Hi All -
This will be my first tri and although I attended the bike clinic, I'd love more advice on deciding between buying a road bike or using my hybrid.
I'm leaning towards my hybrid for the first race to make sure I like the sport enough to want to invest in a 2nd bike.
Specifically, my questions are:
1. I currently have pedals with toeclips. If I change to clipless pedals, are there ones I can still use with regular shoes as needed without switching the pedals?
2. Would adding aero bars make sense on a hybrid bike?
3. If I use my hybrid I would like to get it tuned up. Should I get it tuned up both now and a week or so before the race?
Thanks for your help!
You'll probably see a lot of different opinions but I'm one who supports the idea of doing your first race on your hybrid before making the investment in a new bike. You won't set any course records but you'll both know whether you like the sport and want to continue and be able to make a more informed bike buying decision when you go ahead and buy a new bike.
Now to answer your questions:
1) You can get clipless pedals that have a clip side and a flat side. The Shimano M324 pedal is one example - http://www.rei.com/product/668198
2) You could put aerobars on your hybrid but I don't think it would be worth the investment. You really aren't going to get an aerodynamics improvement. It may provide you a more comfortable riding position, but even that is unlikely. A more worthwhile investment may be new tires that are smoother/more narrow than the ones currently on your bike. BTW, I should also mention that bike snob mechanics like I will probably make fun of you if you put aerobars on your hybrid. But you shouldn't make decisions because of that.
3) I think that getting your bike tuned up now and again right before your race is a good idea. Something to think about, most bike shops are going to be a lot busier as the weather warms up and the race season begins so if you can make an appointment for that second tune up ahead of time, you are more likely to have that work done, when you want to have it done.
Best of luck with your training and your first race!
Definitely wait to buy the bike. Sounds like you are not 100% committed yet, so no reason to spend the money. You won't be the only one on a hybrid.
1. pedals see above.
2. no on the aerobars save the money for now see if you like the sport.
3. get the tune up now. april-may are some of the busiest months shops have for tuneups. some bike shops like SPOKES IN ALEXANDRIA won't even do major tuneups during these months because and i quote "it takes too long" they will only do quick and easy work that they charge you a bundle for those months.
A note about tune-ups - yes, the bike shops get pretty swamped once spring/race season rolls around, so don't wait until the week before your race to get a tune-up (and expect a fast turnaround). With that said, our merchant partner, Conte's Bikes will do their best to prioritize your tune-up/service if you are a DC Tri club member (the Bethesda store usually has a quicker turnaround than Arlington when it gets busy).
No on in aerobars on the hybrid .... save the money.
I would even say no to the tune up the week before the race. If you get the tuned up now, I don't see what getting another tune up in 3 months will buy you. You are not there to get on the podium. You are just there to have fun. Getting a tune up once every 3 months is a bit of an overkill in my opinion ... especially if your first race is a sprint or oly and there is nothing wrong with the bike. I can understand the second tuneup before a race if you were doing a HIM or Ironman. Just save your money for the second bike. You can pimp it up then.
Agree, save the money on the second tune up unless you are noticing a problem...you're not going to be piling on mileage for the training to the extent that it would warrant that cash outlay. If something is out of whack that soon after a full tune, its often just a small adjustment of the barrel roller that is needed which takes 5 mins and they'll likely just adjust for no charge if you bring it back in the shop.
Welcome to the first race...don't forget to enjoy it while you're out there!