Tri bike?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Paul Westall, Apr 18, 2003.

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  1. Paul Westall

    Paul Westall Guest

    What is the main difference between triathlon bikes and regular road bikes? I know that tris have
    650 wheels that are supposed to accelerate quicker-any other differences. Would there be significant
    disadvantages to riding one as a road bike? Paul
     
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  2. Billx

    Billx Guest

    I don't think a 650 wheel is a necessary qualification of a tri bike. Many tri bikes are purely
    700cc. For a rider who is 6' or taller I've not seen any "physics" arguments that would support the
    concept that a 650 wheel is superior to a 700cc.

    Paul Westall wrote in message ...
    >What is the main difference between triathlon bikes and regular road bikes? I know that tris have
    >650 wheels that are supposed to accelerate
    quicker-any
    >other differences. Would there be significant disadvantages to riding one as a road bike? Paul
     
  3. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >What is the main difference between triathlon bikes and regular road bikes? I know that tris have
    >650 wheels that are supposed to accelerate quicker-any other differences. Would there be
    >significant disadvantages to riding one as a road bike?

    Some random comments:

    1. Tribikes are designed to be efficient an comfortable when riding with aerobars. This is fine for
    flat open roads with little traffic. But my experience is that they are not as comfortable or
    efficient as a standard road bike for climbing hills.

    Riding in the aerobars on a tri bike also reduces the manuveurability of the bike. Making quick
    moves to avoid obstacles is more awkward, stopping quickly is less sure because the brakes on on the
    bars, not on the aerobars. Bunnyhopping is out of the question. Ones head is also not in an optimal
    position for enjoying the scenery.

    In general, if one is going to be riding in traffic, with other bikes in close proximity or
    generally riding in situations where an unexpected stop or quick manuveur might be required, a tri
    bikes is a liability.

    For general long distance riding, climbing hills, riding with other people, riding in traffic, my
    experience is that a standard road bike is a better option. It has been optimized over the years to
    meet a variety of needs. The tri bike is optimized for riding alone on open relatively smooth roads
    and if that is what you want to do then it is a reasonable choice.

    The concept that 650C wheels accelerate quicker is bogus. The effect of wheel mass at the rim is
    independent of the diameter, it only depends on the mass.

    And of course the concept that the rotational inertia of the wheel is important to the acceleration
    of the bike is also bogus. It is a tiny effect, lost in the noise.

    But there are some real issues with650C wheels.

    2. Ride slightly harder because of their smaller diameter. A 700C wheel is about 10% larger in
    diameter than a 650C wheel and so it rolls over bumps somewhat better.

    3. Tire size availability. The tire sizes available for 650C wheels are limited. Apparently Sheldon
    Brown started carrying some 28's but other than that, 23's are the limit.

    Tribikes do not need to be built with 650C wheels. Many, is not most, big name winners ride 700C
    wheel. Michellie Jones rides 700C wheels. The only reason to be riding 650C wheels is if the
    rider is short and needs the bike to be lower in the front. But a Look Ergo stem can often solve
    this problem.

    Jon Isaacs
     
  4. pwestall-<< What is the main difference between triathlon bikes and regular road bikes?

    Steeper seattube angles to allow your knee to be in the proper place and still reach the tri bars.

    << I know that tris have 650 wheels that are supposed to accelerate quicker-any other differences.

    650c wheelsets have fallen out of favor and are not the standard any longer(like in the Dan
    I QR days).

    650c wheels don't accelerate any faster, nor is a 78 degree seatube angle necessary.

    << Would there be significant disadvantages to riding one as a road bike?

    Long term comfort if the ride was not flat and straight. A more road-ish frameset, with 700c
    wheels and perhaps a wee biy steeper seattube angle to reach shortish tribars would be a more
    versatile bike.

    Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    (303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
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