BEST IRONMAN BIKE
The best ironman bike for you may not be exactly what you have in mind.
If you are quite new to cycling and thinking of perhaps taking on your first Ironman, there might be a better option for you to consider.
There has been a lot of progress in the gear that is available to those who are interested in becoming triathletes. The past few decades have seen a wide variety of triathlon bikes flooding the market.
It can be over-whelming to many people when it comes to making a decision about what type of bike to purchase.
They may not know the brand names, quality, or exactly how much they should be spending to ensure they are getting value for their money.
There are several things to consider before jumping head first into the purchase of your first bike.
WHAT IS YOUR BIKING SKILL LEVEL?
Your ability as far as cycling is an important consideration when it comes to making your bike purchase.
Many people who feel the urge to take up the sport of triathlon or have a desire to reach the Ironman finish line may not have even been on a bike since the glory days of their youth.
It’s true, you never do forget how to ride a bike, but it’s a different challenge altogether when you are out on the triathlon highway along with a few hundred–or when it comes to an Ironman Triathlon these days– perhaps thousands of other cyclists.
If you do not have a lot of experience biking out on the open road, then perhaps you should consider another option that will give you a better chance of easing yourself into the sport.
CONSIDER A ROAD BIKE
Yes, there is quite a difference between a road bike and a triathlon bike.
First of all, your chances of finding yourself a good used road bike are pretty good. If you are new to cycling as well as triathlon it makes perfect sense to begin with a road bike and give yourself time to gain more cycling skill without spending a lot of money.
A road bike is configured quite a bit differently than an actual triathlon bike. A road bike is far more forgiving when it comes to cornering and offers a wide variety of hand positions because it has the standard “drop” handle-bars.
A triathlon bike on the other hand is configured lower and for more “straight-ahead” speed. They take a bit of getting used to and do not offer as many hand positions that are crucial to a novice biker so they have more control of the bike and feel more comfortable.
ADD TRIATHLON ACCESSORIES TO YOUR ROAD BIKE
This road bike has profile bars and clip-less pedals attached, but still has the drop handlebars.
The pedals that your cycling shoes snap into are a much better option as opposed to using the old style toe-clips. If your feet expand in the heat toe-clips can be very painful. Also, you simply do not have as good a spin technique as sometimes your feet will be a bit loose in the toe-clips.
If you do opt for a road bike as your “best ironman bike” choice and become comfortable with it as you begin training in earnest, then there is a natural progression you can make.
I would say that the next step that makes the most sense would be to add profile bars to your road bike. You could also add the proper “snap-in” pedals, bike computer, and extra bottle cages etc.
Now you have a bike that handles easily and is equipped for taking on the fiercest winds in any triathlon. Better yet, you still have the drops for that extra hand position.
WHEN IS IT TIME FOR A TRIATHLON BIKE?
You can see how different an actual triathlon bike looks from a road bike. Notice how it has no drop handlebars and does not give you as many hand positions. It even looks more uncomfortable than a road bike and it will take some getting used to.
I would go as far as to say that you should go ahead and do your first Ironman on the road bike you have just accessorized.
You will have a better idea after going the Ironman distance on your road bike if it is the best Ironman bike for you and just what direction you want to take your triathlon career.
You can always upgrade to a high-end triathlon bike at a later date if you decide to take that route.
I actually had my best Ironman result ever as an age-grouper and ran a 3:34 marathon off the bike and it was a road bike. It was called a Nishiki Altron and it cost around $1000 at the time.
I made a classic mistake and reasoned that if I bought a more expensive triathlon bike, that I would go even faster. So I bought a bike for around $5000 and never, ever biked as well as I did with my road bike.
Of course that does not mean you will have the same result and the best Ironman bike for you might really be an actual triathlon bike as opposed to a road bike.
EITHER BIKE HAS TO FIT YOU
Whatever choice you decide to make when it comes to your bike of choice, make sure you have the bike properly fitted to you.
In other words the frame and the handle-bars and seat post should all work together to give you the proper body positioning for utilizing the big muscle groups in your legs to full potential.
A proper fitting bike will also take the stress off your back and shoulders.
This is crucial when you have to be at your best when you get off that bike at the Ironman Triathlon transition and start running.
Running 26.2 miles is tough enough without swimming 2.4-miles and biking 112-miles first and you don’t need the added challenge of a poorly fitting bike to make it even for difficult.