So since maybe my 3rd or 4th triathlon last September I've known it was only a matter of time until I got a Triathlon specific bike to use instead of my road bike.
The benefits are widely researched, more aggressive position enabling better power,
Better aerodynamics, saves legs for the run etc... Lots of articles to cone across like from bikesportmichigan, bike radar etc.
Now time improvements seem to vary from a couple mins to more depending on ability, and potentially same on run.
So I set about initial research, and have pretty much continued that for the last 6 months or so!
Now budget is always important, with Tri bikes retailing between €2k and €10k without wheels it wasn't going to be cheap. Some club mates suggested keep eye out for bargain second hand bikes as you can save a lot. This is easier said than done though and also a bike is a personal thing and you need to love it and want to train on it is my view.
So the shortlist then:
Cervelo P2C €2.5k
Amazing what a set of wheels can do for a bike..
Cervelo P3C €3.5k/€4k+
Kuota Kueen-K €4k+
Orbea Ordu Slt €3.4k
Felt B10 Di2 €4.2k
So some pretty good bikes there and in the middle range of pricing.
I was open to others if I came across any but that was my shortlist.
Mainly looking at middle range frames with Ultegra or similar components. Wheels would have to come separate as I want some Zipp tubulars.
So with test riding being very difficult, it would be hard to know I had made the right choice.
I decided to keep looking at second hand bikes and maybe test a couple to see what I could learn.
Firstly though I went to see if I could find some of my shortlist bikes to get a better look at them.
Www.wheelworx.ie has a great stock selection and had most of the felt range there. The b10 was there and I wasn't blown away, mainly as it seemed heavier than I expected. now felts are also very popular at irish races and everywhere so I was less convinced and kept looking. Despite the fact di2 was specced and I liked this a lot it just didn't float my boat.
I'm used to my Kuota Kharma being relatively rare at races and I like that.
I did up the numbers and the P2c was coming in at best value easily, and with good solid reviews and reports it seemed a safe bet. I got my measurements checked from Dom at www.base2race.ie who confirmed the P2 in a 51 would be bang on, as would an Orbea in a small etc. Orbea's had less reviews and feedback and I wasn't sure about it. But it was a nice bike and I continued my searches. So my shortlist remained unchanged and I continued looking for reviews and also checked a few sites for second hand bikes for sale.
Around here I came across a Cervelo P4 second hand for sale online. I contacted the seller for a viewing and it was in my size. This was exciting as it is a superbike and price was around the €2.5k mark so in budget.
I took it for a test ride and did have a couple issues - the oval bars were flat extensions and felt weird. Also the P4's hydration bottle was not the easiest to remove/replace.
None the less I put in an offer as it was perfect size, decent spec and a superb bike. I ended up losing the bid by €100 and that was a shame..
However, all clouds have a silver lining and the seller had a Ridley Dean that he was keeping over the P4. He said he may sell it at end of this season and would decide in a couple weeks and let me know. I could have first refusal if I wanted.
So after researching the Ridley, I arranged a test ride and was very very impressed. Both with the spec and the ride, not to mention the mint condition of the bike.
This spec is basically as good as it gets before DI2.
So he thought it over and decided he'd sell it. We agreed price and also negotiated on Zipp 808 Zedtech Tubulars which I was after so a deal was agreed and I paid the deposit.
This was always for the end of his tt season in August which suited me fine.
So below is my TT/Triathlon bike:
Ridley Dean xs
Zipp Vuka aero bars
Zipp Vuma chrono crank
Shimano dura ace rear derailleur
Campag record front derailleur
Shimano dura ace tt shifters
Prologo Nago ttr evo saddle
Zipp 808 Zedtech tubulars with zipp tangent Tyres
The crank alone is worth big bucks as are the bars, so I'm delighted with the price I got it for.
As you can see I'm a black red and White fan which matches the Tri suit too so all boxes ticked for me and I really love this bike.
I'll even get in 3 races this year before it retires to the turbo till next season.
Check out the lower bars and angles compared to my kuota road bike with Tri bars...
Now for more training to justify the purchase!!!
Update - it's taken me about 3-4 hours to get properly used to the different position. I was going to get a bike fit straight away, but figured I should get used to the position first and then see.
I had discomfort in the groin and arms area on first few attempts so figured I'd try adjusting myself first. A number of Tweaks to saddle and stem spacers and I'm now very comfortable and power is there. I could go lower but will wait till I'm fully used to it.
Very happy with the transfer to tt bike and it seems a decent bit faster and more comfortable. I've done a few bricks now and my legs do feel fresher..
Proof is on race day though so we'll see how I go this Saturday at Caroline Kearney Olympic Triathlon. This will be the Ridley's maiden voyage, Aka Betsy (the bullet)...