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Training for first triathlon - bike advice

joe1983joe1983 Posts: 440
edited March 2009 in Road beginners
Hi everyone,

normally I am found in the mtb section but have found myself drifting further to the darkside. I have decided to train for a triathlon and am looking for advice on my first road bike. I am probably looking at a budget of around £400 give or take and am happy to buy second hand if my money goes further.

I have NO idea about anything roadie so am looking for your suggestions. What is a good 2nd hand bike I should be looking out for, or should I buy new? What components should I steer clear of / look for? etc etc

Any advice would be greatly appreciated,




  • JC.152JC.152 Posts: 645
    Focus at wiggle are a good place to start good bikes and not too much compared to the big brands like spcilized and trek
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    If you're found on MTB forums then I'm guessing you have an MTB. Why not enter a couple of sprints and just fit slicks to your MTB and whip off anything unnecessary?

    If then you decide you like tri/road biking then make that decision - you'll quite probably decide you want a bigger budget :wink:
  • FSR_XCFSR_XC Posts: 2,258
    Ditto hammerite

    Unless you are sure you will get the Tri (or road) bug, why spend money on a new bike?

    If it's a 'Sprint' race you are entering, you'll see plenty of people using MTB (and some using Halfords FS specials).
    Stumpjumper FSR 09/10 Pro Carbon, Genesis Vapour CX20 ('17)Carbon, Rose Xeon CW3000 '14, Raleigh R50
  • joe1983joe1983 Posts: 440
    Yep I did consider that, and to be honest it is probably the sensible option. I am not very sensible, however, and want a new toy to play with, NOW!

    I've been doing a lot of road riding on the mountain bike so I don't think not liking it will be an option. I reckon if I buy second hand I won't lose too much if I don't stick with it and decide to sell on.

    Thanks for the advice though guys, oh and it's an olympic distance race I'm entering.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    joe1983 wrote:
    Thanks for the advice though guys, oh and it's an olympic distance race I'm entering.

    If you can find a suitable sprint to do prior to your olympic distance I'd think it would be a very valuable part of your olympic distance training. I haven't done an olympic distance yet (that's my plan for this year), but I've done a couple of sprints. It's great fun, but you learn a lot by actually taking part compared to training.
  • FSR_XCFSR_XC Posts: 2,258
    If you are set on getting a road bike and you are looking S/H, the most important thing is finding one that fits & feels comfortable. You are going to be riding around 25 miles (straight after a 1.5km swim).

    You can't go wrong with one of the major manufacturers such as Giant, Specialized, Trek, Cannondale etc.

    Components wise Shimano Sora is the lowest to look at, but try for Tiagra or 105 groupset (or Compag equivalent).

    Personally, I'd get down to a big bike shop and talk to someone about getting the right size etc.

    BTW - You're a brave (or very fit) man going straight in for an Olympic Distance race.
    Stumpjumper FSR 09/10 Pro Carbon, Genesis Vapour CX20 ('17)Carbon, Rose Xeon CW3000 '14, Raleigh R50
  • I think you should get a road bike for a few reasons.

    1. You can use it for trainning for fitness and mtb.

    2. Dousn't matter what ground you have made going into the bike stage, you will have a big disadvantage in the bike stage, even if your a good road biker.

    3. You actually have a chance of winning a triathlon.

    Try eBay or online places like that and try to pickup an entry level road bike. Who knows you might even enjoy it!
  • I was in a similar scenario - had been into mountain biking, but was doing a lot of road riding on it. I therefore fancied getting a road bike and had a vague triathlon plan in the back of my mind. Now, with bike, I've entered the London triathlon (Olympic distance - I figured if I did the sprint, I'd only have to come back again next year and do the full thing). Hoping to do a sprint distance at some point beforehand for training - they say the transition benefits from a practice greatly.

    Good luck!
  • joe1983joe1983 Posts: 440
    hi again, I have considered the sprint option and have kinda decided to do one first as training but to aim to complete an olympic distance one this season.

    FSR-XC - daft is another option! Think I'm going to pop into evans or halfords to try some for size

    Is ebay the best bet or is there a secret roadie classifieds somewhere (I already check bikeradar roadie section)?
  • tlw1tlw1 Posts: 21,109
    Why are people saying don't buy another bike................. I thought we all encouraged each other to keep buying more bike!!!!!

    Joking aside, I mostly MTB but love my road bike as it enables you to do a "quick" hour on the bike straight from your front door.
  • FSR_XC wrote:
    You are going to be riding around 25 miles (straight after a 1.5km swim).

    Slightly off topic,How many lengths is that in an olympic size pool??? and also how long would it take the average BLOKE to acheive this????
  • joe1983joe1983 Posts: 440
    30 lengths of an olympic (50m) pool, timewise I have yet to find out!
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    I only really advised using your MTB because I went out before my first tri, bought a bottom range trek road and now would really like to have a lot better bike!! I really like my Trek bike, but I think I'm now ready for a step up - just trying to justify it.

    I'd probably recommend lowering your budget slightly, buying a well looked after second hand road bike for £150-200. The with the money you've saved use it towards the next road bike you'll want in about 9 months time after your first successful tri season!!

    I'd defo recommend doing a few low pressure sprints first, a tri isn't easy to do - not just from a fitness point of view - preparing all your kit and transitions can seem like a logistical nightmare (my OH got in a eal strop with me at my first race because I was flapping worrying whether I'd sorted everything!). So it's best using the sprints to try some things out before you main target race.

    The other thing to budget for is a wetsuit if you are planning an Oly. Not many (if any) Oly races will be in a pool, they'll be in a lake or river - a wetsuit is essential. There are a few other things that are useful but not essential.

    Number belt
    Tri shorts (any top will do at first though)

    I think an average time for a 1500m swim is about 30 mins-ish (the top guys in about 20 mins). I'm a shockingly bad swimmer and managed my last Oly in about 36 mins-ish plus a bit for T1.
  • joe1983joe1983 Posts: 440
    Anyone got any oppinions on a 2006 trek 1000 sl? The guy is looking for £250
  • jordan_217jordan_217 Posts: 2,580
    Is your employer enrolled in the Ride 2 Work scheme? It may be worth finding out as this will significantly lower the purchase price of a good entry/intermediate bike.

    Check Evans website as they currently have a couple of good bikes for around £400 they're all 2007/2008 models but that won't differ much (if at all) from the current models.

    Also, wiggle are an excellent source for most of the Tri kit you'll ever need. Goggles, race belt, elastic laces etc However, unless your surname is Rockerfeller don't worry about spending a fortune on Tri specific kit. Most cycle kit you probably already have will be sufficient.

    You can also hire wetsuits for the season rather than buy one outright. Then at the end of the season the hirer may allow you to buy it at a reduced rate minus your initial deposit. I think wiggle, TFN and Tri and Run all offer this service.

    Some Tri shops will also sell packages containing all you need - bike, wetsuit, cycle shoes, trainers, tri-suit, tri-bars etc. I think they start at around £650-700.

    Regarding the triathlon itself:

    In training practice 'brick sessions' (training back to back in the disciplines) ie swim > cycle, cycle>run. This mimics what your body will 'endure' on race day.

    Go over your transitions prior to the race start, know where your bike is and lay out your kit in the order in which you will use it.

    Don't tear out of transition like a man possessed! Settle in to your cycle and run and up the pace gradually.

    Enjoy your race and try not to be put off by a small minority of "Triathletes" who saunter about thinking their Tim Don (all the gear, no idea!)

    Good luck !!!
    “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.”
  • RuariRuari Posts: 217
    Any road bike will be more than sufficient for your first tri. I think you would struggle to do the olympic distances' 40 miles on an mtb, though I've seen it done!
    Don't worry about getting flash tri bars or anything either, at least not for your first races anyway. They take a while to get used to and if you've not even ridden much 'roadbike', you'll find the control a bit unnerving to say the least!
    Enjoy the tri, you'll never look back...
    FCN 1
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    I think you should buy the TT bike that I have for sale in the classifieds...
  • jordan_217 wrote:
    In training practice 'brick sessions' (training back to back in the disciplines) ie swim > cycle, cycle>run. This mimics what your body will 'endure' on race day.

    If you're a member of gym that does spin classes, try doing an 800m swim timed to give you enough time (and only just enough time) to get out of the pool, RUN to the changing room, get into gym kit, and RUN to the spin class as the warm up is starting.

    At the end of the spin class skip the warm down (polite to mention this to the teacher first) and jump STRAIGHT onto a treadmill for 20mins. Run "hard as".

    That's not too different to a short sprint triathlon
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
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