I currently have a mountain bike with thin road tires on it (because I ride only pavement). I’ve been starting to train for triathlons, here lies the problem. Should my next bike be a triathlon bike, or a road bike that I just put aero bars on?

If I go with the tri bike I still have my mountain bike for strength training

If I go with the road bike I may need to purchase a new seat post

closed as primarily opinion-based by Klaster_1, Grigory Rechistov, David Richerby, Neil Fein, RoboKaren Sep 12 '18 at 16:13

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Very difficult to answer without knowing more about your situation and what your objectives are. – Argenti Apparatus Sep 11 '18 at 1:02
  • @Argenti Apparatus My objectives are to be in triathlon competitions by next year, I’m 17 currently so budget is a concern for sure (I can’t drop thousands on bikes) – Larmon Sep 11 '18 at 1:24
  • Are you a serious triathlon competitor or are you doing it for the completion? – Criggie Sep 11 '18 at 3:13
  • If I were to do a triathlon tomorrow it’d be for completion, but I plan on seriously training and competing in 2019 – Larmon Sep 11 '18 at 3:29
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    To push seat forward into triathlon position. UCI rules don't apply in triathlons and a very forward seat position is supposed to save the muscles that are most used in running. – ojs Sep 11 '18 at 16:14

A road bike is more versatile. That would get my vote.

  • 1
    I would agree. A road bike with aerobars is cheaper too - triathlon bikes tend to be more rare and therefore expensive. Good aerobars will be enough to taste triathlon and see if OP likes it enough to start dropping large amounts of cash on the gear. For beginner triathlon, there will be people doing it on a MTB maybe with slicks. – Criggie Sep 11 '18 at 3:14
  • That’s what I’m leaning towards rn tbh – Larmon Sep 11 '18 at 3:30

From what I have seen of used bike prices you generally will get more bang for the buck buying a standard road bike. Considering you have a budget, I think you will get a newer bike with better components for the same money as an older well used TriBike. There are generally quite a few mid tier road bikes with low usage on Craigslist, Ebay, etc. When you get to the point that your training times are limited by your equipment it is time to upgrade.


Big personal opinion factor in this question, but I think subjectively it can be said that a road bike is the better choice when coming from a mountain bike.

  • The road bike will be more versatile, which means you can ride it more, and on more routes and therefore have more training options.
  • Many more choices on the used bike and component market

I don't think training on a tri bike with an aggressive aero position and a mountain bike with a more upright position is a good idea. You want to be training in the position on the bike that you'll be racing in so that you muscles develop to accommodate and produce power that position. On a road bike you can train using the regular bars because that puts you much closer to the aero position.

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