What to Look For When Buying a Beginners Bike For Triathlon
Submitted by: Stephen Harrington
What to look for when buying a beginners bike for triathlon
What do you need to know about buying a triathlon bike? It is a mine field and can be very confusing. There are a few basics however which will help get you started.
In the beginning all you need is a bike! I have seen people do triathlons on mountain bikes and bone shakers. However as it does make a difference maybe as your first racing bike an aluminium frame with carbon forks would be plenty good enough. For a bike like this you should be paying between 500 and 1,000 however you can pick up a quality second hand one from eBay or gumtree for less than half that and for your first season or 2 that would be great.
I did my first 2 seasons on a bike like this and got up to 100 miles before I changed and managed to keep up!
Look for bargains and last seasons models as it makes no difference to you at this stage and all you would be paying for is the latest model which is pointless.
What you do need to do is
• Make sure it fits and is comfortable. Badly fitted bikes cause pain and injury and poor posture.
• Make sure it has enough gears so you can get up good sized hills if you need to, you don’t want to be running out of gears when you really need them.
• Try and get a compact gear set up as it is easier initially and easy to maintain
• Learn how to maintain the bike and keep it in good working order, always make sure the breaks are working properly and never scrimp on this
• Get quality chain lube and use it every few times before you head out
• If you do purchase a new bike get it serviced a couple of months after you get it at the same store (many will do it for free for the first one) as cables, gears and brakes become loose
• Spend money on a good helmet as it may save your life!
Get used to your new bike before you race and if you can make the decision for cleats or toe clips a good while before the race so you can practice with either.
If you are going to use cleats (these are the pedals where you clip the shoe in) then this is what you need to know
• Get a decent pair of shoes to go with them and make sure they are comfortable. As you go on longer rides this becomes more important. If you only get 1 pair of shoes then choose racing shoes so you can at least race and train in them. They come with 1 or 2 large Velcro straps and are easy to get in and out of. I made the mistake of getting cycling shoes and not triathlon shows so I could not get them on and off quickly and had to buy another pair!
• Practice for the first time on grass as you may fall off! When I started I fell off twice once on grass and once at traffic lights, not cool!
• As you slow up to maybe stop for traffic or lights, half unclip one foot and twist it to a 45 degree angle so you are ready to stop or ready to clip back in quickly and go again.
• Choose a common set up and cleat, you want lots of choice of shoes and colours etc
• Buy an extra pair of fittings for the bottom of the shoes as they wear out and you need to be able to change them
To improve your bike as well you can also buy triathlon bars which fix onto a normal pair of racing handle bars (picture below). A good idea if you want to start practicing and getting used to a more areo position and you can race like that too. Get ones which have the most amount of adjustment so you can get the most comfortable position possible.
Finally, yes you want to look good and have a great bike but your times will improve by training and not hanging around bike shops buying the latest bling. Train hard, enjoy the results then move on to bigger and better gear!
About the Author: Triathlon Success http://www.triathlonsuccess.co.uk is a web site dedicated to take the confusion and mystery out of triathlon
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