Many individuals get into triathlon with a running or swimming background. Their first order of business is to purchase their first “real” bike. The question they ask us most often is, “What is the best bike to get?” Like many questions in the world of endurance sports, the simple answer is, “It depends.” That said, we do have some advice that might point you in the right direction.
With all of the fits we have completed over the years, it probably comes as no surprise that a great deal of them have been on triathletes. They are a very dedicated group of athletes and want the best for their longevity in sport. Over these hundreds, if not thousands, of fits, we have come to a conclusion. If you are new to triathlon and particularly if you are new to the cycling leg of this sport, we strongly urge you to purchase a road bicycle for your first bike for the following reasons:
- Confidence – When compared to a triathlon bike, a road bike is significantly more stable for handling. The longer wheelbase, lesser weight on the front wheel, more upright posture and significantly different geometry make the bike handle differently. A road bike turns better and isn’t as “twitchy.”
- Versatility – In many instances, people get into triathlon because of a friend or a thriving local triathlon community. For newer cyclists, a road bike provides you with the ability to have a great time riding in groups and connecting with people while still providing a great result on event day.
- Comfort – An initial thought is that the aero bars on a triathlon bike will provide added comfort for those long days in the saddle. That can be true, but, if you are not accustomed to riding a bicycle, riding in aero can cause many aches and pains that are only resolved with time and proper fitment. If you intend on riding in groups, it is not wise to ride in the aero position. Spending countless miles of riding with your hands on the horns can lead to hand pain as well as neck and shoulder discomfort.
So, if you are new to triathlon and you are in the market for your first bike, we strongly encourage you to look at a road bicycle.
If you are unsure about this because you want a set of aero bars to improve your speed, don’t panic! The right pair of aero bars will work on your road bike.