8 Mar 2016


Come race-day you want to minimize surprises in every area you can control. Knowing your bike inside out, and your capabilities on it, can result in significant gains. The key to acclimatizing to your triathlon bike is to actually use it. We know that sounds obvious but many triathletes save their triathlon bike until the races, preferring to train on their road bike. That means come race day they’re ill-prepared for the unique demands of using a tri bike. So use your tri bike for at least one session a week from spring onwards, and ideally tag a 15-20min run on afterwards. This is triathlon after all.

Mastering your triathlon bike takes time, tenacity and the following tips…

Position is a balance between aerodynamics and comfort but, as a general rule, your knee should be between 25-35° when one leg is in the six o’clock position. Aim for around 90° between torso and upper arm, and also at the bend in your elbow. But be comfortable. If your hip angle is too acute, you’ll struggle to maintain that position. Check out the barsstems and seatposts that can help you optimize your fit.

Improving balance on your triathlon bike will improve many aspects of performance including eating and drinking on the fly, holding a solid line while riding and looking back without swerving all over the place.

This is where a set of rollers comes in. They take a bit of getting used to but they’re worth persevering with as not only will they improve your handling skills, they’re a good core workout, too.

An alternative is to set out four cones on a trimmed field, stick in your lowest gear and move in and out of the cones. Move the cones closer together as confidence increases.

Or try off-road riding – handling obstacles and different terrains works wonders for your handling skills, core stability and balance (see our MTB riding tips features herehere and here).

Beating the wind
Firstly, keep a close eye on the weather forecast. If wind is forecast, it’s wise to choose a set of wheels that feature shallower rims. So instead of using the Vision Metron 81s (81mm deep rims), you could go for the Metron 40s. Or, if confidence is growing, you could keep the deep rim out rear and the shallower rim upfront. (It’s always wise to go shallower upfront in the wind because this is where you handle.) Also, when down on the extensions, be careful not to overcorrect if you’re being buffeted and try not to death grip the bars. That tension will inevitably lead to hitting tarmac!

Hill climbing
The majority of courses you’ll use your tri bike on will be pretty flat but, inevitably, a hill or two will infiltrate your route. Seat tube angles as steep as 75° or even 78° are great for aerodynamics and easing you further over the bottom bracket but are less effective on the hills. One solution is to push the saddle back further on its rails and sit back as far as you can when climbing. It’s also worth shifting down a gear or two further than you might on a road bike, just to make the ascent that bit easier.

Riding in the heat
As research has shown that performance can deteriorate if losing 2% or more bodyweight, it’s always recommended to keep hydrated. That’s where a good, ergonomic hydration system comes in. Cue the Vision DS1 drinks system. It clamps neatly between your aerobar extensions, the protruding straw meaning you don’t need to ease out of your aerodynamic position to take a sip. It accommodates 750ml of fluid so should keep you topped up for many a mile.

The Vision DS1 Drink System uses conventional water bottle body, and CFD-designed head unit gives aerodynamic frontal profile