The Great Bike Debate: Part II
In an earlier post I talked about making the choice every beginner triathlete must make when purchasing a bike: road bike or tri bike?
At the time I had, admittedly, never ridden a tri bike. Now that I’ve had a chance to get in a couple of rides on my new bike, let me reiterate my original position: make your first bike a road bike.
Why, you ask? After all, I did talk about the superb handling after my first ride. Well, there is a method to my madness:
Control. The handling of some tri bikes may be good in comparison to other tri bikes, but no tri bike will be able to have the same control as a road bike. Quite simply you can’t get the same type of control out of a bike when you are in the aero bars as opposed to on the hoods of a road bike. Until you are used to riding a road bike in traffic the last thing you want to do is to be dropping down into the aero position.
Comfort. The aero position might possibly be one of the most unnatural positions in sports. As a person who was used to riding road bikes, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but it still took a bit of time to get used to and my neck was a little stiff the day after.
Flexibility. You can put aero bars on a road bike. Granted, this isn’t an ideal way to go aero, but it will give you the option to ride this way if you like and it will be more than sufficient for any sprint or olympic distance triathlon.
Future use. Chances are that you’re not going to drop a ton on your first bike unless you simply have that kind of money to toss around. As such, the bike you buy will be adequate and will do what you need it to do, but it won’t have that extra umphh that you’ll desire if you really get into the sport. When you do get serious, you’ll know what you’re looking for in a bike and you can go out and spend the money on a bike that you really want. Plus, you’re old road bike will work very well as a commuter bike or as a training bike for rainy days or days that you want to hit the hills. If you make your first bike a road bike, then you’ll have both if you decide to get a great bike later on.