//Getting Started
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Triathlon 101: Choosing Between a Road or Triathlon Bike

One of the most challenging parts of getting into triathlon is choosing a bike. Between a road and triathlon bike, which one suits you best?

So, you’ve figured out how to prepare for the swim. Next up, you’ll have to train for second leg: the bike.

Obviously, you’ll need a bike. Though as straightforward as it sounds, if you’ve done your research, you know that choosing a bike is anything but.

There are many technical aspects that make bikes differ from one another. Truthfully, the small differences such as choosing the kind of wheels or handlebars won’t make too much of an obvious change if you’re a beginner to the sport.

But one of the main things that you should know is the difference between a road bike and a triathlon bike.

Road bikes vs. Triathlon bikes

Though they may look relatively similar, road and triathlon bikes are actually very different. It all comes down to the details. To avoid getting too confused, it’s important to note one thing: when you’re biking competitively, you’ll want to shed as much drag as possible.

In the bike leg, drag refers to air resistance that you’re biking through. Imagine biking against a strong headwind—that’s drag. And in triathlon, becoming as aerodynamic as possible is everything. Triathlon bikes are designed specially for this.

Here are some of the key differences between a road and triathlon bike:

Triathlon bike

Features of a triathlon bike:

  • The frame allows you to bend your body lower
  • Includes aerobars for you to get into a more aerodynamic position
  • Frames are heavier, not as easy to maneuver
  • Better for speed, faster on flat courses
Road bike

Features of a road bike:

  • Frame is more comfortable and versatile
  • Has different handlebar positions but no aerobar
  • Frames are more lightweight, easier to maneuver
  • Not as fast but better for hilly or tough terrains

These are some of the basic differences between these two kinds of bikes. The main point to take away is that triathlon bikes are designed for speed, but road bikes are designed for versatile road riding. They both have their pros and cons—so which one should you choose?

How do I choose?

While it would be great to buy both, good quality road and triathlon bikes are anything but cheap. So if you’re a beginner, we recommend investing in one to start. Here are a few things to consider when you’re choosing which one to go for:

Choosing between a road bike and a triathlon bike

Though there are benefits to both sides, we generally recommend starting off with a road bike, especially if you’re a beginner. It may be tempting to hit full send and go straight for the triathlon bike, but these kinds of bikes are very specialized.

Triathlon bikes are very specialized, while road bikes are more flexible. Not only that, but road bikes are also easier to ride and are more comfortable. Normally, triathletes start with road bikes as they get a groove of things. Your first few races won’t be too long in distance, and eventually, you’ll work your way up.

And when you start to get better and better, you can then decide to invest on a triathlon bike later on.

So now you know some of the key differences between road and triathlon bikes. But that’s not all you’ll need. Here are the bike accessories you should add to your bike equipment.