Bikes

A Guide to Picking Out The Best Bike For An Ultra Triathlon

Athletes competing in a triathlon know that they have three main tasks: swimming, running and biking. In an ultra triathlon, athletes are required to swim for 2.4 miles or 3.68 kilometers, bike for 112 miles or 180.25 kilometers, and run for 26.2 mi or 42.2 kilometers. This means that you need to have the mental prowess to complete all three tasks, and that is no easy feat.

Biking day

The biking portion of the ultra triathlon is especially challenging. It’s the longest leg of the race, meaning you will be biking for 112 miles or 180.25 kilometers minimum. This means that in the months leading up to the race, you need to train legs and especially your endurance. To make sure your biking is race ready, athletes need to add in more cycling hours and to incorporate high intensity interval training. Most athletes develop their own biking techniques, for example they shift gears a certain way or descend and corner using their own technique. The most important tool in this portion of the race is the bike itself. Making the right bike investment can be tricky, which is why we’ve written down a guide to picking out the best bike for an ultra triathlon.

What to look for in a bike for ultra triathlons

Compared to the other parts of the triathlon, biking involves the most amount of gear. Bikes can also be extremely expensive, which is why you should invest carefully. When training, most people opt to begin using a road bike rather than a triathlon bike, as road bikes are easier to maneuver and a cheaper investment to begin with. Triathlon bikes are designed to go fast while ensuring the rider conserves as much energy as possible. To do that, triathlon bikes have a steeper seat tube angle and a shorter chain stay.

Once you’re ready to pick out your triathlon bike, we suggest visiting your local bike store instead of a large department store for a bike. This is because you’re more likely to encounter trained professionals at a local bike store, who know exactly what they’re doing and can help you look for the perfect triathlon bike. When you’re browsing for a triathlon bike, make sure you look for the following:

The right fit

Finding the right fit is very important for all gear, including your bike. When you go to a bike shop, have them measure you and find a bike with the right fit. Even though this costs extra, it’s well worth it to have a professional guide you.

Brakes

There are many options for brakes out there, all with their advantages and disadvantages. While many still use traditional caliper brakes, there has been a boom in the use of disc brakes, especially since disc brakes have recently been manufactured to be lighter.

Frame

Aero triathlon bikes have frames that were built to perform best on flat conditions. Carbon fibre frames are generally used by elite athletes because they are lighter than their aluminum counterparts. Test drive your bike at your local bike shop to see how the frame feels.

Gears

Most bikes have at least 18 gears. If you’re driving in hilly terrain (most triathlon cycling is done on flat terrain) you will need more gears.

Bars

Elite athletes often use aero bars, otherwise known as tri bars. They allow you to get a more aerodynamic position.

Saddle

While modern saddle designs come out every year, most serious cyclists prefer the tried and true traditional leather saddle.

Pedals

For easy transitioning and better performance, opt for bike shoes that you can clip into your pedal.