Types of Bicycles: Select a Bike for Your Sprint Triathlon
Sprint Triathlon Bike
As mentioned before on this site, bike selection for a new cyclist looking to train for a sprint triathlon can be intimidating and cause some confusion in even knowing where to start. The short answer is that almost any decent bike that you can ride comfortably can be used to compete in a sprint triathlon, especially if you aren’t competing professionally or out to destroy your age class competition. If however you want to compete in Triathlon on a more competitive level then of course go with the highest end, lightest, and well put together bike, but for most, especially those new to the sport, finding something comfortable and affordable is the key consideration.
First time you enter a bike shop or internet store you will be bombarded with choices. Who knew that there were so many choices for bicycles? When you were a little kid, you either got the shiny pink one with streamers or the blue one with racing stripes. Both had training wheels and a mom attached to keep you from falling. But not anymore. For today’s demanding cyclist, there are several types of bikes to choose from to suit any of the needs that you have.
And this is really as it should be. As our choices in everything else have expanded, so have the bike options available. After all, a bike is more than just two wheels, a seat and handlebars just like many things are more than just the sum of their parts. Nor are all bicycles equal as you will soon discover. Most importantly, before making a final decision and purchasing a bike, figure out what type of bike you are most comfortable handling as part of the decision process.
These are the rugged bicycles riders use to jump small boulders and navigate their way through wooded areas, trails, and mountains as the name would imply. Mountain biking is not for the faint of heart and can be dangerous if you are on the wrong bicycle. A mountain bike has wider wheels than a standard bike. Those wheels have deep tread to prevent slipping on all sorts of terrain from grass to loose gravel to wet pavement.
One thing that you will notice is that mountain bikes have the straight handlebars that you once saw only on older bikes with the wide seats. The straight handlebars allow for better control on strange terrain.
You know those bicycle riders in spandex trying to balance skinny wheels on the white line at the edge of the paved road? If you train for running anywhere there is good riding areas as well, then most likely you do. They are likely riding road bikes. These are bikes chosen for competition primarily by sports riders. The name of the game is aerodynamics. The wheels are thinner for speed and maneuverability.
It probably looked like there was no seat on that road bicycle. The seats are narrow to avoid slipping as you ride. The frame of a road bicycle is lightweight either aluminum, titanium (expensive), or another alloy for further speed advantages.
This is a common bike for someone to end up purchasing for a sprint triathlon training and Triathlon competition plan. While not required, and other bikes work fine, this is a common option for competition and race riders.
For many of us who are not planning to trail ride or are not inclined to get a bike that is made for a more competitive rider, this bike is a good option that is somewhere in between. As a hybrid, it is a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike. The wheels are not as wide as a mountain bike but wider than a road bike so it could support more weight on them. The handlebars will usually be straight since it puts less pressure on your back which is good news for novice riders who really want to stick with cycling and commuters.
You’ll see cruising bikes on the beach, in tropical locations as rental bikes to tool around the city streets and for older riders. The seats are wider for comfort over a long ride. These bikes have heavier frames for security on the street and are not great for maneuvering in tight places. It is the type of bicycle for a leisurely ride when you want something to do but not for regular riding every day or for competitive riding in a race.
When preparing your plan for tackling the cycling portion of a sprint triathlon, make sure to consider what type of bike you want and need to be successful in the effort.
Need a Bike for Sprint Triathlon? Try these Bicycle Buying Tips
If you are a runner, swimmer, or coming from any other sport really, the bike riding portion of the sprint triathlon likely will come with several challenges to entry. One of the most common that has to be faced before others are how to know which bike to choose.
For someone new to the sport of triathlon or even just new to cycling, the process of choosing a bike can be overwhelming at first. While there are numerous considerations at a more detailed level to consider check out this list of five things to consider when looking for a bike to purchase.
5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Bicycle for Your Sprint Triathlon Choice
Once you learn how to choose a bike, buying subsequent bikes is easy. You can’t just see a bike that is shiny and new and say that it is for you. Most important of all is the fact that the shiny bike will stay in the garage until it tarnishes if you don’t like how it handles.
- Where will you be riding your bike? This question gets the ball rolling. There are bike shops, fitness stores and department stores carrying bikes but just a few main types of bikes: mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, cruising bikes, and road bikes. How often you will ride and the route that you choose determines the best type of bicycle for you.
- How tall are you? This factor is important because a short person doesn’t want to have a bike that will cause them to hit the crossbar every time they try to stop the bike. A bike that is the wrong size for you can mean cramped legs and sore knees or stretched muscles. For the answer to this question, you’ll actually have to sit on a bike or at least stand next to one.
- Ride a bike. Don’t let the first bike you ride be the one you purchase from the store. Ask a friend for their bike to “test drive” in advance.
- Buy the best bike you can the first time. In a recession especially, people have the tendency to stay on the cheap side. There are some things that don’t pair well with “cheap.” A bike and a car fall into that category. You will be riding this bike alone or with a carrier for your child. You want to know that you can depend on your bike to keep you safe while you ride. You don’t have to spend $3000 on the top line bike, but get the features you need for the best price.
- Visit a bike shop for advice. When you want to know something you go to the experts. Those who sell bikes for a living know about bikes. Go here first to get sized for a bike, learn the type of bike you need and find out all the nuances of bike riding. You might decide not to buy a bike from a specialty shop because of the price but you will now be armed with the knowledge to choose a bike from another store or buy your bike online without being taken for a ride.
There is more to cycling than just riding the bike. In some ways, that may be the easy part. Choose your bike wisely to get the best for your money.