One question that bothers the mind of most enthusiastic triathletes is whether to buy a road bike or a triathlon bike. Although both are good for a triathlon race, some factors differentiate them from each other. Hence, when it comes to making a choice, there are several things you should consider between a road bike vs triathlon bike.
Before you settle for one, you should understand its utility. Therefore, your choice depends on what you want to use the bike for. It also hinges on your available budget, the athlete’s physiology, level of experience, and the distance you wish to cover.
Hence, if you’re a beginner that loves to engage in a long-distance practice, consider getting the SAVADEK phantom 2.0 road bike. This road bike is lightweight and easy to ride on smooth or rough surface pavement. It also offers better handling for first-timers.
However, for shorter races that require speed, I recommend Valdora PHX-2 Triathlon bike. This speed bike helps you save energy thanks to its adjustable seat tube angle.
In this article, I explain the differences between road bike vs triathlon bikes to help you make an informed choice. Nonetheless, let’s see what they are and examples of the best road and triathlon bikes.
Road Bike vs Triathlon Bike: What are They?
These bikes are perfect for your long-distance road runs on smooth and rough asphalt surfaces. It enables you to scale a bumpy street, climb, turn, and ride as a group thanks to its enhanced bike geometry.
Road bikes are usually lightweight and you can use them for many purposes. Most models are also flexible and adjustable, especially the seat tube angle to suit rider’s sizes. This slacker feature also brings about a better production of power from your quad muscles.
Besides, it features drop bars instead of aero bars, which allows a rider to use several hand positions when riding. It gives the bike easy control through a relaxed hand position. If you are to consider buying any road bikes, I recommend the SAVADEK phantom 2.0 road bike.
Lightweight and flexible to use, the SAVADEK phantom 2.0 road bike can take you to any gradient. This bike sports a stiff carbon fiber frame for absolute weightlessness. It features seat posts with improved aerodynamics and contouring, which keeps the cyclist comfortable.
It also comes with full internal cable routing to ensure better airflow on the bike. The tapered head tube helps riders to get better handling through a rigid torsion. What’s more, it is portable and perfect for beginners.
As opposed to road bikes, these are ideal for short distances, so they come in handy in triathlons. And, it comes with aero bar handles, which offer the extra aggression needed for short spans. These handle types let you bend over at an arched-back position to generate more power on the pedals.
Additionally, the geometry of this triathlon bike is in a way that allows you to run on a smooth surface with ease. It also transitions faster than road bikes and provides more speed on flat tracks. The bullhorn handles offer you a better grasp and smother traction. One of the top triathlon bike models that tick all the boxes mentioned earlier is the Kestrel 5000 Ultegra Triathlon bike.
There is no better bike to bring to a triathlon race than the fastest bike from the Kestrel brand. For a tri bike, it has one of the lightest and sturdiest frames, the all-carbon structure. The seat post is a bit upright to maintain the good positioning needed for a triathlon spin.
Out of all triathlon bikes for sale, this is the best for long-distance races. The seat tube is steep to enhance a better grip on the aero bar, and the brakes offer reliable stopping power.
Based on what we’ve explained earlier, the triathlon bike wins in this aspect. The bike design tends to leave much of its friction on the ground to reduce drags at the barest minimum. Moreover, the greater the aerodynamics, the faster the bike, so you should expect a higher speed from triathlon bikes.
Eventually, it still bores down to the expertise and technique of the rider. You can bring a gun to a knife fight yet get killed because you can’t use it. So, an expert cyclist on a road bike may beat a beginner on a triathlon bike; It’s as simple as that.
Seat Tube Angle
I’ll explain this feature based on the vertical positioning of the seat pad. For a tri bike, the seat tube angle is steeper than that of a road bike. That means while the seat time angle on the road bike is more horizontal, the tri bike’s is more vertical.
The significance of this angle is in the positioning of the rider when cycling. The tri-bike seat angle pushes you closer to the front and allows better use of your ham muscles. However, the road bike allows the maximal use of the quad muscles, making you get tired faster.
But the triathlon bike helps you save your quad energy since you will only be utilizing the power from your glute muscle. This angle allows you to hit the speed button during a triathlon race when it’s time. When it comes to energy-saving and speed skills, tri bikes edge out the road bikes.
A vivid example is seen in the seat tube angle of the Valdora PHX-2 Triathlon bike. It sports an adjustable 73-79-degree angle to enhance aggressive speed on triathlon runs. The aero seat angle allows riders to maximize their ham power.
The triathlon bike features an aerodynamic profile. It comes with a seat design built to increase stiffness and reduce drag. Thus, it is the complete opposite of the road bike seat post. On a standard road bike, the seat is in a more relaxed position than on tri bikes. The rider’s hips push forward in a more aero position on tri bikes than on a road bicycle.
This position makes it easier for triathletes to press on the pedal with their triathlon shoes on, thus saving more energy. It’s different on a standard route bike that requires you to push forward from the lower limb power. This action puts more stress on the quadriceps and makes the rider tire out faster.
For instance, the Tommaso Imola Endurance road bike has a compact frame geometry with a slacker seat angle. It offers a more relaxed position for better comfort and efficiency. But this gives the riders more work to apply force to the pedals, thus draining more energy.
This section sports a remarkable difference in the road bike vs triathlon bike argument. For road bikes, you have drop handlebars with easy-to-reach control buttons. That way, it allows you to place your hand comfortably and have maximum control of your bicycle both for steering and braking. The drop handlebar also enhances the braking power of the bike.
Considering that road bikes are perfect choices for long distant rides, you need a more balanced position. Triathlete that has used the Tommaso Monza road bike can attest to this claim. The portable handlebars improve the comfort you get when riding as well as the power. The components of the bars offer better efficiency, no matter the length of the road.
In contrast, tri bikes or road bikes with aero bars will provide better handling and shifting. However, tri bikes need excellent balance for effective braking, and this makes riding less comfortable. That means you need to adjust your hands to reach the brake from the aero bar. One of the reasons you can’t use it for group rides.
The ease at which triathlon riders raise their bikes can send the wrong weight message across to viewers. Though you might think that the bikes are lightweight, they are reasonably weighty. This is because they run on flat surfaces and needs weight for friction.
However, road bikes seem to be a lot lighter to enable swift climbing and scaling. One of the best lightweight road bikes is the Tommaso Imola Endurance. It has a lightweight aluminum frame and wheels for a smoother riding experience. What’s more, it also features laser-measured aluminum frames, so no extra weight at all.
Which Bike is Better, Road Bike vs Triathlon Bike?
I have provided information about various aspects of the triathlon bike vs road bike; it’s time to make a pick. I still maintain my earlier stand that it depends on what you enjoy doing best. Hence, if you wish to go into triathlon races, you know your best choice. But if you want group rides, then you should stick with road bikes.
Moreover, if you want to learn how to ride a triathlon bike as a beginner, it is best to start with a road bike. However, some pro triathlete riders still use road bikes for triathlon race practice. During the learning process, the road bike helps you attain pro status faster due to its stability and versatile features. You have enough room to work on your body position as well as pedaling power.
Moving fast on any bike depends on how quickly you push the pedals, and the best place to learn this is on a road bike. After you become skilled at it, you can practice your expertise on triathlon bikes. If you can perfect the riding of a road bicycle, then you can ride any bike in the world.
Furthermore, every component of a road bike is adjustable compared to the triathlon models. On the other hand, the tri-bike saddle position is very aggressive, but the stem combo is limited from the aero bars. A road bike allows you to pump more power into the pedals by merely adjusting the seat post. For triathlon bikes, seat tubes are steeper.
Standard road bikes allow you to lean towards an aero position thanks to their geometry. You can adjust the drop bars to suit any length or height you wish. However, aero bars have more flexibility than drop bars. A road bike for sale in the future might come with aero bars rather than drop bars.
You can take a road bike for triathlon races, but you need to adjust the frame, handlebars, and seat post. You don’t want to get tired in the middle of a race due to excess strain on the quad muscle. So, you must push the seat post into a more aero position to flex your glute stamina. Ensure to check both bikes before you make a choice.
Bottom Line: Road Bike vs Triathlon Bike Comparison
The final word on the triathlon bike vs road bike debate is to go with the one that suits you best. I could argue that road bikes are better until eternity, but it all boils down to your preferred bike choice.
However, I recommend the road bike for beginners who want to learn how to ride a triathlon bike. My reason is simple, with a few adjustments on aero bars and seat tube angles, you could take a road bike to a triathlon race. So, it’s better to put the extra cash into something more profiting than throwing it into an expensive tri bike.
Well, that’s my opinion, but I want to hear yours, so leave a message with your choice in the comment section.