Many triathletes consider triathlon shopping the unofficial fourth discipline behind swimming biking and running. One impact of triathlon’s rise in popularity is a sharp increase in retailers who sell triathlon-related products, including a number of triathlon-specific shops. In addition to new retailers, new manufacturers have entered the triathlon market as well, meaning there’s more equipment than ever being sold at more retailers than ever.
So how do you know what to buy?
The Right Fit
The most important factor is fit. There are dozens of brands of running shoes, bikes, triathlon suits, etc., and no two will fit you exactly the same. You’ll need to try out several types of each before you make a purchase. Training with equipment that is not the right fit for you can be very frustrating and may discourage you from participating in a triathlon.
Another important factor is your budget. If you decide to really commit yourself to triathlon, you’ll find it can be a pricey venture, as you’re buying equipment for three different sports. With a little diligence though, you may able to dramatically reduce your entry costs into triathlon.
- Buy last year's bike model. Just like car dealerships, when the new year model bikes come out – sometime in the late summer – the prices on the "older" models go down. Call around to the bike shops in your area and see when the new models come in.
- While you've got them on the phone, it may be a good idea to ask them if they carry pre-owned bikes. Every year people buy new bikes that just sit in their garages all summer collecting dust before they're returned to the store. You can find some real steals that way.
- Check the classified ads in your local newspaper too. As triathletes upgrade their bikes from one season to the next, they'll often sell their older bike either through a classified ad in the newspaper or through an online listing somewhere.