Best Triathlon Bikes Tested & Compared
If you are a triathlete then you know how important having one of the Best Triathlon Bikes can be! Triathlons require high levels of endurance, require extensive periods of cardiovascular activities and primarily require you and some light gear, but the cycling part requires something much more specialized. A triathlon bike is specifically designed for speed. It’s created to engage your most powerful muscles—your quadriceps. It does this by lowering your center of gravity and placing your hips over the crankset. This is one product that you absolutely can’t skimp on if you’re doing any type of competitive triathlon.
A regular bicycle allows you to push down and propel yourself forward with the pedals. A triathlon bike actually forces you to push slightly back using your quadriceps and opens up your airway. This propels you forward at a faster rate and can get you far ahead of your competition. The bike needs to be light, sturdy, and capable of withstanding speed and stress.
These bikes are also designed to engage your muscles in such a way as to allow you to transition to other parts of the triathlon faster. You’ll be able to hop off of the triathlon bike and go straight into a full sprint if need be. There’s none of the messy untangling that comes with a regular bicycle. These machines are scientifically designed and customized for the sport. By creating an aerodynamic flow, they decrease resistance and maximize your speeds.
We’ve reviewed some of the best triathlon bikes on the market and looked at them from an athletic perspective.
- Kestrel Talon Tri Shimano 105
- Eagle T Series
- Diamondback Series S
- Diamondback Serios F
- Stradalli TTR-8
- Kestrel Talon Tri Carbon Fiber (2015)
- Cannondale Synapse 5
- BLUE Triad
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Triathlon Bikes
1. Kestrel Talon Tri Shimano 105
Great for beginners
Provides a smooth and comfortable ride
Not great for professional triathletes
The Kestrel Talon triathlon bike is an excellent choice for beginner triathletes. It is one of the most popular options available and also on the affordable end of the price spectrum when it comes to triathlon bikes.Read more
Comfort and Stability
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. They pride themselves on providing the highest quality out there.
Cost and Value
This bike is a highly affordable beginner bike. It'll help you push your limits without breaking the bank.
Good price point
Only for the road
This is a road bike that some beginner triathletes really like. While it isn't great for technical terrain, this is an excellent beginner bike that is also affordable, lightweight, and comfortable.Read more
Comfort and Stability
This bike is comfortable and easy to get accustomed to. It has 9 speeds and has been wind tunnel tested. It features an aerodynamic seat that contours to you so you have additional comfort and security while riding.
Really durable when compared to the price
Pretty great price point
3. Eagle T Series
100% money back guarantee
This is one of the best triathlon bikes out there and it's packed with features triathletes everywhere will love. Read on to learn more.Read more
This bike is incredibly lightweight and its vibration dampening allows for increased comfort during your rides. It is versatile and provides great stability.
This one is really durable and made of carbon construction and an aero frame tubing.
This one costs a good but also comes with a 100% money back guarantee.
4. Diamondback Series S
This one is highly responsive and one of the best triathlon bicycles. It's the counterpart of the F series from the same brand--which is also featured on our list--and one of the best options available.Read more
This bike is really lightweight and highly responsive. It is durable. It has been wind tunnel and real-world tested as well provides a comfortable and stable ride. .
Highly durable and built to last
Pricey but definitely worth it
5. Diamondback Serios F
• Produce half the drag when compared to other
• Highly durable
• Works for almost all body types
This one is one of the best triathlon bikes you can buy online. It has proven to be among the best of the best and, while it is pricey, it will help you push your performance over the edge during your competitions.Read more
Comfort / Stability
This one works for almost any body shape and makes your rides as comfortable as possible. It has a unidirectional carbon frame that makes it possible and is one of the few bikes that works for most users.
This one is highly durable and top of the line. It is built to last and will help you during all over your races for a long time to come.
Cost or Value:
This one is super pricey, but well-worth the investment if you are looking for something that will be there for you long term.
6. Stradalli TTR-8
• Adjustable cockpit
• Advanced frame design
• Highly durable and anti-corrosive
• Flexible Aero bars and handrests
• Mechanical shifting gears
• Not as well known as other brands
This is another pricey option but it's advanced frame make it well worth the investment. Although it is not as popular as many other options, this one is definitely worth every penny and will help push your performance over the edge.Read more
This bike is designed to provide both comfort and stability. It has durable and flexible aero bars as well as an adjustable carbon seat so you can customize your comfort for each ride.
This one is highly durable and made of high-quality material.
This bike is pricey as well, but given its durability, easy to use gear shifting, and advanced frame design make it worth every penny.
Great for beginners
Only for the road
This 21-speed bike is a perfect option to bring with you on your next race--and it is highly affordable.Read more
This bike is an excellent option is really comfortable and comes with additional pedals. The brakes are great and this one is great for beginners.
Pretty durability, but not the most durable
Most affordable option on the list
8. Kestrel Talon Tri Carbon Fiber (2015)
Easy to get accustomed to
Not as durable
This is bike is similar to the 2018 Kestrel also on our list--but at a more affordable price. It's comfortable and easy to get used to--so it's a perfect option for triathletes.Read more
This one is stiff yet comfortable and provides excellent stability. It is an easy to use 11 speed bike with bar end shifters. While it isn't the fastest, it's definitely great for beginners
This one is still a little price but more affordable than the newest model.
9. Cannondale Synapse 5
• SAVE technology
• Precise levers and derailleurs
• Highly efficient
• Budget-friendly for a triathlon bike
• Some users don’t prefer the wheels on this one
This is one of our most affordable option. However, that doesn't mean it isn't packed with a ton of extra features that will help push your performance to another level.Read more
This bike delivers a highly comfortable ride, thanks to the SAVE technology it employs. The SAVE technology dampens the road's vibration and delivers a smooth ride.
This one is also highly durable and made of high-quality material. It's carbon frame and Power Pyramid bracket bottom makes it both durable and lightweight.
This one is affordable when compared to other top dollar bikes on our list.
10. BLUE Triad
Helps you shed your time
Not as durable
While this brand may be less well known, it does not take away from the excellent features it offers. This one is great for beginners and is great for triathletes looking for a fast bike.Read more
This one is really comfortable and provides excellent stability. While it isn't meant for technical terrain, it is perfect on the road and will help you shed the precious seconds you will need to win.
Pretty durable but not as durable as other options on our list.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Comfort results in a better and longer lasting level of endurance. One of the most important components of any triathlon bike is the seat. It’s set at a steeper angle that allows the rider to sit in a more aerodynamic position. This allows the person to bend at the hips and to push out using their quadriceps. Part of the design is based on creating a heightened level of comfort for the rider. This allows them to focus on their performance and less on stressed muscles. During some races, a triathlon bike may be used more than anything else. This is when comfort becomes key in your ability to compete and perform well during the race.
Comfort is important because long-term comfort supports endurance and performance. It is worth your time getting a professional to check your measurements and test out your level of flexibility. You want to get a bike which works with your choice of riding and your body frame. When you see a bike you feel will work for you, ask to try out the bike to see if it works with you.
When considering a triathlon bike, it should allow you to sit forward in a good aerodynamic position so that you can cut through wind resistance. Get advice from a professional to ensure you get a bike which will work with you. If it’s a road bike which you are looking to get, this can also be used for a triathlon, road bikes are built for comfort, very versatile and you will sit more upright and further back on the saddle. You could use clip-on style aerobars, make a few adjustments and the bike will be a lot more aerodynamic.
Final word, you can be fast on whichever type of bike you choose, so long as you get comfort and a bike which works for you.
Triathlon bikes are engineered based on a geometric formula that increases their speed and aerodynamic capabilities. While speed is usually the top consideration, it’s important to make sure that the rider is able to keep control of the bike. The last thing anyone wants is a high-speed crash in the middle of their race. The harder a rider has to work to keep the bike on the road, the more energy they’re exerting that could be better used elsewhere. A good triathlon bike will allow the athlete to be seated in a forward leaning position. This lowers their center of gravity and increases their balance. Stability is definitely something we took into consideration when reviewing these products.
Few things are as embarrassing as having a piece of equipment fall apart mid-race. Think of your triathlon bike as an investment in your athletic prowess. You want it to stand up to punishing conditions while continuing to maintain its structural integrity. It’s important to look at the materials that a bike is made out of. You want a lightweight build that’s as simple as possible. The fewer features, the less likely it is to break or get weighed down.
A lot of serious athletes and professionals use bikes with a carbon modular build. This is extremely lightweight and portable, but it comes with a price. These bikes have a tendency to be fragile, and extremely expensive. If triathlons aren’t something you’re considering as a lifelong athletic accomplishment, then you may want to invest in something that’s not as pricey.
Durability will always mean better quality materials and better quality materials will always assist for achieving a better performance while keeping down the costs of maintenance. If you pay for materials which look nice but lack durability you are going to hit higher maintenance costs in the long run. Ignoring the criteria of durability can and will directly impact on your performance.
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).
Importantly for beginners It’s suggested going for the high-quality bike, sure, the price will be higher but you're going to save a lot of money by eliminating the need for future upgrades.
Choosing a high-quality ride means you are going to start off with a lighter frame for a better performance level. Look for steel or aluminum frames as these are a lot more durable but if you have the money to invest, look for a carbon bike frame. These frames are lighter and will absorb vibrations which will mean a smoother ride.
With your budget in mind and knowing the need to spend higher to save later. You can also check out bikes which are a combination of carbon materials and aluminum.
Reality sets in when we consider price because no matter what we buy, the more we pay the better the product. If you invest in a low budget model then you can expect more maintenance costs and more costs as you upgrade the bike. Eventually, you may well find yourself having paid out more than if you had chosen a good quality bike for your first riding experiences. Without a doubt, experienced riders will put aside cost when they choose a bike because they are very aware that paying more to invest in comfort and quality will result in much better performance.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
You probably know by now that you need to shift the gears in your bike to accommodate different terrains and inclines. This is true whether you are participating in a triathlon or just using your bike for casual sessions. However, in the former case you are going to want to learn how to anticipate these gear changes ahead of time. This will allow you to best optimize your cycling so you can guarantee the fastest possible speed and shortest completion time.
When you're cycling for long periods of time, your body still needs hydration even if it isn't to the same degree as it does while running. For this reason, you're going to want to figure out an intuitive way to manage your water consumption while on the bike. The key is to find a way to store as much water as you need without negatively affecting your top speeds and finding a way to access this water without losing the ability to steer or shift gears.
Other Factors to Consider
Triathlon bikes are extremely unique and may not be able to be serviced by a regular bicycle shop. Maintenance is definitely something you need to consider before making your purchase. This is an item that you’re going to be using under stressful circumstances, and this means that it’s more likely to sustain damage. If your triathlon bike is from a foreign company, this could mean ordering very expensive parts from overseas.
It definitely helps if you choose a model that you’re capable of maintaining yourself. Always look at the parts and the way that they’re used on the bike. This can make you aware of areas that experience a higher level of wear and tear. This is also another factor we looked at when reviewing these products and creating our list.
When you choose a bike, comfort is of paramount importance, discomfort is physically and motivationally very demotivating while also sapping personal endurance capability. These factors are the very areas where you want to feel motivated.
Choose a bike with which you feel comfortable, talk to the outlet about a bike with a design which works with your body frame, weight, height and levels of comfort. Test ride the bike if possible or at least read good professional researched reviews about the bike so that you know what to expect from it.
Experts will advise you to view purchasing a bike in the same way you purchase clothing, you will only wear something which works with your physical needs. When you are in a competitive event you will want a bike which specifically works in harmony with your body for comfort. When you have a consistent comfort level you then have zero distractions which can drain you physically, psychologically and generally demotivate you while steadily draining your personal endurance levels.
Defining comfort is not all that complex, when you get on a bike and ride it, you will know if it works with you or with lots of effort, it works for you. Naturally, we want to choose the bike which works harmoniously with us and not a product which requires lots of effort to make it work for us.
We are all different heights, shapes, weights, and sizes, therefore it is important to choose a bike which gives us comfort, once we get these criteria right, all the other positives naturally follow with it.
Choosing a bike reflects choosing a companion that you will want to be reliable, especially when you may want to enter competitive events or at the very least you will be riding on challenging terrains and courses.
For all of us, the price factor does influence us. You can be a beginner or an expert but you need to accept that the amount you pay for a bike will directly impact on the level of comfort, performance and product durability.
It's no accident that cheaper products are dressed up to look more pleasing to the eye but only offer basic levels of performance and comfort and are not constructed from materials with durability in mind.
In Korea they have a saying, buy a cheap nice looking pair of shoes and within a short time you will have to replace them 2, 3 even 4 times, you end up paying much more. Or buy quality and keep that pair of shoes for many years. Of course, this philosophy applies to everything, including choosing a good bike.
Be willing to pay for quality, performance, comfort, and durability, choose a bike with all the needed features and avoid having to pay for future upgrades and much less maintenance cost. Pay more for the right bike and save money while enjoying your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
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!
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
Most bikes have adjustable saddles, so you can move it to meet your level of comfort and to enhance your performance.
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 known as 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.
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 lightweight, 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.
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!