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regular road bike for tri

Old 01-20-21, 05:49 PM
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CanadianBiker32
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regular road bike for tri

as new to triathlon and yet to do my firsti raced bike races many years
all i have is a some what aero road bike and clip on aero bars
would i be able to make do ok with this setup vs buying a tt or tri bike for doing triathlons
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Old 01-20-21, 06:28 PM
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You may find that triathlon isnít the sport for you. I suggest you do at least a couple of tri races on the road bike with clip-on bars just to see if you really like it, and maybe to get a better idea as to specifics you want on a tri bike.

Dan
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Old 01-20-21, 07:07 PM
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Sprints, 70.3's and 140.6's on a Road bike and never felt the need to have a TT or Tri-bike. Gotta admit I always felt better when passing those on TT or Tri-bike.s
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Old 01-24-21, 06:40 PM
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Would depend on your goal for competing. Are you looking to win or place in top three? Then you might need a TT bike. If you're looking to compete at your best but winning isn't a real goal, no need to spend the extra $$$.
I'm with the two above - try it on on your road bike and see what you think. I did my first Sprint Tri on a hybrid and passed a few people that were probably wondering why they had spent all that money.
Dave
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Old 01-24-21, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
Sprints, 70.3's and 140.6's on a Road bike and never felt the need to have a TT or Tri-bike. Gotta admit I always felt better when passing those on TT or Tri-bike.s
1. That's almost the worst advice. The advice is to "try before you buy" so somebody doesn't over commit to expensive equipment they won't use.

2. That's the weakest brag ever. You just admitted that you got smoked on the swim by people who are so slow on the bike leg that road bikes are passing their tri bike. Congrats?

3. In the end, if a person enjoys the sport...........tri bike is the answer. Almost always, unless you have such a debilitating physical condition that you can't get a fitter to get you on one.
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Old 01-25-21, 09:24 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
1. That's almost the worst advice. The advice is to "try before you buy" so somebody doesn't over commit to expensive equipment they won't use.

2. That's the weakest brag ever. You just admitted that you got smoked on the swim by people who are so slow on the bike leg that road bikes are passing their tri bike. Congrats?

3. In the end, if a person enjoys the sport...........tri bike is the answer. Almost always, unless you have such a debilitating physical condition that you can't get a fitter to get you on one.
x 3
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Old 01-26-21, 07:50 AM
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Do a few and see if you like it; used bike ads are littered with tri bikes of people who disovered they didn't quite like the sport, or doing an IM was their bucket list sort of thing.

I've done some triathlons (half and full IM, too) on a aero road bike without aerobars - I just couldn't get on with them in the short time I tried it and I didn't want to massacre the fit in order to make the aerobars really work, either.

So, you can do half-IM and full-IM on a normal, UCI legal, perfectly ordinary road bike. You can even do it reasonably well. Still, there is a difference and if you end up liking the sport, you are really best off buying a tri bike and riding on it a lot to get accustomed to developing power in the position. Looking at guys with similar power and similar weight and height (it helps to be thoroughly average on all counts, heh) on tri bikes on the same races which weren't exactly flat, about 10-15 minutes on a full IM distance. Mind you, I'm pretty aero for a guy on a road bike - I wear size S trisuits (that's XS in US sizing), aero bike, 45mm deep wheels with a 23mm tire in front, 36cm handlebars slammed all the way down and I can ride in the drops for hours on end, and I really get "nose on the stem" when descending, so we're really talking about a pretty optimistic case for a road bike. Yet, to illustrate the difference in aero drag, doing a hilly half-IM last fall on stretches of downhill where it was impossible to pedal I reached a max of 79 km/hr at the fastest point and the guys of similar weight and height on tri bikes reached 85-89 km/hr. If you're trying to be competitive about it, and if you road raced you probably are, you lose a significant - in terms of race results - chunk of time by using a road bike.

I started riding indoors on my wife's tri bike recently and you really have to do it to get used to developing power in that position because it feels way way harder at the start. I can now totally understand a few long distance triathletes I know who just ride their tri bike all the time. Maybe do a triathlon or two on whatever bike you've got, but if you decide to really do triathlon, best off buying a tri bike (do as I say, don't do as I do!).

Mind you, draft-legal (typically sprint and olympic) a road bike is required and only shorty clip-ons are allowed, if you're going to do that you can't use a tri bike anyway.

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Old 01-26-21, 08:22 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
1. That's almost the worst advice. The advice is to "try before you buy" so somebody doesn't over commit to expensive equipment they won't use.

2. That's the weakest brag ever. You just admitted that you got smoked on the swim by people who are so slow on the bike leg that road bikes are passing their tri bike. Congrats?

3. In the end, if a person enjoys the sport...........tri bike is the answer. Almost always, unless you have such a debilitating physical condition that you can't get a fitter to get you on one.
LoL.
Here's two of three bikes I use in Triathlon.
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Old 01-26-21, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by texaspandj View Post
LoL.
Here's two of three bikes I use in Triathlon.
That's some tri classics right there! I like it. The original aero bar setup!

I guess I just don't understand why somebody would brag about their road bike use in tri in an advice topic. That's all. What you use is simply a choice of budget and preference, not necessarily the best option or an option that leads to bragging.

I would never want somebody to waste hard earned money on something they don't end up using. At the same time, if you do love it why not try out things in the long run? Do an OLY on the road bike with clip ons and see if you like the sport.

I tried TT with the whole road bike clip-on deal. It was reasonably fast if you spent the time to set it up well. In the end, I really didn't care for how the bike handled. The geometry of clip-ons on a road bike versus the geometry of a tri/TT bike are just different. Leading to different handling of the bikes.

So, I've been there, done that.

It's a tough call for somebody on a budget. Thing is, instead of telling someone to only own ONE bike I'd tell them to sacrifice modernity for having TWO bikes.

Function over glamour.

I just went on our local CL and found:
$300: Scott tri bike
$450: Quintana Roo titanium tri bike
$500: Felt B2 or a QR Kilo tri bike

That $450 QR titanium tri bike with proper fit would smoke a compromised road bike clip-on fit. It would also smoke a road bike without clip ons.

I do realize there are draft legal triathlons where you have to use a road bike with an ITU bar on the road handlebars. Not a tri bike. I'm not talking about draft legal ITU.
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Old 01-26-21, 06:28 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
........................I guess I just don't understand why somebody would brag about their road bike use in tri in an advice topic. That's all......................
PLEASE READ my reply again.

The OP wrote >>> " .....would i be able to make do ok with this setup vs buying a tt or tri bike for doing triathlons"

It was NOT ADVICE but a simple statement of what I have used for the events I've done and the uplifting feeling when this at the time 60+yo rider was passing YOUNGER individuals riding event specific bikes who smoked me in the swim because of swimming with a right shoulder that did not rotate due to bone on bone and a neck that did not allow rotation due to being broken in a bicycle crash in 2011 at age 61. AND also having to walk instead of jogging or running due to BONE on BONE KNEES.
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Old 01-26-21, 09:33 PM
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I've got Aero bars on my road bike and rode that setup for months in preparation for a Half IM last year. Besides a good tri saddle, get a forward seat post. Mine is a used Profile Design Fast Forward 30 Degree seatpost. Without it, you may struggle to get comfortable on the aerobars.

They can be found used between $25 and $75.
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Old 01-27-21, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
It was NOT ADVICE but a simple statement of what I have used for the events I've done and the uplifting feeling when this at the time 60+yo rider was passing YOUNGER individuals riding event specific bikes
So, why exactly jump on a topic where someone is seeking advice about whether to spend possibly a lot of money on a bike they may or may not use did you see that as an opening to try to humble-brag?

You literally just admitted to reading the OP's topic, and deciding to not give advice but to brag.

Either give the advice or don't.

If someone is asking about whether to try out minimalist or maximalist running shoes, going off on a tangent about a dog stealing your shoes and running your best ever 5k barefoot wouldn't really lend anything to the conversation.

The cliff's notes are:
-yes, you can use any bike within the rules for the events just fine (including a road bike with clip-ons, which is very common)
-yes, tri bikes are designed to provide the ergonomics for: improved aero, comfort, and nutrition availability specific to riding a bike in a triathlon
-yes, you can spend a LOT or a little and still be faster, and perhaps even more comfortable on the bike
-yes, I would attempt an event or two as-is before deciding to upgrade to a tri-specific bike. I'd hate to spend the money just to never wind up using it

My personal advice: Use what you have right now for an event or two that is a bit shorter than your longest target event in the future. If you want to do 1/2 IM at some point, try a sprint and an OLY. Then, take notes about how you felt and decide about "do I want to keep doing this". If the answer is "yes I do" combined with "non-draft legal" then I would investigate getting a triathlon dedicated bike.
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Old 01-27-21, 01:50 PM
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Give it a rest. Whatís the harm in saying you have feelings of elation when youíre on a traditional road bike and pass someone on a tri-specific bike? Iíve had those same feelings myself using a standard road bike with clip-on bars. And it doesnít mean anything about being a good or bad swimmer. Just about all the triathlons Iíve ever been in have required age-group markings on your calf. When Iím well into the bike portion of the race and I pass someone with a marking from a younger age-group, on a more tri-specific bike than mine, who started the race in a wave minutes ahead of my age-groupís wave. Yeah...thatís a good feeling.

Dan
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Old 01-28-21, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
Give it a rest. What’s the harm in saying you have feelings of elation when you’re on a traditional road bike and pass someone on a tri-specific bike? I’ve had those same feelings myself using a standard road bike with clip-on bars. And it doesn’t mean anything about being a good or bad swimmer. Just about all the triathlons I’ve ever been in have required age-group markings on your calf. When I’m well into the bike portion of the race and I pass someone with a marking from a younger age-group, on a more tri-specific bike than mine, who started the race in a wave minutes ahead of my age-group’s wave. Yeah...that’s a good feeling.

Dan
I believe you understood my reply as simply showing that even a regular bike with aero bars clamped on can be used in an IRONMAN event AND NOT DIE IN THE PROCESS.

r.e. bold -- I ALWAYS enter the water as late as possible due to being a VERY POOR SWIMMER and not wanting those better having to climb over me. Exiting the water 5 minutes, 10 minutes and even more behind others and then catching/passing those better swimmers does help to boost one's ego AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG with that feeling.
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Old 01-28-21, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
You may find that triathlon isnít the sport for you. I suggest you do at least a couple of tri races on the road bike with clip-on bars just to see if you really like it, and maybe to get a better idea as to specifics you want on a tri bike.

Dan
Great idea. I had some experience
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Old 01-28-21, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
Give it a rest. Whatís the harm in saying you have feelings of elation when youíre on a traditional road bike and pass someone on a tri-specific bike? Iíve had those same feelings myself using a standard road bike with clip-on bars. And it doesnít mean anything about being a good or bad swimmer. Just about all the triathlons Iíve ever been in have required age-group markings on your calf. When Iím well into the bike portion of the race and I pass someone with a marking from a younger age-group, on a more tri-specific bike than mine, who started the race in a wave minutes ahead of my age-groupís wave. Yeah...thatís a good feeling.

Dan
How would you feel about cheering yourself on about passing a 30 year younger tri-bike rider if you found out after the fact it was somebody like Ramon Arroyo who has MS? Who started off not being able to even walk 100 meters down the street before taking up triathlon? His is a unique story, but a story that likely plays out in at least a similar way in probably almost every larger multisport event.

There's a "based on a true story" movie on Netflix you should watch to help you understand why I don't think we should judge other's performances in a race to make yourselves feel better: 100 Metros. It's subtitled to English. Adapted story of Ramon Arroyo.

There's no shame in feeling pride in your performance. Just don't make it at the expense of others. Swim, bike, and run your race. I hope that bit of insight might at least make you all consider what I've got to say here.
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Old 01-28-21, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
How would you feel about cheering yourself on about passing a 30 year younger tri-bike rider if you found out after the fact it was somebody like Ramon Arroyo who has MS?
Of course that would be shameful...especially if you actually knew the athlete was disabled. But it is my experience that disabled and adaptive athletes have a separate start wave that go off last.

Dan
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Old 01-28-21, 10:36 AM
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...

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Old 08-07-21, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CanadianBiker32 View Post
as new to triathlon and yet to do my firsti raced bike races many years
all i have is a some what aero road bike and clip on aero bars
would i be able to make do ok with this setup vs buying a tt or tri bike for doing triathlons
I recommend riding what you have for a while and see how you do. Since you've raced bikes, your bike leg of the race will likely be your strongest (compared to the rest of the field - most race results will give you your rank for swim, bike, and run). If you're not a strong or efficient swimmer, some swim coaching may be more cost effective in improving your race results than getting a triathlon bike.

FWIW, I've raced triathlon with various bike configurations. From 1985 to 1989, standard road. From 1990 to 1999, road bike with clip-on aero bars. From 2000 on, a tri-bike with aero race wheels. In my experience, a tri-bike is only about 1% faster than a road bike with aero bars.
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Old 08-12-21, 08:32 AM
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Whatever bike you decide on learn to use the gears and shifters. I marshaled a tri this past weekend. I saw plenty of riders walking their bike up a hill.............with their chain on the big ring!
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Old 12-22-21, 08:53 PM
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Interesting thread. If anybody is still out there, can someone explain to me what a "TT bike" is? I'm still new to triathlons. I did two back in October, a sprint in early October and an Olympic in late October. I'm entered in another Olympic in Sarasota next month. Unless it sells first, I'll be riding my 54cm Cannondale. That bike is too tall for me but it's what I used for the first two. Only reason I'll be riding it is because I plan on taking it out there and hoping it sells while I'm in Florida. I don't want to have to bring it back, but if I do, no big deal.

I have two Treks to replace it when it's gone. I have a Lexa which I will be using for triathlons later (I have two more scheduled here in Nevada later in the year) and another Trek that's kind of my "daily ride". I have aero bars on everything. Not because I'm looking for some kind of aero advantage to get me on the podium. At my age, I'm just doing it to finish. But I find it to be a comfortable position when I'm on the bike for a couple hours.

I'm just doing this to have fun and stay at as high a level as I can for as long as I can. My ride is my strongest event, which is not surprising given my build. My run is next strongest just because I have a long history as a runner, even though I'm not built for running. And swimming is my absolute slowest. I'm never in jeopardy of not making the swim, but I'm a very inefficient swimmer. And living where I live, it's difficult to get any kind of quality practice for swims that long.
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Old 12-23-21, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post
Interesting thread. If anybody is still out there, can someone explain to me what a "TT bike" is? I'm still new to triathlons. I did two back in October, a sprint in early October and an Olympic in late October. I'm entered in another Olympic in Sarasota next month. Unless it sells first, I'll be riding my 54cm Cannondale. That bike is too tall for me but it's what I used for the first two. Only reason I'll be riding it is because I plan on taking it out there and hoping it sells while I'm in Florida. I don't want to have to bring it back, but if I do, no big deal.

I have two Treks to replace it when it's gone. I have a Lexa which I will be using for triathlons later (I have two more scheduled here in Nevada later in the year) and another Trek that's kind of my "daily ride". I have aero bars on everything. Not because I'm looking for some kind of aero advantage to get me on the podium. At my age, I'm just doing it to finish. But I find it to be a comfortable position when I'm on the bike for a couple hours.

I'm just doing this to have fun and stay at as high a level as I can for as long as I can. My ride is my strongest event, which is not surprising given my build. My run is next strongest just because I have a long history as a runner, even though I'm not built for running. And swimming is my absolute slowest. I'm never in jeopardy of not making the swim, but I'm a very inefficient swimmer. And living where I live, it's difficult to get any kind of quality practice for swims that long.
Well, first, these days careful with TT versus tri bike. Many brands now sell both and they're not the same, sometimes. Sometimes they are. Confused yet?

Best I can tell you is lookup a Specialized Shiv Tri and then the TT. The tri version has built in or built on hydration to the frameset. TT bikes don't, rules and such.

So if you want one, you want a "tri bike".

Next is in general they're easier to adjust to make the aerobars fit you better than cobbling the fit together on a road bike. Also, road bikes have snappier geometry for turning. I'm pretty sure most tri/tt bikes have longer chainstays relative to a road bike, so they steer a bit slower and steadier.

Tri bikes are just a "right tool for right job" kind of thing if it is your hobby and you have the money. It's designed to fit a person better for that riding position, has integrated storage and hydration, steers better riding it in aero, etc............

There can be an argument to get a tri bike for comfort in triathlons for the run if your road bike fit isn't optimal or comfortable.
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Old 12-23-21, 08:33 PM
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Alright everyone. Let's not get personal.
Thanks.
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Old 12-24-21, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Well, first, these days careful with TT versus tri bike. Many brands now sell both and they're not the same, sometimes. Sometimes they are. Confused yet?

Best I can tell you is lookup a Specialized Shiv Tri and then the TT. The tri version has built in or built on hydration to the frameset. TT bikes don't, rules and such.

So if you want one, you want a "tri bike".

Next is in general they're easier to adjust to make the aerobars fit you better than cobbling the fit together on a road bike. Also, road bikes have snappier geometry for turning. I'm pretty sure most tri/tt bikes have longer chainstays relative to a road bike, so they steer a bit slower and steadier.

Tri bikes are just a "right tool for right job" kind of thing if it is your hobby and you have the money. It's designed to fit a person better for that riding position, has integrated storage and hydration, steers better riding it in aero, etc............

There can be an argument to get a tri bike for comfort in triathlons for the run if your road bike fit isn't optimal or comfortable.
So TT means a tri bike? Or in some circumstances?

I guess that's not going to happen for me. I'm one of those people who makes do with hand-me-down, used bikes. I've seen some really nice bikes out there, and I would love to have one. But I just can't justify the expense, even used, of some of these bikes. My used $500 Trek is likely to be the last bike I ever buy. And that's fine. I'm old now. I figure I only have a few more years of this nonsense left in me before reality forces me to act my age.
Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Alright everyone. Let's not get personal.
Thanks.
I must have missed something.
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Old 12-25-21, 09:00 AM
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Ironfish653
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post
So TT means a tri bike? Or in some circumstances?

I guess that's not going to happen for me. I'm one of those people who makes do with hand-me-down, used bikes. I've seen some really nice bikes out there, and I would love to have one. But I just can't justify the expense, even used, of some of these bikes. My used $500 Trek is likely to be the last bike I ever buy. And that's fine. I'm old now. I figure I only have a few more years of this nonsense left in me before reality forces me to act my age.

I must have missed something.
TT stands for Time Trial, which is a really specialist discipline, under the general umbrella of Road Racing.
Basically, racing a course against the clock, solo, rather than other riders. Kinda like the TRI bike leg, but faster, and you don't have to run afterwards.

What people get in a twist over, is that TT bikes and TRI bikes look similar, they're quite different; both bikes feature aero bars, and frames and wheels designed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, TRI bikes tend to put the rider higher an farther forward, for maximum efficiency, than the lower, tighter position on a Time Trial bike, which is about maximum speed, and nothing else.

What does this mean to you, the average recreational rider / enthusiast?
Very little; TT bikes are highly specialist weaponry, they're not common in the wild. Unless you're shopping in shops that cater to World Championship level riders (,or riders who have WXC level budgets) you're not going to see one sitting on the sales floor.
There are far more people who do TRI, at least in the US, so that swoopy bike with the areo bars is most likely a TRI bike.
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