What Is A Triathlon Bike: A Comprehensive Triathlon Guide

When are making your purchase decision you can be in a tricky situation that how you can differentiate between different types of bikes. It can be a hard decision whether you need a road bike or a triathlon bike because both of these can be used for a similar style of riding and share a few similarities too.

Triathlon bikes are also known as tri bikes and it is the design and geometry of the frame which makes these bikes distinctive from road bikes. The ultimate goal of tri bike design is to provide an aerodynamic advantage to bikers.  In this post, we will discuss thoroughly what is a triathlon bike and why triathletes choose a tri bike to get maximum benefits.

Road Bike Vs Tri Bike

The angle of seats on road bikes remains close to 78 degrees compared to tri bikes where it is reduced to 72 degrees to give a more inclined angle. This angle allows the rider to attain more speed because of inclined body angle reduces the resistance produced by wind.

One of the major differences of tri bike is that it comes with curved bars instead of normal straight bars. These curved bars are also known as aero bars and help riders to attain aerodynamic positions easily.

Types of Triathlon Bikes

Triathlon bikes come in several variations, catering to different needs and preferences. The two main types are:

  • Time Trial (TT) Bikes: These bikes are designed explicitly for time trial events, characterized by aero bars and a forward-leaning rider position.
  • Triathlon-Specific Bikes: These bikes are versatile and cater to the demands of triathlons. They provide a balance of aerodynamics, comfort, and handling.

Frame angles:

Tri bikes will have a lower front end compared to a road bike which will have a higher front end. The riding position on-road bike will be upright but on a tri bike, it will be bent to the front.

Seat post:

This is the part of the bike which connects the seat with the bike. The adjustment of the saddle in tri bikes is possible an athlete can adjust it by moving above and below according to its comfort positioning. The tri bikes will always have armrests on handlebars to give extra relief during biking expeditions.

Storage options on triathlon:

Triathlon is a custom-built bike for athletes. Triathletes use tri bikes for longer journeys so they need different storage features on bikes. There can be several bottle holders and fluid holders along with tools holders. The availability of ample storage on the bike will give the rider an advantage in adverse conditions where he will require tools too.

The other parts of tri bikes like a cassette, front and rear derailleur, brakes, and tires will have few differences from road bikes.

  • Integrated Storage: Many tri bikes come with integrated storage solutions for carrying nutrition, tools, and other essentials.
  • Electronic Shifting Systems: Electronic shifters offer precise and instant gear changes, enhancing control.
  • Aero Accessories: Accessories like aero helmets and shoe covers contribute to improved aerodynamics.

Pros and cons of triathlon bikes



  • Not a budget-friendly option
  • It will require more maintenance than other types of bikes
  • Maintenance costs are too high
  • Not a good option for daily commuters

Every triathlon event will have a cycling portion and athletes can use any bike of their choice like a road bike or tri bike but most of the triathletes choose tri bikes to complete this portion as it gives a competitive advantage.

Selecting the Right Triathlon Bike

Choosing the right triathlon bike is a crucial decision for any triathlete. Here are some considerations:

  • Skill Level: Beginners may opt for more versatile triathlon-specific bikes, while experienced triathletes might prefer TT bikes.
  • Budget: Triathlon bikes come in a wide price range, so consider your budget when making a choice.
  • Specific Goals: Your choice should align with your specific race goals, whether you’re aiming for speed, comfort, or a balance of both.

In the next part of this article, we will explore the intricacies of maintaining and training with a triathlon bike. Stay tuned for further insights on mastering the art of triathlon biking.

Part 2: Excelling in Triathlon Biking

Welcome to the second part of our article on triathlon bikes. In this section, we will continue our journey by delving into topics related to maintenance and training with a triathlon bike, comparing it with traditional road bikes, and showcasing success stories of those who have achieved remarkable feats using these specialized bicycles.

Maintenance and Care

Maintaining a triathlon bike is paramount to ensure peak performance during competitions. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Regular Cleaning: Keep your bike clean to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris.
  • Tire Maintenance: Monitor tire pressure and inspect tires for wear and tear.
  • Chain Lubrication: Keep the chain well-lubricated for smooth gear shifts.
  • Brake Check: Ensure that the brakes are in perfect working condition.

Training with a Triathlon Bike

Training with a triathlon bike requires a unique approach compared to road bike training. Here are some training considerations:

  • Aero Positioning: Practice maintaining an aero position to maximize speed and reduce wind resistance.
  • Pacing Strategies: Develop pacing strategies that match the demands of your triathlon distances.
  • Bike Handling Skills: Hone your bike handling skills to navigate tight corners and downhill sections.

Who should use triathlon bike?

As we know that triathlon bikes are not built for commuting and are custom-built for high-speed biking so never buy a tri bike if you want to use it as a commuter. The high-speed feature of tri bikes makes them prone to injuries and accidents for non-experienced riders.

The cost of maintenance makes it difficult for normal bikers to keep this bike for daily use as sustainable biking becomes hard. If the trail that you want to use is not paved then there are too many chances that tri bike will break down as these types of bikes only performs well on paved roads.

If you have a budget to maintain this bike then you should opt for it or the road bike can be a good fit for daily commuters. Daily maintenance is required to keep the tri bike in good shape e.g. cleaning of frames and lubrication of chains.

What should you wear during triathlon biking?

On most occasions, triathlon bikes are selected by athletes and they know that proper biking gear is so vital to have a great biking pleasure. If you do use biking shorts then you are prone to chafing and saddle sores which we have discussed in our dedicated post about chafing too.

triathlon biking

Which accessories make triathlon bikes more effective?

As we know that one of the unique selling propositions of tri bikes is storage options so it is very easy to accompany yourself with several accessories. Most of the time triathletes use speedometers, aero bottles, and saddlebags. Speedometers help athletes to track calorie usage, calculation of remaining distance, and other variables.

Conclusion – what is a triathlon bike?

In a nutshell, we will summarize that tri bikes are special bikes that give aerodynamics advantages to bikers and athletes due to design of its frame design. Most of the time these bikes will be used by triathletes and not by daily commuters. 

Please head over to our blog at bikedestiny.com to explore the world of biking. Happy reading.

Pros and cons of triathlon bikes

Mark Webster is bike enthusiast and researcher in bike industry from last 15 years. Mark had been working in different bike manufacturing companies for research and development of new models. Mark has mission to make bike design safest for bikers. The dream of Mark is to make bikes too mainstream that we can reduce global carbon emissions.

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