Check out my new wheels! Which bike should I use? Do I need a time trial bike? Should I get Di2? Which sort of Tri Bars should I get? I have had all these questions in the last week! When it comes to race bikes, unless you ride for a sponsored team, or are fortunate enough to have your race bike provided... it normally comes down to personal preference, money and what is available at the time.
When my athletes ask about what race bike to buy my advice has always been buy the best frameset you can afford. Set a total budget you can afford for your bike. A frameset is the main frame, the forks and seatpost. This is your foundation for the bike. Then its about wheels.
Its nice to have a pair to train on and and a super dooper pair to race on but that's a cost thing. We are talking race bikes so get the best wheels to go with your frame. Unless you are loaded, its pointless having a pair of wheels you race on a few times a year. Use them. Cycling is hard enough anyway... why make it harder using cheaper equipment.
Everything else can be altered, updated, tweaked and adjusted at a later date. This includes groupset (gears & brakes), pedals, handlebars, tyres etc.
Its cheaper to buy a complete bike but we are talking about buying your race bike.
One thing I haven't mentioned is saddles... these are really about comfort. Get one that fits your butt! A saddle you can get used to sitting on for several hours. Its personal preference.
Should you get Di2? These are electronic gears. When they first came out the answer was... its not worth the money. A well maintained cable system works equally well. Now the price is coming down. I used Di2 in Mallorca this year... it was ok... but if it racks up the price of my bike I wouldn't bother. That's just me. Some people love it and swear by it. If you are buying a complete bike, and its included in the price... then yes go for it.
So what sort of race bike should you buy?
What are you going to use it for? If you are using it for Draft Legal racing you will need a standard road bike (there are certain rules to obey). However, if you are using it for a IRONMAN 70.3 or an IRONMAN then you will more likely need a time trial machine. Or you may prefer something in between, for example: a road bike with some triathlon bars attached.
Should you get a bike fit?
Absolutely. I would recommend it for anyone on a bike... but especially those going longer.
There are people far more qualified than me to tell you which particular bike to buy. There are so many different options out there sometimes it is hard to know where to start.
I like to go for something just a little different from the norm... again that's a personal thing... and it helps me find the bike when charging through transition at a race. That said, transitions are a good place to have a browse and see what is out there.
But ultimately a race bike come down to one thing.
For some it is the most important thing... it certainly needs to be considered... and that is COLOUR!
Every triathlete has a unique performance goals that need to be approached with an individual triathlon coaching program.
Paul is a British Triathlon Federation Level 3 Coach now based in Western Australia.
F4L Triathlon Coaching offers triathletes a full coaching and training service that caters to all levels of athletes.