Duathlon training: Road versus mountain bike

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what to do about a bike for the Reading Dinton Duathlon that I’ll be taking part in in November. Do I:


1) Spend nigh on £1000 on a brand new women’s road bike (women-specific seems to be a license to print money if you ask me!) when who knows if road cycling will even be for me? Or,

2) Trawl ebay in the vain hope that a second hand bike will come up that’s a) my size and b) less than £400 (unlikely). Or

3) Do I go ahead and spend £250 on a men’s road bike – what’s the difference apart from perhaps the seat (do men have different butts?!) and the fact that the bar is higher? I mean, logically you’d think that the bar should be lower for men! 🙂 Or

4) Do I go ahead and just use my mountain bike. I’m not looking to break any course records/in with a chance of winning anyway am I? It’s just a bit of fun right?

I purchased a new helmet last week and I’m now wondering what other bits of kit I might need. I’m thinking some gloves maybe like these ladies Madison Echelon cyclin mitts from Millet Sports?


I’ve been on the exercise bike building up my legs daily cycling 10k/day and the running is going well, but next I’ll have to venture out on the actual bike and get some proper cycle training in! 🙂 I’m not sure if this whole cycling lark is for me in the long term, but we shall see!


8 thoughts on “Duathlon training: Road versus mountain bike

  1. Obviously, it’s up to you but I have a men’s road bike and am about to swap the saddle for a women’s specific one, which should improve my comfort. You can also get a shorter stem put on, if needed because the reach is too far. Both of these adjustments will cost less than buying a women’s specific road bike (the saddle I’m going for is £20).

    Good luck in the dualathlon! It’s something I’ve considered doing in the past but chickened out of. Lol.

  2. I used my folding bike (a Brompton) for both my triathlons and finished just fine. If you’re undecided, stick with what you’ve got. If nothing else, it will mean a stonking PB for duathlon number two!

  3. Depends if you want to aim for a time or not. If not just use your MTB but you’ll be slower than a lot of people by default if they have road bikes. Apparently people even do them on those town bikes with baskets on the front 🙂 If you want to aim for a time and get a light carbon / part carbon road bike, personally I recommend a women’s bike from a good brand (mine’s black and blue – no pink!) as the geometry is more suited if, like me you’re not tall and have a shortish top half, otherwise it can be a stretch between the saddle and handlebars on a men’s model. My saddle is really comfy! Check out Jamis at Evans and go via Quidco to get cashback on it.

  4. I can’t advise myself but I had a running friend who recently ventured into triathlons in the last twelve months. I haven’t seen her for a little while so don’t know if she now has a road bike but she started triathlons with her mountain bike and did OK. At the time she said she wasn’t going to buy a road bike until she knew she would be entering triathlons on a more regular basis. I’m not sure if this is your first duathlon or if you intend to do more but perhaps it is an idea to just use your mountain bike for now if you’re not sure. Road bikes are insanely expensive.

  5. I did my first duathlon and am training for a triathlon that is in a few weeks. I really wanted a women-specific bike because the fit of the bike gives you more power and prevents injury. But it is possible you could find the right size men’s bike and be fine on that. I found what I wanted in the store and ended up finding it on Craigslist locally for a fabulous price, including the pedals that clip to the shoes and a cyclometer. An older model but the same bike I had wanted brand new. I figure in a few years I can upgrade to a new bike but I’m loving my new-to-me road bike!

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