When preparing for a triathlon, it’s important to note that cycling is only a third of the total challenge. Training in cycling as well as running and swimming will help you build enough muscles which will help you endure the long distance cycling battle.
The best Road bikes for triathlon are designed with special aerodynamic features that help you overcome thrust offered by air resistance and also balance the high and demands of weight and stiffness.
At any speed, most of your energy goes into overcoming air resistance, so, you need a bike that can reduce drag to ensure that you can ride faster. Most triathlon bikes are slim, so they don’t offer much air resistance, but your body does. This then calls for non-flappy clothing that will not drag you back as you ride.
In the manufacturing industry, triathlon bikes have become like the manufacturers’ playground. Engineers have taken the freedom to explore radical shapes and designs to enhance the rider’s prowess.
Nonetheless, while aero is the primary design factor, you also need appropriate training, efficient nutrition, and hydration.
Comparison Table of Best Road Bikes for Triathlon
|Raleigh Merit 2||Vilona Shadow 2.0||Diamondback Century 2||Tommaso Fascino||Tommaso Monza||Stradalli Phantom 2||Eagle T-Series Carbon Fiber|
|Shifters||Shimano Claris 2×8 speed||Shimano STI integrated||Shimano Sora 2×9||Shimano Tourney||Shimano Tiagra STI||Shimano Ultegra||Shimano Ultegra electronic|
|Brakes||TRP Spyre C mechanical disc||Dual pivot calipers||Tekro Lyra Disc||Mechanical||Dual Caliper||Integrated brakes||Dual disc|
|Cogset||Shimano 8-speed||Shimano 14-speed||Shimano 18-speed||Shimano 7-speed||Shimano 20-speed||Shimano 11-speed||Shimano |
Steps to Selecting the Best Road Bike for Triathlon
If you are a beginner in the cycling sport or have done a few triathlons and are looking to buy a new bike for the sport, I have some advice for you.
Entering into the complicated world of cycling can be expensive especially on the major equipment that you need, and that’s the bike.
If you look around the fancy designs in shops, you may rush into picking one out blindly without any basic understanding of what you really need and a clear vision of what awaits you in the sport.
There is a strong chance that you will purchase the wrong bike but don’t fear, I am here for you.
Below is a step-by-step guide to making that first big purchase.
Set a budget
Walking into a bicycle shop with no budget can mean getting out of there with no money. Some dealers can take advantage of you. You need to emphasize the equipment you need.
- How much do you intend to spend?
- What kind of bike are you looking for?
You need answers to these questions before you make that big multisport purchase.
Understand the choices
Get a good racing bike that is versatile and durable. Also, note that buying an entry-level racing bike that is upgradable can save you time and money.
Also, be sure your bike is worth upgrading over a reasonable period of time, and when you feel you have outgrown your entry-level bike, find something that will last you for as long as possible.
Different manufacturers have come up with different brands of road triathlon bikes that carry different price tags but have the same designs and can give exactly the same results. This is common in almost every product we buy.
Most manufacturers sell their name and not the uniqueness of their products. If you know what you really need, you can save yourself some money and still get what you want.
Check the accessories
One common mistake among bikers is to exclude accessories from the budget. Check also the cost of accessories and put it in your budget. Some of the most basic accessories include;
- Frame pump
- Patch kit
- Spare tubes
- Clothing (shorts, jerseys, jacket)
- Cycling shoes
- Clipless pedals
You can set a budget at $5000 for your bike and end up spending almost the same amount on these accessories. But are they necessary?
It’s a racing bike, this sport comes with its unique requirements, and these rider’s accessories are very essential.
You can’t race without a helmet, and you need the comfort and the safety of the cycling shorts, jerseys, gloves, and other necessities. If you want to transport your bicycle in your car, you need an appropriate bicycle rack.
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Road Bike For Triathlon
The purpose of any bike is mostly influenced by its geometry. Triathlon bikes are no exception. Triathletes need to be comfortable for a long period of time in the aerodynamic position and also be able to run long distances once off the bike.
Due to this, the seat tube angle and the top tuber length distinguishes the triathlon bikes from others. Triathlon bikes have a much steeper seat tube angle than ordinary road bikes, typically starting at 74 to 80 degrees.
This large forward push recruits more gluts and hamstrings through the pedal stroke, saving the quadriceps for the run leg of the race. It also allows riders to adopt an aggressive aerodynamic position and reduce their frontal profile.
A longer top tube and an elongated reach is another distinct feature of triathlon bikes. This aims to stretch the rider, putting them in a more aggressive, horizontal position that improves their aerodynamics. This ensures that the rider’s weight is evenly distributed between the wheels.
Aerodynamics are a key component of triathlon bikes as those small advantages gained adds up over hours on end in the saddle. Most of the triathlon courses are flat with very few hills, weight isn’t much of a concern.
One way to enhance aerodynamics is by using oversized tube profiles, this helps the wind pass along the bike without deviation, which otherwise would cause turbulent air flow and increase drag. This is commonly seen on the front forks, downtube, and seat tube.
Another way manufacturers improve the bikes aerodynamic efficiency is to integrate things like brakes, cables, and storage.
Brakes for triathlon bikes are commonly found behind the forks or hidden behind fairings at the front of the bike or at the rear of the bike, they are located underneath the bottom bracket area or out of the wind in partial tube cutouts on the seatstays.
Internal cables are common on the majority of bikes that also improves aerodynamics and reducing the chance of them getting damaged by environmental factors.
An altered frame shape also helps in enhancing aerodynamics. Some feature a dropped downtube to reduce the space between the downtube and front wheel improving airflow.
Dropped seatstays also helps to limit the frontal area contacting the wind and reduces drag as a result. Some brands have removed the seatstays altogether for the same advantage.
The wheels also are another way of enhancing aerodynamics for triathlon bikes. Generally, the deeper wheel profile leads to more improved aerodynamics.
This has a disadvantage because it makes the bike harder to handle given, it will be more affected by the side wind than a shallow slim. The extra material required also creates a harsher ride by not offering as much comfort as a shallow wheel.
Integration and storage
I have touched on the integration of brakes and cables to enhance aerodynamics, but the integration of storage systems for tools, fluids, and food is also very important. In the past, triathlon bikes had many modifications like rear water bottle holders, saddlebags, and chunky storage cases on the top tube for food and the sticky taping gel packets onto the top tubes.
Modern triathlon bikes are much more improved with storage solutions, integrating them into the bike design thus eliminating the need for retrofitted parts.
Comfort is crucial when riding any bike, even more for a triathlon. Long distance events go even beyond 90km. This long-distance solo riding could take you for more than two hours.
There is also an added run off the bike for a minimum distance of 20km. For such a sport, the importance of comfort cannot be overlooked. The triathlon bikes with specialized geometry help with that but there are other essential comfort considerations to take when making the purchase. Let us look at some of them.
- Adjustability: Different triathletes have different body shapes, composition, flexibility, and mobility. Being able to adequately adjust your bike is crucial. Choosing the right bike size is the first step, and from there, being able to easily adjust your position will help your performance to the end.
- Saddle: Triathlon specific saddles are created to give room for a more aggressive, bent over position on the bike with utmost anterior pelvic tilt. They are often shorter than traditional saddles with a cutout section in the middle to tackle the pressure off the soft tissue of the pelvis that would be compressed if you used a normal saddle.
- Shape of extensions: The shape of the TT extension is also crucial in improving comfort. Extensions can be straight, curved or pointing upwards depending on your preference. This aims at keeping your wrist in a neutral position and achieve right angles at your elbow and shoulders. It provides good levels of structural support for your upper body and won’t impinge any nerves or restrict blood flow.
When it comes to triathlon road bikes, we focus on either electronic or mechanical gearing system. The electronic option allows you to change gears from both the TT extensions and the brake bars.
If you decide to go for electronic one, make sure you charge it as required to avoid flat batteries during the event. On the gear ratio side, you will need gears with a wider range as the length of the race increases.
Top Seven Best Road Bikes for Triathlon
Eagle T-Series Carbon Fiber
This Eagle’s T-Series is outfitted with Eagle Carbon Wheels, Carbon handlebars and Shimano Ultegra DI2 electronic shifters and derailleurs. Its lightweight made with high-quality Japanese 700-series carbon fiber. The carbon fiber is lightweight and also improves vibration damping caused by rough roads. This, as a result, provides comfort and reduced fatigue.
It’s also a very versatile triathlon bike with an adjustable seat angle track such that you can achieve your optimum fit for your style of riding. Its aero frame tubing and precise carbon construction increases its aerodynamics by reducing drag while still maintaining stiffness and handling.
The Eagle T-series road bike is created with the goal of being adept in three main racing essentials i.e. comfort, reliability and performance. Its aerodynamics enables it to pierce through the wind while providing stability for the rider.
The streamlined contour of the frame is ideal for the one unique effort to beat the race in an event. Paired with durability and dependability of the Shimano’s road cycling components, the T-Series meets the needs of the recreational triathlete and professionals alike. It’s constructed with eagle 280 hubs, includes continental tubes and tires and a titanium skewer, Rockshox SID suspension, Eagles 50XC carbon wheelset, a light mount and an ergonomic shape.
- Alloy caliper brakes.
- Easy to work on.
- Electronic gear system.
- Lightweight carbon fiber.
- Some assembly required.
- Tubes may not hold air for long.
- A bit slow final gear.
Stradalli Phantom 2 Full Carbon
Stradalli Phantom II Full Carbon Time Trial Bike comes with a Shimano Ultegra 8000 Eleven Speed and a 50-85mm Aero Carbon Clincher Wheelset made of 100% Carbon Fiber that is light weight and durable. This racing bike has the most improved aerodynamic TT frame that has ever been produced. To reduce drag, a bayonet style fork is well designed that comfortably cuts through the air without turbulence, and a relocated TRP front brake to the back side of the fork also makes it more aero.
The fork, stem, and the handlebar are then integrated to create an aerodynamic position for the rider that will give them fair advantage and still offer spacers to bring the pads up for added comfort. The newly designed front end offers low amount of frontal surface area and the tube profiles are quite thin and offer incredible aerodynamics. To reduce even more drag, the TRP rear brake has been designed so that it is now nicely tucked in underneath the oversized chainstays. Relocating them to the chainstays increases the aerodynamics of the frame.
The Phantom II is built around a BB30 which offers incredible stiffness out of the crank. This bike is designed to help you have valuable time in every race. It is doubtless one of the most aero frames available with hidden, integrated brakes and BB30 Bottom Bracket ready-Internal Cable Routing.
- The cockpit is completely adjustable.
- Accessible parts for a comprehensive service.
- Corrosion protected.
- Light weight.
- A bit loud bike.
- Not quite high class.
- Need professional assembling.
Tommaso Monza Endurance Aluminium Road Bike
Tommaso Monza is my number one aluminium series road bike. It’s designed with a compact and lightweight frame combined with a HCT Carbon Fork for increased vibration dampening and weight saving. The frame is drilled for all varieties of racks and fenders, making the Monza a versatile bike perfect for long rides and commutes.
It comes with a huge range of speed that allow riders to easily conquer anything on the road. This high speed ensures the riders performance as well a thrilling adventure. Shimano Tiagra STI shifters work seamlessly with the full Tiagra group set for fast shifting, and a level of responsiveness that can’t be compared
The compact frame geometry and premium compact handlebars offer increased power and comfort in a smooth and gentle package. In fact, every part of this bike is designed for maximum comfort and efficiency, so you can get the most out of every ride, whether 10 miles or 100 miles.
Note that, to ensure optimal performance and to validate the warranties of your bike, the manufacturers recommend that you have it professionally assembled before riding.
- Lightweight aluminium frame.
- Shimano Claris components.
- Easy to upgrade.
- Low price.
- Stiff frame.
- Slow final gear.
- Professional assembly required.
- Heavy rims.
Tommaso Fascino Sport Performance Aluminium Road Bike
With a budget of not more than $500, you can get a bike with 100% Shimano gears, super lightweight aluminum frame, and lightweight wheels. Tommaso ensures that you get value like no other brand. This bike comes with a lifetime frame warranty and great service from the manufacturer’s customer service team.
This is not a beginner’s bike. If you are new in cycling, this is the bike for you. Note that beginners don’t necessarily start with “beginner bikes” they will outgrow in no time, they need affordable performance. This Fascino bike embodies the idea of affordable performance with a high quality mix of components seen on high end bikes.
If you want to upgrade your riding prowess, the Fascino will give you all the power, performance, and speed you need to tackle your first century ride or an extended hilly ride. Using a 3×7 Shimano drivetrain and a huge gearing range it will enable you to climb any hill with ease while still having the speed you need for the flats.
The Shimano Tourney shifters also provide reliable shifting in all riding conditions. Some manufacturers use off-brand parts to save money and cut corners to increase profit, but this bike uses a 100% Shimano drivetrain. The manufacturers know that Shimano makes the best gears on earth, and work at the peak performance when used as a complete set. So, to achieve quality, they had no other choice.
The Tommaso Fascino compact frame geometry, the premium compact handlebars, and anatomically designed seat offer increased comfort in a smooth package. Every part of this road triathlon bike is designed for maximum comfort and efficiency, so you can get the most out of every ride.
- Light aluminium frame.
- Shimano Tourney speed.
- Good quality.
- Terrible wheel set.
- Terrible tire set.
- Needs comprehensive assembly.
Raleigh Merit 2 Endurance Road Bike
Raleigh’s Merit 2 is the ideal mid-level endurance bike for century and longer road rides. The Merit 2 will take you farther than ever without breaking the bank. It is designed for comfort and efficiency on long rides. This bike offer great responsiveness, great stopping power, and wider tires for stability. It is designed with a high quality aluminium frame that is lightweight and a custom tapered carbon fork. This bike is light and fast.
The Shimano Claris 8speed Shifters offer smooth shifting and will typically flatten out any hill with 8 speeds to choose from. The mechanical disc brakes offer great stopping power in all weather conditions, and the 700c 28 inch tires are wider than normal race tires for better stability. The Three axles on the frame and fork make this bike snappy and versatile for a great feeling over any road while reducing fatigue.
- Well built.
- Great quality.
- Light weight.
- High quality disc brakes.
- Assembly required.
- The user manual is not specific.
- Rear wheel need truing.
Vilano Shadow 2.0 Road Bike
The Vilano Shadow 2.0 road bike arrives partially assembled. To complete the assembly, you need to flip the stem, install front wheel, the handbars, saddles and pedals. Also you need to tune the wheels, brakes and derailleurs. The assembly is quite easy but remember to take it to a professional for safety check up.
A complete Vilano Shadow 2.0 road bike for triathlon consists of Shimano STI integrated brake shifters that should offer precise and controllable braking and shifting in a convenient single unit designed for the road. It has a 6061 double butted aluminium aero frame with integrated headset and internal cable routing. The tires are threadless and the rim is supported by a 700×8c aluminium fork. Also has a Shimano front derailleur and a Shimano rear derailleur. The brakes are dual pivot aluminium alloy caliper on a 700c double walled CNC alloy machine sides. It’s an affordable bike and is made from high quality materials.
- Shimano shifters.
- Easy to set up.
- Ultra-light weight construction.
- Poorly fitted tubes.
- The tubes may not hold air for long.
- Difficult for people with small hands to operate shifters.
Diamondback Century 2 Endurance Road Bike
This Century 2 bike combines cutting-edge technology with a competitive component mix to deliver a bike that’s long on performance and affordable. The heart of this bike is its customized butted aluminum tubes. Those tubes aren’t simply stylish; they also provide you with the perfect balance of weight savings and strength. It also comes with DBR Podium air-formed disc alloy fork with tapered steerer that improves handling performance.
While traditional road bike geometry stretches the rider out in as low and long a position as possible, the Diamondback Century model feature a slightly taller head tube and slightly relaxed head angle, both of which place you in a riding position that is still pretty fast and aero and upright enough to sustain on those long rides.
It embodies a wide range Shimano Sora 2×9 speed drivetrain that offer great performance and value. The Tektro Lyra disc brakes offer equal increased braking power and control. Note that the Tektro disc brakes and the 18-speed Shimano drivetrain are absolutely uncommon at this price, so you can agree with me that the Diamondback Century 2 Endurance road bike is up to the point.
- Little drag.
- Can fit any body shape.
- Very durable.
- Electronic drivetrain.
- No assembling needed.
- The direct-mount brakes disappoints sometimes.
- A lot of professional set-up required.
- Very expensive.
Generally, a top-scoring bike is what you need for your next triathlon event. My list consists of the best road bikes that have been tested and approved. If you’ve got a limited budget and still care about comfort or you need a good bike for training, I got you covered. My selections are all-round and affordable.