Should I get a Tri Bike?

Been thinking about this for many years.

Sustained efforts are my weakness, so I don’t even race TTs and Tris. I prefer crits and circuit races, and some local/casual XC MTB races. I raced downhill off and on for over two decades, but these days I’m more risk adverse.

I’d like to pick up a Tri bike like the Specialized Shiv mostly for fun and to chase flat Strava segments under 15 minutes. Maybe a side benefit is that I’ll do more sweet spot training like 3x20s and 3x30s (outdoors) because higher speeds distract me from the pain and lower my RPE. I’m also thinking it’ll help me improve my aero position on the crit bike, again thanks to the distraction of higher speeds. My position has improved over the years, but I think there’s more to be gained.


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If you have the extra cash, why not? I am probably in the minority, but I actually prefer riding my TT bike on the trainer. Outside it’s a toss up for me.

If you look around craigslist/FB marketplace you can also usually find some good deals on TT bikes. I just recently picked up a new 2021 QR PR5 with mechanical ultergra for $1500. It had literally been used one time by the previous owner. Downside of course is that they are a harder sell on the flipside of the coin.

This is all the reason you need.


There’s a big tri community here and it’s completely flat. Almost all of the Strava segments are held but people on road bikes.

If you want a new bike, buy one. But don’t get it to chase segments.

Honestly, I do a few duathlons a year and I’m about ready to get rid of my tri bike. I don’t really like riding it and I’m just not that much faster. Putting aero bars on my road bike would probably be just as good for the few short races I do.

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From your post it doesn’t really seem like there’s any significant downsides, so i’d take the “why not?” approach. Whether it motivates you to train sustained power more is likely not as straightforward (and personally i’d work on that before trying to transfer it to a TT bike), but that’s me being nitpicky and ultimately you know yourself best :slightly_smiling_face:

If you’re looking to dip a toe in before you buy, you could also grab some clip-ons and get yourself most of the way there without the financial/space commitment of a dedicated bike.

The answer to anything tri is always a resounding no for me. Half-witted humor aside, everyone I know with a TT/Tri bike only rides it for races or events and loathes it for real world riding, and using it on the trainer comes from pure necessity to prep for races. It’s generally not comfortable for longer periods of time and believe me I love Strava as much as the next guy but would not buy a bike just for segment chasing, another one of those “you’re trying too hard” scenarios for me.

You know it is 2021, right? :rofl: “good deals” unless you are a seller are rare.

If you think you’ll ride it and enjoy it, go for it.

If I am doing endurance rides, I love using my TT bike inside. Despite my very low position, it is by far my most comfortable position for long rides. I can also ride for hours outside in aero with no discomfort.

If you set up a TT bike for those 10-40k efforts it’s going to be miserable to ride for extended times. If you set it up for 100 mile days you’re going to be giving up 5kph+. TT bikes are a weapon with a very narrow target, if that target seems fun… knock yourself out. I like mine, haven’t taken a KOM on it yet.


Not necessarily…as noted, I have a very low position (that I know is fast though testing) that I can ride in all day.

A good, fast aero position does not need to equate to being uncomfortable.


Sounds like you just don’t like a TT bike - no issues with that. But no way a road bike is faster, not in any universe, especially if it’s flat.

Get a TT bike if you can afford it, and if you’re interested. I love mine and several guys in my local bunch have them. Some days we ride a TTT for a change. It is just a different dynamic and adds some fun.

You can’t beat the speed of a TT bike, and with a group hammering along it is an awesome experience.


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If you can afford it and it helps training+ motivation, go for it

I’d do it with ONE caveat.

Get a good fit, a proper fit that will make you aerodynamic and still maximize power.

Most common mistake with a tri or tt bike is essentially just folding yourself in half and dropping power as a result. A GOOD fit will maximize the power you can produce in the aero position.

Also, if you are planning on doing 3x30 etc. type efforts on the tt bike, you may see an inability to hit the same targets at first, even with a great fit, with the slightly different position you may need time to adapt to bring the power numbers back up.

Couple years ago my BEST power numbers for 20 mins + were all on the TT bike, but I spent lots of time in aero and was well adapted to it.

Get the bike, get used to it, and have fun crushing some koms, and seeing people cry if they realize you got them on a tt/tri bike hahaha.

I have one in order, with cycle-to-work benefit and Canyon’s -10% discount I couldn’t resist :slightly_smiling_face:

I already own a gravel bike but wanted something faster and better for training.

Bit worried about the fit, since it’s my first tt bike but I think Canyon has a decent return policy.

Tri one and see

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Then maybe you should sit this one out.

That’s just plain wrong. Thousands of people racing middle and long distance triathlons each year prove otherwise. The weight distribution in aero position should make the ride even more comfortable than a road position. If one’s aero position is uncomfortable, one’s bike is not fitted well.


Someone must be fun at parties, it wasn’t a personal attack, sorry to offend you

I said GENERALLY not as comfortable. I’m sure there are thousands of people who are comfortable on them, of the millions of people who cycle. My buddy is a local TT legend and after realizing his System Six is only about 1mph slower he doesn’t ride the TT bike anymore outside of competition. He used to take it out for KOM hunts too

Definitely no for me. I went through a similar decision years ago. Very happy with a road bike. If i had infinite money or i enjoyed tris…then I would buy one.

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