As you start biking, you might get confused about different types of bikes. In this article today, we’re going to discuss triathlon bikes vs. road bikes for beginners, specifically, frame geometry differences.
The function decides the design of a frame. In other words, the bike that you ride has to match up well with your expectations and needs.
Think about road bike frames as adaptable hiking boots. They are specially designed to work well in various positions and situations. You can use a road bike for riding in town or tighter groups, descending, sharp cornering, and hill climbing.
The rider’s weight will be distributed fairly equally, (50-50) between the saddle. This is because the road geometry is specially designed to encourage a rather upright riding position to maintain an open hip angle which allows efficient, powerful, and smooth pedaling, compared to an aero position. This position will provide the rider good control and visibility.
The rider’s hands will be encouraged to rest on top of the lever hoods with this frame geometry and position. The lever hoods have easy access to the brake and shift levers, which makes the position versatile as the rider can maneuver the bike safely and quickly when riding in traffic or groups.
A road frame has a seat angle which is the angle formed by the tube of the frame, and the ground is usually close to 73 degrees. This seat angle allows the rider’s knee to be centered over the pedals for joint stability and strong power. The angle has proven to work well for various forms of riding and been used in standard road frame geometry for over the last 50 years.
Triathlon geometry – Triathlon Bikes Vs Road Bikes For Beginners
A road geometry can offer you versatility; that’s no brainer. However, choosing a versatile or an optimal geometry depends on your riding needs. If you’re looking for an optimal geometry frame that offers the best performance and comfort in some special riding positions, a road geometry is not the best choice out there.
So if you’re a triathlete who often use the aero position, a triathlon geometry frame is your best solution. Think of it more like a pair of high heels. High heels are not as adaptable as a pair of hiking boots. However, hiking boots might not be as appropriate and efficient in some particular situations as high heels.
The same goes for triathlon geometry designs. They’re designed to allow riders to use a specific riding position with more comfort while handling characteristics and enhancing stability at the same time.
A triathlon geometry aims to encourage a more aerodynamic, efficient, and comfortable position with the aero bars, compared to a road frame. The rider’s weight will be distributed more significantly (70%) on the front of the bike with 30% on the saddle.
The way the bike handles will be dramatically altered since the weight distribution is increased towards the front of the bike. Because of this reason, along with the fact that the front-end becomes lower so that the rider needs to keep their hip angle open for efficient pedaling, there are some changes in design in triathlon geometry to encourage a comfortable, confident, and stable ride in the aero bars.
On a triathlon specific bike, one of the geometry aspects that are changed is the seat angle. It’s usually steeper (76 degrees to 78 degrees) than what are often found on a road geometry which is a 73-degree angle. This angle helps remain the rider’s hip open in the lower aero bar position. This helps preserve the quadricep power due to more hamstring activation facilitated.
The top tube on the triathlon frame is also shorter than a road frame keeping the rider from being too stretched out and accommodating the aero bars when riding on them.
The head tube angle which is the angle formed by the tube attaching the front fork to the frame is usually more relaxed compared to a road design. To extend the trail, the fork rake is also altered.
Optimally, as a triathlete, you should have both a road bike and a triathlon bike since each bike is appropriate for specific needs. Having both will offer cross training benefits and help you develop various riding skills.
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