Race or Enudrance bike for triathlon..?



Gaber85

New Member
Jan 11, 2014
2
0
0
Hi guys. Im planning on buying my first bike and Im pretty comfused because there is so much on the market... :)
I would like to buy a road bike, because it will be my only bike, but I also would like to try a 70.3 Ironman, later maybe more ;)
My question is: Should I be looking for a RACE bike or EDURANCE bike? Honestly, I was thinking on byuing Specialized Tarmac Sl4 ultegra comp. But one friend told me, that this bike will be uncomfortable for longer rides. So should I choose an endurance bike (Roubaix, Domane...), or a race bike (Tarmac, Madone..)? I plan to do 2-3 hour long rides, I would like to do Ironman some day, maybe next year. My budget is 3000€.
Thank you all
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
2,432
184
48
While you friend may be right, he may not be. Potential handling characteristics aside (which will be partially attributed to the wheelbase length, and head tube angle/fork rake - collectively determining "trail"... how twitchy or laid back the baseline handling is), endurance bikes will have a longer head tube than the bona fide race models putting the rider more upright.

How upright you need to be will be mostly determined by your flexibility and somewhat by your level of conditioning, NOT how upright someone else decides you should be, even a friend with the best intentions. Back in the day they were all just "road bikes" with much less variation in head tube length and riders typically determined how upright they were by a combo of frame size and stem height. These days even race bikes have varying length head tubes and stems of varying angles, stems which can be "flipped" resulting in a myriad of micro positions on the same bike. headset spacers can be added or removed, within limitation, to make further tweaks to handlebar height.

We can evolve into more aggressive positions over relatively short periods (a few months) by riding and stretching, but also loose that flexibility over time as we age or spend time off the bike. The bike that felt great 5 years ago may be unrideable today depending on ones circumstances. I have heard of riders regretting "slamming that stem" and chopping of the excess steerer tube after returning to the hobby after a layoff on the same steed.

On a 54cm, the Tarmac has a 140mm long head tube, not overly aggressive for a road bike. I am not an overly flexible guy (I can put my knuckes on the floor with straight legs) but I rode and raced a Tarmac SL3 for a season and was fine with a couple spacers under the stem. The Trek series 7 for instance in a similar size has a head tube quite a bit shorter. Here's some math: The Roubaix in a 54cm has a 165mm head tube, meaning to get the same positioning on a Tarmac as the Roubaix (with no headset spacers), one would need 25mm of spacers under the stem. When a stem is flipped on any bike, a typical rise of an additional 2cm could be added.

Be warned, bikes with carbon steerer tubes have limitations on the number of spacers that should be used to manage stem height. I would recommend no more than 30mm of spacers under the stem of a bike with a1-1/8 (most common size and found on all the bikes you mention).

How high one sits on the bike will factor into a bikes handling capacity, as well as the aerodynamics at speed. I would not want to be too upright bombing a downhill at speed as my center of gravity would be higher. The bikes intended use should be taken into account along with the riders characteristics.

Best thing is to do a serious self assessment of your own capacities (like how flexible you are) and compile that info with a test ride. Nothing wrong with targeting a specific model(s) but be realistic. Bikes that feel comfy during a short test ride, and viewed with "love in your eyes" aka "the honeymoon", may feel different 40miles into a longer ride.

All factors need to be juggled to arrive at ones holy grail: need for comfort, need for speed, and for some riders with a degree of vanity, the need for aesthetic harmony. Personally I would rather ride a model with a slightly longer head tube to avoid "flipping" the stem. Some riders may not even care about color, etc. Personal preference. Let you personal needs and preferences dictate the model you choose, unless of course you have disposable income... these bikes cost a lot!
 

oldbobcat

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2003
3,233
194
48
70
While I have nothing against a Tarmac SL4, I'm inclined to say shop around if you're not in a hurry. There are "endurance" bikes that are not as cruiser-like as the Roubaix, such as Giant's Defy, Felt's Z-series, and Scott's CR1 and Solace. There are also "race" bikes that are a little more "all-roads-and-all-day-in-the-saddle" oriented than the Tarmac, such as Bianchi's Sempre Pro, Giant's TCR Composite, and Scott's Addict.

I'm sure others could come up with more suggestions.

When shopping, be aware that a manufacturer's nominal frame size isn't universal. You could end up sizing up or down if you're on a borderline.
 

Joyodongo

New Member
Jan 13, 2014
1
0
0
Hi all.
I'm exactly in the same stuation as Gaber85.
I've all my life done climbing and running (my last marathon was NYC's a couple of months ago), but tired of injuries I decided to move partially to bikes, so I bought a MTB Giant Anthem X 29er 2. I'm really enjoying it and last sunday I did my first cross duathlon but I want to finish doing TRIs and at the same time I'll also want to do long and "classic" rides. So, I will race but I don't intend to be very competitive (first, I don't want to, and second, I am 48, 75-80 kg, work, family...). Same budget: 3,000 € +-. I'm 182 cm tall by the way.
Even though I'm open to any other brand, the first possibilities are:
""endurance""
- SYNAPSE
- GIANT DEFY ADVANCED 2 (Giant doesn't sell it in Spain though)
- DOMANE, RUBAIX...
""racing""
- SUPERSIX EVO
- TARMAC SL4
As I told I'm open to any other option, but I want to invest in a good frame to last for some years and change whe other components if needed.

Thanks in advance.
 

oldbobcat

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2003
3,233
194
48
70
There are no dogs in your list, so base your choice on fit, test rides, dealer preference, and all those other subjective and prejudicial criteria. You won't make a mistake.

I kinda prefer the Supersix, but that's my style.