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This 2013 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide simple gear list includes the bare necessities you’ll need to get through the bike, along with some examples. If you’re just getting started, be sure to also check out the beginner kits for the swim and run.
While you don’t have to start off with a triathlon- specific cycling shoe, this style of shoe boasts features that you’ll appreciate at your first race. Velcro straps are easier to close than buckles or ratchets, and a heel loop helps to speed up your transition. Triathlon cycling shoes like the Pearl Izumi Tri Fly IV (page 52 of the Buyer’s Guide) are also comfortable with or without socks.
A saddle should support you comfortably on your bicycle. A good one will put the majority of pressure on your “sit bones” while relieving pressure from your perineum. No single saddle suits all riders, so you should find a shop offering a saddle testing program and try out multiple options before buying one. Bontrager’s Hilo RXL (page 66 of the Buyer’s Guide) is a good place to start.
A simple cycling computer is best when you are just starting out in triathlon. A basic computer will measure speed, distance, cadence and the time you’ve been out riding. To keep tabs on your metrics, the Bontrager Node 2.1 (page 58 of the Buyer’s Guide) can display many types of data when paired with sensors, including heart rate.
While all road helmets are not created equal, they will all protect your head from impact. A good helmet will be relatively lightweight, well ventilated, and will fit firmly on an athlete’s head. Look for helmets with adjustable retention systems to help dial in the fit, such as the Bell Array ($80, Bellhelmets.com). Avoid visors, which require you to stretch your neck in order to see the road ahead on a triathlon bike.
If you’re going to use a road bike for triathlon, aerobars should be one of your first tri-specific purchases. Make sure you find an adjustable pair, like the Profile Design T4+ (page 60 of the Buyer’s Guide), and get a professional bike fit before ultimately deciding on your bars of choice.
Clipless pedals firmly connect the rider to the bike. A cleat is mounted to the bottom of a stiff-soled cycling shoe and, despite the counterintuitive name, the pedal engages the cleat, holding your foot in a consistent position. A good pedal, like Shimano’s 105 PD-5700 ($110, Bike.shimano.com) will allow for fitting adjustments to the pedal, the cleat, or both, so that the foot can be positioned comfortably to provide the maximum transfer while helping to reduce the likelihood of any injury.
A jersey will fit snugly and have pockets to store food or other items, such as a phone, for easy access during a ride. The jersey, like Mavic’s Athena ($100, Mavic.com) should also be made of a wicking material to keep the athlete dry and as cool as possible. Shorts should also feature a technical material, as well as a good chamois, or cycling pad, that will provide cushioning and make for a comfortable ride. Try the Mavic Athena women’s short ($100, Mavic.com).
Seeing yourself progress is one of the most rewarding parts of training, and data-tracking programs can help. Load the Strava app (Strava.com) onto a smartphone then record your rides for a fun way to monitor progress and compare with other riders who live in your area.
RELATED – Beginner Triathlete Kit: Swim And Transition Race Necessities
Looking to close out your season with a beginner-friendly triathlon? Check out TriRock Clearwater, set for Nov. 10. Use the code ROCKCLW to save $20 at TriRockSeries.com/Clearwater.