Ready to throw away that old worn out rusted exercise bike and step up into a speedy triathlon bike? This thought comes to the minds of many riders who are ready to become real triathletes.
When you first get started in the world of triathlons, there’s no problem using any old bike to get the job done. But once you’re ready to commit truly, it’s a good idea to buy a bike specifically designed for triathlons.
Different features of the bike will benefit different aspects of your ride. They mainly take away some of the unneeded resistance you find when training and on race day. For example, triathlon bikes are built much lighter than standard exercises bikes. This may not make a difference looping around your neighborhood block. But that resistance adds up quick over the long, challenging mileage of a triathlon.
I know, a commitment to a triathlon bike is a big step. It’s an investment into your passion, and it’s an investment into yourself. But if you’re fed up with your old bike or ready to upgrade to a better one, keep reading because this guide is for you. First, you will find out how to pick out a triathlon bike then you will see the top 8 triathlon bikes in 2018 to choose from.
How to Pick Out A Best Triathlon Bike
First, determine how much you are willing to spend. The bikes below have a wide price range. So depending on how serious you take the sport will determine how much you are willing to pay. For example, what length triathlons will you be participating in? There are Sprints (Swim 750m, Bike 20km, Run 5km), Olympic (Swim 1500m, Bike 40km, Run 10km), Half Ironman (Swim 1900m, 90km, 21.1km), or Ironman (Swim 3800m, Bike 180km, Run 42.2km). So if plan on competing in Sprints or Olympics you probably want a bike priced on the lower end. But if you are competing in a half or full Ironman, you may be willing to dish out a little extra cash. That decision will be up to you.
Remember, triathlon bikes, if kept in good condition, hold their value pretty well. So, you can always sell your bike later if you need to upgrade or downgrade. Also, there are usually payment plans available if you spend over a particular price.
So do your homework, read up on user reviews, and make a choice that’s best for you.
Here’s a recommendation not everyone will want to hear, but I’ll say it anyway: do not buy a bike based on how it looks, buy a bike based on how it fits you. Sure, you may have a particular design or color preference, everyone has their own style. But when you hop out that water and run to your bike for some long grueling miles, you’re not going regret that your bike is black instead of red. And when you’re riding, and your back hurts your not going to think, “well, at least it has cool looking spokes”. No way! When you feel great riding, and the person next to your has a sore bottom, you’re going to realize why finding a comfortable bike is so important.
Remember, you will be riding a whole lot of miles in the future. That bike is now your second form of transportation. Comfort becomes the most important aspect of your purchase. And when you’re riding for the first time and do not experience any pain caused by your bike, there’s no buyers remorse. You then feel just as comfortable with the purchase as you do on the bike.
3. Parts of the Bike
When choosing a triathlon bike, one of the most critical factors is the construction of the frame. There are three main frames available: aluminum and steel, carbon, and a carbon/aluminum combination. Aluminum and steel frames are less expensive than the others. You will also find them to be more durable and sturdy. But the downside is they are relatively heavier and slow compared to carbon frames. And if you want to be a serious triathlete, it probably isn’t the type of frame you want. The carbon frame is more expensive but is much lighter. Another benefit of a carbon frame that it absorbs more vibration on the road. And less vibration creates a much smoother ride. The carbon frame is the top choice for serious triathlon bike riders. Lastly, aluminum and carbon combination frames fall in between the two. They are average in price and have average benefits compared to carbon frames. They are lightweight and smooth only until you ride a bike with a carbon frame.
Next, there are three contact points when riding a bike: saddle, handlebars, and pedals. Your butt sits on the saddle, your hands grip the handlebars, and your feet push on the pedals. That’s why it’s essential to examine the three contact points when choosing a triathlon bike. If you’re happy with the three contact points, you will be a happy rider.
Wheels are another part to consider when picking out a triathlon bike. High-quality wheels can make even the heaviest bike ride fast. So if you’re going to spend good money on quality parts like a light frame and fancy handlebars, you don’t want to go cheap on the wheels. Don’t lose the entire quality of the bike on the wrong set of spokes. So, when looking at the quality of each part don’t overlook the quality of the wheels
Depending on your racing goals, you can pick a bike with parts that will help you reach those goals. But if you’re serious and committed to this triathlon thing, I recommend buying a high-quality bike up front. This will help you avoid upgrades in the future and provide a bike you can use over the many years you plan to ride. But at the same time, if money’s tight don’t let saving for a better bike prevent you from getting started. What’s most important above all is getting started. So grab what you can afford and get to peddling.
4. Safe and Confident
Buy whatever bike makes you feel the safest. What do I mean exactly? Well, when most people think of riding a bike, they think of jumping on their first 10-speed and riding down the road with a simple push of the pedal. But there’s more to a triathlon bike than just cruising down the street while switching a few gears.
I’ll never forget the first time I road a triathlon bike. It was the first time my feet clipped in a set of pedals. Sure, it seems like a simple concept, but it takes time for your mind to get used to it. They say it takes a minimum of 21 days to break an old habit. Well, the first day out, my head was still telling me that my feet were not clipped in. After the ride as I pulled over to stop, I went to take my feet off the medals and forgot they were in fact clipped in. Let’s just say I learned the hard way what a face full of concrete feels like.
Moral of the story, make sure you feel safe with your triathlon bike, find one that makes you feel confident. Are you comfortable using the clips? What about sitting so far forward on the saddle? And how well do the brakes work in wet conditions? Triathlon bikes are built more aerodynamic to cut through the wind and gain more speed. Triathlon bikes take you in the fast lane, something you must feel safe doing.
So now that you know how to pick out a triathlon bike, keep reading and learn about the top 8 triathlon bikes of 2018.
Reviews 2018: The 8 Best Triathlon Bikes for the Money
1. Specialized Shiv Elite – Best Choice for Economical Speed
The Specialized Shiv Elite is a great triathlon bike all around. This bike is designed to deliver a fast ride at an affordable price. The first way to make any bike fast is by making it lightweight. This bike is a quick and light bike designed with a FACT 10r carbon frame, forks, and seat post. But although it’s light, it does not comprise the quality of the drivetrain as it uses a durable Shimano 105. This provides an extra degree of reliability for your ride and will make you feel better about your purchase. If you’re looking for your first quality triathlon bike or shopping around for one of great value, then this may be the bike for you. Yes, any triathlon bike can get expensive. But it’s basic model can be found at a fair price that will deliver a superbike performance at a competitive price. Its users love its speed for such a great price.
- Pros – great value, fast pick up speed, total integration gearshift system.
- Cons – direct mount calipers.
2. Cannondale Slice 105 – Best Choice for Value
Out of all the triathlon bikes on the list, this one will be the best bang for your buck. It incorporates a lot of technology to make you ride faster and at a decent price. Whether it’s the super skinny AERO SEAVE or the aero teardrop shaped tubing, or even the smooth spinning Shimano RS11 wheels, this bike is built to do one thing and one thing only: ride fast. The only real problem I foresee is getting used to riding much faster than you’re used to. So take your time, progress through your training, and BE SAFE. Enjoy zipping down the streets, the sharp curve on the bends, and your sprint to the finish line because this bike is designed to do all three. Its users say its ride and handling is efficient, light, and climb-friendly along with being comfortable for longer mileage.
- Pros – light tri frame, best stiffness-to-weight.
- Cons – direct mount brakes, not the best aerodynamics.
3. Cervelo P5X – Best Choice for Versatility
The Cervelo P5X is designed not just to meet the needs of a professional, but to meet the needs of a beginner as well. This bike, unlike the many different triathlon bikes on the market, was built for ALL triathletes at ALL skill levels. It implements micro and macro adjustability, aerodynamically integrates storage, stress-free packing. Whether you’re on a professional level or simply on level one, you can be confident when purchasing this bike. It will be just as effective for your first triathlon as it will be on your one-hundredth triathlon. Its users praise it for being impressively light and fast.
- Pros – extremely aerodynamic for speed, little rolling resistance, very little lateral give.
- Cons – pricey.
4. Giant Trinity Advanced Pro – Best Choice for Long – Distance Training
Now here’s a bike for the Pros. The Giant Trinity Advanced Pro is designed to provide excellent aerodynamic performance. Built with what they call Giant’s AroSystem Shaping Technology, its made to slice through the wind like a sword. This makes it one of the best bikes in its class. After riding for a long time, it’s common to experience aches and pains. Especially when you first step up to long distance riding. Well, what makes this bike one of the best on the market is its comfortable fit for long distance riding. Not only is it comfortable, but it covers your hydration needs for the long haul. It has an integrated front hydration unit for easy access to fluids during those long and grueling rides. Also, you get a top tube storage box where you can pack your fuel and a downtube water bottle to for extra hydration. When you’re training for distance, it’s essential for your bike to be fast, comfortable, and built for hydration. With this one, you get all three. It’s users praise this bike for helping support an excellent race day performance.
- Pros – zips through the wind, little drag, supreme comfort, efficient hydration system.
- Cons – involved for beginners.
5. Parlee TTiR – Best Choice for Confident Braking
The Parlee TTiR is known as the world’s fastest triathlon disc bike. What does that exactly mean? What “disc” refers to is the bikes braking system. The bike uses disc brakes to stop. So how does using a disc brake help you ride faster? Well, traditional rim brakes can slow you down. That’s because when you come up on descents and corners, you must break early and lose some speed. When you ride with disc brakes, they almost work just as well in wet conditions, and they do in dry ones. This provides you with much better control. So you can ride fast around tight turns with more confidence. With a fully functioning disc brake system, it only requires a light squeeze of the braking lever to stop. This is a great benefit on cold days or after hopping out cold water because your hands are cold and stiff. Remember, when you can brake smarter, as a triathlete, you can ride faster, and that’s something mostly all triathletes wish to get. Its users love this bike for riding really fast and stopping even faster.
- Pros – disc brakes, carbon shields around rotors, safe.
- Cons – not as fast as some others.
6. Quintana Roo PR6 Disc – Best Choice for A New PR
Whether you’re looking for a first-place trophy or a finisher medal, the Quintana Roo PR6 Disc is a great choice. This triathlon bike is designed to help triathletes achieve a new PR (personal record). It’s jam-packed with features like it’s TRP flat mount disc brakes, super light frame featuring 40T hybrid composite technology, and SHIFT + Technology. This bike is stacked with feature after feature to give you the confidence you need to get the job done on race day. It’s user say it’s an amazingly responsive ride and it allows the most contemporary positioning in very broad windows of fit.
- Pros – amazingly responsive, aero benefits from every position, super lightweight.
- Cons – whistle noise from top tube.
7. Felt IA10 – Best Choice for Fast Shifting
The Felt IA 10 is made super aerodynamic to help you ride faster through the wind. One of its most impressive features is the Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain. The drivetrain is extremely durable yet super light. And it comes with a massive variety of chainsets. It’s lightweight too. The bikes carbon fiber build helps increase pedaling efficiency as well as provide a more balanced ride. This lightweight, fast shifting bike is top notch for any triathlon of any distance. Its users are saying with this triathlon bike you get high practicality at low cost.
- Pros – decent price, impressive drivetrain, light carbon fiber frame, little vibration.
- Cons – heavy wheels.
8. BMC TimeMachine01 Three – Best Choice for Middle Distance
The BMC Timemachine is one thought out piece of triathlon machinery. After performing many studies on triathletes and years of product development, they finally let this puppy lose. It takes component integration to the max. This triathlon bike has a well thought out rider positioning system and a superior tube shaping as well. Although this bike can be used for long distance, looking how it stacks up against other BMC models, I’d recommend it for middle distance rides. Its users are saying it’s very comfortable.
- Pros – super light premium carbon frame, fast wheels.
- Cons – size limits, pricey.
You now know how to pick out a triathlon bike, and you now have 8 of the best triathlon bikes of 2018 to choose from. So if you haven’t already, chosen your goals, then pick out the best bike to meet those goals. Are your looking to compete and ride fast? Or are you just looking to finish and get to your first Iron Man? Or maybe you’re just starting off or perhaps you’re a veteran just looking to take it easy and do what you love. The point is we all have different goals when it comes to triathlons, that’s why there are so many bikes to choose from. So, read through the list, pick your favorite bike, and make sure it’s the right bike for YOU and the goals you have set.