Setting Up A Road Bike For Triathlon

Get a look at the eight clip-on aerobars featured in the 2013 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide. Plus, advice on how to set up your road bike for triathlon. More from the Buyer’s Guide.

So, you’ve been doing triathlons on your road bike and, while you seem to be able to hold your own in the swim and run, you keep getting passed on the bike. What gives? You might attribute the difference to training specificity and a lack of aerodynamic equipment, but those tri bike riders up the road are likely working easier and more efficiently than you. A proper triathlon fit not only saves drag, but lets your body get the most out of your fitness level. The good news is that, with a few changes to your road bike, you can take advantage of the huge benefits a triathlon-specific position can offer.

Here are the keys to finding an efficient position when converting your road bike for tri:

» Get fit first: Establishing a comfortable and efficient triathlon specific position is the biggest key to reducing aerodynamic drag and maximizing your power and speed. Find a qualified tri bike fitter and make an appointment.

» Add aerobars: Getting narrower (and lower) than your road position can save time and energy on the course. Adjustable clip-on aerobars that setup low to the bar are often best for road bike conversions.

» Shift your seat forward: If you want to lower your profile to the wind while still pedaling efficiently, you have to keep the angle between your hips and torso open while lowering your back. A forward-oriented seat post creates a saddle position specifically geared to a tri position.

» Lower your bars: Most riders’ optimal tri-specific position will be lower than their road bike position—just don’t set it up below your functional range for comfort and efficiency. Finding that sweet spot happens during a fit.

See eight reviews for clip-on aerobars by clicking on the tabs to the left.

RELATED: Adding Clip-On Aerobars To Your Road Bike