Road or Tri?

Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts

Road or Tri?

Postby cev » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:33 am

Hi all. First post on this very down to earth forum!
I am in the process of buying a road bike nearly 20 years after the last one. Right now I am riding a hardtail MTB about 120kms/week. I have pretty much settled on a Azzurri Primo or maybe a Forza if I can really justify it.
Now here's where I need the advice. Should I consider buying a Tri/TT type bike since I only ride about 20-30km's a day mon-fri and a 40-50km ride on Sunday. What's the main difference between the Tri and Road bikes? Would aero bars suit me better? These probably pretty obvious question guys but I'm a bit lost at the moment. :roll:
I'm in no hurry to buy as I have to work on my fittness and weight for a few good months yet. I'm 36 and 188cm. Right now I weigh 100kg but my fit weight is about 85-87KG.
Thanks
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by BNA » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:43 am

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Postby Bnej » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:43 am

Think a conventional road bike will suit you better.

Drop bars for road bikes offer a higher and lower hand position, and are more comfortable.

Bullhorn type bars used on time trial bikes only have the lower position and will not be comfortable for long periods. They are also narrower I think.

You might get a bit faster but it won't be worth it over long distances, because you'll be in all sorts of misery.
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Postby sogood » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:55 am

Road vs Tri/TT bikes can vary both in terms of frame geometry and rider position. But the most obvious visual differentiator is in Tri/TT's use of aero bars to reduce the aerodynamic drag, hence faster for a given power output.

But unless you are specifically competing in TT/Tri events, TT bikes are less comfortable and don't handle as well on the road, afterall, they are designed for solo riding and specifically for predominantly straight line riding. So if you are going to ride it on the road or in a bunch, then please don't use TT bikes as they can be a danger to yourself and others.
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Postby LuckyPierre » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:29 pm

Hi cev! As sogood pointed out, there is enough difference in road vs TT / tri bike geometry to make a difference in their 'rideability'. I'd stick with a road bike - then if you do the occasional time trial or triathlon, just add some aero bars to it.
I think that you'll like the Primo (I've test ridden one of the new monocoque models) or the Forza (I've spent more time on one of these, albeit the older butted frame).
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Postby moosterbounce » Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:21 pm

Hi Cev.

I battled the same question as you not that long ago. My previous riding experience was doing tris with the old fashioned tri-bikes (read "road bike with tri bars"). All the riding I do is either alone or leading my husband on mostly straight roads with some bike paths. I thought a tri bike (or at least tri bars) would suit me.

My other "issue" is that I suffer from Golfer's Elbow and find it a bit tricky to put much weight on my arms for any length of time. Before anyone asks :wink: Golfer's elbow is similar to Tennis Elbow but, in TE, it is the tendon running along the top of the elbow that has the problem, but GE it is the one running underneath. I've never even played golf - it isn't fair!! :) With this, I thought being able to lean on my whole forearm instead of just my hand would greatly assist me.

I went for a drop bar road bike in the end. My deciding factor was that you can't ride a tri-bike in a group ride. This would have stopped me riding my "good" bike in a couple of events held in Perth. This is basically because when in the aero position, there are no brakes!! The geometry with the rider over the bars more also changes road handling, but not as badly as not having brakes!!

Here's something that explains the differences between teh two really well:
http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/bikes/difference.shtml

Now that I have my drop bars, I never use them!! Ever!! I pretty much hold the brake hoods as it is more comfortable. My elbow sometimes gives me grief, depending on the time and ride I do but I'm up to 50km rides and it is usually fine. I am still tossing up whether to buy clip on aero bars or not as this would give me somewhere to rest when the arm is having a bad day, but I am not sure if it is really necessary, or if I am running out of things to buy for my bike :D .

I hope this helps as it is kind of a case study and I spent hours studying this stuff!!

Moo...
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Postby Mulger bill » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:17 pm

G'Day Cev :D

Why do you need a roadie :wink:

Shaun
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Postby cev » Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:39 am

Thanks for the replies, there's some good info for me there and some stuff I didn't realize! I'll go with the road bike, just a matter of finding a test ride when i'm ready.
G'day Shaun,The reason i want a road bike is I'm doing all road riding now and riding further each time my fittness improves so I kinda figured I would graduate to something fit for purpose. Although living here in CQ the MTB is handy when the tarmac ends on the back roads, just keep on riding :D Although I plan to be living in Singleton in the next 12 months so I can maybe do some good road miles.
Thanks again.
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Postby MichaelB » Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:11 am

moosterbounce wrote:Hi Cev.


Here's something that explains the differences between teh two really well:
http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/bikes/difference.shtml

Moo...


Excellent article - many thanks.

I was considering buying aero bars for my road bike partially to help with my carpal tunnel issue, but now that I have read the article, I am having second thoughts.

I'll wait till I get my new road bike, and then suck it and see.

Mind you , I like the comment about the group rides they have with frequent crashes :shock:

Cheers

Michael B
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Postby tuco » Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:56 am

MichaelB wrote:
moosterbounce wrote:Hi Cev.


Here's something that explains the differences between teh two really well:
http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/bikes/difference.shtml

Moo...


Excellent article - many thanks.

I was considering buying aero bars for my road bike partially to help with my carpal tunnel issue, but now that I have read the article, I am having second thoughts.

I'll wait till I get my new road bike, and then suck it and see.

Mind you , I like the comment about the group rides they have with frequent crashes :shock:

Cheers

Michael B


I've heard triathletes crash more in group rides because in races they're not allowed to draft so when they train in groups they're dangerous.

Woohoo, Cev, one more roadie out there.
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Postby mikesbytes » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:30 pm

tuco wrote:I've heard triathletes crash more in group rides because in races they're not allowted to draft so when they train in groups they're dangerous.


When I've seen tri groups out for a ride, they aren't using the tri bars. Generally they are riding about 5kph slower than the roadie's groups, which makes sense as they need 3 types of performance, not just cycling.

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Postby heavymetal » Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:21 pm

I ride with touriing bars (aero bars :D), but the difference with my bike is that the handlebars are not 4 feet (slight exaggeration) below the level of the seat, but are actually higher than the seat.

The difference this makes in handling is a big difference as my weight is not much further forward than if I was on the drops.
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Postby Mr888 » Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:07 pm

mikesbytes wrote:
When I've seen tri groups out for a ride, they aren't using the tri bars. Generally they are riding about 5kph slower than the roadie's groups, which makes sense as they need 3 types of performance, not just cycling.


That's true. My average has dropped to 35-38km/hr (use to be around the 43+km/h). It's even worse when I do the longer rides. After swimming 700m (or 2km when training) it gets very hard to push a bike and I've got to remind myself that there's a 5km+ run afterwards so don't burn out!

I do use the tri-bars, but I usually ride solo anyway?
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