For triathlon, I can afford to buy a cheapish bike or use some cash for a pm and have the rest left over (£1200). Then I would be riding my road bike in my tris for the foreseeable future. What do you guys think?
My tris are mostly sprint/Oly, but with occasional 70.3.
For efficient training and pacing you need a power meter, and I’d save the money for the next bike. If you go with pedal-based power meters, you will be able to carry those over to the next bike. With crank-based power meters, You probably won’t.
If you want to leverage your current fitness into immediate results then a TT bike will get you better performance immediately
If you want to improve your fitness and eventually get to higher levels of performance then buying a power meter now and saving for a bike later will get you to a higher eventual point
So…short term planning - TT bike, long term planning - power meter
I mean the obvious answer is both. Right?
Seriously I’d probably go for the PM though while everyone likes ‘free’ speed the PM actually is a tool to make the engine better. I’d echo that pedals are probably the best idea as they will definitely fit the next bike where a crank may not.
Also, you can get a decent chunk of the benefit of a tri bike with a set of clip on aerobars which isn’t a huge outlay of cash.
What is your current bike, aerobar, wheel setup?
Knowing that, and what bike you would be getting can help evaluate the potential gain from the equipment change.
Off the cuff, power meter. But if you’re riding a Schwinn or something, that might change my answer. Odds are if you’re on a decent road frame with clip-ons, you’ll get more out of the power meter.
If you have £1200 left over after the power meter then you can afford a PlanetX TT bike. Not the sexiest brand or frame but plenty of guys have been winning on them for years.
Thanks for the answers everyone. Just to clarify £1200 is my total budget, not what would be left after pm purchase.
Current bike below. I haven’t added Tri bars yet in a bit concerned about getting a good fit on a road bike with Tri bars.
Something like the RedShift Sports Aero System is a great option. I have used one since they had their Kickstarter and couldn’t be more pleased with it.
The setup is great for a cheap investment. Tack on the price for a proper fit to make a good position and you can make up most of what is had from a TT/Tri bike. Position is king and worth more than the frame and base bar setup (all that you are really missing when compared to TT/Tri).
I agree with @mcneese.chad. That bike is better than fine. Get a reasonable aerobar setup, a fit, and a power meter and don’t look back.
Thanks guys that redshift setup looks awesome.
IMO unless you plan to try being an FOP contender in a 70.3 or above, or want to dabble in 140.6, I don’t think you need a tri bike.
May I suggest getting a cheaper single sided PM (looks like you run shimano, so you can get a crank power meter installed like from 4iiii, which is what I did) and save the rest for a tri bike upgrade if you want to go that route. Alternatively maybe you want to upgrade the trainer in the future, and 900 pounds or so can go a LONG way
So you reckon if I want to do 140.6 I should go tri bike?
My N=1. You can create a decent tri/TT position on a road bike, but doing so does involve shifting things around. Typically moving seat forward and raising it, and dropping the bars, to get a steeper and lower position which is more aerodynamic without compromising your hip angles and power output. This is fine if you just want to do the occasional event or give it a go to see if you like it.
If you find you want to compete regularly in non-drafting triathlon or TTs, then regularly switching your bike between road and TT setup becomes a PITA, and it’s worth investing in a tri/TT bike. That way you can head out the door (or onto the trainer) for a road or TT session whenever you want without having to get your torque wrench out, plus you can get the incremental gains of having a bike that is designed around TTing (e.g. a more aero frame, deeper wheels, cleaner cockpit, TT shifters, steeper geometry, etc). And 2 bikes are always better than 1!
You can totally do a full IM with a road bike and clip-ons. I just feel like you would benefit greater with a TT frame the longer the race goes from a aero/position standpoint. However, if you are not “highly competitive” yet (whatever that may mean to you) or don’t have the money/space/etc. for a stand alone triathlon bike, then a road bike with TT clips-ons will be just fine.
I do feel though that if you are prepared to blow that much time and money on a full Ironman race, it lends itself to invest in the right equipment. You also should not sign up for an Ironman unless you know you enjoy the sport. If you don’t know if you like the sport, DONT DO IRONMAN AND BUY ALL THE EXPENSIVE SHIT AND THEN QUIT BECAUSE YOU REALIZE YOU ACTUALLY DON’T LIKE TRIATHLON. Thats how you waste a lot of money… but if you were going to do that… get a 54 P3x with a rear disc and DI2 and i’ll take it for you once you quit!
Your handle bars seem very high (the stem is angled up and you have all the spacers in there). Before you participate in a race, I would get a proper bike fit from a professional. Fit is soooo underrated with people who begin. But just imagine buying a pair of hiking boots that is a size too small, and then you start hiking regularly. A cheaper, but correctly sized shoe will be better than a more expensive shoe that doesn’t fit your anatomy.
Well-trained and sitting on a properly fitted bike, you will overtake plenty of people who are on very expensive equipment.
After long thinking about my budget and the various opportunity costs I have purchased the Redshift Sports seat post and bars, a 4iiii PM and have a bike fit booked. I have spent about £800 and I reckon I’ll get a lot of bang for this buck. Sincerely thanks for your advice, I have genuinely taken it on board.
Cool part is, if you don’t want to do tris (lots of reasons - more training time and complexity required probably leading them), you’ll have a sweet road bike that fits and has a power meter. This is a good call IMO.
Congrats. I think that is a good direction and you will hopefully see some great gains in the long run.
Please share your feedback along the way no the parts, fit, and results. I’d like to hear how it all pans out for you. Happy training
Not gonna lie, thats likely the best 800 pounds you will spend in this sport (well next to a TR subscription and a smart trainer)! I just did a race with a buddy of mine in a local 70.3, me on my spaceship Tri bike and him on a Cervelo S5 with clip ons. Dude tore it up on the ride and placed in the top 5 bike splits with no TT bike. I only caught him at T2. What I am saying is you can be insanely fast and match the bike splits of some of the Kona qualifier guys without a TT bike.
When your ready to go to a tri bike (if you decide to) then you will have the engine and experience to rock the new bike. For now you can do super well and place high at races with the setup you have!