When it comes to triathlon kit, the bike is likely to be your biggest single purchase. Don't be surprised if your eye is drawn toward top-of-the-range time-trial bikes with exquisitely sculpted carbon frames, swooping aero bars and deep-section carbon wheels. They are beautiful-looking machines that go very fast, but there are other considerations.
You may wonder if you need a training bike, too. Then you'll find yourself adding up the hours you're expecting to ride in competition and then the training hours - newcomers typically train 10 times longer than they spend actually racing in a season - and you may begin to get the queasy feeling that you're involved in a sport that's going to have you digging very deep into your pockets.
It doesn't have to be that way. One bike will do you when you're new to the sport. To prove it we rode and assessed five road bikes ranging in price. Then we set them up with a USE Boost Bar (www.use1.com), adjusted the seat position and assessed them afresh, this time as time-trial bikes. There you have it: two bikes for the price of one.
Alongside the five tri-friendly road bikes, we decided, purely in the interests of comparison, you understand, to test a full-on tri-specific race rig, in this case the CEEPO Viper. Used by regular podium toppers such as Belinda Granger and Gina Ferguson you'll see this one at half and full Ironman races around the world in 2010.