Entry Level Bikes for Beginners

author : Machiavelo
comments : 0
by Michel (Machiavelo) Charette

So, you have made up your mind to do triathlon. You have a training program and have picked up most of what you will need for the swim and run legs. But, do you have a bicycle and do not know where to begin to find one if you do not? How do should go about choosing a bicycle that will be best suited for your needs? Before you go out and lay your hard earned cash on a bike, identify your needs and decide what amount you can afford to pay for a new bike.

Ask yourself why you want to do a triathlon. Do you want to get in shape? Do you want do sprint tri's, for the fun of it? Or, do you want to take up the sport competitively with the intention of winning?

While you are grappling with these questions, go to your local bike shop and find out what size bike would best suit you. Then go out and buy yourself a second hand road bike at a garage sale, your local bike club or the Salvation Army. You will obtain the same training and exercise benefits from a $20 “beater” bike as you can from a $5000 bike. As long as the bike is adjusted to fit you, is tuned, and you have a comfortable seat, you are ready to roll and are “in the game”. Put off buying that expensive road or tri bike until you are sure of what you want.

How are your riding abilities? Do you even know how to ride a bike properly? You will realise far more improvement in performance by learning how to maintain a proper cadence and using your gears, all of them, to full advantage than by buying a new bike. Check out your local bicycling or tri club; they usually offer classes on how to ride in a pack or how to race. You can also pick up a few tips from articles in various magazines and websites. Spoke Post, for one, has a few interesting articles on the subject.

For those who have money burning a hole in your pocket and who wish to buy a new bike, you are faced with your first big decision: road bike or tri bike. Don’t know the difference? Get as much information as you can on this subject, on the web, at the library, or at your local bike or tri club. One good article on this particular subject is "What is the Difference Between a Road Bike and Tri Bike" by Tom Demerly (see the article below).

If you already have a bike, be it road, mountain, or hybrid, as long as it has wheels and rides, it will do for your first tri. Again, for those of you who have the money and are adamant about getting a triathlon specific bike, there is a plethora of these to choose from in every conceivable price range. Just about every bicycle manufacturer has jumped on the bandwagon and offers at least one tri specific bike. Your choice will be based as much on the amount of money you have to spend on a bike as the availability of certain brand bikes in your area (theses articles are also below).

Having decided what your specific needs are and what type of bike you want to buy, where do you proceed from there? Do more research. Read as many articles as you can on the subject, such as "How to Buy a Bike" at
or its somewhat whimsical but informative related article entitled "Bike Picker".

How much are you willing to spend on your bike? Just deciding on that one factor will narrow your search to a specific field. If you haven't much capital to invest then perhaps you could look into obtaining a second hand bike. New road bikes for beginners can range from $500 for a Shimano Sora equipped bikes to $1000 for Shimano 105 equipped bikes if you look for lesser know brands or last years’ models. New tri bikes for beginners range from $1000 to $2000.

I hope that some of what I have said is of value to you.

But, you might say, you did not tell me which bike I should buy! Nobody, and certainly not I, can tell you what bike is best for you; that answer is best left up to you. Do not depend on recommendations from a stranger on a forum with such a dubious nickname as “Machiavelo”. After all, you will be paying for it and you will have to live with the choice, not me! You will have to do the research, talk to the knowledgeable people from your local bike shop, bicycle club or tri club, and test ride as many bikes as you can. Then YOU decide!

Michel

Articles:

“Buying a New Road Bike? Here’s All You Need to Know.” From Bayou Bicycles
http://bayoubicycles.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=63

“Road Bike and Tri Bike" by Tom Demerly http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/bikes/difference.shtml

"Bike Picker"
http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/prodreview/tribikes/bikepicker.html

“Buying a New Bike for Triathlons” by the Two Steves
http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/cms/article-detail.asp?articleid=247 
Sources:

Cycling Articles
http://www.trinewbies.com/category.asp?catID=5

Bicycle Reviews
http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/reviews/index.shtml

SpokePost
http://spokepost.com/news/?catViewAll=4

Road Bike Reviews
http://www.roadbikereview.com/2004,Road,Bike/PLS_5668crx.aspx

A few good articles in “The Science of Cycling”
http://www.exploratorium.edu/cycling/index.html
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date: September 19, 2004

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Machiavelo

My step-children. Basha and Tom, my granddaughters, Sofie and Sara, my cat, Darwin, cycling, triathlons, gardening, yoga, classical music, opera, literature, politics, sociology, history, foreign films, wine, port and good food.

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avatarMachiavelo

My step-children. Basha and Tom, my granddaughters, Sofie and Sara, my cat, Darwin, cycling, triathlons, gardening, yoga, classical music, opera, literature, politics, sociology, history, foreign films, wine, port and good food.

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