Triathlon bikes and cycle helmets

The best bikes and helmets for triathlons

Buying the right bike and cycle helmet for a triathlon event are important decisions to ensure you have an enjoyable and successful cycle stage of the three-discipline event. It′s vital to stay safe during the triathlon cycle and a strong bike and helmet should keep you on the right track. Here′s the guide to buying the right bike and cycle helmet for your next triathlon event.

Cyclists competing in a triathlon

Triathlon bikes

If it’s your first triathlon, dig out that old racer from the shed, dust it down and blow the tires up! Triathlons can also be completed on mountain bikes, although you would be better off if you can get your hands on a racer bike.

To compete in a triathlon or duathlon (running and cycling) you must have a bike that is roadworthy, and safe. Make sure …

  • The brakes work properly on the bike.
  • The cycle has good tires with adequate grip.
  • The gears that are going to help you get around that long course.

A trip to the local bike retailer for a full service will ensure this.

So how do we adapt the bike for triathlons?

The position on the bike is very important. If we are using a normal road ‘racer’ type bike, then it is easy to adjust it for your first race. Aerobars help to assist the rider to stay in an aerodynamic position throughout the race. It does take a while to get used to this position, and remember where your brakes are. A basic type of bar will cost you around £35. Also you must have, or fit a water bottle to your bike. It is really important to stay hydrated on the cycle course. A 1lt (34oz) bottle will be fine for this bike ride.

There are many pieces of ‘trick kit’ that we can put on our bikes to make them fast and lightweight. A bike that is suitable for novices will start off at £200. At the top-end you could pay up £4,000-plus. However, at the end of the day it’s your legs that get you round the bike course.

Triathlon bike helmets

'No helmet, no race' is quoted by all race organisers before the start to any event. So what type of helmet do we really need for a triathlon?

All good bike shops stock a variety of helmets, for both novice and elite riders. Helmets come in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes, but ultimately comfort and ventilation is the key to your purchase. You can get a good helmet for £30. However, you can spend up to £100 for some of the elite helmets on the market.



When buying your helmet, make sure you get it out of the box and try it on. Although they mainly come in four sizes (small, medium, large, and extra large) sadly your head doesn’t, they will differ in shape and size. The helmet should fit snugly on your head, but not too tight. All helmets will have some method of adjusting the sizing to fit the shape of your head. This can be through an internal Velcro system or inter-locking straps that just ‘click’ onto your head.

When you are happy with the fit, the ‘chin strap’ must now be adjusted. Again comfort is the key; the straps will fit around your ears and should be tight enough to ensure that the helmet will not come off if contact is made. Pushing the helmet at the front, side and back will give a good idea if this helmet is for you or not.

What comes next in your choice of triathlon cycle helmet?

Price and style really. If it’s your first race, comfort matters. Whenever you are on your bike, even on a training ride, you should wear your helmet.

Ventilation is important, and so is the weight. Ideally, you should forget that the helmet is on when you are training or racing. Many of the new helmets on the market boast about their ‘vents’. Try and get a helmet with as many vents as possible, to help stay cool.

The price of the cycle helmet could be your deciding factor. Expect to pay at least £30 for a good quality helmet that complies with all of the necessary safety standards. This helmet will suit all those new to triathlon. If you’re feeling rich, why not go for the top of the range? Expect to pay £100, but if it’s good enough for Lance Armstrong ...

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