BIKING

Best Triathlon Bikes: Choosing the Best Machine for the Aspiring Triathlete

Cyclist conquering a terrain
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

It’s safe to say that doing triathlon is not for the feint of heart. To be a triathlete, you need to be in peak physicality and willing to push yourself to the limits. People do triathlons for various reasons such as testing and challenging themselves, boosting their self-confidence or simply to cross it off their bucket list.

If you are someone who’s looking to become a triathlete, let’s just say that you have your work cut out for you. Aside from intense trainings, you will need to right equipment. For beginners, a trip to a bike shop is imperative as it is in your best interest to find the right bike that will fit your needs.

triathlon bike shop

Shopping for the best triathlon bikes can be quite a daunting task especially when it’s considered a hefty investment. It’s a good thing you found this article as you’ll be learning how to shop for tri-level bikes as well as receive some great recommendations.

How does one shop for a triathlon bike?

Triathlon newbies are most likely befuddled with the same question and for good reason. There is literally hundreds of bike out there that span across many different models and brands. You can’t just walk over to a bike shop and just buy the first model you see – most especially if you’re doing like an Ironman event.

cyclist on ironman event

If you are truly serious about being triathlete, purchasing the right bike should be an informed decision. Good for you, we have compiled some tips to help you go about your triathlon bike purchase.

Ensure good fit

Proper bike selection starts with securing a great fit. The bike’s fit will affect everything from stability to handling, and comfort to efficiency. One of the most common mistakes that riders make is buying the bike first then the “fit” comes later.

Cycling Tour de France

Ensuring the proper fit will not just allow you to find components that fit your needs but also find the appropriate frame geometry. For something as intensive as a triathlon, the best fitting bike is simply a must.

Comfort

When it comes to a tri-level bike, comfort is king – there’s just no way around it. This is why it’s highly recommended that you buy a bike from a professional shop. Once you go into a shop, make sure that you have the professionals test your flexibility and take your measurements.

riding comfortable triathlon bike

Specify to them what sort of riding you will be doing and make sure that you ask all the questions that you have. If you’re lucky, the shop will recommend some models that fits your specifications. If the shop allows you to test the bikes, make sure that you take advantage.

Frame

The frame is the most important component of just about any bike and that’s no different for tri-bikes. The frame directly influences factors like handling, stability and fit. For a triathlon bike, you need something stable and stiff but at the same time, comfortable as well.

triathlon bike frame

When choosinga frame, make sure that its geometry gives plenty of room for adjustments so it can adapt to you as you improve as a cyclist. You don’t want a bike that forgoes handling and stability just to adapt to your riding position.

Wheels

These are obviously important because a good set of wheels can make your bike faster while a subpar one can make your riding feel mediocre. Wheels tend to be one of the most expensive parts of the bike.

wheels on triathlon bike

However, many bike manufacturers use a subpar set of wheels in order to meet a certain price point. For improving performance, upgrading the wheels is usually a common consideration.

Contact points

These points are mainly the saddle, handlebars and the pedal. These are also important considerations as it could affect your comfort while riding. In general, these are usually custom made to fit the rider’s needs.

Triathlon bike body setup

Components

For tri-level bikes, you need components that are designed for regular riding. Companies tend to upgrade or downgrade certain components in order to hit specific price ranges. In reality, there is not much difference in terms of comfort, speed and reliability between entry-level and high end parts.

Cost

If you are a beginner who’s truly serious about doing triathlon, you should go for the highest quality bike that your budget can allow you. Sure, you will be spending more money as opposed to buying a model from your local superstore, but trust us that you’ll be saving money for future upgrades.

High quality bikes means lighter weight, improved performance and overall better riding feel. In this regard, you can go for bikes with aluminum and steel frames which are durable but less expensive than carbon steel. The right bike will make all the difference and that’s even more accurate when it comes to the world of triathlon.

Cyclist getting ready to ride

Now that you have the basics down, you should be more than equipped to make an informed purchase. Remember that if you’re interested in a brand, it’s always a good idea to do a little bit of research. Most major players have a website, so it shouldn’t hurt to look them. Remember, take catalogs of the bikes that you like and compare and contrast.

Top triathlon bikes in the market

Just in case you can’t be bothered to research your options, we have compiled a list of the best tri-level bikes that’s available in the market right now. Of course, we have taken into account several crucial factors like performance, handling, comfort and cost. Without further ado…

Diamondback Bicycles Serios F Triathlon

Diamondback Bicycles Serios F Triathlon Time Trial Bike

Weight:

Dimensions:

Features: Serios carbon frame, HED Corsair bar, full Shimano Ultegra Di2 11sp Group, highly customizable cockpit, HED Jet 5 Express wheelset.

Best use: Triathlon, time trial, cross biking, outdoor recreation

Many industry experts hail the Serios F as a superbike which is definitely an accurate description. The Diamondback Bicycles Serios F Triathlon is all about the speed. The company has partnered with HED Cycling and KQ Studios to create a bike that will blaze the trail when it comes to aerodynamics and performance.

The frame is made from high grade carbon fiber which provides superior durability and the lightest weight. It comes with the latest and greatest components such as the Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifters and HED Jet 5 Express wheels. The integrated HED bar and stem combo makes this an unmistakable high end model.

The frame’s design should let you handle hairpin corners, steep descents and ascents with ease. The sweeping lines, thick tubing and stocky profile make the Serios F an excellent looking bike. If you’re a beginner but is looking to buy a high-end model, the Serios F should deliver.

Related: From the same company, the Serios AF is widely considered to be a worthy upgrade to this model. From the crisp and snappy shifting to the excellent crosswind advantage, the Serios AF is undoubtedly a top-shelf offering. The Serios AF is available in Diamondback’s official website.

Check the price on Amazon

Kestrel Talon Tri Shimano 105 Bicycle

Kestrel Talon Tri Shimano 105 Bicycle

Weight: 25.8 lbs

Dimensions:

Features: Kestrel’s Enhanced Modulus Hybrid (EMH) carbon, A2 Wind Tunnel, Proprietary Kestrel H-Stays, EMS Pro Aero Seatpost, Clip-on aero extensions.

Best use: Triathlon, time trial, cross biking, outdoor sports, road biking

From a super high-end bike to something more of an entry-level, the Kestrel Talon Tri Shimano 105 Bicycle is a great option for triathlon newbies. However don’t mistake being entry-level to be of poor quality because this bike is simply far from that. This tri-bike is made from high performance Carbon Fiber that brings the lightweight quality and great compliance while keeping the price down.

Some other companies would have used aluminum for the same price range. In terms of style, this bike is one of the finest looking aero models out there, especially with its black and red color scheme. With the Shimano 105 STI Brake Levers and Tecktro R540 Dual Pivot Brake set, the handling, braking and safety are the least of your concerns. The EMS Pro Aero Seatpost brings the much-needed comfort. Definitely a great buy considering how polished the ride that you can get from this bike.

Check the price on Amazon

Schwinn Men’s Axios TT 700c Bicycle

Schwinn Men's Axios TT 700c Drop Bar Triathlon Road Bicycle

Weight: 34.9 lbs

Dimensions: 67 x 18 x 37 inches

Features: Aluminum road frame with road fork, full Shimano 14 speed drivetrain, Microshift integrated brake lever shifting, alloy rims, SR Suntour alloy crank, Promax alloy caliper, Aerobar extensions.

Best use: Triathlon, time trial, cross biking, outdoor sports, road biking, workout, fitness

Want a tri-level bike that won’t have your wallet dry in despair? The Schwinn Men’s Axios TT 700c Bike should be a great option for the budget-conscious or pretty much anyone who doesn’t want to spend too much. The Schwinn’s signature aluminum road frame provides durability and performance without adding too much weight.

The road fork should make way for some quick agile riding. Riders will have more flexibility with speeds as the bike comes with full Shimano 14 speed drivetrain. On the other hand, the Microshift integrated brake lever should give top-notch handling and braking.

The alloy rims are strong but still manages to be lightweight. It’s not the most feature-packed model that we have here but it should offer enough to please even the most jaded of cyclists, especially considering its $500+ price point.

Check the price on Amazon

Tommaso Vento TT, Italian Racing Bike

Tommaso Vento TT, Italian Racing Bike

Weight: 30 lbs

Dimensions:

Features: Tommaso SLA 6061 Aluminum Aereo Frame, Tommaso HCT Carbon Fiber Aero Fork, FSA Vero Crankset, Shimano Tiagra Front Derailleur, TC-40 Wheelset with 30 mm Rims.

Best use: Triathlon, time trial, cross biking, outdoor sports, road biking, workout, fitness

The Tommaso Vento TT, Italian Racing Bike is for folks who don’t want to pay an arm and leg. The SLA 6061 Aluminum Aereo Frame should get you covered in terms of performance without sacrificing weight and power. The Carbon Fiber Aero Fork is a great addition as it allows optimal performance through weight savings, aerodynamic properties and vibration dampening.

The FSA Vero Crankset with Shimano Tiagra Front Derailleur ensures that the rider can easily and reliably shift gears. The wheelset with 30 mm Rims and Aero Bladed Spoke also adds another layer of performance enhancement. For such a high quality bike, you are probably wondering: why the cheap price tag?

The manufacturer has decided to sell the their bikes directly straight to the consumer which effectively eliminates two level of supply chains, giving them a definite edge among other brands. This tri-bike is definitely tough to beat in terms of value.

Check the price on Amazon

Diamondback Bicycles Serios S Ready Ride Bike

Diamondback Bicycles Serios S Ready Ride Bike

Weight: 14 kg (frame)

Dimensions:

Features: Easy assembly, Full carbon Serios frame, Aero Fork, HED Flanders C2+ wheelset, Shimano Dura Ace Bar End, SL-BSR1 11 speed, Shimano 105 BR-5810 Direct Mount brake set

Best use: Triathlon, time trial, cross biking, outdoor sports, road biking

Earlier, we have reviewed the Serios F from Diamondback and this time, it’s the entry level of the same line: the Serios S. As you might expect from a company like Diamondback, the Serios S offers a polished and comfortable ride. Right off the box, you’ll see that the Diamondback Bicycles Serios S Ready Ride Bike is a stylish, good looking model with its silver, white and yellow color scheme.

The carbon frame really gives off a solid, high quality construction which should not only equate to better performance but durability as well. The Aero fork along with the seating should ensure the best riding position that fits your needs.

It comes with the Shimano Dura Ace Bar End, SL-BSR1 11-speed gearshift which should give you total control over your speeds. This is a mighty model option for newbies who are really dead serious about doing triathlon.

Related: If you are looking for something more of a higher end model from the same company, the 2016 Diamondback Podium Equipe Ready Ride bike is an easy recommendation. As far as road bikes go, this one is considered the best especially in terms of aerodynamic advantages and responsiveness.

Check the price on Amazon

Felt Triathlon Tri Bike 11 speed Shimano 105

Felt Triathlon Tri Bike 11 speed Shimano 105

Weight: 30 lbs

Dimensions: 9 x 28.5 x 52 inches

Features: 11 Speed Shimano Group Set, Felt AeroLite TT/Tri aluminum frame, 6061 alloy seatpost, stem & handlebar, Vittoria Action HSD folding tires.

Best use: Triathlon, time trial, cross biking, outdoor sports, road biking

Few names are as recognizable when it comes to tri-bikes as the Felt Triathlon Tri Bike 11 speed Shimano 105. For over twenty years, Felt has been making some of the best high performance bicycles in the industry. This model is an entry-level product which means that it won’t break the bank.

The Felt S32 is made from Felt AeroLite TT / Tri aluminum frame which is quite similar with many frames in the market but with a design that aims to improve aerodynamics. The aero bars provides plenty of room for adjustability which helps to ensure that you get the right fit.

The wheelset isn’t the best in its class but it should easily accommodate upgrades to something wider. Out of the box, this bike just feels solid and is certainly a capable entry-level model that strikes a great value.

Check the price on Amazon

2015 Kestrel Talon Tri Carbon Fiber Bike

2015 Kestrel Talon Tri Carbon Fiber Bike

Weight: 20 lbs

Dimensions:

Features: Superlight carbon layup, Blend of 700K and 800K high modulus carbon fiber, Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 700 x 23c Folding, Oval Concepts 327 Alloy Clincher, Shimano 105 STI, 11-speed.

Best use: Triathlon, time trial, cross biking, outdoor sports, road biking

With the 2015 Kestrel Talon Tri Carbon Fiber Bike you can trust that you’re in for a quality machine. One of the first things that you’ll notice about the Kestrel Talon Tri is a true looker with its black and red handles. The angular look of the tubes gives it a somewhat of a higher end look.

The frame is made from Carbon Fiber so you know what to expect when it comes to weight, performance, stiffness and durability. One of the key components is the Shimano 105 STI 11-speed which provides a great balance of longevity, reliability and price.

Kestrel has done a great job with regards to the combination of these components as it lends itself to some really responsive rides. Many professional riders already swear by the Talon. For the price range, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value than this bike.

As you can see, this is a fine selection of some of the best tri-bikes available in the market. In terms of performance, speed, quality, comfort and value, it’s safe to say that these are the cream of the crop and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better selection of bikes. Whether you’re doing a casual run every now and then or training for the next Ironman challenge, you can’t go wrong with these tri-level bikes.

Check the price on Amazon

Ready to ride?

Not all tri-bikes are created equal, so you can’t just buy the first machine that you think you like and expect instant success. You should see to it that your bike is a great fit in order to take advantage of its features and benefits. Another thing: this type of bikes command a hefty price tag so it’s natural that you make your investment count.

Best Triathlon Bikes

Now that you have the basics and a few recommendations, you should have no trouble buying a tri-bike that will fit your needs and requirements.

So are you planning to buy a tri-level bike soon? What do you think of our list of recommendations? We’d love to hear from you so sound off in the comments. While you’re at it, share this article in your social media feed to help out your friends and family that might be buying a triathlon bike soon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Daniel Carraway

    It does look great in person!

  • Daniel Carraway

    We agree!

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