About Triathlon Bike
A variant of road-racing cycles, the design of triathlon bikes optimises aerodynamics to lessen wind resistance. The idea of a machine specific to this discipline was pioneered in the 80s by Dan Empfield and Ralph Ray, and many of today?s tri-bikes are similar to time-trial bicycles.
Empfield?s early design had 650c wheels with a seat angle of 80 degrees which, at that time, was unheard of. Despite the initial scepticism of many triathletes, it started breaking records, and so the notion of a ?tri-bike? was born.
One of the most distinctive aspects of a triathlon machines are the handlebars or aero-bars (also called tri-bars.) These are aerodynamic and range from simple, clip-on products to highly sophisticated models. They force the body of the rider into a more streamlined shape, so that the impact of drag is reduced. They can take some getting used to, so don?t ride with them for the first time in an event.
Frame tubes on triathlon cycles tend to have a teardrop or oval shaped cross-section rather than a circular one. There are usually fewer spokes on the wheels, and these may be made from lightweight carbon fibre. Equally, some of the non-traditional or ?radical? bike frames that are not allowed in other forms of road cycling are legal in triathlon.
Generally, most of these machines also have quite an ?aggressive? geometry, with almost vertical tube angles, and handlebars and a stem which are low down in relation to the saddle to boost aerodynamics. Some also say this stance helps save energy in muscles which have been used for running by encouraging pedalling with different muscle groups.