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Never bought a bike before

Old 12-20-01, 11:05 AM
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Newbie bike buyers please ignore:

I just had a quick look at the geometry of Tri vs road at the canondale site.

For tri bikes, the Bottom Bracket (BB) height is lower on 650c than for 700c, which makes no sense to me. Pedal clearance should be the same for equivelent sized bikes in the same role. maybe 'dales just have screwy geometry!!!

Compared to their tri bikes, some road bikes habve lower BB, some the same. I cant detect any trend of higher BB. Framebuilders Avron make their tt and tri bikes with low BB for stability.

Triathalon bike races are pretty similar in to time trialling. Why do time trialists use longer than normal cranks and triatheletes use shorter than normal ?

I can see why Criterion riders would want a high BB/short crank combo, for furious town center circuits, but most tri/time trials are long and flat with few serious bends.
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Old 12-20-01, 12:50 PM
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It's Christmas, get a loan if need be, surprise her with a nice bike. Remember you may want something on down the road. It's harder for her to say no from atop an entry level racing machine.
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Old 12-20-01, 04:21 PM
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O.K. guys here's my .02. Since I work at a shop that specializes in high end road bikes and we're the TRI shop in town, I'll give my take on the issue at hand. Also, one of our employees is an IRONMAN FINISHER (TWICE!), so we get a ton of info regarding triathlons.

Road bikes can draft, Triathletes are not allowed (unless you're in World Cup or Olympic Class). These bikes must be as aerodynamic and light as possible. The distances are shorter, sprint distances (probably what your wife will enter) is usually less than 20 miles. Ironman is the exception with a 112 mile bike leg. These are all out, as fast and as hard as you can push! No help from the Peleton, no strategies (o.k. different ones). Just you pedaling as hard as you can!

Comfort is NOT a priority, SPEED is! Carbon wheels are stiff, light and aero, but harsh! The rider setup is VERY FORWARD and TUCKED (read - aero) also due to the forward position, you utilize your quadraceps (front leg muscles) more on the bike and therefore save your hamstrings (back of leg) for the run! Due the the forward position and the geometries necessary for that, the head tube angle is much steeper (more verticle) thus the front wheel is closer to the cranks, thus neccessitating the shorter crank length to avoid shoe/tire rubbing in corners. Aero tubing is much stiffer, the bikes ride very harsh. Also, the seat tube angle is very verticle (forward) and provides little to no bump absorbtion! These bikes ride stiff and ride harsh, but ride VERY FAST! In other words, not for a beginner!

Sorry D'Alex, I've never heard that bb heights are higher, but maybe I'm oblivious to that fact.

YES Tri bikes can be expensive. We carry a carbon fiber KESTREL KM40 w/full Dura-Ace, only $5,200.00 (GULP!) I suggest getting a used road bike for her first one, and then if she gets into tri's spend the bucks after her first SEASON! I wouldn't even worry about aero bars for her! Just let her tri it (pun intended) and spend the money if it's something she's going to commit to.

$300.00 is NOT a lot for a decent road bike (even used!), but deals are out there and like stated above, any road bike will work. If you are going to get her a bike, and if possible, I would suggest increasing your budget to $500 it'll allow for a greater choice in bicycles (some even new, year end deals and left overs, at this price point) I would recommend a road bike regardless of budget to someone just getting into triathlons. A road bike is much more comfortable and is more versatile if she doesn't like tri's. (Read), It's easier to sell a used road bike than a used tri bike. Maybe she'll really dig riding the bike and get into criterium racing. TRI bikes not permitted! Or just distance training. TRI bikes not as comfy!

HECK there are even seperate classes (down here anyways) for mountain bikes, so the setup you have is all she really needs to get started. Some new mtn bike tires have max pressures up to 110 p.s.i. and are 1.25 inches wide! For a sprint distance, that'll work! Training will not be as enjoyable, but you save some $$$.

NOW, my advice for her, since it's her first tri, is to worry less about the bike itself and concentrate (PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE) on her transitions. This is where more time is lost or gained in a triathlon. Don't worry about going clipless either, for a first timer, it's just too much time lost in transition for the amount of time saved by using a cycling specific shoe. Especially in SPRINT distances. Go from the swim directly to running shoes and use those on the bike! This way your bike/run transition is quick!

Also to train, when you go for a cycle training ride, practice your bike/run transition and then run for only a short distance, like a mile or two(MAX!). Do this just to get your body used to going from the bike to the run. Also, make sure to train at a higher cadence (easier gear) this will allow for a faster run. Reason being, you naturally run at a slower cadence than you bike. If you start with a low cadence, your run cadence will be pitiful! Don't combine the two workouts on the same day, you'll get worn out! Train for your run on different days.

What else, if you get a chance, go to a race and watch the transitions. Find out what to bring, what NOT to bring, and how to set up your area. Watch the first riders and see what order they put things on. This also helps to know what to wear! Swim in cycling shorts with sport bra type swim suit tops, sunglasses, socks or no socks...etc.

Hope this helps! and tell your wife good luck from the people at BikeForums. BTW, my wife also competes in tri's and she rides a road bike w/aero bars. Well, she did until she hurt her knee mountainbiking. But she's training again and hopes to start competing again this spring!
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
"Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger
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