In case there's any question at all, I'm the dummy.
My old friend Kirk in Indiana has turned into an exercise nut over the past couple of years. He asked me where he can find a good deal on a new bike. After I pointed at theusualsuspects, he told me he's training for a triathlon and he wants something that "I won't be embarrassed to be seen riding."
The Tri guys and girls have their own unique style when it comes to bike tech. I'm secretly jealous of some of their cool toys like the on bike hydration systems, but some of it is a bit much for me.
Does a triathlete bike review ever mention "vertical compliance"? Do they train on the same bikes they race on?
I'm obviously unschooled on the whole triathlon side of bicycling. Why the extreme angles on their mounts? Is there such a thing as an entry-level triathlon bike (like what Kirk wants)?
IMPORTANT: Please post comments for this article at the new CYCLELICIOUS 2.0 version of this page.
If you ask me, the entry-level triathlon bike is your basic $300 hybrid bike. If you already have a road bike and it's a road tri - good for you. I know several tri-athletes and iron-men (who compete for the fun of it, not in it to win), and all of them tell me that biking is the least of their worries on triathlons - swimming is the butt-kicker, followed by running. Do those two alright, and you'll be OK. If you are buying some "triathlon-specific" bike, then you are clearly not an entry-level triathlete.
I think an entry-level tri bike is a road bike with clip-on aero bars.
Tri bike ads don't mention "vertical compliance" cause they don't have any.
I think at a certain point you train on your tri bike, but if you actually wanna go up and down hills and stuff, or (perish the thought) ride with other people, tri bikes are kind of a disaster.
I think your friend (assuming he does not already have >5 bikes) would be best served by a nice standard road bike, onto which he can clip aero bars. For extra tri-geekiness, he can buy an aero helmet.
There's some study I ready a report on recently that said something like 70 or 80% of the aero benefits you get from a full-on time trial bike are gained from just aero bars and an aero helmet.
Tri's a whole different world. Thanks for the insights, all -- I'll point Russ to your comments. I hope I'm a little less of a dummy now than I was previously.
@BGW: A good friend of mine in Colorado did that on the Diagonal Highway between Longmont and Colorado. Fighting a stiff wind, head down, mashing the pedals and *clunk*. Tragically, South Bay cyclist Neil Oda died after he reared ended a car and went through the rear windshield a little over a year ago!