One of the biggest equipment investments you’re likely to make in any triathlon is the bike. That’s why, when I entered my first triathlon two years ago, I listened to the advice of many community members and just raced the bike I have. Fortunately it was an olympic distance race, but sure enough, I spent most of the race playing cat and mouse with a rider just ahead of me. On the hills I’d reel them in but as the course flattened out, they’d slowly walk away from me.
Still not at the point that I feel comfortable purchasing a dedicated bike for triathlons, I started researching the best way to gain some aero advantage riding an otherwise stock Specialized Allez Elite road bike. This is what I came up with:
- Profile Designs Carbon T4+ Aero Bars – $184 – purchased during a holiday sale at Performance Bike, these bad boys are the key component to most aero systems. They move the body up and forward, reducing wind area and taking pressure off of the hamstrings (which are saved for running).
- Profile Designs Fast Forward Seat Post – $120 – quickly after moving the bars forward it became clear that the seat position also needs to move. I maxed out the range of the stock post/seat combo, and so I went a step further by installing this seat post.
- ISM PN1.1 Seat – $120 – seat choice is a very individual choice. How you feel in the saddle matters when you spend countless training hours and several racing hours with hips (and sensitive areas) pressed against it. After trying to get things dialed in with my stock seat, I finally gave in and grabbed the ISM seat. It has a very specific cutout to alleviate pressure on the perineum, which is more exposed due to the forward position on the bike. ISM offers different widths in this saddle as well (denoted by the number following PN).
- Profile Designs Rear Bottle Cage – $45 – One of my close friends gave me some tips on relocating the hydration system. The first thing they mentioned was getting rid of the mid-bike cages and mounting bottles behind your seat (effectively in the draft of your body). Since this is a 56 mile bike segment, I opted for the dual bottle cage. It has the added bonus of threaded holders for CO2 cartridges (pictured).
- Profile Designs Front Bottle Cage – $36 – The other hydration modification is the front bottle cage, this allows me to stay in the aero position while consuming each bottle of fluid. I just flip the bottle out, take a sip and then clip it back in. All while one arm stays firmly planted in the aero bar.
- SLS3 Top Tube Bag – $22 – Many racers will recommend taping your nutrition to the top tube of your bike. This might work if you’re using gels, but I plan to consume Clif Bloks, Clif Z Bars and salt tablets, a little complex for top tube taping. This sleek bag will store 4 bars, 3 blocks and a small tube of salt tabs zipped away and secure.
- Pedro’s Bike Lust – $19 – a clean bike is a fast bike, or so they say. Honestly, I was recommended this product after lamenting on a group ride that it feels like I wash my bike every week and it still isn’t enough. This silicon polish/degreaser/cleaner is simple to wipe on and then polish off. It keeps the bike insanely smooth, I even polished the spokes with it. Pro tip: don’t put it on your seat…
It might not be as beautiful as some of the TT (time trial) bikes on the course, but it should produce a faster bike split than going without. I’m sure some of you are wondering, “what about rims?” Great question! I’m going to hold off there. That investment will probably coincide with another bike purchase.
Final retail cost of conversion: $527 (if all purchased on Amazon and not on sale at a local shop)
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!