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Transforming Hybrid to Tri-bike
I have the following hybrid bike, which I absolutely love.
http://www.specializedriders.com ...

I want to start training for triathlons and have everything ready to go except a bike. I am short on cash these days and want to see about the feasibility of changing this bike over to a bike that's a better fit for a triathlon.

First off, is it feasible?

Second, if so, what new components do I need? I would obviously need to change the handlebars and get smaller tires (and rims). What else?


Nice bike!

If you want to start with triathlon, you do not need a time trial bike or even a road bike at first, well, at least that is my opinion. Most people do their first triathlons on hybrid bikes or even mountain bikes, there is nothing wrong with that. So, stay with the bike. When you are sure that you want to continue with this great sport, try to find a used road bike (or pick up a new one in fall, they sometimes offer good deals on the "old" models).

The tyres seem to be slicks and actually quite nice ones. They are a bit wider than road tyres, but this does mean lower rolling resistance and more comfort. They are heavier, ok, but this does not matter as soon as you reach your top speed. The only drawback is the aerodynamic disadvantage, but your definitely non-aero-position is the bigger influence. I'd say it is not feasible to try to convert this bike to a road bike, you'd have to change handlebar, levers, brakes (to e.g. mini v-brakes, the current ones are not compatible with the STI levers). Also, the geometry is not a road geometry.
Great bike! Keep the bike as is except for: I would suggest to turn the stem over and that might lower the bars a little. While your at it remove a spacer from under the stem and place ontop.

Fit a pair of Tri-Bars - something like this

I assume you still have the "stubby" bar ends?

The Specialised specification says it's got 700x25 tyres. Change these for good 700x23 if the rims will take them? See what the other tri' people use.

You will have to consider footwear / pedals, again see what the other riders use.

You could fit drop bars but then you would possibly have to change the brake levers and shifters as Joe_W stated.
Ride hard or ride home alone!
I'd stay with the 25mm tyres, they have less rolling resistance (but more air drag), though I don't want to start some sort of holy war, tyres are an almost religious question ;-). The spec'd Michelin Pro² are quite nice.
If your average speed exceeds 30km/h, air drag starts to be the dominating effect, though your position will have a greater influence than the tyres (and of course, the wheels), the aero bars will amend that. If you flip over the stem, you most probably also have to move the saddle more to the front (I ride a +0 mm seat post with the saddle as far to the front as possible, but mine is a road bike), as your hip angle will decrease quite a bit. Experiment with handle bar and saddle position. A low position does not help if you get tired or cannot stay in that low position for the complete ride!

I'd stay with the pedals and shoes you have at the moment. Triathletes wear special tri bike shoes, where the velcro fasteners open to the _outside_. They leave the shoes on the bike, run barefoot with the bike through T1 to the bike course, jump on and close the shoes while riding... this is not what you want to do from the beginning on (and many age groupers don't do this).

Also, special tri shoes are expensive. I ride road shoes (I couldn't find good fitting tri shoes), where the fasteners open to the _inside_ and they start clapping against the spokes... I'd not recommend that to anybody (if I crash, it is my bloody own fault!). Ride your first triathlons with the (bike?) shoes you have and don't hurry too much during the transitions. They are for beginners the most difficult part (organisationally and physically): After the swim, your legs will have to get accustomed to supporting your weight again, after the bike, your legs will want to continue going round and round. If you hurry too much, you will probably get cramps.

Also: practice the transitions, this is called a "brick workout": bike about 10-15km and do a short run afterwards (3km). To speed up the transitions, use elastic bands instead of regular shoe laces in your running shoes. Bike and run in your swim shorts or spend the 50€ on a tri short (they have thin padding for biking and dry very fast), if you have the money and know that you will continue with this great sport. If you have beginner's questions concerning triathlons, ask me, look in the tri forums or search pages like http://www.slowtwitch.com . I am still quite new to the sport (this is my 3rd year), but I probably still remember the problems I had (and still sometimes have).

Sorry, this is a bit longer than I planned, but I got carried away...

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