(I was recently asked for bike tips for someone just starting training for their first triathlon. Here’s how I replied…)
You should just get a standard road bike for your first tri (as opposed to a tri-specific bike). Whether new or used, it needs to be good enough to withstand the amount of training you’ll be doing. Cheaper parts would mean more frequent breakdowns and less training.
Much like buying a car, you should go on a few test rides. The same ‘size’ bike by different makers will have different lengths from seat to handlebars, handlebar height, etc, so it’s important to find one that fits (which the staff at the bike shop should help with). You can also get a professional ‘bike fit’, which will cost $100 or so but will ensure you’re in the most optimal position. I haven’t done this myself yet but probably will soon. If you want to get reaaaally serious about fit, go here.
I ended up getting a new Cannondale Synapse 7 for about $1000, and it’s served me very well. Of course, some people get by on $20 rust buckets from a local garage sale. It all depends on your own mixture of style, comfort, and budget.
Other expenses to consider:
- Helmet ($40 – more than that and you’re just paying for lighter weight or more air vents)
- Repair kit
- Under-seat bag to the repair kit, plus a spare tube and CO2 cartridge
- Mini pump / CO2 dispenser
- Chain lube
- Water bottle & frame mounted cage
- Spandex! Lots and lots of spandex!
- Cycle shoes / clipless pedals
There’s also a lot of good resources here.