able to get the best of both worlds as far as ergonomic and aerodynamic benefits. Maybe I'm only getting the worst of both???
I've used aero bars for a long while and I love em! However, aero bars do make other riders nervous and they tend to land in two categories: the "you have an unfair advantage camp" and the "there's no way you can control that thing camp"...

I'm not competitive, I just hate the wind and want to be comfortable, sue me.

EDIT:: Wait, does this TRI bike have aero bars? I was just assuming.
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Old 07-15-18, 11:05 AM
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What kind of riding are you doing? Some people can be comfortable with very aggressive TT/Tri geometry for longer recreational rides....everyone else not so much.

Of course, comfort also varies as we age--as people tend to get less flexible.
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Old 07-15-18, 11:06 AM
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I can't comment with first hand knowledge as I've never ridden a tri bike (other than a few test rides) but have many friends that do. Some of them do triathlons, some don't. I have done 50+ mile rides with riders on tri bikes and none of them complain about discomfort or other issues. I also have ridden with people on tri bikes that can't go much more than 25 miles without complaining about discomfort. Since the optimal position on a tri bike is on the aerobars, I would think that a lot will depend on your ability to stay in the aero position for long lengths of time. If you don't plan on racing or doing triathlons, you can get the best of both worlds with clamp on aerobars. I have aerobars on both road bikes and use them on long distance rides to have more position options. Hopefully, someone that rides both style of bikes will jump in and give you a better idea of what you are seeking.
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Old 07-15-18, 11:22 AM
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A tri geometry is designed to rotate the hips forward and the torso down so the arms are on the aero bars. Riding a tri bike on the hoods/horns will place a lot of weight on your hands and I doubt it will be very comfortable for long. I've coaches triathletes and recommended to many of them, depending on the course, to opt for a road bike instead of tri. I told them that if they can't stay in aero on the tri bike, they'll be faster on a road bike.
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Old 07-15-18, 11:31 AM
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The main downsides to the tribike position is how hard it is to find a saddle that doesn't crush your groin, the neck strain and the slow handling. They are bikes designed to go in relatively straight lines as efficiently as possible. I don't find them very fun to ride compared to a sporty handling road race design.
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Old 07-15-18, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by geocanada View Post
A tri geometry is designed to rotate the hips forward and the torso down so the arms are on the aero bars. Riding a tri bike on the hoods/horns will place a lot of weight on your hands and I doubt it will be very comfortable for long. I've coaches triathletes and recommended to many of them, depending on the course, to opt for a road bike instead of tri. I told them that if they can't stay in aero on the tri bike, they'll be faster on a road bike.
I've found resting on my forearms and elbows on the elbow pads to be very comfortable. I've also got a hornless saddle so I'm pretty heavily loaded on the arms. It's also nice to elongate the spine and get a little stretch once in a while in that aero position.
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Old 07-15-18, 01:19 PM
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straight line speed in the most efficient manner while sacrificing a lot of maneuverability is how I interpret tri bicycles. One objective, & that is to get from point A to point B as fast as possible without any bumps, turns, or poor surface quality.

Road bicycles imo are like a hybrid, just there's no suspension & roaders usually have full carbon as an option... haven't seen a hybrid (front suspension) in a full carbon option.
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Old 07-15-18, 01:43 PM
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If you decide to get into group cycling, you may find that many groups are not open to tri bikes (or bikes with flat bars). Same thing for mass start races... drop bars only. This is for safety:
1. When riding close together, drop bars touching is not usually a bid deal.
2. A rider in aero position on a tri bike cannot feather the breaks as is often needed when a rider up front slows a bit.
3. As other have said, handling is an issue. High speed cornering in a tight pack requires a nimble bike.... tri bikes don't handle these situations well at all.

However, if you want to ride fast, in a straight line, alone or with just a few other cyclists, then a tri bike would be a great choice.
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Old 07-15-18, 03:37 PM
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Proper Tri bikes don't make for very good all-around road bikes. Tri courses are usually flat and straight(-ish), closed to traffic, and due to the nature of transitions, bikes usually enter the course one at a time. Due to the aero-at-all-costs riding position, Tri bikes usually have much more weight carried on the front wheel than Road bikes. This has resulted in Tri bike geometry trending towards slacker head angles for better stability at speed. The extreme forward positions also do change the way you use your core and legs, because, remember; in TRI, after you get off the bike, you still have to run.

In a group ride, on open roads, you would need to stay on the 'horns' to keep your controls 'at hand' for the shifts and braking required. You'll find that most groups discourage riding in in the aero tuck for this reason.

Now, throwing a set of aero bars on a standard road bike to get another position, or get out of the wind will get you a lot of what it seems like you're looking for without the comprimises of a full-on TT/Tri bike. Heck, I have a set of clip-ons on my commuter MTB just for a 2-mile strech along the airfield fence that's flat, straight, and always in to the wind.
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Old 07-15-18, 03:54 PM
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Triathlon has one "a." Just one. Thanks. [sorry, nothing personal, it's just a pet peeve of mine]
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