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What Is A Triathlon Bike?

What Is A Triathlon Bike?

(upbeat pop music) – Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love looking
at a triathlon bike, or at least dreaming about one? ‘Cause, well they look
pretty cool, don’t they? Now these bikes come with a whole host of beneficial features,
compared to a regular road bike. And today, I’m gonna walk
through the benefits of those, and tell you why you should
seriously consider having one. (techy music) First and foremost, the striking feature about a triathlon bike is the frameset. Now when we’re riding a bike, up to 80% of the drag
that we have to overcome, comes from us, as the rider,
rather than the bike itself. So that means that the frameset
has to be able to put us into as aerodynamic a position
as possible to beat that. Now these triathlon bikes
come with a whole host of alternative features, namely a steeper, more
aggressive seatpost position, a more aggressive and
dynamic cockpit layout, and in more expensive models, you can have hydration and
integration options too, but I’ll touch on those later. (light pop music) Now you’ll notice that the
framesets on these bikes do come with different shaped tubes. They’re usually deeper, wider, and larger than you’d see on a regular road bike, and that is essentially so that they can cut through the wind a little bit easier. But those potentially save what can come with a trade-off, I’m afraid, and that is usually that these bikes are stiffer, a little bit less forgiving, and genuinely a little bit
more uncomfortable actually, and they can also be usually
a kilo or two heavier, but that is all in that
quest to beat the drag. The second consideration
for manufacturers to take into account when designing
a triathlon bike like this, is the seat tube angle,
and what that means is they’re able to push the saddle forward in relation to the bottom
bracket, which is down here. And what that allows us to do is open up our hip angle when
we’re sitting on the bike, and what that brings
into play is the larger, glute muscles in our backside,
which are much more powerful, and then you can actually save the quads and hamstring muscles, which allows us to be able to
run off the bike a bit easier. Now as a starting point, you can certainly stick a
pair of clip-on tri bars onto a regular road bike handlebar, and that will certainly be
great for you, as a beginner, but it isn’t gonna give you
a very aerodynamic position, like you would get on a
triathlon-specific bike. And that’s largely because on road bikes, and like I talked about earlier, they tend to have a
slacker seatpost angle, and you’re sitting farther
behind the bottom bracket, which, in turn, lifts the body up, and presents more of us to the wind. So looking at the
triathlon bike in general, and the associated steeper seat tube angle that we talked about, as
opposed to the road bike, what we generally have in
our cockpit or front end is a base bar, which is here, and then an attached, clip-on tri bars, which will always have
your gear shifters up here, be that mechanical or electrical shifting. And then, a final, more
expensive, I guess, option that you can have in a triathlon bike is what we’ve got here today, and we generally call it
the fully integrated option. Now what that means is that everything that you
would need for the bike, be that your brake
cables, your gear cables, and even your brakes,
which are hidden in here, are all completely out of
sight and hidden from the wind, which is far more aerodynamic than the previous options
that we talked about. Now this fully integrated option does come at a premium cost. But the aerodynamic advantages that it brings are substantial, especially compared to
the non-integrated option, or certainly, the standard road bike, like we talked about before. (classy pop music) A further extension to
the integration options that these bikes can offer is usually they’ve got some
sort of storage compartment, and you can add tools, food,
or even hydration into. Now on this bike here, we’ve
got a handy rear storage unit behind the seatpost, which you can add in puncture repair tools, or the likes to. And a lot of these
bikes, and this one too, offer a second supplementary
position for a further box, which is really useful
for long training rides, or certainly in racing, where, like I used to do, you can add in food, and things that you’ll need for on the go. Now broadly speaking, the
deeper the set of wheels, the faster you’ll go, but
this isn’t always the case, and is certainly weather and
specifically, wind dependent, but the preferred option for going fast, and especially for all the top athletes, would be for a rear
disc wheel on the bike. However, rarely, if
ever, is a triathlon bike actually sold as one of these. In fact, often they don’t even come with a optimum deep section set of race wheels, ’cause these are an
expensive extra addition. But if it is something that
you’re thinking about having, I would certainly suggest looking into it, as most aerodynamic experts
would see that the benefits from having a good set
of deep section wheels, much like these ones, or
especially a disc wheel, is an advantage that could hopefully, even potentially the savings
from a very aero frameset. Don’t be too concerned with the saddle that your TT bike would come with. If it’s comfy, then great,
stick with it and keep using it. But what you find is that
an awful lot of people will end up trying a variety of saddles and swap that out over time, because it is a really personal choice. Now you may have come
across the discussion about whether a triathlon
bike is UCI legal or not. Now this is in reference
to global cycling events, and they have to conform
to their governing body which is the UCI, and the rules and regulations that they stipulate. Now, these rules and regulations
generally mean things like tube shape, geometry of
the frame, and its design. Now, the major rules that
these have to conform to to be UCI legal are that
the frame has to have this classic two triangle shape that we can see here on this bike, and secondly, that the
saddle position has to sit five centimetres back
of the bottom bracket, which is down here. The rules and regulations
for triathlon bikes, however, are far more relaxed
than UCI legal versions. Now what that means is
the riders’ positions can be far more aggressive, and the bike designs
can be way more radical. In fact a really good example
of this is the Cervelo P5X. Now interestingly, this
bike here can actually conform to both those
codes of regulations. As it sits at the moment, it is in a triathlon or
non-UCI legal position, but, if I was to take this
rear storage unit away, I would be able to move the seatpost from its current position where it
is in a triathlon position, move it into this new position
that would become available, and then it would become a UCI legal bike. So there we have it, a tri-specific bike. Now if you come across somebody
talking about one of those, then hopefully now you’re gonna know what they are talking about. And if you’re considering getting
your first triathlon bike, then hopefully you
found this video useful, and you will of course let me know in the comments down there below. Please do remember to give
this the thumb up button if you enjoyed it. Don’t forget to click on
the globe to subscribe, and if you fancy seeing
a video that was done about triathlon versus TT bike, then you can get that up here. And a further video about a road bike versus a TT bike is here.

35 comments on “What Is A Triathlon Bike?

  1. Can you guys and girl, make a video of tips when you out of budget but still want to do a trainings weekend/week in your holliday

  2. If you happen to have some spare BMC time machine laying on GTN headquarters I’d be happy to take care of it! 😜
    I actually am looking forward to step up from my Merida reacto with Clip-ons but pacience is key I guess….

  3. When I bought my tri bike I did bike fit, and then, before a first start I managed to set the wrong saddle height after transport. I was riding in that position all season – it was a lot of centimeters to low. But it was hard to spot, because it was new type of bike, new position and I did not ride it a lot before. That is my triathlon bike story 😀

  4. Still using road bike. But in the future will definitely buy a triathlon bike. Good thing you cover every inch needed in the world of triathlon. 👏🏻👏🏻

  5. Things I can't get on with on a true tri-bike … #1. The cost & #2. not having the gear shifters & brake handles in close proximity. Having said that, I would probably just as slow on a tri-bike as I am on my road bike 😉

  6. Ah mute & closed captions fixed that annoying sound, what the hell is that choppy drowning sound between the beats of music?

  7. I use the Felt AR with a seat post that can flip forward to get a more aero position. Matched with clip on aero bars it's an awesome machine for road and triathlon riding.

  8. I have a Cannondale F29 2014. It's kinda for cross triathlon, that one on the video looks gorgeous but I guess I don't have enough money to buy it :D… Also.. Amazing the royal crescent as background!

  9. Great video on the TT bike, I would love to own one, and like you say dreaming about one is most probably the only thing i can do right now. Now how about a GTN video on how to make improvements to a standard road bike which most of us starting out in triathlon have and then comparing them in a road test. I know mark did a road bike Vs TT bike challenge, but I think it would be great to see what the difference is in speed and aerodynamics of a converted road bike against a TT specific bike would be. Like you say the most important aero part on the bike is your self so it would be interesting see the stats if you put aero bars, deep rimmed wheels or even a larger rear derailleur on a road bike and compared the results.

  10. Between the Garmin Instinct, FR735XT, and FR935XT, which should I get for general use (mainly running and cycling) and beginner in triathlon?

  11. What is the point of a Triathlon bike? If you wanna go fast on flats and straight lines, go with a Velomobile. I thought Triathlon was more innovative, until I learnt they banned recumbents. There are open categories but they can't be used for the elite races. oh why?

  12. You know, moving saddle forwards activates less glutes. not more. when knee extends over toe line you increase the front thigh usage massively.

  13. all those aero "gains" will not provide any benefits unless one can maintain a minimum average speed of 35 km/h. if you have any doubts i will refer you to Hambini's videos on youtube. thats all for now …

  14. Im going to get one even though i really dont wanna race, i think they look cool plus i found one thats less expensive than a racer bike im also thinking of.

  15. Those bikes seem to just have a Rolls Royce element. That bike is a beauty! However, it does look heavy ; what is the typical bike weight especially with all of the added water and food?

  16. Hi GTN, thanks for all your uploads they are valuable for new athletes like us. Planning to do my first 70.3 in December. Need some suggestion on wheelsets. I am using Trek Emonda SL5 bike size 52 with basic wheelset. Someone suggest to change my wheels for race and after all researches ended up to go for Bontrager Aelous 5 comp. which best suits my budget.

    What are your thoughts about this wheelset before I think of going ahead?

    Thank you,

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