First Tri Bike

I am a 61 yr old triathlete who has been racing for four years and have done four half Iron mans on my road bike. I am looking to buy a tri bike for my first Ironman. And while it will be on a flat course most races I have done to this point have included significant hills and I expect that to continue. My weakness is hills as I don't have a lot of power despite have a compact crank and granny cassette.

My question: I have been told that given my fairly equal length upper and lower torso I can ride the Cervelo as well as the Specialized shiv though I might get a slightly better fit on the shiv. The xyra small shiv is two pounds heavier than the Cervelo and has 700 wheels vs the 48 cervelo with 650s.

Am thinking the Cervelo is the better choice to help me with hills. Am I right? Price will be comparable and looking at di2 versions for both.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Intelligent Triathlon Training replies:

We would suggest that the Cervelo is indeed the best option for you.

We are presuming that if you need a 48 that you are relatively petite. Therefore bike weight is significant as the weight of the bike is a greater proportion of the overall weight of you plus your bike. So reducing the weight of your bike is key for improving performance on hill climbs.

650 wheels will probably enable a better fit, however they do limit your choice of wheels and tyres. It also potentially makes getting spares difficult. Smaller wheels are more aerodynamic, although the rolling resistance is slightly worse.

Di2 is good if you can afford it as it enables you to have the gears on the handlebars and aerobars so you don’t have to change position to change gear.

However if weight is your primary concern then you might want to consider something like SRAM Red or Shimano Dura-ace mechanical shifters as they are lighter than electronic options.

Being small and probably not riding that fast considering the race distance you are doing, the weight of your wheels will be a more significant factor than aerodynamics.

Heavy aero wheels will not perform as well as light, moderately aero wheels. Rotating mass has to be propelled therefore you save energy by having a light rotating mass.

For a big powerful rider riding at 45 – 50kph+, aerodynamics are more significant. For a light rider spending most of their pedalling time below 35kph weight is more important.

Hope this helps; it would be great to hear what you choose and how you get on with the bike!

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