I want to do the 180 km of cycling in general, that is the 2nd leg of Ironman.
I don't have a bicycle, as of now.
I am planning to buy a road bike (not the one used for triathlon).
People ask me to choose between a bike for endurance and a bike for performance.

I have ridden 200 km in a very cheap hybrid bike (twice the weight of an average road bike) in 11 hours.
I would be using the bike mainly for triathlons and long distance brevet(but brevets at a later stage), so mainly concentrating in tri.

Now my question is:
Doing 180 km in 6-7 hours come under race or endurance?
The speed involved here is 30 km/hr.
This will help me in choosing an endurance bike(Fuji, in my mind) or a performance bike (Trek, in my mind).

  • It would be appreciated if an appropriate title is given to my question. I am not sure if suits the question.
    – Freakyuser
    May 23, 2013 at 13:38
  • 1
    Have you ever ridden 180 km before? Is this specifically for a race or a tri? Would you be using the bike for other rides? It'd be more productive to elucidate what type of bike would serve you best rather than specific brand recommendations, but we'll need more info first!
    – WTHarper
    May 23, 2013 at 13:54
  • @WTHarper I have edited the question with regards to your comment.
    – Freakyuser
    May 23, 2013 at 14:00
  • 3
    There's no standard definition of what exactly constitutes a "performance bike" or an "endurance bike"; there can be a ton of overlap between these categories. Could you perhaps clarify what exact features you're trying to decide between? Is it about the handlebars or the geometry or...?
    – amcnabb
    May 23, 2013 at 15:59

4 Answers 4


The terms "performance bike" and "endurance bike" aren't very well defined. To many people, the term "endurance bike" describes touring bicycles, which are used for long-distance self-supported rides where you're carrying a lot of equipment and supplies. However, Fuji (which you referred to), uses the term "endurance bike" to mean a road bike with a more relaxed geometry and "competition bike" to mean a road bike with more aggressive geometry. Trek (the other manufacturer you referred to), seems to use "sport bike" to refer to the relaxed geometry bikes, and "race performance bike" to refer to the aggressive geometry bikes.

The "endurance" and "competition" bikes are both high-performance road bikes, it's just that the "competition" bikes sacrifice a bit more comfort to eke out the highest possible performance (in theory, anyway). Most bike manufacturers have multiple product lines that cover both categories, so the general category of geometry doesn't necessarily dictate a decision between manufacturers.

I suspect that for the length of ride you're considering, you'll feel more comfortable on an relaxed geometry bike (e.g., "endurance" at Fuji or "sport" at Trek). But in the end, it's all about how you feel on the bike, so you should really test ride a few different bikes and see what you like best. No list of specifications, however long and detailed, can remove the need to try a bike and find out for yourself whether it works for you.

  • Another model description that is popular is "Sport-Touring" which generally refers to a bike inbetween a dedicated road bike and a touring bike. They're also called "Credit-Card Touring" bikes because you're carrying less than a full touring load. Frequently they're lumped in with Randonnee bikes and other such bikes.
    – WTHarper
    May 23, 2013 at 17:31
  • I feel like we're getting closer to the distinction between "endurance" and "performance" though.
    – WTHarper
    May 23, 2013 at 17:32
  • @WTHarper Thanks for mentioning the additional category. It's probably not quite what the OP is looking for, but it seems like an interesting category of bike. If I ever get into touring, it will be credit-card touring. :)
    – amcnabb
    May 23, 2013 at 17:33

You will want a bike for performance, but you will need endurance to finish the bike leg of an Ironman.

All Ironman events will have aid stations on the bike leg so you don't need a heavy touring bike to carry panniers full of food, gear or other stuff you would take along on a very long ride.

In an Ironman race you would only need to carry some food in your cycling jersey and a couple bottles of liquid (water, electrolyte, or even something with more carbs and a little protein) and refill at the aid stations (the ones I've done had them about 10 - 12 miles apart). In the race you don't even stop at these aid stations, you toss an old (empty) bottle and grab one from the volunteer as your ride past. Most have water and electrolyte options plus some banana's or energy gels too.

If you are simply riding the distance of an Ironman self supported, you can refill water bottles and purchase more food at gas stations, or mini food marts.

Train on the bike you plan to ride in the race as you will become comfortable and gain the endurance needed to finish the bike leg in the 6 to 7 hours you are planning.

Fuji makes many performance bikes and so does Trek, test ride and get the bike that fits you best.

  • 1
    The Fuji "endurance road bikes" referred to by the OP are performance bikes in the sense that you seem to be using the term. For example, this is listed as an "endurance bike" but is nothing like a touring bike: fujibikes.com/bike/details/gran_fondo_13_c
    – amcnabb
    May 23, 2013 at 16:18

Your answer to whether or not it is racing or endurance, it is both. You are racing, because it is against the clock. It is endurance, simply because of the distance.

30km/hour is a decent pace, and considering that you are doing an ironman distance triathlon, I would want the best performing bike possible THAT YOU ARE COMFORTABLE RIDING. It will do you no good to get what you call a performance bike, if after 100km you are too uncomfortable to ride.

Personally, I would get the best performance bike that you can/feel like affording. Comfort on a bike is all about time in the saddle, and putting in the miles. What may feel harsh and uncomfortable today will in all likelihood feel comfortable 6 months down the road after a couple thousand kms. My fear is that you will pick comfort over performance in the short term, and have that hinder your performance in the long term.

However, there are a few people here and there that complete ironman triathlons on mountain bikes to fixies to cruisers to racers, and everything in between. In the end, you need to pick the bike that you feel will give you the best chance to finish the bike portion in good enough shape to go run the marathon.


For 30 km/h average speed you need a performance bike and lot of training. You need narrow tires (23-25 mm), good transmission, drop bar and some tight cycling clothes for aerodynamics. For 180 km ride you also need water, maybe isotonical drinks and of course food.

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