I recently competed in my first triathlon. Even though I am admittedly not a runner I loved it. I am now in the market for a road bike(i did my first race on my mountain bike). I am not sure what constitutes good components and what to avoid in an entry level bike. I know ultegra and dura-ace are great, but they are also out of my price range right now. Any help would be appreciated.
Here is an article that I read that may help in identifying what to look for in a bike: http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/7_Steps_to_Find_Your_Tri-specific_Bike.htm
Hope this helps!!
Shimano 105 are decent components, a bit cheaper than ultegra. Campy are probably a bit too high. I would focus on the drive train (crank, deralliurs, and cassette) as the main components. I would try to get at least 105s there.
I had a buddy of mine whos been a competitive cyclist for 20 years recently tell me its all the same, don't waste your money on the high end. You want to get good, you need to put in the miles.
I'm very much like you. I completed my first Sprint Triathlon in September and I competed on a mountain bike. I could not believe how many out of shape people flew by me on the bike course. "Never again!" I thought. I have since upgraded to a Raleigh Supercourse bike. It seems to offer everything I am looking for: Shimano Tiagra in the front and Shimano 105 in the rear. They are not the most expensive components out there, but they work great so far. The bike also sports a full carbon frame and runs for what most aluminum frames cost. The road bike did take a little getting used to after riding all my life on a mountain bike, but now I've shaved about 20 minutes off the cycle time. I'm very happy with this bike so far and it's definately like Night & Day compared to the mountain bike. I'm ready for the next tri coming up in December. Good luck.
I would focus less on the components than on the frame. It's pretty easy to upgrade components if you decide to go with a higher quality, but you can't do much to upgrade your frame. A lot of bike companies use the same frame for several different models, and simply use lower level components on the less expensive models. Niemsco's Raleigh is an example of that marketing strategy. If you're on a budget, I would suggesty getting the best frame you can afford with the lowest level components, which leaves you room to upgrade later. I'd also note that the major difference between component levels is weight and finish - they all function pretty well. My first bike had Sora components (Shimano's entry level), and I never had a problem with the way they worked. One caveat about changing out components: nine speed systems are not compatible with ten speed (except for the front derailleurs), so if you're going from nine to ten you would have to change the entire group at once.
Having said all of the above, it's usually cheaper to buy a group as part of a complete bike package than it is to buy components separately. If there is a level of component that you think you have to have, In the long run it will be cheaper to just bite the bullet and buy that level up front. Since we've now come full circle, I'd say neither Sram Rival nor Shimano 105 will give you much to complain about. Both are ten speed, both will function as well as you need them to, and both are upgradable if you decide to.