New Year and New to Tri's

Hi All,

I'm a 27 year old, 86kgs 180cm former solider and rugby player looking to get involved in triathlons. I can run 10k in 42 mins and have even run a marathon in 3:53. I'm looking to to do a couple of triathlons this year most sprint and even an olympic distance (marlow).

I need some advice on getting a bike, I dont wish to spunk loads of wedge on it I was thinking no more than £400. At present I seem to have my heart set on a Specialize???d Allez 56cm. Not to fussed on what year as long as it's in good nick. Also what is the difference between a double and a triple? Yep that last question surely settles any doubts that I am a true novice!

Any help would be most welcome!





  • The specialized Allez is a good starter bike and you can pick up some great bargains this time of year. With your budget I'd say you are better off looking at second hand bikes as you will get a better bike for your money. I'm guessing from your post you are pretty new to all this I've stuff so I would take someone along who knows about bikes to help you check it all out if you do go used.

    The best advice regarding bike is get a good frame and make sure it fits you. Different brands have different sizing so do a bit of research into sizing of the particular bike you want/have seen. It may also be a good idea to go into a few bike shops and sit on a few, get some advice re: sizing.

    Double/triple refers to the number of chainrings at the front, where the cranks and pedals attach to. Most people use a double but a triple will make hills a little easier as gives you a wider range of gears. You can also get a compact, which is the same as a double but uses slightly smaller rings giving a lower gearing, thus making hills a little easier, same as a triple. It all comes down to personal preference at the end of the day.

    Hope that helps image
  • Double or triple refers to the gearing.  i.e At the back of the bike you get 2 or 3 wheels on your chainset.  


     This is a triple - double only has 2 rings.  A compact is a double that is good for hills - i.e. the gearing ratios give you a slightly easier to push gear for steep bits - this is usually indicated by the ratio of the spokes round the disc.

    Guide to gearing


    The only problem with buying a cheaper bike is that in 6 months you will want to buy another one.  Or maybe that's just me - I am never satisfied and just keep wanting to upgrade.


    Buy one you like the look of and then you can just upgrade the 'bits' .  Buy the best frame you can find - wheels, handlebars, seats and pedals are easily replaced.  Gearing less easy to do but that's what bike shops are for image


  • doh - front for chainrings - having a senior moment - sorry

  • Rocco thank you for you help. Advice noted. I should have said I will be looking for a second hand bike.

    Looking forward to smashing up my first tri come March. As long as I make it out the pool I'll be fine!

  • Thanks Gym Addict. I know what you mean about wanting a new one. I'm the exact same with everything! TV, car etc

  • You might find it useful to get a bike fitting so you know exactly what you want and then take a look through e-bay. Same as Rocco said a lot of road bikes can be found cheaper through there and as Gym pointed out people always want to next best thing. Some real bargin's can be found if you keep looking. Worth thinking about joining a tri club anyway for training but if you join one I bet you can easy find someone within it that's a conpleate geek with bikes and tell you wants ch*p and whats not. Posting on here or some of the long running threads might also be useful on that one.

  • No idea where in the country you are, but something like this would be a good starter
  • Thanks for all of your help guys. I live in Thame, Oxfordshire but I'm on the road alot with work so can collection from most of the country depending on work commitments.


    I have another question, if i'm looking to compete in triathlons what type of pedals are best? From what I can tell there are two types one which you can just jump on and cycle with any type of footwear and the other being some clip on shoe pedals. I know the clip on ones will be better in the long run but to start I was thinking of just normal pedal or at least until I'm building up my distances. 

  • look keo easy pedals are good - the standard keo's are also good.


    Easy to get in and out of - easy to clip into.  Be prepared to take a couple of rides getting used to them. Ideally practice on a turbo trainers first.  

  • Look, Time, Shimano all have variations of clip in pedals and most shoes have the ability to accept the different types of cleats. I would say Look or shimano would be the cheapest to get started with.

    Personally I would suggest going clip less from the start. Everyone has "incidents" when coming to a stop and forgetting to I clip but you will learn quick enough to unlcip in preparation. Clip less from the start will make your rides a little easier and you'll have more time to get used to them. You won't look back!
  • Kristian, before you get really confused - what you call 'clip on ones' are actually known as 'clipless pedals' - its a long story!

    But I agree with Rocco - start off with clipless pedals - the ones your shoes clip into. They are much much better when you get use to them. As for 'incidents' - there are two types of cyclists - those that have forgotten to unclip and fallen off, and those that will!

  • Kristian everybody will fall off at traffic lights at one point or anouther. It's badge of honour. I'm with gym on look pedle's when you want to use them.

  • Go clipless. It's much better but yes, there might be a smidgeon of pi55 taking when you do bin it. One good thing about Look, as you get better (get permission to throw more money at it), you can upgrade your pedals which make you think you are faster.

    Might we even tempt you into a ride sometime (when it's a bit warmer!)?

  • Now I am by no means an expert (one sprint tri done, yet to start training for the next) and I was dead against clipless pedals as im a scaredy cat, but they are brill! I did my sprint in trainers which was fine, and only recently started using clipless as the guys we ride with all do. But i love them!
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