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Triathlon Bikes for Beginners

Triathlon Bikes for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

“A triathlon bikes for beginners article to guide you on your purchase. Read more now!”

The biggest purchase you’ll make for triathlon is also the one that can make the most difference to your race finish time and, more importantly, your experience.

Triathlon Bikes for Beginners

Triathlon Bikes for Beginners

Triathlon Bike vs Road Bike
The big question facing every triathlete when choosing a bike is whether to go for a specific triathlon bike or a road bike. As specific tri bikes are hard to find under £1,000 this isn’t an issue for a lot of new triathletes. Just choose a road bike with a low front end that will convert easily to tri bar use, rather than the increasingly popular high-fronted sportive bikes.

Even if you spend more than £1,000, a conventional road bike will be safer and more comfortable when you’re riding with a road club, or if your terrain involves lots of hills or rough roads. There are also far more road bike options than tri or time-trial specific ones. If you tend to do most of your training solo on flatter roads, then getting totally synced with a tri bike’s more radical position will pay dividends when you’re racing. One popular option for triathletes who can afford it is to use two bikes: have a cheap road bike (preferably with mudguards fitted) for most of your training rides, and a triathlon-specific bike to save as an instant boost for pre-event tune-ups and the races themselves.

THE RIGHT FRAME MATERIAL

Aluminium
Aluminium has taken over from steel as the most common bike frame material. It has the advantage of being lightweight and relatively cheap to produce. Over the past few years manufacturers have begun to use ‘hydroforming’ techniques to mould it into ever more elaborate shapes.

Titanium
Titanium can be built into light frames that are super-strong, which can be especially valuable for surviving the perils of travel and the hurly burly of a congested transition area. Brands such as Litespeed and Van Nicolas specialise in titanium and make some beautiful frames – but be warned: they ain’t cheap.

Carbon Fibre
Carbon fibre has become an increasingly popular frame material over recent years on bikes costing more than about £1,200. Its biggest advantages are its light weight and the fact it can be moulded into aerodynamic shapes that are impossible with metal, even with the use of hydroforming technology.

Why Pay More?
The groupset is the core of a bike’s components and normally includes the gears, brakes, cranks, bottom bracket, hubs and headset. The key manufacturers classify these components together in different levels. For example, Shimano’s top-end components are Dura-Ace, then you get Ultegra SL, Ultegra, 105 and so on.
As a rule, the more you spend on a bike, the higher the groupset components. But the differences are usually small. The main benefit is that you’ll get a lighter weight. That’s always worth having, but keep it in perspective as shaving a few grams is nowhere near as important as having an aerodynamic set-up.

Women’s Bikes
It’s a fact men far outnumber women in both triathlon and road bike racing but that is changing fast, so bike manufacturers are producing more ‘women-specific’ designs. Choice is still limited compared with standard road and tri bikes, and you might not be able to find as many great-value packages as men can. Truly women’s specific bikes such as Trek’s WSD series, Specialized’s D4W and Felt’s FW models have different frame geometries to the men’s equivalents. Women have shorter bodies and arms and longer legs, so on a men’s bike they’ll have no trouble reaching the pedals, but will be overstretched reaching bars and brakes. So women’s frame shave shorter top tubes and higher head tubes to improve reach.
However, before you automatically plump for a female-specific frame, go to your local bike shop and have a proper fit. Higher front ends on bikes change the way they handle and you may find it doesn’t suit you.

Women’s bikes also have shallower drops, short-reach shifters, narrower bars and shorter cranks. Saddles are wider to accommodate women’s pelvis shapes.

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Schwinn Mountain Bikes

Schwinn Mountain Bikes Review

“Schwinn Mountain Bikes are popular among Triathletes. Read this review and decide for yourself if this is also the bike for you!”

Schwinn Mountain Bikes

Schwinn Mountain Bikes

What To Look For
Schwinn bicycles have attempted to enter the mountain bike market since the late 1980s without much success. The company has gone through multiple ownerships and bankruptcy, and never really put out a solid line of mountain bikes. It did come out with the Homegrown bike models in 2000 before going bankrupt again in 2001.

The 2010 Schwinn mountain bikes come in a hard-tail frame with the choice of either steel or aluminum. In 2009, Schwinn had a full-suspension mountain bike with the Active Link Full Suspension System that offered up to 4 to 5 inches in travel. However, these bikes are not listed on its website as of 2010. The three models offered are the Frontier, Frontier Sport and the Frontier Expert, both for men and women.

Common Pitfalls
When buying a Schwinn mountain bike you should know what kind of bike you are purchasing. The Frontier series is for the recreational rider who enjoys easy, nontechnical trails and riding with the family on the weekends. The components and frame material are designed accordingly. If you use one of these mountain bikes for a more advanced and technical trail, you may find some of the parts could break.

Where To Buy
Commonly retail stores that sell Schwinn are Walmart, Kmart, Target and Sears. There are also still some bike shops that are Schwinn distributors, and you can search your local area on Schwinn’s website. You can also purchase them online at places like Amazon.com, Bike Nashbar and Performance Bicycle.

Cost
The price for a Schwinn mountain bike averages between $300 and $450 depending on which Frontier model you chose to buy. Previous-year models the cost could average between $300 and $1,000, again depending on model. The full-suspension bikes are normally more expensive because of added components.

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Cheap Road Bikes

How to Choose Cheap Road Bikes

“How do you really look for the best cheap bikes? What are the things you need to consider? Read on and find out!”

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Cheap road bikes can be found with different frame materials. Steel is the cheapest frame material, but aluminum offers a lighter frame. Consider your riding goals and habits. If you cruise around the neighborhood, the steel-framed bike may be your most economical choice. If you’re logging long miles, lighter aluminum frames may be better.
The best cheap road bikes include models of Trek, Schwinn, Tomasso, and Raleigh.

Cheap Road Bikes

Cheap Road Bikes

COMMON PITFALLS
Manufacturers cut the price on their bikes by using low-end components and wheels. Others choose mid-range components with steel or heavier frames. Low-end components can be upgraded over time, improving the complete bike. A heavy frame cannot be lightened, but heavy components can be replaced with lighter ones. Always choose the better frame, even if it comes with lesser quality parts.

Check the gears and shifters carefully. Even a low-end road bike should have easily changeable mechanics. If parts look like they are not designed to be removed, look at a different bike. Most low-end bicycles come equipped with Shimano shifters and derailleurs. If the bike you are looking at has these, it can be upgraded later if desired.

WHERE TO BUY
Entry-level road bikes are available in major sporting good chains such as Modell’s, Dick’s and Sports Authority. These chain stores offer cheaper versions than those from the larger bike manufacturers. Most of the time, this price difference is a result of cheaper mechanical parts. Be sure to check your local independent bicycle store as well. Independent dealers tend to offer a wider variety of models and price points. While the price tags may often be $50 to $100 higher, the more personalized service can be worth it if you are new to cycling.

COST
For an aluminum frame entry level road bike, expect to pay $300 to $1200. For a steel-framed road bike, costs can run $160 to $800. The higher ranges of the two are equipped with better parts. Choose the best quality frame you can afford and upgrade the mechanical parts and wheels later.

High-end rims and tires offer smoother spinning and lighter weights. Better components, such as gears and shifters, tend to react quicker and more smoothly than the often chunky feeling of low-end shifters. While not necessary for short commutes, the smoothness can be appreciated on extended or frequent rides.

COMPARISON SHOPPING
Compare similar frame materials by looking at components offered. Better and lighter wheelsets will drive the price up faster than gear and shifting parts do. Look at the specifications to compare actual frame weight. Often bikes are marketed with total weight as a comparison.

ACCESSORIES
Most entry-level road bikes come with plastic platform pedals. Not all bikes include pedals.
Bike shorts and gloves make longer rides far more comfortable. Do not forget the helmet.

INSIDER TIPS
Better road bikes are measured in centimeters, not inches. If you buy a bike measured by inches, you will not be able to upgrade the frame by much. Choose a bike measured in centimeters and check your tire’s valve stems. Most quality road bikes have tires that use Presta valves, a smaller valve than the common Schraeder valve that you find on your car’s tires and your children’s bikes.

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