Posted on: 26 July 2018
Whether you're preparing for your first or your tenth triathlon, finding a bike that fits you can make a major difference in your racing performance. Bike fitting for a triathlon is subtly different in several important ways than traditional bike fitting.
Here's a quick guide to finding the right triathlon bike fit.
Virtually every bike company has a different chart for sizing riders to frames. Even if you purchased a bike with a manufacturer before, you will want to size your frame differently for your triathlon bike.
- Weight: How much your bike weighs can drastically change how you perform in a triathlon. This is particularly true if you're competing in a triathlon that requires you to carry your bike for a portion of the transition. When deciding between two frames, you should consider opting for the lighter frame. This often times is as much a financial decision as it is a size decision. If you can't afford a composite frame, you can often save weight by choosing a smaller frame. Additionally, when you're tired, a smaller frame can be easier to pedal (although it will limit your power output to some degree).
Pedals & Cranks
Similar to the aforementioned advice about frames, opting for lighter pedals and cranks can drastically change how you ride when you're tired. However, you can often get away with opting for a smaller frame by choosing larger pedals and cranks. Larger sizes of cranks, in particular, can help you maximize your pedaling cycle, even when you're riding on a frame that might be slightly too small for you. Many of specialized triathlon bikes offer cranks with adjustable pedal positions and lengths, although these add slightly more weight, they can help you account for the smaller frame.
When it comes to handlebars, the style you choose should be specific for the type of triathlon you're competing in.
- Draft Legal: Draft legal triathlons allow riders to slip into the split stream of other riders during the bike portion of the race. Draft legal bikes traditionally have aero handlebars. These handlebars allow for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, but aren't as good if you need to navigate in non-draft legal races.
- Non-Draft Legal: Non-draft legal races forbid competitors from drafting behind other competitors during the biking portion of the event. The handlebars used most often for non-draft legal races are TT handlebars. Choosing the TT handlebars that allow you to extend your bike into a natural position will help you stay comfortable during your ride.