Gear Upgrades That Really Matter
Identify the gear that meets your unique goals before dipping into your bank account.
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Whether you’re just getting started in the sport or looking to invest in your next aero enhancement, identify the gear that meets your unique goals before dipping into your bank account.
For the PR Pursuer
You’ll stop at nothing—price tag be damned—to realize that next time benchmark. This gear is as dedicated to speed as you are.
Rudy Project Wingspan
Air flows through the Wingspan more freely than other aero lids, eliminating the only reason to race using a road helmet: cooling. Despite the short tail and broad vents, the Wingspan has performed admirably in multiple independent wind tunnel tests observed by Triathlete.
Castelli Body Paint Tri suit
Created from one seamless piece of material, the snugly supportive Body Paint Tri contours to an athletic physique, reducing drag.
Look Keo Power
Still the only pedal-based power meter, Look’s Keo Power system offers the accuracy and data tracking features of crank- and hub-based systems with one big added benefit. Switching Keo Power pedals between bikes is quicker and easier than changing a crank and still leaves the option to use different wheels for training and racing.
Cervélo P5 Dura-Ace
The Canadians at Cervélo have been producing world-besting aerodynamic tri bikes for more than a decade, but some of the P5’s predecessors lacked ride quality or mechanical functionality. The newest edition of the company’s flagship frame reverses that trend. Sure it’s fast in a straight line, but the P5 also corners brilliantly and is easy to maintain. Geometry is also updated to fit positions ridden by real triathletes rather than European road racers.
Bontrager Aeolus 5 D3 Tubular
These broad carbon tubular rims blend effectively with smooth-rolling wide tires to create outstanding aerodynamic performance and a gentle ride. The tubular construction saves nearly a pound over Bontrager’s clincher alternative, but be ready to spend more money and time to replace these higher-end tires.
For The Every-ride Thrill Seeker
If you think it’s crazy to drop thousands of dollars on a set of race wheels only to leave them hanging in the garage for dozens of training rides, you’re probably looking for quality gear that you can enjoy on every ride. This versatile kit will fit the bill on weekend group rides, in tri training and during the occasional race.
Scott Foil 15
Blending straight-line speed with a comfortable, responsive ride is the ultimate goal of a do-it-all road and tri setup. Enter the Scott Foil 15. Its broad tubes look anything but aerodynamic, but wind tunnel testing conducted by our sister publication Velo magazine revealed this frame is among the fastest aero road bikes. And its broad tubes give the Foil the backbone to stand up to a strong acceleration or aggressive cornering as effectively as any road bike, regardless of aerodynamic performance.
Deda Elementi Parabolica Uno
The biggest compromise when using a road bike for triathlon is fit. Getting into a comfortable aero position on a road bike can be a challenge, so offset the inevitable compromise of racing tri on a road bike with an aerobar such as the Parabolica Uno that creates a tall pad position with a wide range of adjustment.
Mavic Infinity jersey and bib short
$180 (jersey), $220 (bib short), Mavic.com
Precisely outlining the body’s contours without creating any pressure points is the key to comfortable cycling apparel. Mavic’s Infinity jersey and bib short do just that with the aid of a few clever features, such as the double-backed mesh fabric that applies even pressure around the arms and legs (adios, sausage legs).
Pearl Izumi Elite RD III
Cut to fit mid- to larger-volume feet, this shoe has an upper that firmly bonds the rider to the robust carbon sole. Its ratcheting buckle closure is better suited to everyday road riding than race day, and it will cost a few seconds in T1, but its foot-to-sole connection far exceeds most tri shoes.
Shimano Ultegra Di2 Bar End Shifters
Mis-shifting the Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic drivetrain is nearly impossible, but the biggest benefit these components offer is the ability to change gears from both the aerobars and brakes. Shimano’s new Di2 aerobar shifters—available in September—can plug into Ultegra Di2 road shifters, enabling shifts from both locations.
Cobb Cycling Plus
Swap the standard saddle for the more adjustable, ergonomic Cobb Cycling Plus, which combines a comfortable road position with pressure relief in the aero position.
Olympic Bike: Sarah Groff’s Race-Ready Scott Foil
For The Multisport Newbie On A Budget
You’re newly committed to triathlon and want a single set of gear that will be everything you need not only for races, but during training as well.
Quintana Roo Kilo C
Finding a bike you can comfortably ride in the tri position is the best investment you can make—and getting professionally fit before choosing a bike ensures you find the right one. The Kilo C offers a fast and comfortable ride at an attainable price tag. Its aerodynamically shaped carbon frame is designed to match realistic dimensions—not a pro-style aggressive fit—while still creating a true triathlon position. A mix of reliable Sram Rival components and adjustable Profile Design T2+ aerobars round out the functional, not flashy, build.
This adjustable and ventilated helmet isn’t as fast as an aero helmet, but the Array is more comfortable than many pricier options.
X-Lab Turbo Wing
This rear hydration system can carry two bottles and flat-repair supplies. And all without sacrificing speed: A recent third-party wind tunnel test showed this system to be more aerodynamic than mounting two bottles to the frame.
Gore Power 2.0 Lady and Power Lady Bibtights Short+
$80 (jersey), $110 (bib short), Goreapparel.com
Saving money by buying budget cycling clothing is appealing, but a kit that connects with your body and stays in place pays big returns in ride enjoyment. Gore’s suspender-style Power Lady Bibtights don’t bunch, and the bib portion unzips for quick pit stops.
Specialized Trivent Expert
The robust Velcro strap and anatomical cut make the Trivent worthy for both training rides and races. Get a pair of insulated shoe covers for winter, and these shoes can stay on your feet year-round.
$85 (top), $99 (bottom), Blueseventy.com
A two-piece triathlon race kit—like the TX2000—saves changing time and ensures comfort on race day. This kit tapers comfortably and provides just the right amount of pad support without chafing during the run, plus ample pocket storage.