Triathlon and Time Trial bikes - a helpful guide

Words by Aaron Scott

on 29/08/2013 19:51:00

This Is An Older Post, To View Triathlon Products Click Here
Giant's Trinity Composite 2 triathlon bike. £1898.

Triathlon and Time Trial (TT) bikes: what are they like to ride?

Triathlon bikes are highly specialised and developed specifically for the sport. They have aerodynamic frames, with a riding position designed to work your quad muscles on your thighs and save your hamstrings for the final run.

In return for a fast and efficient ride on the smooth, time trial (TT) bikes can be known to sacrifice comfort and possibly cornering. They have lightweight frames, very high gearing, deep rim or disk wheels and often have airfoil-shaped tubing as well as special triathlon handlebars, known as tri bars. With these type of bars, the bar curves forward so that your hands and forearms can be rested close together while providing good stability. In addition the cables are normally hidden away or at least tucked in to reduce air resistance as much as possible - for example, they can be integrated within the top-tube.

Browse our range of triathlon/TT bikes >

Giant Trinity Advanced SL, as ridden by the Rabobank pro team.
Giant Trinity Advanced SL, as ridden by the Rabobank pro team.

Technical stuff

  • The seat tube tends to be at a steeper angle for a more forward riding position which saves hamstring strength for the running part of the race
  • 'Aero bars' which stretch forward from the handlebars are designed to give you a more aerodynamic profile when you're riding and often have brake levers on the side horns
  • Wheels are lightweight, aerodynamic and often have fewer spokes than the standard 32
  • Triathlon rules can be very strict - we can check your bike to make sure it qualifies

Suitable for:

  • Experienced racing cyclists
  • Confident cyclists/triathletes looking to compete seriously

Best for:

Triathlons, time trials and other high speed races

Avoid if:

  • You're a novice cyclist
  • You want to travel off-road (see mountain bikes)
  • You want to commute to work (see hybrid bikes)
  • You want to do long-distance cycle touring (see touring bikes)
  • You want to ride in a group

Browse our range of triathlon/TT bikes >

Still want more advice?

We've produced lots more guides to help you find out more about bikes, cycling and cycle gear. These include sizing guides for bikes and clothing, and handy guides to cycle clothing, bike accessories, commuting with a bike, and more. Browse our full range of guides here.

And if these guides don't answer your questions, we're here to help - just give our friendly customer service team a call on 01572 737 624. Lines are open Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm UK time.