The draw: Ultra-adjustable
Since fit is the most important aspect of any bike, Argon 18 set out to make a super adjustable steed. Using head tube extenders, each size bike can have three different head tube heights to dial in the perfect fit. The optional top, rear and handlebar integrated storage units make it versatile for short- or long-course racing. The upgraded Vision Metron wheels (shown above), can do double duty for training and racing. The standard Vision Team 30 wheels are a better option if you already have your own race wheels, and drop the price to $6,300. For about half the price, you can get the E-117, a version that comes without the integration options and 105 components.
The draw: Optimum positioning
It may not look like a radical update from the previous TM01, but BMC worked for three years to improve its flagship triathlon bike. Much of that effort went into the new V-shaped cockpit, specifically designed to be aerodynamic in a more upright position. On the road, the blend of comfort and speed is noticeable with a smooth ride and great power transfer. The integrated Brake Booster, a cam system located inside the top tube, gives the TM01 the best non-disc brakes on the market. SRAM eTap shifting is slick and intuitive. Bottom line: This is a versatile bike that will serve you well for different distances. For $2,500 less, you can get this bike with Ultegra Di2 components and Mavic CXR Elite wheels.
The draw: Comfort and value
Cannondale recognizes that long hours in the saddle are tough when you feel every bump in the road. Instead of going all out for speed, the company’s designers tuned the rear triangle to dampen road vibrations. The geometry is fairly upright, so finding a comfortable position won’t require hours of yoga. The front end uses a standard bar/stem combo, so it’s easy to adjust—or swap if you need to. The Ultegra Di2 shifting is an incredible spec at this price. Mavic Ksyrium rims keep the overall cost down and are great for training, but you’ll want to upgrade those for race day for better aerodynamics. For an athlete on a tight budget, the Slice Ultegra is a great value.
*Best in Class*
The draw: The “it” factor
Jan Frodeno has twice piloted a version of this bike on his way to winning the Ironman World Championship, and you can get one, too! (Almost.) Germany-based Canyon bikes will finally be distributing the Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 in the U.S. late this summer through its direct-to-consumer model, and it’s worth the wait. Don’t let the traditional double diamond frame fool you—this bike is as quick as anything out there. The integrated storage and hydration up front is the most well executed of the bikes we tested and is easily removed for short races. Another small internal storage area in the top tube just ahead of the seat post fits a tube, two CO2 inflators and a lever in a custom-designed neoprene sleeve. The front end offers just enough adjustability while remaining simple and clean. The soft grips and arm pads from Ergon are extremely comfortable, making this a great weapon for long-course racers. The bottom bracket supplies all the stiffness you need, and at 18.6 pounds for our size medium, it’s one of the lightest bikes we reviewed. As such, it’s noticeably quicker to get up to speed. Handling characteristics can be tailored by changing the position of inserts in the fork dropouts to move the front wheel forward by 2.5mm (Stable position) or back 2.5mm (Agile). We think most will prefer the Stable option. When you do put the hammer down, the Reynolds Strike wheels roll exceptionally smoothly. Less about one standout feature, this bike shines through all the details working together perfectly.
Win this bike!
Canyon bikes won’t be sold in the U.S. until late summer. Nab this beauty—the same frame Frodo rides—before anyone else can get their hands on one! Enter our Cover Bike Giveaway Contest at Triathlete.com/winthisbike.
The draw: All out for aero
Cervélo designed this beast using 14,500 pictures taken during 70.3 and Ironman events in 2013 and 2014, a topology optimization program which tells designers where you actually need material to construct a bike, and wind tunnel testing, then designed it around storage. The front end uses a separate post that slides up or down to adjust the height of the arm rests and extensions, with 112mm of adjustment overall. With the lowest stack height of any bike by two centimeters (a size medium has a stack of 496mm), it is best suited for those who want to get low. There are three storage compartments, one up top and two on the frame, though the top and one frame compartment can be removed. Comfortable at full speed, the massive bottom bracket responds immediately to input, though its weight (22.7 pounds) means it takes a little while to get there. Over rough roads and train tracks, any flex in the mast was imperceptible. For better aerodynamics and braking, Cervélo chose TRP mechanical brakes (hydraulics to come later) with larger, 160mm rotors (others use 140mm). Traveling with the P5X is best done with the optional custom travel case ($850). Opting for the Ultegra Di2 package with Rotor cranks and HED Jet 6 Plus front and Jet 9 Plus rear wheels brings the price down to a still jaw-dropping $11,000.
Dimond Brilliant Race Build
The draw: Unique road feel, made in the U.S.
If the superbike revolution is going to be won by who can remove the most tubes, Dimond is the clear winner. This bike is based on the Zipp 2001 which debuted in 1992. Dimond founder and pro triathlete T.J. Tollakson raced the Zipp from 2010 to 2012, believing the beam bike is one of the fastest designs ever tested. So in 2012 he set out to bring it back. Designed and built in Des Moines, Iowa, Dimond takes the radical shape and adds an integrated fork and magnetic cover shielding the brakes. With no internal storage, water bottles need to be placed up front or on the downtube, and there are bolts for mounting an aftermarket storage container on the top tube. On the road, bobbing is not an issue, no matter how hard you try. The design does add a uniquely smooth ride—it’s neither dull nor unresponsive, just muted from the road vibrations. With so much material up front, steering is solid and predictable. If the Race Build featuring Ultegra Di2 and Profile Design wheels isn’t your thing, Dimond offers a consultation service to provide full customization, including paint.
The draw: Bang for your buck
The IA 10 sits in the middle of Felt’s line, and as such it seeks to balance performance and pricing. The front end uses a standard stem so you can swap it easily, though the supplied Tri 155 looks best. Internal cable routing through the bars keeps the front end clean for aerodynamics. The small storage box up front has just enough room for some nutrition, though it may be a bit too small for the Ironman distance. Ultegra Di2 shifting is a great spec at this price, and the Vision TriMax Pro cranks are plenty stiff. The TTR3 wheels are fine for training, but their weight and box rim design means you might want to upgrade for race day.
The draw: Value-driven, high-end machine
Perched at the top of Giant’s triathlon line, the Trinity Advanced Pro 0 has just the right blend of speed, storage and value. Integrated hydration, storage and brakes maximize aerodynamics. Giant adds value by being one of the least expensive bikes to come with SRAM’s Red eTap shifting. Virtually wireless, eTap has a very clean look, is more aero and lets you put the shifting where you want it with its remote shifting buttons called Blips. The lack of wires makes disassembling your bike easier, so traveling with your bike isn’t such a hassle. To hit the right price point, Giant uses its in-house wheels. Advanced Pro 1 and 2 models are also available with different specs at lower prices.
The draw: Top-of-the-line frame
The Plasma RC sits one rung down from the top-of-the-line Premium, only substituting full Ultegra Di2 components and in-house Syncros brand wheels for the Premium’s Dura-Ace components and Zipp wheels to lower the price. That means you get the same high-end HMX carbon, highly integrated but still adjustable front end and aero shapes that make this bike go fast. A custom front hydration system and storage box from Profile Design keep what you need at the ready. If you are looking for a proven weapon against the clock, the RC is great choice. If you are looking for a lower price, the Plasma 10 and 20 models are also available, spec’d with Shimano Ultegra mechanical and Shimano 105 for $3,700 and $2,800, respectively.
$7,300 (as tested with SRAM Red eTap and HED Jet 9 wheels), Diamondback.com
The draw: Long-course speed
Diamondback’s radical design is meant to be a single airfoil from wheel to wheel for all-out aerodynamics in all wind conditions, even crosswinds. Disc brakes (mechanical now, hydraulics coming when available), proven to be more aero than rim brakes in several wind tunnel tests, add to the aero impact as do the HED Jet 9 wheels, which are a great match for cheating wind, and comfort. In gusty winds the Andean does require more rider attention to keep straight, but it’s not as bad as you might think. Integrated storage comes in the form of a well-designed internal compartment located in front of the bottom bracket and nicknamed the “frunk” (aka front trunk). Up front are two separate storage boxes and a water bottle cage. With so much storage, the Andean is a good choice for the 70.3 and up crowd, but a flat cover can be installed for shorter races. Diamondback offers several builds, and the company’s custom studio lets you decide on color, wheels, shifting and more—ranging from $4,040 to $10,000—to make it truly yours.
Orbea M20 Team
The draw: Custom options at a good price
Triathletes can choose from seven models of the Ordu. The M20 Team sits in the sweet spot of aerodynamics, usability and price. The front end uses a standard bar/stem combo, so it is not as aero as a fully integrated system, but it is easier to wrench on. Vision and Shimano Ultegra Di2 make up the component spec, and the Vision Trimax 35 carbon clincher wheels are a nice choice for their mix of comfort and speed. Orbea’s buyer model (you order it online then pick it up at a store) lets you upgrade the M20 and all Ordu models by choosing different wheels, saddle or cassette and get a semi-custom paint job from the factory when purchasing—of course at an extra cost depending on your choices.
The draw: Disc brakes, custom paint
Parlee believes that a tri bike should handle and brake well in addition to going fast, so the TTiR is one of the few tri bikes that utilizes disc brakes. The mechanical disc brakes (hydraulics are coming around the end of the year) provide strong and predictable braking, and the thru axles add stiffness to make for crisp cornering and handling. To aid in the aero department, Parlee adds carbon fairings to shield the brake rotors. The ENVE 5.6 wheels continue the fight against the wind and are a solid everyday wheel that will serve you well on race day too. The large bottom bracket and oversize tubes create a solid platform for power transfer. At speed, the TTiR is eager for more, feeling stable and quick. The front end is a good mix of adjustability and integration, with a sleek two-piece cover, keeping it tidy. Different build kits to meet different needs and budgets range from $6,300 to $13,300. Parlee also offers custom paint options to make it your own, starting at $500.
The draw: Everyday superbike
The original tri bike manufacturer, Quintana Roo continues to innovate while offering value. The PRsix sits at the top of its line and mixes real-world usage with unique innovation. While the double-diamond shape looks standard, a closer look shows otherwise. The downtube is asymmetrically shaped near the bottom bracket to push air to the “clean” side of the bike. The non-driveside chainstay is enormous, also aiding aerodynamics and incredible stiffness. Up front is a semi-integrated stem/bar, so you can replace the bars easily. Also easy to adjust are the standard Ultegra brakes. With Reynolds Strike wheels and Ultegra Di2 shifting, the PRsix is a superbike for those who want ease of use along with performance.
$9,570 (as tested with Ultegra Di2 and Edco wheels), Ventumracing.com
The draw: A plush ride with fun extras
The One’s full monocoque design and integration mixes aerodynamics with comfort. Unique to Ventum is the externally integrated 1.4-liter water bottle. In line with the top tube, it attaches via a simple bolt up front and a tab in the rear for a secure fit. The drinking tube attaches to the bars via a magnet, making it easy to hydrate. The One rides with a smooth demeanor, great for long-course athletes. Despite missing tubes, it’s still stiff when you apply power to the pedals, though cornering isn’t as crisp. Shimano Ultegra Di2 is a solid spec for this build. Edco is not a household name for most triathletes, but this Swiss company has been making bike components since 1902, and these wheels are up to the task. Ventum offers five sizes, including a 46 cm, which smaller riders will appreciate. Pricing for the One starts at $8,500, but buyers can choose upgrades including a Pioneer power meter, Zipp or Enve wheels and even CeramicSpeed bearings to top out at $14,300.
The draw: Proven performance at a lower price
The Shiv has been around for nearly a decade and continues to be a great bike at a great price. One of the first bikes to integrate hydration into the frame, it ably combines aerodynamics with adjustability. The geometry is designed to fit a wide range of riders, and the adjustable, integrated front end means almost any rider will feel comfortable on the Shiv. A triangular storage box can be bolted to the main triangle, making carrying tubes and nutrition easier and more aero. Despite the massive downtube, the Shiv is fast and stable in crosswinds. Versatile and quick, the Shiv is a great bike for an athlete just getting into the sport who wants performance on a budget.
The draw: Rocket on a budget
With a well-proven pedigree of success, Trek’s Speed Concept line has long been a popular choice for pros and age groupers. The 7.5 gets its performance from the Kammtail shaped tubes, sleek front end and integrated brakes. One of the first bikes to consider storage needs of triathletes, a rear storage box and bolt bosses on the top tube allow for plenty of storage. SRAM Force components do the shifting, and Trek’s in-house brand Bontrager provides the rest of the components. The tubeless-compatible Bontrager RACE wheels are great for training in comfort. For the tri bike buyer on a budget, this household name provides a great ride.
– Bike reviews by A.J. Johnson