Cycling has become a hugely popular sport. Whether it’s for health and fitness purposes or just to make a daily commute easier and more environmentally friendly. And for some it’s a way to get out of the city in leisure time to unwind on off road trails with a mountain bike.
With this growing popularity, many people also fancy the idea of taking on some running, and maybe even swimming. And there you have the 3 ingredients of a triathlon, and an excellent fitness challenge ahead.
The problem is that people often think that their normal city or mountain bike will be suitable for a triathlon. Unfortunately, I’ve seen to many people fail, because they don’t have the right cycling equipment.
For that reason, we’ve put together this quick guide that will help you better understand why your average mountain or city bike won’t do the job.
- The bicycle frame is where the magic lies in a triathlon bike. When it comes to a triathlon bike, it’s all about the aerodynamics. A typical bike’s frame is usually slanted in a way that can limit the aerodynamics that alternatively is provided by the steep tube angle on a triathlon’s frame. It’s typically angled at about 76-degrees or more, which sits you more forward on your bike, allowing for a faster ride than you would get from another kind of bike. Because of the steep angle, the way that you position your body allows for a different and more effective ride than on your mountain bike or speed bike.
- It helps you save energy for the other portions of the triathlon. If you were just racing in a typical cycling race, you wouldn’t think so deeply about each and every muscle that you’re using while cycling—at least not like during a triathlon. For example, during a triathlon, you have to think about the fact that you have to run and swim, all of which will require effort from different muscles in your body. A triathlon bike is going to help you to go faster and help you use less effort on certain leg muscles than a typical bike would.
- The frame and wheels are designed with speed in mind. You’ll also discover that triathlon bikes have a wider frame than your average mountain bike. At the same time, its smooth design allows for better aerodynamics which allows you to go as fast as possible. You’ll notice the design of the wheels is different than the bike that you may have at home. With deep profiles and more materials, they are also designed for better aerodynamics. The only thing about this type of wheels is that the bike isn’t as comfortable to handle as your mountain bike and it may also offer more of a challenge than your typical speed bike.
- It will help you to keep up with other triathletes. You’ll also discover that most every triathlete in your triathlon is going to have a triathlon bike. This may mean that they will end up being faster than you and if not faster during the cycling portion, they will probably have more stamina throughout the whole race than you will.
Is It A Must?
While there are athletes who make it work with the bike that they may already have at home, if you are dedicated to winning and want to make that as much of a possibility as you can, it would be best to invest in a triathlon bike.
It’s important that you take some time practicing on your triathlon bike before you actually race in the triathlon, so you can get used to the feel of the bike. They ride differently and aren’t as easy to handle as other ones, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to race much more effectively and quickly.
As a triathlete, you’re going to need to make sure that you stay hydrated and have what you need on your ride. Of course, carrying a heavy backpack on your bike isn’t going to help you to go fast.
This is when you may want to invest in a tube storage accessory where you can keep packets of water or other hydrating liquids. You can also look for a bike that has one integrated already.
The pedal clips are also very important to get right. Not only do they need to match the shoes you have, but they have to be tight enough to give you confidence, and easy enough to get in and out of when you start and finish the cycle stage.
Are you ready to make your triathlon dreams come true? Consider investing in a triathlon bike. Yes, it may be pricey and an added cost but it will certainly make your goal of winning a race much more doable.
Not every triathlete depends on a triathlon bike but you’ll be amazed at just how much it will help you during the race. Who knows? You may get used to the speed and never want to go back to your old bike again.