Gear Guy

What bike would you suggest for triathlons?

I'm interested in testing the triathlon "waters." Can you suggest any good bikes for a beginner triathlon biker, say, for under $1,000? Gary Quito, Ecuador

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Sure, that’s not hard. There’s so much over-capacity in the bike industry these days that a grand—less, possibly—will buy you quite a nice bike.

The first option is simply to buy a bike at the retail level. One very good bike that you can easily find is the Giant OCR 1, which retails for $1,100 but probably can be had for around that thousand mark. This is a helluva bike for the money: light aluminum frame, Shimano 105 components, Mavic wheels. I don’t know of a better deal on a road bike anywhere. Giant can pull it off because, A) they make a zillion bikes a year, so have huge economies of scale, and B) the OCR bikes are sized like shirts—small, medium, large. No fussy half-sizes; you change stems and seatposts to get the right fit. The system works—for most people. If you’re real tall or short, or have unusually long or short extremities, this might not be the bike for you. But, it’s worth a try. In the same price range, check out REI’s Strada ($1,099;, which has similar components and maybe even better wheels. Plus, you get $90 back in your year-end rebate! Another good road bike is the Raleigh Grand Prix, which goes for around $800 ( It has an aluminum frame with Shimano components, which are a step down from the 105 iteration but still pretty good. Overall, a nice bike for the money.

Your second option is to find a close-out. Supergo sells many bikes at discounted prices (, and a Web search for specific bikes often turns up deals. An acquaintance recently found a Marin Treviso—a $2,800 bike with full Campy Chorus—for $1,700. That’s an amazing deal.

Third choice is to buy used, maybe via eBay. Used bikes offer superb value, if you know what you’re looking for. It’s probably wise to settle on two to three models that would do, then just start hunting. I bet you can find a year-old bike that would retail for $1,500 available for around $750.