This post is rated Sprinters and Olympians.
If you have spent any amount of time in the endurance world, you have probably noticed the many different types of bikes. Road bikes, Time Trial bikes, Fixed Gear and Commuter Bikes. You may have even seen a recumbent bike at one time or another. With all the different types and brands available, how do you decide what bike is best for you?
When it comes to racing, you have 2 legitimate options. Both bikes can be observed at any weekend cycling event. The first is the road bike and the primary choice of cyclists for bike racing. The second is the time trial bike also known as a triathlon bike. This bike is used in cycling races during the time trial event and is often referred to as the “secret weapon” of the weekend. Perhaps a more popular use of the time trial bike and one that you might be more familiar with is in triathlon racing.
With that in mind, let me ask you one simple question…Are you a pure cyclist involved in road racing or are you a triathlete? The answer to this question will expedite your decision. There are pros and cons to both bike types so it really depends on your preference. There are cases when both pure cyclists and triathletes can use both types. A cyclist who competes in a multi-event race will use a road bike for the road race stage and a triathlon bike for the time trial. A triathlete who is competing on a mountainous course may prefer to use a road bike because of increased maneuverability.
Triathlon bikes are built for one purpose and one alone, SPEED. Time trial bikes are designed to go very fast in a straight line. Road bikes are more dynamic and can be used in multiple ways. This is not to say that you cannot race a triathlon bike on any “road course” or that you cannot ride a road bike in a triathlon but each bike DOES have a unique function. You need to decide what type of bike rider you are, then (and only then) you can select your steed!