The Must Have Essentials of Beginners’ Tri Gear

Tri GearThe sport of triathlon has three simple disciplines: swim, bike and run. If you’re a beginner tri-athlete, you need a few key pieces of equipment to get yourself from the start to the finish line. And despite what you see at races or on TV, you don’t have to break the bank by investing in expensive light weight or carbon fibre!  At Sharks Swim Shop we’ve come up with a list of the bare essentials that you will need to complete your first triathlon.

General Basics

For you first purchase, particularly if you are planning on participating in different events, should be a stop watch to monitor your progress.  A simple sport watch should offer split timing, allowing you to split up and separate your swim, bike and run times as components of your overall time.

You should also invest in a race belt which you should strap on once you’re headed onto the bike, turning it behind you so officials can track you.  When you change from bike to run, you can turn the belt around so your race number faces forward.

On the bike and run, a basic pair of sport sunglasses, which we sell at Sharks Swim Shop for just £16.99, are invaluable.  Wind, rain, flies, an errant squirt of energy drink from your bottle are all protected by these shades which are mirrored to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun too.

You will also need energy gels and a bottle of water for the bike and run during your trai-athlon.


You need to invest in a properly fitted wetsuit which should be tested well before race day so you can get used to it. There’s an inherent tightness that might feel odd at first, but that should go away the moment you get in the water. A swimming wetsuit is like a full-body floatie, helping you stay level on the water, as well as much warmer.

The constant movement of the neck while swimming often creates a friction rub on the skin, so you may also wish to purchase some wetsuit lubricant to eliminate the friction.

The idea of triathlon is to get from start to finish in the least amount of time, and changing from bike shorts into running shorts eats up that time, so using a tri suit allows you to wear the same outfit from start to finish. Comprising quick-drying fabric and a small chamois to make the bike ride more comfortable, they’ll help you get from swim to bike to run much more swiftly.

A transitional towel or mat serves as a visual marker of where your bike is once you come out of the water (many triathletes get towels that look as crazy as possible to make finding that spot even easier). It’s also a clean, dry place to stand while hauling off your wetsuit or putting on your running shoes.


It’s hard to do a triathlon without a bike but what kind do you need? If you’re just getting into the sport and doing your local sprint race, it can be your beach cruiser or mountain bike. However, if the tri bug does bite you, then you should start thinking about getting a more appropriate bike. But for now, any bike will do. Be sure to take it to your local bike shop to be sure everything’s tight and safe, that the tires are aired up and that the chain is working properly. Don’t worry about cycling fast just yet, that will come later.

It might feel funny to have that diapery-feeling pad under you when pulling on cycling shorts but that pad, or chamois, serves a purpose. Aside from padding, it’s made of special microfibers that not only move with the skin but move smoothly against the skin, preventing chafing. The cotton of your standard training shorts may seem fine, but cotton actually abrades the skin. A basic cycle short for training will make your bike-riding experience much more enjoyable.

It’s also worth investing in a flat kit bag which will fit underneath your saddle.  The bag should be stocked with the essentials you need to fix a flat tire, including a mini-pump, a tube and tire levers. It’s also worth doing a Google search to see how to carry out these repairs and have a go yourself.

You don’t need to invest immediately in an aero helmet with vented channels and carbon fibre structure. A less expensive helmet will do the job, provided it meets BSEN1078 standards so you are fully protected.


A pair of well-worn running or training shoes will be enough to get you started as you make your first foray into tri.  As you get more experienced, then you will probably want to look at getting a properly fitted pair of quality running shoes like these Zoot trainers which we stock in sizes for both men and women.

If the sun is shining, you should also consider wearing a hat during your run (and your cycle) ride as well as your sun glasses.  A hat will protect your head from the sun and the risk of sun stroke.

Your running gear should be as light weight and comfortable as possible but again, the lycra you wear to the gym is fine to get you started.

Sharks Swim & Tri Shop

At Sharks Swim & Tri Shop, we stock all of the basics you need to get started in your first triathlon at prices that won’t break the bank.

To find our more, visit our website or call into our shop at Sketty Cross, Swansea.

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