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Can You Use a Mountain Bike In A Triathlon? | Beginner Triathlon Bike

Can You Use a Mountain Bike In A Triathlon? | Beginner Triathlon Bike


– Morning trainiacs, with a lot of people doing their first few triathlons
early in the season. You might be thinking, can you do a triathlon on a mountain bike? This is a typical bike that most people will have lying around. Well, spoiler alert, the answer is yes. Whatever bike you have, that’s
the one that you should use. But let’s say this is
the bike that you have and that you’re starting with. I’m gonna give you five ideas to get the most out of that bike, so it’s not just a total
slog during the race. (upbeat music) Alright, so the first
thing that you can do to end up making your bike
a little bit more optimal to ride in a triathlon, is to make yourself more aerodynamic. About 80% to 85% of the force
that we are pushing forward and have to overcome
is caused by our body. It’s the aerodynamics of our body, so the narrower and smaller
we can make our body, the easier it’s gonna be. What you can do for that
is use a pair of Aero bars. A pair of clip-on Aero bars
that you can buy on Amazon. They cost anywhere from $15 to $50. You set them up on your road
bike, on your trail bike, on your mountain bike, whatever it is, and if you can get comfortable
in this more narrow position that’s a little bit lower,
you’re gonna go a lot faster at the very same effort. In our book, triathlonbikefoundations.com, we recommend that this is
the very first purchase that anyone makes. Because it’s so critical and will make such a huge difference in your performance on race day. That’s the first tip. The next tip is what you might find when you put on those Aero bars
is that you feel scrunched, your hip angle ends up closing up and that ends up causing
a very high likelihood of you getting cramps on the run. So what you can do is once
you put on those Aero bars on the front, to open up those hips and make it a little bit more comfortable, you can raise your saddle
height a little bit. And some stems or some bike seat posts, they actually have a way that
you can flip them forward so that the saddle can move forward. And what you want to do is ideally, if you can move that saddle forward, move it up a little bit, while still making sure that your pelvis isn’t rocking side to side. You don’t want to feel like
you’re bouncing on the saddle. And by doing that you’re gonna
stay nice and stable on here. You’re gonna be nice and stable on there. Hopefully, you’re gonna be comfortable and not have that super
closed up hip angle. And then you’re gonna be
able to get onto the bike, be fresh, and then you’re gonna
be able to get on the run, be fresh without having smashed
your legs up on the bike. So this second tip, see if
you can get that seat height just a little bit up
and a little bit forward to compensate for some of the discomfort that might happen as a
result of the Aero bars. Tip number three, I highly recommend getting a pair of clipless pedals and shoes. Now, the reason for this is
that it’s a safety factor. It’s a comfort factor. There isn’t really a ton
of evidence showing that having your feet clipped
in is that much faster than just being on top
of a flat set of pedals. But what this is going to do
is for people who are really, really working very hard in
an uncomfortable position that isn’t really like locked into a bike, like you’re on a mountain bike, the chance of a foot slipping
off the pedal is higher if you’re on the flat. So this is going to maybe
slightly if anything make you a little bit faster on the bike. It’s gonna make you feel like
you fit in a little bit more. So that is going to
increase your confidence, probably increase your performance. It’s gonna be a lot safer. And there is no downside to this because if you end up
getting a pair of pedals that are clipless,
shoes that clip into it, you can always move that
over to the next bike. It’s not like you’re investing into a bike that you’re only gonna use temporarily. So that is tip number three. The next tip and this is
just for aerodynamics, is to clean up all of the cabling
on the front of your bike. Now on a mountain bike where
it doesn’t really matter if you’re super aerodynamic up
here, you can leave this on, but if you’re in a triathlon,
aerodynamics is really key. So what you want to do is say, zip tie all these things together. If you have reflectors on your bike, essentially you just want to tie up, you want to take off
all of the extra things that are on there, that
don’t need to be on there or don’t need to be as big. So this is reflectors, this is cables, this is any stickers that
might be flapping away. Take off all the extraneous stuff and that’s going to actually make a fairly significant difference
to your bike performance. And the last thing, this
might not be possible, this depends on your bike. This depends on what you have access to. And in this case, I certainly don’t recommend
spending any money on this because this isn’t money
that you’re gonna get back. But let’s say you have
access to a mountain bike or a city bike or some sort of
commuting tourist trail bike. It has really big tires like this. That makes a really big
difference in your aerodynamic when you’re looking at this versus that. So if you somehow have
access to a set of wheels that are more road bikes, specific wheels, that you can swap onto your mountain bike, that’s gonna make a big difference. Now here are the things to think about. Is your tire circumference the same? Is the dropout the same? Can you easily do that? Are you able to line up your brakes again? In most cases, the answer
to that is going to be no, but if some magical way
allows you to have tires that are this wide, instead of this wide, you’re gonna go way faster. So the answer is yes. Absolutely, you can do a
triathlon on a mountain bike. Those are some tips that you might be able to easily implement to end
up making that mountain bike or city bike or trail bike a
lot faster in your triathlon. Now, some of them you’re
gonna be able to do. Some of them you’re not
going to be able to do, but the thing that I would say is don’t spend more than one,
maybe $200 on a mountain bike. Because if you do
continue on in triathlon, you are very quickly
going to want to upgrade to a road bike or tri-bike. In Triathlon Bike Foundations, the book that we have written on Amazon that has a lot of really
good five-star reviews. We recommend that you get a tri-bike, only once you know that
you’re gonna be continuing on with tri for a number of years. Until that time, use
whatever bike you’ve gotten. Use these tips to make
it a little bit faster. The final thing to keep in mind is that this applies really well
for first-time triathletes and I recommend first-time triathletes, start with a sprint or
an Olympic Distance race. With Half Ironmans and Ironman. That’s a long time to be
out there pushing through on a heavy, not aerodynamic bikes, so you end up in countering problems with making time cutoffs. But let’s say you’re a
really strong cyclist and you’re doing a Half
Ironman and Ironman and you still know that
you are going to be able to make it within the time cut off. You can still use a
mountain biker or city bike. It doesn’t matter. It’s just gonna be a fair bit harder to make those time cutoffs. So that’s it trainiacs,
use whatever bike you have. Thank you to Hazard’s
Cyclesport in Santa Barbara, for allowing us to use some
of your bikes here as props. You’ve been supportive over
the course of this week while we’ve been in Santa Barbara. So thank you very much, and if any of you beginner
triathletes out there getting into your first race
and want tips on triathlon, to help you get through those races? Hit the subscribe button below. Perfect timing, semi-truck. Perfect. Just perfect. Later trainiacs.

16 comments on “Can You Use a Mountain Bike In A Triathlon? | Beginner Triathlon Bike

  1. Seem to have missed a fairly obvious point here – tyre type. Friction on a wide nobly tyre is going to be one of the biggest factors in your speed. It's not expensive to switch them out for some more commuter / road biased tyres and would make more difference than aero gains. That would be first on my list for prepping a mountain bike for triathlon.

  2. Using the random mountain bike or city bike in your garage for your first triathlon? How about taking it to a bike shop for a tune up and inspection so you don’t end up with a mechanical or worse, hurt in your very first race?

  3. Nice vid! And if you want to see the finshed product of an Aerobarred/Tri/Time Trial MTB, click this link at my YT channel
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjmrwZ3SyyE

  4. Id go for mountain bike clip less shoes to start off with. Easier for walking during transition and can be used on the mountain bike whether you graduate to a Tri bike or not.

  5. Great suggestions, the only other thing I think is a big issue for using a non road bike, is the gear ratios on MTB's. My MTB gearing is so different for speed from my road bike.

  6. I wonder if all races are nondrafting races over there in the US or Canada. Cause over here in Spain aeorbars aren't allowed in drafting races

  7. Sorry, I love you Taren but this is some of the worst beginner advice I’ve ever heard. 1. Aero bars on a mountain bike might never work based on a particular bike’s geometry, and anyway you’re not holding up “aerobars,” you’re holding a whole aero cockpit! Some beginner is going to buy that thing (which is absolutely not going to be $50) and then try to get his mountain bike brakes and shifters mounted on this? How would someone even get trigger shifters and their cables mounted on an aero cockpit? 2. Swap out your wheels for something narrower, for aero benefits? Please… the biggest problem would probably be the rolling resistance of knobby tires. Anyone can get slick tires for existing MTB wheels easy, for like $25 per tire. 3) clipless shoes, for safety reasons? Given how common it is for beginners to fall off their clipless shoes, and given that they’ll need to mount and unmount during the race, AND given the fact that bike shoes would obligate then to change shoes in transition, the best (and safest) beginner advice here is “just wear your running shoes on the bike.”

  8. Can someone point me to the video in which Taren showed the runningshoe-lace 'trick'. It must be in one of the latest video's, but I just can't find it… Thanks…

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