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Triathlon Bike vs Road Bike

Triathlon Bike vs Road Bike

– Now the biggest key
difference, obviously, between a road bike and a
tri bike is the front end. (whoosh) On a tri bike, it’s about 90 degrees. (whoosh) (energetic music) (whoosh) Good afternoon, traniacs. We are currently off to Alter Ego Sports, your favorite bike shop,
my favorite bike shop, everyone in Winnipeg’s favorite bike shop. Our buddy James there
at Alter Ego has some hot new bikes that he’s built up. He’s got some tri bikes,
he’s got a road bike. What we’re gonna do is, I think I’m gonna line them up together, side-by-side, front and back, forwards and
backwards, upside down side, right side up, top
face, and we’ll show you all the differences between
a road bike and a tri bike. (energetic music) Over here we have the current year’s Cervelo S5 with disc breaks. Then back here, yeah I wanna say it’s the current year’s Cervelo P3,
the newer model of my bike. Now spec wise, frame wise,
as far as price point wise, these two bikes are pretty
close to the exact same model, except for triathlon, road. When a lot of people get into
triathlon they’re coming from mountain bike background,
or road bike background. Not a lot of people have a tri bike. So the thought is how
do they get that bike that they’ve already got into a triathlon? Can you do it? Absolutely. Slap on a pair of aero
bars, you get yourself into a nice tucked in position,
and you can go through your first several years in triathlon, with just a road bike,
whatever bike you’ve got. However, once you get into
triathlon, you’re committed to it and you’re ready to put
down a solid investment, it’s a good idea to get
a triathlon-specific bike because it’s so much better set up for you to be able to run
better after the bike. Let’s get into that. Now the biggest key difference,
obviously, between a road bike and a tri bike is the front end. On a road bike you’re
gonna have the breaks, the shifters, all on the hoods here, where you can operate them
without moving your hands at all. You might wanna move down to the drops but even from the drops you
can still break and shift. It’s much, much safer for riding in a pack where you’ve got people
just inches in front of you and to the side. You’ve gotta be able to move, and handle the bike (snaps) on a dime. On a tri bike you only
have the shifting controls when you’re down in the aero position. You’ve actually gotta move your hands over to the break to go back and forth. The reason that’s okay
on a tri bike is because the people in front of you
are entire bus lengths away. That also means a tri bike is not very safe for group riding. So if you’re going out with,
say, a bunch of road riders there’s a really good
likelihood that they won’t even let you into that pack with a tri bike, because it’s not going to be as nimble and as agile as that road bike. What those aero bars are
going to allow you to do, it’s going to allow you to tuck the front of your body in nice and tight. The front end of a triathlon
bike is typically much more adjustable than the
front end of a road bike. You can go out and in. You can go up and down. You can adjust the
angle of the handlebars. On a road bike, when you
strap on a set of aero bars you’re not gonna have
all of that adjustability that allows you to dial
in the exact position where you can stay for hours on end. This is really important because about 80% of the drag that’s caused
by your mass moving forward through the wind, is caused by your body. So, the more you can stay
in the aero position, the faster you’re gonna be. Tri bikes will often
have a split-nose saddle because you’re leaning forward and your hip angle is a lot different. Road bike saddles are almost
always just dead flat. You don’t really wanna put a split-nose saddle on a road bike. The components, the
cranks, the chain ring, the chain itself, the breaks,
they’re basically the same from a tri bike to a road bike. No difference there. As are the wheels, and
the frame material itself. Where things start to be quite
different between a tri bike and a road bike is in the geometry. A tri bike is set up
for you to be a lot more further forward and have your legs a little bit further back, so
it opens up your hip angle. Whereas, a road bike you’re set
up to be a lot more upright. So you can see that the
seat post and the seat from the tri bike is a
lot more further forward, over top of the bottom bracket. Whereas, the road bike it’s further back because you’re a lot more upright. You can also see that the tri bike comes, basically level with the ground. Whereas the road bike
comes up a little bit, bringing you further up. My good buddy James here
at Alter Ego uses this to show the hip angle
differences between the bikes. On a tri bike it’s about 90 degrees. On the road bike it’s
closer to 80 degrees. Why on a tri bike you
want those hips to be a fair bit more open, is
because that’s gonna put less pressure on your
glutes, and your hamstrings, so you can still be a
lot fresher off the bike. When you start getting really
aggressive on an aero bike, and you start going way
low, because you think you’re gonna try to get
aero in the tri position. It’s gonna actually burn out
your glutes and your hamstrings a lot more unless you
are a pro triathlete, in which case you’re a freak of nature, you’re more flexible, you’re stronger, you can get away with it. For us mere mortals, we
want a nice, wide hip. Some things that’ll also be different are things like the seat stays. You can see that on the road bike, basically a circle about
the size of a pinky finger. You’re going for hours and hours on end, and you want a little bit more
forgiveness in the back end so that you don’t get
tired sitting on the seat. In the case of a tri bike,
it’s more like a knife. It’s wide, it’s narrow. All you’re doing is
going straight distances, for a long time, in a straight line, and you don’t need nearly
as much forgiveness. Because you’re typically
on a little bit more of a controlled scenario. Set posts on a tri bike are often long and thin to keep them aerodynamic, whereas seat posts on a road bike, wow, in this case they’re long and thin, but they’re often more round-shaped. Other things that are often
on a tri bike more these days, that don’t happen to be
on this particular model, are integrated nutrition
areas, down in the space here. Or they’ll have a nutrition box coming in behind the headset,
tucked up out of the wind. So those are some of the differences between a road bike and a tri bike. Can you use a tri bike for road? Yeah. Not if you’re racing. Not if you’re riding in
a group that is riding really aggressively and
you need to be very nimble. Can you do triathlons on a road bike by slapping on a set of aero bars? Yeah. But also, not if you’re going really long. Not if you’re prepared to invest in it. Not if you wanna be the absolute fastest that you can possibly be. That’s the reason that they each exist, because they are very specialized
for the type of riding, road or triathlon, that they’re made for. What I would recommend is
if you’ve got a road bike, start by slapping on a set of aero bars, and use that until you are completely sure that you’re prepared to
invest a few thousand dollars into triathlon, and then
step up to a road bike. You can always need more bikes. Bikes are the best thing. Now I’m gonna go donate
my paycheck to Alter Ego. (energetic music) That was fun, I got of kinda cheap. Just two tubes. It’s nice to be walkin’
around, talkin’ about bikes, ridin’ bikes, being on
bikes, bein’ around bikes, buying bike products, and not having the world spit in your face. Since yesterday, leaving the office, it’s been like cycling next to Noah’s ark. This is gonna be a fun ride home. Check this out. That’s gonna be nice. You going? I’m going. First week biking.
– Mom come pick me up. First week biking, nice. Yeah, total slop in my face. This morning’s ride with the group, I was eating Headingley’s
Road, picking little bits of dirt out of my teeth after I got home. To neighbor. (laughing) For all you OGs that have
been around for ages. Do you remember A Race Nutrition? That was how triathlon Taren started. If you’re buying every last
bike triathlon part online, I would highly recommend
supporting your local LBS, at least a little bit. I don’t buy everything from
Alter Ego, but I buy a lot of bike parts, any
servicing gets done there. A few weeks ago, I bought
Mel from the office a commuter bike because I like health, I like bikes, I like Alter Ego. I wanted to support all of
that, and bikes are awesome. Bikes are kinda like a
car, that when you start getting into the higher-end
bikes, there’s a lot of work that goes into maintaining
and adjusting the bikes, that you can’t do yourself because you don’t have the
specialized tools to do it. If you’ve completely
dogged your local bike shop for years on end, and you
haven’t given them any business, I guarantee you there’s gonna come a time that you need help with your bike, and you’re not gonna be
able to call in some favors. Find a local bike shop that
you get along well with, and support them in whatever you can. Buy parts from them. Buy nutrition stuff from them. Get your servicing done from them. Start a vlog with followers
all around the world and promote said local
bike shop in the vlog. Easy stuff. I’m gonna open up some old, expired mail, for A Race Nutrition. (laughing) Later, traniacs.

41 thoughts on “Triathlon Bike vs Road Bike

  1. Hey TAren, what aero bars for a road bike would you recommend? I am deciding between the short profile design T2 Dl and the long profile design T2.

  2. okay – now I want a Tri bike.  Taren when are you going to start selling all things related to Triathlon so we can just buy directly from you?!  also – are you familiar with redshift?  I recently got a new bike (BMC Granfondo) and tossed on a set of aerobars and the redshift seat post to help make my road bike a bit more TT like.  just curious if you had any opinion on the product.  thanks!

  3. Local bike shop of our shut down. 🙁 We have a few shops, but it was sad to see that one shop shut down. They did the best repair work of all the shops in town!

  4. Can you make more videos on running please . Hills, treadmill, sprints to improve speed please. Lots of tips on swimming and cycling. 😇

  5. Support your LBS but buy that first tri bike used. Let somebody else depreciate the value down!

    Also, don't forget to #battlethebonk Taren. Those early videos are gold

  6. I live next door to a bike shop. I buy most stuff there, but it kills me everytime I see all the new bikes they have. New bikes are always way faster than your current bike, right?

  7. Great video! Since you do a lot of commuting by bike, maybe do an episode on what makes a good commuter bike?

  8. I live and workout in the city. I've been thinking about a tri bike but now I'm realizing that with all the frequent stopping I have to do and the congestion on the trails I should stick with my road bike.

  9. After I put aerobars on my road bike, my most comfortable saddle in the world became "the crusher" while in the aero position. After measurements and looking at specs I decided to get a Fizit Tritone saddle 6.5. It took awhile to adjust and get used to a "perch". So call me weird, I put a split nose saddle on my road bike, and its just as comfortable for long pace rides in both positions.

  10. Get a touring patch kit (with actual glue, not pre-glued patches) and never buy new inner tubes ever again! Unless of course the puncture is unpatchable, but that rarely happens.

  11. Interesting analysis, but I'm not sure I buy into the hip angle part. Making the same measurement for both bikes doesn't account for the fact that a triathlete leans all the way down to his elbows whereas a road biker grips the bars with his hands.

  12. Is better a cheap Tri Bike like Trek speed concept (cheap model) or a High End Road bike like Trek Madone? For Triathlon.

  13. Would you recommend, or have you tested, road bikes that are also designed for triathlon (like Ceepo, for example)? These sorts of bikes have a geometry specific to triathlon… Just wondering. And good luck for IM70.3Austin!

  14. I just did my first Tri on a mountain bike (with the tires exchanged for the road) and would like to get either a Tri or road bike for doing Tris next year. I can't afford both.

    I've never tried out a road or Tri bike. But I'm extremely flexible and have a strong core and am finding myself preferring to lean forward on my mountain bike and when I'm cycling at the gym when I want to go faster, which is practically all the time.

    I also prefer to practice mostly at the gym and then outdoors on my own.

    And I have fast-twitch, as opposed to slow-twitch muscles. I plan to concentrate on the Sprints.

    My question is this: do I need to learn how to ride a road bike before moving on to a Tri bike?

  15. 2:45 Unless, of course, you got electronic shifting like Shimano's Di2, SRAM's eTap, or Campagnolo's EPS, where you can have eight shift buttons with four on the brake levers and another four on the aero bars(SRAM's eTap will only give you four buttons called blips.(two on the brake levers and another two on the aero bars). You push either one of the left buttons to downshift and either one of the right ones two upshift on the rear derailleur. To shift the front derailleur, you press both the left and right buttons simultaneously.)

  16. lets say i already have a canyon roadlite roadbike. i ve got 4000 dollars that i can spend on a new bike. now. im thinking about buying a canyon aeroad or s canyon speedmax cf. both for about 4000. which one should i get? for me both are high end bikes and my roadlite is not so much a high end bike! help me!

  17. Here's my issues: I like tri.bikes so much more in terms of design but I want it as a road bike. In other words: I want a setup as a road bike. Is that feasable?

  18. Grr, why not compare same equiped? It's Always same, as GTN also do, comparing two bikes, but not same Equipment. IF you wanna do real comparison, both bikes should have Disc or regular Brakes (Cantilever), both also Needs e-shift or wire.. but not one this way, other one different!

  19. opinion question- got the entry level road bike…thinking about an upgrade finally. Going to make the 70.3 jump next fall… Used tri bike or a higher level road bike?

  20. Awesome video I learned a lot with your explanation of differences between the Road and Tri Bike it made my decision easier to stick with purchasing and riding a Road Bike first.!

  21. So I've just serviced my road bike, which I bought 2nd hand to get into triathlons a little while back and have loved riding and have had so much joy from. And they've told me(and I agree) that she prob wont make another service. But she has got me to this point. My first 70.3 next weekend! Whoop Whoop! My question is I'm going to step it up now the full distance next year. I can only afford to buy one bike at the moment. Should it be a triathlon bike? I do most of my rides alone anyway. At that distance it's the only option really, hey? P.S. Thanks for the content Taren

    That LBS tip at the end is gold. I love online, and almost felt(past tense) charitable giving the LBS my business, until I needed a few things immediately and used them and developed a relationship. The knowledge you get for free is re-donk-u-less!!

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