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I'm currently in the process of looking for a new bike. I'm 23 years old, 5'10", 150lbs, and am currently riding an old mountain bike that I've had since high school. I signed up for the Chicago Olympic Distance Triathlon and am hoping to find a good bike for the race, commuting 5 miles to work in decent weather, on the weekends along the lakefront bike path or longer road trips, along with riding through the forest preserve on gravel/dirt paths. Ideally I'd like a bike to do all of these things, and if I fall in love with doing triathlons, buy a bike in a year or two specifically for it.

Does anyone have any recommendations in particular? Right now I'm looking at the Specialized Tricross Sport Triple. I'd like to spend under $1,000 since it would be my first new bike in a long time, and I don't know what I want or even what type of biking I enjoy the most. If you do recommend the Specialized Tricross are there any tires that are more effective for different rides that are worth it other than the stock tires, and is it worth it to install aero bars?
 

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To start with...

IlliniBiker said:
I'm currently in the process of looking for a new bike. I'm 23 years old, 5'10", 150lbs, and am currently riding an old mountain bike that I've had since high school. I signed up for the Chicago Olympic Distance Triathlon and am hoping to find a good bike for the race, commuting 5 miles to work in decent weather, on the weekends along the lakefront bike path or longer road trips, along with riding through the forest preserve on gravel/dirt paths. Ideally I'd like a bike to do all of these things, and if I fall in love with doing triathlons, buy a bike in a year or two specifically for it.

Does anyone have any recommendations in particular? Right now I'm looking at the Specialized Tricross Sport Triple. I'd like to spend under $1,000 since it would be my first new bike in a long time, and I don't know what I want or even what type of biking I enjoy the most. If you do recommend the Specialized Tricross are there any tires that are more effective for different rides that are worth it other than the stock tires, and is it worth it to install aero bars?
...unless I'm missing something, a Tricross Sport triple is $1300 MSRP, no pedals. The tires, at 700x32, are okay for commuting, and if you really want to go offroading, yeah (but I wouldn't...use your MTB) but they ain't gonna do you any favors in a triathalon, nor are the wheels or components. But it's a place to start. Understand that once you have the bike, you now need pedals, shoes, a helmet, bib shorts, jersey, gloves...all that good stuff. What you might do is find somebody knowledgeable who can help you check out used bikes, because for $1000, you can probably do a lot better...
 

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Do some shopping

My first suggestion would be to try and test ride as many bikes as possible. Get a feel for how the bike fits and the different subcatagories of road bikes.

I don't know anything about the Tricross specifically. The type of bike that you are looking at (cyclocross) should be able to do everything that you want to do. A couple of things to think about if you want to use it as a race bike. If you are going to do a majority of your riding in Illinois (flat) you may want to forgo the triple front crankset for a double or a compact double. That will save you some weight. There are numerous threads on this website about the pros and cons of compact cranksets. You would need a different set of tires (700X 25) and probably a different set of wheels,


Good luck
 

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A couple suggestions:
Do a basic online fitting. I like the one on Competitive Cyclist, but try several. That will give you a general idea of the geometry that might fit your body and goals. That will likely be far more accurate than a fit you'll get at most shops in that price range. Understand that measurements across bike brands vary in how their taken, so you may be one size (say a 52cm) in one brand and something completely different (54cm) in another. As long as you have a basic idea of how bikes are sized and the differences in geometries, you should be well-armed. Don't assume you know more than the bike store employee, but also don't assume they know more than you.

Shop around. Ride as many different bikes from as many manufacturers as you can for as long as the shop will let you (little things show up after a while in the saddle). Discount things like saddle discomfort, because most people swap out the saddle first for one that fits their body. Instead, focus on the geometry of the bike and how it feels to you. Also test bikes one step up from your current budget, so you can gauge if the difference is worth it to you.

Don't buy until you've done a bunch of online research. The manufacturer website should list all of the specs on the bike, including components. I usually consider Shimano 105 or SRAM Rival the baseline for a solid, race worthy bike, but it's hard to find that in an LBS bike at your pricepoint. Online shopping at a vendor like Bikes Direct, eBay sellers, or Neuvation is an option, and one I've had some luck with. Caveat emptor should be your motto when going this route, and the more you know up-front, the more likely you'll be happy in the end.

Aerobars definitely help- if you practice with them and can hold an aero position.
 

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IlliniBiker said:
I'm currently in the process of looking for a new bike. I'm 23 years old, 5'10", 150lbs, and am currently riding an old mountain bike that I've had since high school. I signed up for the Chicago Olympic Distance Triathlon and am hoping to find a good bike for the race, commuting 5 miles to work in decent weather, on the weekends along the lakefront bike path or longer road trips, along with riding through the forest preserve on gravel/dirt paths. Ideally I'd like a bike to do all of these things, and if I fall in love with doing triathlons, buy a bike in a year or two specifically for it.

Does anyone have any recommendations in particular? Right now I'm looking at the Specialized Tricross Sport Triple. I'd like to spend under $1,000 since it would be my first new bike in a long time, and I don't know what I want or even what type of biking I enjoy the most. If you do recommend the Specialized Tricross are there any tires that are more effective for different rides that are worth it other than the stock tires, and is it worth it to install aero bars?

Like Steve said, my initial recommendation will be to test ride as many bikes as you can, your friends, the LBS bikes, so that you can have a feel (and not just look) for what kind of bike you'll be comfortable riding with in the future.
 

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Sounds like you want a bike that can do everything. Your interest in trail riding is skewing your search. Keep the mountain bike for the trails and maybe commuting and put some smooth road tires on it.

Then invest sometime looking for road bike that can double as your bike path, long ride & triathlon bike. Hard to say exactly, but it sounds like you are in the 54-56 cm range or a medium if you are looking at Giant Bikes. Your 1000 will go farther if you go the online, craigslist, ebay route, but the first time out it helps to get fit at a shop. There you can a bike that fits and works for you.
 

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Tricross

Hi,
I actually just bought a Tricross Sport two weeks ago. I like it a lot. I have some sizing tweeking to do ( shorter stem) but once I get that right, I think I am going to love it. I bought it for fitness riding and commuting. It has slightly less aggressive geometry than a road bike, which I was looking for. It's kinda heavy, which doesn't bother me, but if I were racing, it would. The components are entry level, but I am putting only about 70-100 miles a week on the road. So it should withstand my light abuse. It has ample "geek factor" stuff like rack braze-ons, can take fenders, and has brake levers on the flats of the bars.
It is a great bike for me. It doesn't sound like a great bike for you. It would be a good training bike for you, however.
I am thinking that Cannondale has a CAAD 9 bike out this year which goes for around a grand. I used to do time trials and duathlons on Cannondales and I loved them.
I hate to talk you out of the same bike I just bought, but it is not for everyone's riding lifestyle. Could you race on a Tricross? Sure. You would have more fun on a road bike. It is a fun do it all bike, however.
Good luck and ride everything. Enjoy the process.
 
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