How to choose a highway bike and a bike for triathlon

We bring to your attention the great material of Mikhail Ivanov on the choice of a highway bike. Today, on the web, it is probably impossible to find a more understandable and efficient instruction on how to approach the topic. After all, if you decide to buy a highway, you will understand that you do not understand anything about this, and the price of the mistake, considering the cost of modern “devices”, is very high at its high probability.

Do you choose a bike for trips around the city?

The most important thing with which to start – not with the choice of material or brand frame, but with the selection of the correct size (growth). You can use the calculator to do this.

It is necessary, however, to understand that such a calculator gives a very approximate correspondence, and the size of the selected frame can fluctuate in one direction or another. It is good to take the advice of an experienced person. Also, we must not forget that, given the realities of our home business, you can sell a bicycle in the store that was not originally suitable for growth, simply because the seller needs to sell something. Another unpleasant moment – the absence of a frame from different manufacturers of a single standard for the size of frames. When choosing a bicycle (frame), it’s good to go to the manufacturer’s site and familiarize yourself with the frame geometry, where all the main parameters are indicated.

Wrong selection of the frame will negate the purchase of even the most expensive components.


The next thing is that the bicycle does not need to be assembled in parts (this is only possible for a competent mechanic, and we will give it to him), it is better to buy it assembled – it’s easier. Completely beginner will not feel absolutely no difference between the entry-level device and a doroguyu heaped bicycle. The only thing for a person planning serious trainings and racing is to take care of purchasing an additional pair of good wheels, since on budget bicycles sold in assembly, the wheels are usually very medium (or very basic). Assembly of a custom bicycle in the workshop requires, as a rule, a completely different budget. If a novice bicyclist does not confuse the price of 150-200 thousand rubles (and sometimes more), then you can pick up all the components yourself. But as a rule, for this money you can already buy a very good bike quite professional level in the collection.

Now you can make a more detailed overview of the bicycle equipment (thanks to Fedor Zhernovoy for preparing the picture).



Frame – the main part of the bicycle, all the other parts join it. From the material from which the frame is made, many of the running characteristics of a bicycle will depend. Frames are made of different materials, but here we will focus on the three main ones that are found on modern bicycles.

Steel frames (sometimes chrome-molybdenum) – The oldest material. Frames quite heavy, very strong, provide a comfortable ride (as if “spring”). Of the minuses – bend, “walk” around the carriage unit at high loads. At the present moment, the bikes of the cheapest price category (mainly mountain and children’s) are being built on such frames. The exception is, perhaps, a couple of brands that manufacture steel frames of premium class, at a cost comparable with expensive carbon fiber (these include Colnago and …).

Aluminum frames – much more rigid than steel. Aluminum is not corroded, but its strength is lower, because compared to the almost infinite lifetime of the steel frame, the lifetime of the aluminum alloy frame is much less. The aluminum frame is less spring-loaded, but much less comfortable due to the greater rigidity. Aluminum frames also differ much less weight compared to steel.

Carbon Frames – the “last word” in bicycle technology, the most “fashionable” material now. Despite the established misconception that all carbon frames are lighter than aluminum and steel, many of them are not at all lighter, and sometimes even heavier. Advantage of carbon in the other – it can be “adjusted” so that the frame “springs” in one direction and is rigid in the other. The technology of making frames made of carbon is more difficult than that of steel and aluminum, respectively, the price is much higher. Nevertheless, in recent years the bicycle market has been filled with a huge number of inexpensive carbon frames. This is due to the fact that all bicycle cars (however, like all bicycle products with a few exceptions) are produced in China and Taiwan.

Buying a bicycle with such a frame, it is necessary to understand that in design of carbon frames, design (not appearance, but the correct “adjustment” of internal and surface stresses in fibers) is most important and compliance with technology. Frames that do not pass the appropriate quality control and do not have a manufacturer’s certificate should not be purchased.

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In addition to the three main materials listed above, of which frames are made, frames from composite materials are found, for example, an aluminum frame (or, more rarely, steel) with carbon rear upper feathers (or a fully carbon rear triangle). Such frames belong to the class of aluminum (steel), although they possess (unquestionably) some properties of carbon ones.

By its type (use) frames are divided into frames for group races on the highway and races with separate start (also for the triathlon). The latter are somewhat different in design (they are stiffer and heavier, less manoeuvrable), there are also different types of attachments used on this type of bike. First you need to buy a bicycle for group races. Later, getting used to landing, you can buy additional equipment (nozzle on the steering wheel, called a sunbed), which will bring the bicycle closer to the “razalochniku” (or triathlon). And only after this, having mastered the ride with a deck-chair, you can think about buying a full bicycle for a race with a separate start (they are also called TT-bike, from the English Time Trial). On races with TT permitted, bikes are prohibited.


Fork is an important component of the frame, many manufacturers come complete with a frame. In the overwhelming majority of cases, modern plugs are made of carbon fiber (sometimes with an aluminum or steel rod). In general, all forks are approximately the same in their characteristics.

Among the famous manufacturers of frames are Trek, Cannondale, Cervelo, Pinarello, Colnago, De Rosa, Bianchi, Giant, Merida, Wilier (this brand is especially popular in Russia), Cube, Focus, Orbea, Specialized, Scott.


Wheels – not less important (and therefore no less, and often more expensive) part of the bicycle. Racing wheels are divided primarily into clincher and pipe wheels. Klinchernye have a tire (clincher), inside which there is a camera. The rim of the wheel has a special shape with sides, which allows the clincher to “hook” for it. Pipe wheels have no sides, a tube (in a section round and combining both the tire and the chamber) is glued with a special glue to the rim. Pipe wheels because of the construction of pipes have a much smoother stroke, in addition, the tube retains a very high pressure (up to 15 atm). But to change the tube in case of a puncture is much more complicated than the clincher, it is practically non-repairable, unlike a conventional camera, and its cost is incomparably higher than the cost of a clincher. Tubes (and tubular wheels) are mainly used by professional athletes in races, where there are technical support vehicles carrying spare wheels.

Pipes do not fit with clincher wheels and vice versa – clinchers do not fit pipe pipes.

However, recently there were also wheels with special rims for free chamber tires, but the Beskamkers are not yet very common on the highway. Also known manufacturer Tufo produces special clincher tubes, which can be clipped on clincher rims. But, for example, they do not fit the HED wheels because of the oversized rim.

Wheel rims are also made of different materials (mainly aluminum and carbon), have a different profile – low-, medium- and high-profile, so-called. an aerial wheel, or a wheel with an aerodynamic profile (rim height 40 – 80 mm). The latter are used mainly in group races on the plain, separate start races and triathlon (along with such wheels in the race with a separate start and triathlon, a disc is used as the rear wheel). The disc gives an advantage at a speed of more than 40 km. at one o’clock. Aerial cars (and discs too) have a feature – because of their high sailing in the side wind, riding on them is unsafe and requires special skill. On some races, for example, in Kon, they are banned due to a strong wind.

Of the known wheel manufacturers, we can name Mavic, Easton, Campagnolo, HED, Fulcrum, Zipp, Lightweight. The last two produce one of the best (and expensive) wheels, which are used by professional racers and enthusiastic fans.

A little about tires (clinker). They have a width of 20 to 23 mm, maintain a pressure of 6 to 10 atmospheres (the best scales are Vittoria open corsa evo CX, Schwalbe Ultremo R.1 Evolution, Veloflex, Michelin Pro Race 3 or 4). As a rule, a good, light rubber lives on wheels for a short time, so it is put, basically, on the race. Klinchera “more formidable”, harder and correspondingly, heavier, will “walk” longer.


Attachments – this includes a bicycle control system and transmission.

Steering wheel, stem, seat and seat post, brakes – something without which we can not drive a bicycle. The control system also includes brakes and pedals. The rudder and especially the saddle should provide a comfortable fit for the rider, so you have to take them seriously. The most famous manufacturers of saddles are Fiz: k, Selle San Marco, Selle Italia, Selle SMP, Specialized. Since you spend long hours in the saddle, the wrong choice of the saddle can lead to hemorrhoids and other troubles. In general, you can write a separate article about bicycle saddles.

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Seat pins about all are the same. They differ in size, weight, material of manufacture (aluminum and carbon).

TO brakes there is one requirement – they must brake. Brake pads wear out over time and must be replaced. Brake pads used for wheels with carbon braids are different from those used for aluminum.

Modern pedals are called “contactless” (English clipless), they hold the shoe with a lock and a special spike, allowing you to achieve the effect of “circular pedaling” (when you can not only “push” the pedal down, but also “pull” it up ).

Pedals have a different design (depends on the manufacturer), and weight, but functionally very similar. Thorns attached to the shoes on the underside, wear out when walking. They can be purchased separately. The most famous manufacturers are Look, Time, Shimano.

Speaking of contact pedals, it is impossible not to say a few words about bicycle shoes, because without them the use of contact pedals, and in general training and racing riding, is simply impossible. Among a considerable number of different manufacturers it is necessary to choose not a brand, but first of all comfortable footwear. It should be understood that bike straps are not designed for walking, but for cycling (pedaling), so the term “comfortable” here takes on a specific meaning: the shoe should not be too loose, it tightly clasps the foot, while the fingers do not rest on the toe . In the upper part, as a rule, there are various locks (Velcro, depending on the design and manufacturer), providing a tightening-loosening of the bike. Among the famous manufacturers of bicycle trolley can be called SIDI, DMT, Shimano, Diadora, Northwave, Gaerne, Bont.

Triathlon Shoes differ from conventional velvet flutes by the following:

  • Velcro instead of fastenings, so that you can unbutton on the move,
  • hole for drainage of water in the sole,
  • a loop at the end, so that it is possible to tie the shoes to the frame in the first transit and quickly unfasten it at the entrance to the second transit

A few words about thorns. Spines are exposed in two dimensions: along the length of the foot (the ears of the spines should be clearly opposite the base of the thumb and towards the front end of the spine.) It can be made that the foot is directed inwards, clearly forward or slightly toes outward. This greatly affects the ligaments of the knee joint and very individually, but it is important to remember that if you are hurting your knees and ligaments for 90 percent of the wrong thorn setting.

On the thorns Look. There are three colors of red, gray and black. They differ in their backlash. Red has the biggest, black does not. It is better for fans of gray with an average backlash.

Brake handles (shifter, STI, Ergopower) on a modern bicycle are combined with shift levers, so they are referred to drivetrain with the front and rear switches, the system (connecting rods with leading stars), the chain and the rear gears (cassette).

Switches (front and rear) are simple devices that are actuated by shift knobs with the help of cables, they almost do not differ in principle according to the principle of action, so we will not dwell on them.

Connecting rods are produced in several sizes (for different lengths of legs): 170 mm, 172.5, 175, 177.5, 180. The leading stars are two, the combinations are 53-39 teeth (big and small stars respectively), 52-42, 55-42 (for races with separate start). Recently, the “compact” system has become widespread, where the combination of stars is 50-34. This system is mainly used by amateurs, professional athletes are found only on races with steep ascent.

Cassette (driven gears, dressing on a special rear wheel drum) has 9-10 (for Campagnolo 10-11) stars. The cassettes have a different set – 11-21 (the smallest and largest gear), 11-23, 12-25, etc. Cassettes can be changed by removing only one rear wheel (a special tool is also required). The cassette with dial 11-27 has the widest transmission range, but for star 27 a special rear switch with an extended rear “foot” is required.

Chain with time wears out. At the same time, its overall length increases somewhat, resulting in wear of the cassette and system gears. To prevent this, the chain must be replaced. The chain also requires regular lubrication. As a rule, you need to do this every 150 to 200 km of run, if it gets rained, all the grease is washed out, so it is necessary to rinse the chain (it is more convenient to do this with a special device) and lubricate. The best lubricants are those that dry out, leaving a film – these greases do not collect dirt and do not spoil the equipment.

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Manufacturers of the transmission only a few. The largest and most famous are three. This is Shimano, Sram and Campagnolo. Each of them produces a sample of different levels and, accordingly, prices. Contrary to the common misconception, all groups of the same manufacturer work in the same way, they do not differ in reliability, and differ only in weight and presence in the upper (more expensive) groups of titanium or carbon parts and special processing (polishing).

All groups of the same manufacturer are compatible, but not compatible with the groups of another manufacturer. Between Shimano and Sram there is compatibility only for cassettes – you can put, for example, the rear wheel with a Sram cassette on a bicycle equipped with a Shimano hitch, and vice versa (assuming that both transmissions have the same number of stars on the cassette). There is also the compatibility of all manufacturers of systems (rods), and that’s all.

The beginner should take a closer look at the mid-level groups (in Shimano it’s 105 or Ultegra, Sram-Force, Campagnolo-Centaur or Athena, Chorus), where there is a compromise in price-quality. Full information can be found on the websites of manufacturers.

You can also add a few words about additional devices that the rider may need for training and racing. These are bike computers, pulse monitors, power meters.

Training and race with power sensor (PowerMeter) are dramatically different in efficiency. Speed ​​and heart rate do not give an objective picture of work. At the same time, any PowerMeter adds from $ 1,000 to the cost of a bicycle.

There are several types of power measurement sensors.

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Summarizing all of the above, the recommendation could be this: a beginner with a limited budget should pay attention to a bicycle with an aluminum frame (or inexpensive carbon fiber not from the pathos producer – Merida, Focus, Trek, Scott) and a carbon fork, Shimano 105 – Ultegra, ( Sram Force, or Campagnolo Centaur – Athena), Fulcrum Racing wheels 5 or 3, Campagnolo Zonda, Mavic Ksyrium Elite.

If the budget is more, you can think of another pair of wheels – Falcrum Racing 1, Campagnolo Eurus, Mavic Ksyrium SL.

If the budget is not a decisive factor, then you can choose a large with a thoroughbred carbon frame (for example, Cervelo, Colnago, Pinarello, Look), excellent wheels (Zipp, upper Mavic or Campagnolo, Fulcrum, Lightweight) and top hitch (Shimano Dura Ace, Sram Red, Campagnolo Record or Super Record).

Well, and if the funds permit, then it is possible to think about the large one …

Now – from theory to practice.

Here are links to bicycles of different price categories:

Up to 50 000 rubles.

up to 100 000 rubles.

up to 300 000 rubles.

In the category “up to 300 000 rubles.” The bicycle (on the first link) for a lot of money has a top frame and a dowel (Dura Ace), but is equipped with very mediocre wheels.

We are looking at the second link – quite cheap device with good wheels and frame, but a piece of Ultegra (not at all top, second on top after Dura Ace).

Bicycles can be bought in foreign online stores (such as, But we must remember that for duty-free shipment it is necessary that the parcel with the bicycle fit within 40,000 rubles. (without the cost of delivery). Otherwise, you will have to pay a fee from the amount exceeding these same 40 thousand, at a rate of 30% (the cost of shipping again is not included here). It goes without saying that in a similar store you can buy only a very cheap bicycle.

And, finally, another way – to buy a bicycle in parts and collect it from the mechanic. Of course, this is not the cheapest option, but here it is possible, for example, to choose a frame or wheels of a higher class, and save on a hinge, etc. Given that many accessories can be bought in foreign online stores at prices often much lower than in Russian stores, in some cases it is worth thinking about exactly this way of purchasing a bicycle. In any case, this option is more suitable for those who have some experience and think about buying a second or third bike.

I have two Cervelo S2 bicycles on Ultegra with HED aerial vehicles, a 53/39 system and a 11/27 cassette. And Cervelo P2 on Dura Ace.

It is important to remember that a handsome handsome device will not go by itself. Rider is riding, not a bicycle. And if the legs and the heart are weak, then no pinarels with zips will not help to go faster. We need to train. And to train with the mind will help you book “Bible cyclist.”

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