Mr Leyrer, how resistant must a triathlon bike be at least?
Due to the varying rider profiles and different types of competitions, there is no general answer. The material for a tiny, 50-kg-athlete is much more less demanding than that for a strong 6.20-feet tall man. A level track with wide corners needs another material than a track with alpine passes. The heavier a rider and the more athletic his riding style, the stiffer and more solid his material must be. Ultralight weight and side soft wheels are in such a case as inappropriate as weight reduced stems originating from sources which cannot submit reliable tests.
From which tuning parts should one keep the hands off - and which ones make sense?
Multi-coloured aluminium and titanium screws are certainly the last thing you should pay money for. Triathlon bikes are typically in a speed range where aerodynamics is the dominating riding resistance. Fast wheels, i.e. wheels with deep rims or rear disc wheels, are therefore a good option. On principle, an optimum seating position is also a good investment. The rider offers by far the biggest surface. Playing with different stems, seat posts and aerobars brings more than an extremely expensive time trial frame which is a little slimmer. And: The most wicked bike is worth nothing, if it breaks down en route. Therefore, the most important tip is to keep the racer in good repair.
From your practical experience: What are the main problems with current lightweight construction?
According to our experience most lightweight components have a state-of-the-art construction and a remarkably long service life. In general, it’s easy to point out the reasons for failures: inappropriate mounting and non-matching components. Lightweight material requires a lot of knowledge for the composition and particular attention for the installation. For a reliable performance it is sometimes necessary to apply special carbon assembly paste to one component and grease to another one. If you don’t keep that in mind, the component cannot function. But we have often seen that the user manual with the instructions on proper mounting is the first thing to be thrown away when unpacking a high-quality component.
Author: Carola Felchner