Help! Which Bike Should i get?

cycling equipment

Which Bike Should You get? 

Buying a new or first bike can be such a daunting task. Unless you know a lot about bikes, componentry and all that goes along with; it is not uncommon to feel completely out of your depth. 

It is a big investment for many of us and we want to get it right and make sure we are getting good value for our money, which leads us to several considerations.

Your Budget

Firstly, you need to work out what your budget is. How much do you have to spend? 

Be realistic and realise that if this is your first bike, you don’t have to have the best of the best. 

You can get some great bikes out there that won’t break the bank. And if you do have a little more money to spend, just work out what the limit is for you.

Your budget needs to be your starting point and remember all the bits and pieces that need to go along with your bike if you don’t already have these (i.e. helmet, shoes, puncture repair kit etc) as you will need to allow some budget for them as well!

Road or Time Trial Bike?

For those new to the tri scene, you will most likely be looking for a road bike.

Road bikes are generally more comfortable and offer more versatility in that you can use them in a triathlon or a bike race.

They are lighter than TT bikes and if you plan on riding hills regularly you will find a road bike a lot more practical on the ascending and descending front.  

For those of you who have done a few tri’s and are looking to maybe do your first half or full Ironman, you may be starting to think about a TT bike.

The main difference with a TT bike is that you achieve better aerodynamics and therefore from a performance perspective they can be considered the better option. But they are just a little more limiting than the roadie.

In a perfect world owning both is a great option, but not always doable on the budget front.

A roadie with clip-on TT bars is another great alternative and this along with proper bike fit can get you pretty aero on the road as well.

This would be my recommendation for most who are looking for a new bike, wanting to do some shorter races and maybe a long distance race in the near future (with the addition of the clip-on’s).

If you are a more experienced triathlete with some up and coming half and/or full Iron distance races planned, then maybe it’s time to step up and purchase your first TT bike – how exciting!

New versus Second Hand?

Your first thought when starting to look around might be to start looking online at second-hand options in the thought that you will likely get a better bike for less money.

Just be careful here.  

The advantage of buying new is that you know exactly what state the bike is in and a new bike, of course, comes with a warranty and often there are some sweeteners thrown in like a couple of minor services to get you started.

When buying second hand you just need to be aware that often people will list bikes saying “hardly done any km’s” but you never truly know how much they have been used or how well they have been looked after.

You might end up having to spend more money down the track when the wear and tear pop up sooner than expected.


You may or may not have a brand preference when it comes to your new bike.

Essentially most brands offer similar bikes to each other at a range of levels.

Some brands, do offer women’s specific models so this is always something to keep an eye out for but not a make or break.

More importantly, regardless of what brand you end up going with, the most important thing is to make sure the frame size is the right fit for you – and something to note here is that bike sizes are not equal across brands, so be careful if you are buying online and haven’t checked the bike or the size of it out. 

Componentry Level

This is where people start to get confused! Firstly, componentry itself is a term that refers to the collection of mechanical/working parts of a bike and includes things like derailleurs, shifters, brakes, chainset, bottom bracket etc.

All important items that impact how smoothly or efficiently your bike will run and of course as with anything, the better the componentry, the more expensive the bike will generally be.

As a general rule of thumb Shimano 105 or SRAM Rival would be the minimum level of componentry that you should be looking for, especially if buying new as not many decent road or tri bikes would have a componentry level less than this these days.

Next step up is Shimano Ultegra or SRAM Force which operates in a similar way to 105, however, is lighter due to the difference in materials used. Then you have the top dog Shimano Dura-Ace or SRAM Red which is lighter again and the best of the best materials have been used, with the price tag to go along with.  

All componentry is mechanical and with some levels, you also now have the electronic option which generally costs that little more again (Shimano Di2 or SRAM e-Tap).

When choosing which bike you want to buy, weigh up the cost of the different levels. Although you may be able to afford that $6k bike, would you be better off buying a $4k bike that is still a great bike (maybe it has Ultegra instead of Dura-Ace) and spend the extra money you have on some race wheels, giving you a set of wheels that you keep primarily for racing on?   

At the end of the day, it all comes down to making sure you do your research and are getting good value for money, no matter what your budget is. Knowing what things to consider can help you feel much more clued up in the purchasing process and much more confident in making the final buying decision!   


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