Buying a Bike for my first Tri (Read 2834 times)


    So I've been running for almost a year and a half now and want to add a triathlon or two to my race repertoire. Because the last time I rode a bike regularly was about 10 years ago (when I was 13), my goal race is an Olympic distance next summer. I am going to sign up for a training program closer to the date of the tri, but I want to be comfortable on the bike well before then, so I'm buying my bike now. I've checked out tri bikes from bike stores, but because I'm a student, I don't have $300-$800 to spend on a bike. I'm tempted to just go to Target and find a fairly cheap bike and ride it for now if I want to continue with the tris, buy a real tri bike when I have the money. Am I better off buying a tri bike now (new or used) or will I be okay going to a discount store and finding a "normal" bike to tide me over for my first race? Thanks!
      Don't go to a target and don't get a real tri bike. Target and similar stores don't sell good brands and you are asking for trouble. It's like running in flip-flops instead of running shoes. A tri bike is designed to be hard to use and kind of uncomfortable so you really don't want it as your first bike. I'd get a lower model road bike from a quality brand and try to get a close out model or a used one. Companies like Trek or Specialized don't really make bad bikes, the lower end bikes just weigh more.

      Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose; it's how drunk you get. -- Homer Simpson


        A tri bike is designed to be hard to use and kind of uncomfortable
        This made me laugh out loud. But damned if that wasn't my experience Big grin (tri bikes are designed differently so you work your legs differently... saving some for the run. Some people swear by them, but no way would I suggest it as a first bike.)


          Check ebay or craigs list for bikes. I just picked up a a few year old, really nice Canondale for about $600. As the others have said, stay away from Targhetto bikes. In my opinion...you dont need a tri bike, get yourself a good road bike and add clip on aero bars if you really want them. Good luck and happy shopping. Bob http://bobrunner.blogspot.com

          Running Dad

            Depending on how much you want to spend and your comfort in putting a bike together and maintaining it you could try some online vendors. www.rscycle.com Randall Scott Cycles Low entry lever for ~$400 www.bikesdirect.comBikes Direct another place to look. I recently got a bike from them for my wife and I haven't been disappointed. Then again like alot of people will say check craigslist. If you know your size you're halfway there, from there it's pretty much what you can afford and what feels nice. hope this helps.
            Things to do this year:
            Not get an injury
            Things done this year:
            Bi-Lo 5k(Myrtle Beach) : 02.12.10 - 25:??

            The voice of mile 18

              check w/ a good local bike store and see if they got something (even if it's used) that fits you and your budget. bike fit is a big deal and will make you life a lot easier if it is right.

               Tri Rule #1 of Triathlon Training/Racing - If Momma ain't happy nobody is happy 

              TRIing to beat the heat!

                Forget about purchasing anything new at this stage of the game. Right now, my advice to you is to purchase a used bike. Buy a used road bike if you can find one and if you can't, buy a used hybrid and put some road tires on it. check craigslist, check Ebay, check your LBS for trade-ins. This bike will suffice just fine for your first few triathlons. If you decide it's a sport that you want to stick with, THEN you can save your pennis and get yourself either a dedicated tri bike or a road bike that can be set up with some aerobars.

                2012 Goals

                Sub-1:42 for half marathon √ (1:41 at Disney, Jan '12)

                Sub-22 for 5k √ (21:51 in Sept '12)

                BQ for marathon- FAIL


                  Another vote for getting a used bike, either on craigslist, ebay, or a LBS. I have two used bikes, one from a bike forum and one from ebay, and both are great. As long as the components don't have too many miles on them (and in fact, many sellers will put new, entry-level components on used frames), you should be fine - barring any structural problems with the frame. I got lucky with bike fit, though, and I made sure to check out the sizing of my racer at a brick-and-mortar store before I bid on it on ebay.

                    THEN you can save your pennis .
                    Saving this is very important if you wish to continue the family line...


                      Not sure if you've bought the bike yet or not... but check this site out. There are literally dozens, hundreds even, of threads on that specific topic. http://www.bikeforums.net/

                      HTFU?  Why not!

                      USATF Coach

                      Empire Tri Club Coach


                      Run like a kid again!

                        I bought the lowest level GIANT road bike at a local bike shop and have never regretted it. It cost $600 and that was at full price. One of the few times I have paid full price on anything. You want a Road Bike and like some else said you can add on Aero bars later. I would not suggest getting a hybrid. You really want a Road Bike. Biking is not cheap! I learned this the hard way - you have shoes, pedals, helmets, gloves and clothes to name just the basics. Do not get a Tri Bike yet. If you get one you want a good one and you need to see if you really like the sport first. I would go with the Road Bike. I would suggest buying local so you have someone to help you understand you bike better and can get everything adjusted. I normally wouldn't care about buying local or on the internet but this is really important. That reminds me that I need to have my bike serviced.
                          2011 Goals:
                          Sub 19 5K (19:24 5K July 14th 2010)
                          Marathon under 3:05:59 BQ (3:11:10 Indy 2010)

                        Gotta TRI

                          Ditto here too. Ebay or Craigs list would be a good starting point. I'd also recommend going road bike over Tri bike. you can make a tri bike out of a road bike but you cannot make a road bike out of a tri bike. Totally agree with staying away from "store" brand bikes, and would add stay away from mountain bikes ( I have seen them out there ). Good luck hunting
                          2010 Dec. California International Marathon 2011 Jan. Disney Marathon
                            check w/ a good local bike store and see if they got something (even if it's used) that fits you and your budget. bike fit is a big deal and will make you life a lot easier if it is right.
                            I know you are a student & so money is tight, but my 2 cents Big grin are ... I absolutely agree with this, especially for a 1st-time purchase. Pleasure on the bike is ALL about fit (how much do you enjoy running in shoes that don't fit well? Project that misfit from your feet through your legs, back & shoulders when you are on a badly fitted bike). No way you will know yourself if a bike fits well from a test ride if you haven't been riding much. If you are not sure you will like the sport, get a cheaper but decently fitted bike. If you want to get a used bike, find it locally & take it into a shop to see if it is at least a reasonable fit before actually purchasing it. Good shops should do this for a small fee. Also if & when you do purchase, either new or used, have the shop adjust the fit for you (saddle height, stem length, etc.). If you buy new from them, they should do it free, and good shops should give regular free refits. If you buy used, good shops will do fits for small fees. Who knows -- you might get a bike online that works really well for you. But you might not. If it fits badly your first experience of a really great sport might not be very much fun at all. So I know you don't have much money, but IMO buying a bike without expert advice is a crapshot. I think the ONLY time you should buy a bike online is when you know exactly the model & specs you want. Then of course you can find some awesome deals. Of course you could reserch the bike you want at the shops, get the specs, then find a deal online. But that kind of screws the LBS that has done all the work, right? And who will fit your bike for you? My first experience with a tri bike was exactly what I'm warning you against: I bought used, just took a test ride & figured it felt fine. The person who sold it to me was about my size. But in the end the frame was all wrong, and I spent months riding in pain. Took it to a shop (and then another for a 2nd opinion) & ended up spending almost what I would have on a new bike, in the end, to get a major refit. But now I ride in comfort. But that was just my $0.02
                            Next goal: Great Wall Marathon

                            Gotta TRI

                              Added note, I did work with my bike shop who helped me decide rougly what I wanted to look for. when I found something I liked on Ebay I had him look at it online first and when I purchased it I had it sent right to my bike shop. he went through it top to bottom, confirmed it was a good buy and has helped me over the last year with everything from parts, accesories, fit and repairs. Any bike you ride is going to need some level of maintainance and to be " in " with a good bike shop is priceless.
                              2010 Dec. California International Marathon 2011 Jan. Disney Marathon
                                I just bought a hybrid bike from Performance Bike, brand new 2008 closeout for $399, original price was $800. If you have a Performance shop near you, I highly recommend them. My husband is an avid cyclist and wouldn't go anywhere else. The other plus is that you get free lifetime adjusments when you buy a bike from them and they will also put new components on your bike for free. Of course you have to pay for the components first! I have to say it sure beats out the 15 year old Huffy department store bike by a lot! I agree with the others...don't go to Target.
                                Finished my first marathon 1-13-2008 in 6:03:37 at P.F. Chang's in Phoenix. PR in San Antonio RnR 5:45:58!!!!!! on 11-16-08 The only thing that has ever made any difference in my running is running. Goal: Break 2:30 in the HM this year Jay Benson Tri (place in Athena category) 5-10-09