Triathlon Bike Reviews
Triathlon Bike History
Triathlon Bikes is all about efficiency. The cycling leg of a Triathlon is considered an individual time trial and as such, it is illegal to benefit from or take advantage of another cyclists’ tow (drafting). That being the case, the Triathlon Bike needed to compensate for drafting usually enjoyed by Road Racers in a Peloton or an Echelon. Tri-Athletes needed a Triathlon Bike that will provide great speeds with the least possible resistance. The bicycle after all, is responsible for about 25% of wind resistance and drag.
The Triathlon Bike achieves this by using a more upright seat tube angle. The Triathlon Bike also has shorter Top Tubes and Aero-Bars. These modifications allow the rider to form an aggressive “tucked” riding position that is both aerodynamic and easier on the hamstrings (muscle group needed for running). The Triathlon Bike also has smaller wheels with fewer spokes that further reduce drag.
Triathlon Bikes were not always this efficient. Triathlons have been around since the 1920’s but the first modern Triathlon was held in Mission Bay San Diego in the early 80’s. Other similar events soon followed in Coronado and Oahu where the Ironman Triathlon began. During the early days of the modern Triathlon, Triathlon Bikes were regular Road Bikes fitted with Aero-Bars. The idea to look at aerodynamics was there but early designers failed to look at a more comprehensive approach that took complete frame geometry into consideration.
In the late 80’s Ralph Ray and Dan Empfield redesigned the bicycle to be more “specific” to Triathlon. Empfield designed the Quintana Roo Superform, the first ever Triathlon Bike designed from the ground up which featured a steep seat tube, short top tube, smaller wheels (650c) and aero-bars. When Ray Browning rode the Quintana Roo Superform at the New Zealand Ironman and won the bike leg with a good 30 minute lead, the concept and design was here to stay.
Today, Triathlon Bikes are built by almost all manufacturers but they all follow the same design concepts pioneered by Ray and Empfield. The Triathlon Bike has become synonymous with speed and efficiency. Advances in frame materials and manufacturing techniques has made the Triathlon Bike faster than ever.