Hybrid Bikes for Triathlons

Triathlon Event I do not own a road bike, I have a hybrid, leasure bike. Can I use this for my first triathlon to see if I enjoy the event without making a big bike purchase?

Sarah from Michigan

Triathlon Event  Hi Sarah,

Thank you for contacting!

Great question! Yes, you can use a hybrid bike for your first sprint or mini-triathlon, but there is some education you need before you actually decide if that’s what you want to do. As long as you know the capacity of what you are using, we think you can make a good decision for yourself.

Mountain bikes and road bikes are very different creatures. Mountain bikes are heavier, have fatter tires for grip, have fewer gears and aren’t very aerodynamic. Road bikes are light weight, have low gears for steep hills and you are seated aerodynamically.

The gearing on a mountain bike is something that can’t ever really be changed.  You can get used to the upright posture, and you can even invest in slicks for the tires (something you may want to consider if using a mountain or hybrid bike), but the gearing will never be as fast as it is on a regular old road bike.

The hybrid is basically a mountain bike crossed with a road bike. The tires and gears are more like a mountain bike and the seat allows you to sit up a bit more straight then a racing bike. Those things will slow you down a bit because the tires are a bit fatter, the gears don’t go as low as the racing bikes and you are not very aerodynamic. BUT, it’s a very comfortable, it’s generally lighter than a mountain bike (because the rims and spokes are designed like a racing bike) and if you are testing the sprint or mini-tri waters, it’s a great alternative to going out to buy a new bike.

The bottom line:  We would much rather see you use your hybrid bike for a race than not do one at all.  In a typically race, you will not be the only one on a hybrid.  You will probably see several other people using that kind of bike as well.  You won’t be alone, we promise.

Let us know how your race goes!

Be well,

Jack Shaw

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