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Entry Level Road Bike to be used for Triathlons.

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#1 Fozzie



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Posted 03 August 2011 - 06:58 PM

I am looking to start competing in triathlons after completing multiple marathons and am looking for a good entry level bike.  I will start out with sprint and olympic distance triathlons later this year and early next with plans of completing a full iron man by the end of 2012.


Below are the 3 that I am considering after looking at prices on some websites.  I have been able to find the Denali (29 lbs for 21 spd) and Tour de France's (26.5 lbs for 12 spd) weights, but nothing on the Prelude (14 spd).  Do any of you know the stock weightfor the Prelude?


I have $300 to spend and am wondering if paying less for th Denali with hopes of lightening it up is a better investman than paying the additional money for one of the other bikes?  Curretly I am riding a mountain bike (35 lbs).


GMC Denai            ~$200     29 lbs            21 gears

Tour de France      ~$250     26.5 lbs         12 gears

Schwinn Prelude   ~$250      ?? lbs            14 gears


Any information that you all can provide would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you inadvance.

#2 tafi


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Posted 03 August 2011 - 10:07 PM

I'm sorry to start off your first post with a negative reply, but I would caution you heavily against buying any bike at this price point.  The most you could ever do with one of these is ride to the corner shop for bread and milk.  Racing them is definitely out.

The bikes you're suggesting come with 6 or 7 sprocket rear ends and weigh upwards of 13kg.  The current standard for entry level racing bikes these days has 9 or 10 sprockets and two chainrings and should come in at around 9kg (less than 20 lbs).  It will cost around $1000-$1300 new.


I know you're trying to get on the road for the minimum outlay, but bikes of this type are completely obsolete and are of very low build quality or reliability.  Your chances of getting one repaired or serviced are close to zero.  You might be on the road for $300, but (particularly if you enjoy the sport) you will probably be up for another bike in 12 months time (if not sooner as things break).


The most important thing to you when starting out is to have a reliable bike for which you can readily find spare parts.  If cash is short then you need to get in touch with people who can help.  The first thing to do is to get aquainted with people who are in the sport.  Maybe even join a club.  Some clubs may allow you to borrow or hire bikes to get started on, or you may have a relative who can do the same for you.  That will allow you to try the sport out without having to spend a lot.

Getting hold of a decent bike at this price is still possible if you're prepared to buy used.  I think it will still be a challenge but a good condition used machine will still trump any of the three you have mentioned above, but to find one will also require help.

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#3 IndependentMind



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Posted 07 August 2011 - 11:04 AM

Congrats on your decision to join the fold.


I've been competing in triathlon for a little while now and maybe I can help out a little.


I'm going to say to you what I say to everyone else starting out in the sport, and that is, the bike doesn't matter that much the first year, up to a certain point.


I see people riding mountain bikes and department store brands all the time at races. Sure their finish time isn't going to be the best, but they're out there busting their hump like everyone else. Case in point, my last race (Peterborough Half Ironman) I passed by 2 people on mountain bikes who were doing the full course just like me. I wish I had noted their bib numbers to shake their hands, it was a really hot day on a hilly course, they had it tougher than anyone out there.


With that said, I think it's best that you look into at least a bottom of the line road bike (Giant, Trek, whatever) with entry level Shimano, let's say Tiagra level or evel Sora. And this is why, you'l get much more enjoyment out of that and more longevity, I can almost guarantee that the next season you will be looking to upgrade your bike if you go really low end like you are now.

Also take into consideration that you are looking into completing a long course race, think about it, do you really want to complete 90Km's after a 2Km swim on a ubber heavy bike with terrible gearing? The point is to complete the course and have fun, a decent bike will increase your chances of both.


I think mountain and low end dept store bikes have a place for people trying out the sport and for short course fun, but if you want to progress (as you mentioned) you need to rethink your investment.



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#4 maydog


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Posted 07 August 2011 - 09:35 PM

I would add that those bikes can be had at a steep discount - never pay MSRP for one of those. I bought several Schwinn preludes when target was clearancing them out (for $50). If they fit you they actually ride decent, I lent one to a friend who did two MS150 rides with us and had no trouble keeping up.


However, the bike would not easily be serviced. The components are real cheap and non-standard. You can probably keep it running well if you are handy, but a LBS may charge you near what the bike is worth to repair/replace certain items.


If your are interested in a more or less TRI specific configuration - you can cobble together a bike for not a huge outlay of cash. Bar end shifters can be had cheap and if you stick with a 8 or 9 speed configuration, the drivetrain is pretty affordable too. I assembled a proper tri bike for approximately $600 (sans wheels) through frugal use of ebay.


Also consider that for TRIs, aerodynamics will result in superior gains over weight and you, the rider are the major constituent of drag. You could perhaps modify the mountain bike for faster on road riding. In the past, I have run my mountain bike with high pressure street slicks, modified seat position and clip-on aerobars. Such changes will make your mountain bike perceptibly and measurably faster for less cash than buying a low end bike.

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#5 Reid2


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:49 AM

Fozzie? You are a nice young guy. Next posting, for you,


#6 Reid2


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 02:01 AM

Thread starter? Perhaps you can find a like-new bike, one that would serve your needs?

My young friend, Cesar, of the local fast food restaurant beamed at me last night,


"My dad found a new Trek ((I did not get the model number)) for sixty dollars,


it is like new, a 2001, and was $900 new".  And that's not uncommon, so many


barely-used bikes are languishing in garages.  And you are an athlete,


and your body is the winning factor, and personality, too, so if you put out the word,


maybe someone will want to help you with an unwanted bike that would serve you well?


We get all hung up on specs and kit, being guys, but at basis, it is your muscle and grit that wins.

You are a triathlete. Try and make do and win.


What terrain are you covering?  How many gears to you really need?  Is it flat?

Weight hardly matters then.  Is the course slow? Aero is not important then.

So many factors are imaginary barriers. If you hang up too much on specs,

the psychological drag may become the weakest point in your chain of endeavor.

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