Best Triathlon Bikes Tested & Compared
If you compete in triathlons than you know how much work triathletes put in during their training period. Since triathletes have to exert so much energy during training and competitions, it’s important to have a minimalist bike that will help you shred time in a comfortable fashion.
So, how does a Triathlon bike give you a competitive edge?
Triathlon bikes have a steep angle for the seat tube in order to make it more vertical. This vertical position will place your hips almost directly above of the crankset—engaging your quadriceps more, increasing your cycling power.
A triathlon bike is designed to put you in an aerodynamic position and places your elbows in a resting position on their aero designed handlebars. These bikes provide better support, ease muscle tension, and allow for more efficient breathing for the rider.
The best triathlon bikes let you quickly transition from running to riding, without forcing you to exert yourself more than you need to. This easy transition will shred your time and help you push yourself during the race.
- Diamondback Andean
- Sleek, lightweight design
- Specialized Shiv Elite
- Lightweight/Durable Components
- Canondale Slice 105
- Straight FSA Extensions
10 Best Triathlon Bikes
1. Diamondback Andean
This bike was designed for speed. Its wheels smooth out the airflow and its AeroCore design reduces any drag--and also smooths out your ride. You can also have different build options if you go with this bike, so you can choose the design that fits you best.
This bike is highly durable and top of the line quality. It has actually become known as the "Ferrari" of bikes because of its speed and quality.
Cost or Value:
This is pretty much the fast triathlon bike available, so the cost is well-worth it if you want to improve your time. However, keep in mind this bike is not allowed in road races so if you are looking for both a road racing and triathlon bike, then this won't work for you.
- Sleek design
- Significantly shreds your triathlon time
- Illegal in road races
2. Specialized Shiv Elite
The way this model differs from many other triathlon focused bikes is in the fact that it doesn’t really ride like one. The ride is actually closer to that of a road bike. You won't get any of that teetering around, or that unbalanced feeling you might get when becoming familiar with a tri bike for the very first time. The overall control seems to come fairly easy, and has the kind of maneuverability that allows you whip around those surprise potholes and take sharp corners with confidence. The design of the tubes was done in a way to to pull the centered pressure that you might get from crosswinds more downward, reducing the effect that tends to push you offline, in turn actually increasing your ability for forward momentum.
It might be difficult to believe, but when that wind really picks up, it almost seems like the bike corrects itself before you start reacting to right it. The brakes are also really smooth, which is kind of nice given how well the bike picks up in speed. The internal hydration system provides the same amount of fluid as a traditional water bottle but can be topped up on the go without creating any additional drag. The frame is made from Specialized FACT 10r carbon and, as you can see from the side profile, has an enormous down tube and seat tube, typical of the modern day aero triathlon bike. The Shiv Elite is finished off with Shimano 105 drivetrain and AXIS 2.0 wheelset.
Very stable in cross winds regardless of the big girth and its head and down tubes. The shapes of the tubes have been devised to pull the center of the pressure created by crosswinds downwards, to reduce their stability to push you offline and increase their ability to push you forward. The brakes are smooth and helpful since Shiv picks up speed pretty fast.
Cost or Value:
you are really getting performance quality for a fairly competitive price tag.
- They are not grabby but they have the power to keep a tight rein on your speed when necessary.
- Picks up speed fast.
- Provides total integration.
- They are direct mount rather than the traditional calipers.
3. Cannondale Slice 105
Cannondale has gone the other way, relying on 'Truncated Aero Profile ‘shapes of the Slice tubing to create a fast yet comfortable bike. The difference is apparent when looking at the Slice from the side: much less material which saves on weight, and ultrathin seat and chain stays that aid comfort.
It packs easy and has a normal stem. Normal parts mean less packing for the races. A 1 1/8 steered folk, standard. Full housing inside the frame (meaning no energy drink fouling the house/cable interface) standard. Direct mount Shimano brakes, standard. Its, mechanical and D12 compatible. And no fearing or forgetting proprietary parts.
Cost or Value:
Cost friendly and definitely a god deal for any cyclist.
- Light bike, good geometry
- Best stiffness to weight
- Really drops the ball on aerodynamics
- Direct-mount only brakes
4. Giant Trinity Advanced Pro
The Advanced and Advanced Pro versions share the same frame shape and aero features, the only difference being the 5:1 'Aero Drive Tri' fork and the 'Aero Vault' hydration carrier and storage system on the Advanced Pro. The Trinity Advanced is one of the few affordable triathlon bikes, despite featuring Advanced-grade composite frame and fork, integrated cabling, hidden 'Speed-Control' brakes, and a large degree of cockpit adjustability
When tested with or without the its hydration and storage units to show whether it has a high degree of aerodynamically designed race ready configuration, Giant Trinity Advanced trinity stands out to be very competitive. It stands out as the fastest and also one of the bikes with most aerodynamics with or without its extra accessories.
The Aero drive Tri Fork offers a 5.1 airfoil design that is triathlon ready, and a new Aero drive Tri Base Bar that also features a reversible design that is able to offer up to 40 mm height adjustment. Both the front and the rear Speed control brakes are integrated and hidden from the wind's reach, with the front braking system is designed to exactly match the profile of the fork and also the rear which has an innovative design to the fairing, which claims to actually save up to 3 watts of drag at around 50 kph.
The aero vault has a storage box that is integrated right into the top tube, placed just behind the stem. Its shape is intended to improve the bike's overall aero performance. The soft covering allows you to have easy access from either side, while also stopping water from getting in.
Cost or Value:
The Trinity Advanced is one of the few affordable triathlon bikes.
- Design is still very trendy
- Affordable price.
- Very good quality/price ratio.
- Some models have low engine power.
- The engine sounds a bit weird.
5. Cervelo P3
The P3 even offers a decent range of options, including easy travel packing, easy to get to storage, and and many other features to help you go faster. This new version takes a lot of the advances made when building the P5, although the P3 seems to be a bit faster and stiffer than the previous version.
The P3 offers sleek presentation of standard components, and intuitive integration means nutrition and hydration options are fast and flexible. The seat stays work well to rear brake hidden, offering an aero advantage while allowing for easy assembly and maintenance. In addition to the standard frame bottle mounts, the new P3 has an accessory mount on the top tube behind the stem and another opening on the back end of the seat post that can accommodate an X-Lab bottle carrier.
Superbike DNA doesn’t always have to mean an endless routine of maintenance procedures: The P3’s not so proprietary parts allow intuitive and almost universal use, as well as a basically customized set-up. If you’re training or working toward a new PR, the P3 is designed to motivate. With the new Cosmic Elite wheels and new shifting shifting with the updated Di2 version, the result you get is a solid bike that is as ready to race as you are.
Cost or Value:
Cervelo P3 is an affordable bicycle. And you will definitely get value for your money.
- Outstanding propulsion transfer and locked-in ride position breed PBs
- Impressively light, phenomenal handling and crisp controls
- Superbike DNA; standard parts
- Has speed built in
- Not as aero or comfortable as the best contemporary frames
- Cervélo’s uncompromising character comes at a price
Canyon Speed max CF SLX 9.0
This bike is not only created for your endurance but also for the health of your back and spine by allowing an adjustable inserts on the fork dropouts that ensure a great deal of stability is achieved. Speak of comfort, this bike gives you a smiling face every time you mount on it, having its arm pads made from Ergon to ensure a soft and insanely comfy ride. On putting the hammer down, the Reynolds strike wheels will amazingly roll smooth.
The flexibility of the bike depends on the position you want it to be-whether stable or agile-, just change the position of the inserts in the fork dropouts (forward or back at 2.5mm).
Its adjustability is complimented by the front end that ensures it remains and maintains simple and clean.With its SLX Frame made of carbon to increase durability
Let’s not get started on the price, this is so affordable with all the features it possess who wouldn’t want to own one of this?
- The Ergon arm provides great comfort especially if you are a marathon racer.
- It has an immense deal of storage that makes your hydration easy during a racing competition.
- Very affordable price for a bike of its category.
- Very flexible as it has options of making it either stable or agile depending on how best you want it by just changing the position of the fork inserts in the dropouts.
- It is made to go very fast as it covers 10 miles in just about 17 minutes.
- The greatest challenge will be the frame that makes the seat tube appear somehow in a steeper angle compared to the original.
Kestrel Talon Tri Shimano 105 Bicycle
This triathlon bike is a beginner bike and still has many of the qualities of a professional bike. It is a good, and comfortable introduction to the more professional bikes available. This bike will help you improve your speed without sacrificing comfort.
Kestrel's carbon fire bikes are highly durable and the pride themselves on providing the highest quality out there.
This bike is a highly affordable beginner bike and will help you push your limits without breaking the bank.
- Great for beginners
- Increases speed
- Not the best for professionals
Trek Speed Concept 7.5
It has tubeless wheels that are bontrager compatible enhance comfort during racing and also during practice. Also has the breaks that are integrated and it is sleek in the front edge.
These bikes are considered to be durable enough to serve a racer for some time.
The cost is very affordable since it comes with great speed.
- Very affordable for any racer to purchase as it is lower priced than other triathlons.
- Comes with a tubeless wheel that enhances comfort throughout your races and increases speed.
- Has plenty of storage spaces for hydration and some of the racers essentials.
- Its known and tested to be the fastest bike in the world.
Its crankset appears as standard thus meaning it cannot come as larger or ancient cranksets which are seen in most triathlon bikes.
Argon 18 E-117+ Ultegra Di2
The aerodynamics that bring along the perfect fitting frames to enable great comfortability and lightness of this triathlon.
The bike is considered durable as it is well versatile and integrated to offer more support.
The integrations ability is what makes this price a bit higher without that we would be taking about just any triathlon bike.
- Has a suitable match for its weight and sternness .
- It increases its flexibility position by providing different height for 3 tube heads of each size of frame offered.
- Swift to remove the cockpit that making it even balanced and reduces hardware complications.
- Can do both running and training.
- Slightly pricey compared to some triathlons.
BMC Timemachine 0 2 105
Equipped with a saddle that is tri 2 which ensures there is enough comfort on its nose and increases flexibility as well, its comfort and speed it also witnessed when on is on the move as it comes smoothly.
It is a multifaceted kind of bike that serves you right in different distances this shows it is durable as it is well advisable for long distances
For the value one gets in this the pricing is so fair.
- It is multifaceted that gives you the advantage of going for different distances.
- It has a saddle that is tri 2 which ensures there is enough comfort on its nose and increases flexibility as well.
- It provides ample storage for the needs of all racers that can be used in different types of races from short distances to long.
Its cock pit has a V shape that makes one have an upright position
Its challenge is the limit is has in terms of size range of just about 4 choices, large, medium large, medium small and small.
Now, if you’re new to triathlons, the main difference between a tri bike and a traditional road bike is the geometry, or the frame, and the angle of the seat tube (the long piece of tubing that extends from the bottom of the bike). A triathlon bike has a steeper seat tube angle than a road bike, so it’s closer to vertical. This steeper geometry places your hips over the crankset (where the chains attach), which engages your quads more. Not only does this position give you a better power output, but it actually makes the transition to the run easier since you’re relieving strain on some body parts and engaging others.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation of the Best Triathlon Bikes
Triathlon competitors are the best of the best. For the biking portion of their race, they need more than a set of wheels that will get them through a loop around the park. They need a bike that can handle rough terrain and tackle obstacles, all while being fast. Triathlon bikes are definitely a specialized piece of equipment that can make or break an athlete’s race.
There is a set of metrics we applied when choosing the triathlon bikes that made our list. The metrics we used are based on product research and reviews about the triathlon bikes that are available on the market, as well as questions that are commonly asked about triathlon bikes. Each of the key factors in creating our list of the best triathlon bikes is explained below.
Is the stability there?
Triathlon bikes are engineered by a sport-specific geometry. Although speed is the top feature considered when designing a triathlon bike, the rider doesn’t want to lose control constantly, either.
Triathletes ride bikes that have steep seat tube angles, allowing them to crouch forward in an aerodynamic position. This requires a rider to have good balance, but a bike can be engineered to help keep the rider stable while moving quickly in such a compromising position.
When selecting the triathlon bikes that made our list, we took into consideration the stability features engineered into the frame of each specific bike.
How comfortable is it?
The seat of a triathlon bike (you will notice the seat is a repeated theme…) is set at a steep angle to pitch the rider forward into a more aerodynamic riding position. This means the rider is crouched and bent at his or her hips. The geometry used to engineer triathlon bikes plays a big part in how comfortable riding a tri bike is for your hips. This is especially important to consider since they are being bent and used at all times during a tri ride.
Is it durable enough?
No one wants their bike to fall apart while he or she is riding it… especially triathletes. They durability of a tri bike affects the overall race performance of the rider. When selecting the bikes for our list, we considered the longevity of each machine, especially if obstacles and rugged terrain are part of the course.
Some More To Think About
There are other details that you should consider when selecting a solid bike to add to your arsenal of workout equipment. The purchase you make should provide you with a bike that can handle the terrain on which you will be riding, but also moves you quickly and safely. It should also fit your lifestyle needs, whether you are a serious triathlete or an occasional racer.
To help make this decision a little easier, below are some extra features you should consider when shopping for a new model:
Triathlon bikes are engineered using a sport-specific geometry, and also have some components that are unique to this type of bike. With this in mind, tri bikes may require some specialized maintenance. You will want to choose a model that you have the time to care for, or at least have a bike shop nearby to keep it in tip-top shape if you can’t yourself.
Your Race Participation
The type of bike you choose needs to meet the demands of the types of triathlons in which you are competing. If you are racing on a road course, a road or racing bike is probably the best choice for you. If your races involve trails or mountain terrain, you will most likely benefit from having a mountain bike. Do you race on both? A hybrid might be a good choice for you, or even having one of each type of bike (if you really want to splurge).
These can be found at a varying range of prices, from inexpensive to top-of-the-line gold standard. However, you should purchase a bike that fits within your budget but also meets your racing needs. If you break the bank on your bike purchase, how will you pay you race participation fees?
Q: What makes a triathalon bike different from a regular bike?
A: The biggest difference between a tri bike and a traditional road bike is the angle of the seat, which is also known as the saddle. The angle of the seat determines how a rider is positioned on his or her bike.
A triathlon (racing) bike has a steep seat tube angle, forcing the rider forward into a crouch, which is a more aerodynamic position, enabling the rider to go faster.
A traditional road bike has a shallower seat tube angle. This allows the rider to sit back. It is a more comfortable position for long rides or when encountering uneven terrain.
There are a few other differences… keep reading to find out what they are!
Q: Do I really need a triathlon bike?
A: This really depends on how serious of a triathlete you are. Most beginner-friendly races will be filled with participants that use whatever bike they had laying around in their garage, which is perfectly fine to start out.
However, once you plan on becoming more dedicated to racing, you should consider upgrading to a bike that is fit for this type of competition. There are four main types on the market: road, mountain, hybrid, and triathlon. The differences between these bikes are as follows:
- Road Bike: A road bike is characterized by skinny tires and a skinny frame, with a typical seat tube angle of 73 to 75 degrees.
- Mountain Bike: This type of bike usually has wider tires and a deeper tread pattern to deal with off-road rides and obstacles. The seat tube angle ranges from 71 to 75 degrees.
- Hybrid Bike: A hybrid bike is similar to a mountain bike in that is will usually have wider tires and deeper treads than a road bike. However, a hybrid bike is meant to be ridden on roads and light-off road courses, and is not necessarily meant for the heavy duty-obstacles that can be found on mountain trails.
- Triathlon Bike: A triathlon bike is also knownas a time trial bike. Their frames and tires are skinny and are intended to be ridden on roads. The real difference between a road bike and a triathlon bike is in the handles. A triathlon bike will have aerobars in place of traditional-style handles. This helps make the bike more aerodynamic to increase speed. Triathlon bikes usually have a seat tube angle of 75 to 80 degrees.
Now that you have this information, think about the type of courses you race. Select the type of bike that is best suited to your race type.
Q: What is a seat tube angle and why is it important?
A: If you thought you were done with math classes like geometry when you finished high school, you were wrong. There is a special kind of geometry, called bike geometry, that is used to engineer bicycle frames to optimize performance. The seat tube angle is just one of the features of a bike frame. It is the angle made by the tube that supports your bike seat in comparison to the ground.
A steeper angle will position your seat, or saddle, forward, while a shallower angle will position the seat further back. Steeper angles are better for racing because it allows the rider to crouch into a more aerodynamic position. Shallow seat tube angles is better for more relaxed riding, as it transfers the weight to your hips and glutes.
The steepness of the seat tube able varies by bike type.
- Road Bike: 73 to 75 degrees
- Mountain Bike: 71 to 75 degrees
- Hybrid Bike: 71 to 75 degrees
- Triathlon Bike: 75 to 80 degrees
Q: What are the most important features I should look for in a triathlon bike?
A: The features you choose are really dependent on the bike course portion of your triathlon.
If you will be riding on a road course, this type of model will likely serve you best. They are light weight, aerodynamic, and are designed to move you fast and efficiently along roads and paved surfaces.
If you will be competing on a trail or mountain course, you will want a mountain bike. Wider and heavier than racing bikes, they are engineered to withstand impacts and rugged terrain. A mountain bike will get you through a course safely and efficiently.
So, the bottom line is to know your race, and select a bike that can meet the demands of the bike course.
Q: Which is more important in a triathlon bike: speed or durability?
A: This is really a personal choice, however, the terrain on which your triathlon is taking place should be a factor that is given serious consideration when choosing speed or durability.
Fast bikes are usually racing bikes. They have light and aerodynamic frames that are usually pretty stiff. The tires are narrow and the handlebars are of a non-traditional, aerodynamic style and are usually set lower on the bike. The seat of a racing bike is also steep, forcing you forward into a crouching position. Racing/Tri bikes use caliper brakes to slow the bike down without affecting the weight. Racing/Tri models are made for flat, road or track conditions.
Mountain bike, on the other hand, have wider frames and wider tires with deep treads. Together, these allow the bike to absorb heavy impact and handle the uneven, rugged terrain that is usually encountered on trails and mountain paths. They also have shock absorbers to help handle impacts, and their frames are built to withstand crashes (it happens!). Mountain bikes have disc brakes which are more effective in stopping the bike in muddy or wet conditions. They also have a less steep saddle angle, forcing you back on the bike. Mountain bikes are nearly twice as heavy as racing bikes, which makes sense considering they are engineered to be ridden on trails and unpredictable terrain.
When selecting a bike for speed or durability, it is really important to consider the type of race in which you’re competing. A racing model won’t serve you well on a mountain trail, and a mountain bike will surely slow you down in a road race. Choose wisely!
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research:
We utilize many different resources while trying to provide the best information to our readers. Some are scholarly or clinical sources, some are information provided by medical and dietary professional, and some sources are even other sites which may specialize in information that is relevant to our topic.
- Do You Need a Triathlon Bike ?, Informational Fitness Website, ,
- How to Understand Bike Geometry, Informational Fitness Website, Mar 10, 2013 ,
- Racing Bikes vs. Mountain Bikes, Informational Fitness Website, Aug 30, 2015 ,
- Road Bike vs. Tri Bike... What Should I Buy? , Informational Fitness Website, ,