2016 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Best In Class

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From $30, Rokasports.com
The draw: Incredibly crisp vision

Our first reaction to putting the new ROKA R1 goggles on was, “Wow, these lenses are crystal clear.” In the water, vision is acute and the R1 stays in place. ROKA offers more lens color options than any brand—this pair has nine varieties—for various light conditions.

Zone3 Vanquish

$725, Racezone3.com
The draw: Perfect combination of flexibility and buoyancy

It’s not often you forget you’re swimming in a wetsuit, but the all-new Vanquish accomplishes this rare feat with a strategic mix of premium neoprene. The 1.5mm thick one-piece shoulder panel extends from the middle of the chest to the center of the back, making the upper body extremely flexible while the 5mm Yamamoto Aerodome neoprene on the torso supplies significant buoyancy.

Dimond Xpress

$5,950, Rustersports.com
The draw: A fast, comfortable ride

The Dimond Xpress brings new technologies to the beam bikes of the past. There are two major advantages to beam bikes: comfort and speed. In the aerobars, the Xpress handles rough roads flawlessly, has great straight-line speed and feels plenty stiff during out-of-the-saddle climbing. Hard, seated climbing promotes some flex in the beam, but nothing too noteworthy. The Xpress is also the least expensive Di2-spec’d bike tested, so it offers a great value. Another cool feature about the Dimond line is that the bikes are all hand-built in the U.S.

XLAB Torpedo Kompact 100

$40, Xlab-usa.com
The draw: Incredible value

XLAB hits a home run with the Kompact 100. Lightweight, unobtrusive and aerodynamic, the Torpedo Kompact 100 is the simplest and most economical solution yet for bottle access and easy resupply at aid stations. It also offers an ideal and secure location for viewing your Garmin device. Say goodbye to the days of zip-tying your bottle cage flimsily between the bars—this XLAB system snaps into place on a variety of bar configurations with a satisfying “click,” allowing you to get out on the road in only a couple of minutes.

Profile Design ADL

$100, Profile-design.com
The draw: Ideal for first-timer and short-course triathletes

The new ADL is a quality clip-on bar suitable for riders who want to add aerobars to their road bikes. The new design features a taller S-bend
extension than previous iterations coupled with the company’s proven F35 arm pads, and this combination yields a very comfortable and adjustable bar. Profile’s Aero Bar Bracket Riser Kit, sold separately, mates perfectly with this bar to allow a ton of vertical adjustability.

Specialized Carbon Aero Bar with Aero Stem

$575, Specialized.com
The draw: Well-priced, quality bar

Specialized has developed a really great product package by combining an aero stem with an integrated carbon aerobar. This can be installed on any bike that has a 11/8-inch steerer tube and is sure to enhance the comfort and aerodynamics of most. The overall design of the bar shows that ergonomics and clean aerodynamics were at the top of the designers’ list of priorities. The bar can be clamped onto the stem in two different positions, creating an effective stem length of 60 or 90mm, and the integrated aerobars have a great deal of adjustability as well, making this one of the most versatile bars on the market.


$190, Ismseat.com
The draw: Proven design

ISM builds on its wide selection of saddles with the PN2.1, which is similar in many ways to the popular PN 1.1 but with a few small upgrades that make the saddle more triathlon-friendly, including a modified rear section, a transition hook (for easy rack hanging at a race) and slightly upgraded saddle rails. The PN2.1 works well for triathletes of all abilities who seek a split-nose saddle with a bit more cushioning than some of the other ISM offerings.

Garmin Edge 520

$300, Garmin.com
The draw: Compact, do-it-all computer

There isn’t a more full-featured cycling computer in a package smaller than the Edge 520. It has quickly become the favored bike computer of pros and age-groupers alike, and for good reason. It adds in mapping, the ability to control your ANT+ trainer and integration with Strava to get live segment standing updates against both your friends and KOM’s. The unit also connects to bike lights and bike radar systems, giving you more visibility control than ever before.

Garmin Forerunner 920XT

$500 (with heart rate monitor), Garmin.com
The draw: User-friendly metrics, reliable brand

Many companies have added swim and bike capabilities to their running watches, but Garmin has made a truly functional multisport watch that is feature-packed across swim, bike and run. While the GPS-enabled watch itself captures a plethora of metrics (like swim stroke count, run cadence and daily activity), it also contains external sensors that can be paired with several power meters, heart rate monitors and more. The device is sleek, comfortable, lightweight and displays sharp, colorful graphics.

HOKA One One Vanquish 2

(Neutral trainer)
$170, Hokaoneone.com
The draw: Impressive update

Not only is the Vanquish 2 considerably lighter than the previous edition (almost 2 full ounces lighter per shoe), it also rides more smoothly and is more responsive than the original. It still features a cradle design, in which the foot and interior structure of the shoe is encased on the sides and bottom by a durable two-layer foam shell. Impossibly light for a shoe with as thick of a midsole as it has, the Vanquish 2 is remarkably flexible and offers a nice mix of soft landings and energetic toe-offs, especially at moderate to fast paces.

Sugoi RS Tri Speedsuit

$250, Sugoi.com
The draw: Superior fit and performance

Sugoi’s new race suit was a tester favorite because, put simply, it looks and feels awesome. The race-specific suit is sleek but still practical—it has a hydrodynamic coating to reduce water drag and a dimpled surface to combat wind drag, but there are still pockets for race nutrition. All the panels are in the right places: vented and stretchy under the arms, with the perfect amount of compression on the legs to not require any leg grippers.

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