Are you starting your triathlon journey and feeling overwhelmed by the range of bike options? You’re in the right place!
We understand the challenges of picking a bike, from technical terms and countless brands to budget considerations.
With insights from professional triathletes and extensive research, we’ve crafted this triathlon bike guide specifically for triathletes like you. We have focused on entry-level bikes that can handle sprint and Olympic distance triathlons.
Let’s get you rolling!
In A Rush? Here Are The Top Triathlon Bikes For Beginners
5 Of The Best Triathlon Bikes For Beginners
We recently tried out the Specialized Shiv Elite bike, a triathlon-specific model that claims to be fast, lightweight, and aerodynamic.
The Shiv Elite has a full FACT 10r carbon fiber frame and fork designed to reduce drag and optimize speed in straight-line and crosswind conditions. The frame also has a built-in hydration system that can hold up to 1.5 liters of water, which is very convenient for triathlon races.
The Sitero saddle is comfortable and helps you maintain an aerodynamic position, essential for long-distance races. The Shiv Elite’s excellent straight-line handling and snappy response make it a great choice for all distances.
The Shiv Elite has minor drawbacks that may affect some riders’ preferences.
Firstly, this bike is not cheap and may be steep for some budget-conscious riders looking for a more affordable option.
Additionally, the Shiv Elite is not very versatile and is designed specifically for triathlons. It is not suitable for other types of riding, such as road racing, commuting, or touring.
Overall, the Shiv Elite is an excellent bike for anyone new (and committed!) to triathlons or wanting to take their performance to the next level.
The Vilano Shadow is an affordable entry-level road bike with some enticing features.
The STI Integrated Shifters are the main feature of the Shadow, which isn’t common to find on a bike in this price range. The frame geometry offers a more upright position than conventional racing bikes, which makes it comfortable for long rides.
The bike is lightweight, weighing only 23 pounds, making it easy to move around.
Additionally, the bike has a quick-release front wheel. This makes it easy to mount and dismount the bike. You can also remove the wheel for storage or transport or to change a flat tire.
The major drawback is that the bike does not have disc brakes, which are more effective and responsive than caliper brakes. Disc brakes are especially useful in wet or muddy conditions, where caliper brakes can lose grip or power.
The bike requires some assembly and tuning when it arrives. The manufacturer recommends that buyers take the bike to the local bike shop.
If you don’t have the proper tools to assemble the bike, you’ll need to buy them or take the entire bike to your local bike shop. You will be adding additional costs!
Overall, the Vilano Shadow 3.0 gives beginners like us a solid road bike to start training and racing on without spending a fortune.
As fellow triathletes know, having the right bike can make all the difference on race day. This sleek ride from Savadeck proved to be a great option.
The carbon fiber frame, carbon front fork, and carbon seat tube make it exceptionally lightweight at only 21.6 lb (9.8 kg). This makes it an excellent option for beginners looking for a responsive, easy-to-handle bike.
In addition to its sleek design, the Windwar5.0 comes with the reliable Shimano 105 groupset. These components enable smooth shifting, making it easier for new cyclists to control their rides.
The bike is also designed with aerodynamic contours in the stays, seat post, and seat tube, ensuring clean airflow and better handling during rides.
The bike does not have disc brakes, which may be a deal-breaker for some riders. Disc brakes help perform better in wet or muddy conditions, so it will depend on where you train / race!
This road bike by Schwinn is affordable and has a lightweight aluminum frame. The bike is equipped with quality Shimano components. This ensured we experienced smooth and seamless gear changes.
Knowing this, we could focus on our performance rather than worrying about the bike’s mechanics.
An important aspect we noticed during our use was that the gears of the Fastback Tourney AL tended to rattle when we rode at higher speeds. However, this did not significantly impact the overall performance of the ride.
While assembling the bike, we faced some challenges, but after putting it together, we found it sturdy and reliable. We recommend seeking help from a local bike shop for assembly if you’ve never assembled a bike.
The pedals are outdated and don’t offer much support or stability. We recommend replacing them with clipless pedals or toe clips for better performance.
The price is average when you consider the material it is made from and the assortment of features. Once you’ve become a seasoned triathlete, you may need to upgrade – N+1, right?
We decided to try the Eurobike TSM 550 because it’s another budget option.
We found it a solid option for those just starting in triathlons. The disc brake system gives it a more reliable stopping power than traditional V-brakes, which is great for riders who need more control during their races.
The bike has 21 speeds, so we can adjust to the terrain and challenge ourselves with different difficulty levels. The shifting system is smooth and easy to use, and the curved handlebars provide a comfortable grip and a good posture.
Some drawbacks include its weight, which is heavier than the other triathlon bikes due to the steel frame. The cheap plastic pedals must also be replaced with a more durable option at some point.
Lastly, the bike is only recommended for riders between 5’3″ and 5’9″, which may not be suitable for all triathletes.
How To Choose Triathlon Bikes For Beginners
An important thing to remember is that when starting, you don’t have to spend much money finding a bike for a triathlon. You’ll have the option of a road bike or a triathlon bike.
An expensive $10k triathlon bike may not be a good option for a beginner.
In fact, buying from mid-range prices and having the proper features and designs will likely be the better choice.
However, you must consider some essential things before purchasing a triathlon bike.
Focus on Fit
Fit is the most crucial aspect when choosing a bike. Even the best bike will be useless if it doesn’t fit you well.
Triathlon bikes have a distinct geometry for aerodynamics and transitioning from cycling to running. The steep seat tube angle helps conserve your hamstring muscles. This is essential for the running segment.
Consider visiting a local bike shop where professionals can measure you and recommend the correct size. An appropriate fit will optimize power, ensure comfort, and reduce the risk of injuries.
Height plays a significant role when choosing a bike. You don’t want to buy one with a seat or handlebars too low or high. It won’t be comfortable and could result in lousy riding form.
Consider a bike with an adjustable saddle accommodating short and tall riders. Usually, road bikes are around 54 cm on average.
Read the bike sizing guide chart to find your most suitable size.
The bike’s weight depends on the size, materials, and other components. A typical road bike is around 19-22 pounds.
Carbon fiber is lighter and can be molded into aerodynamic shapes, but it’s typically more expensive. Aluminum, on the other hand, is heavier but more budget-friendly.
For most beginners, the weight difference is less crucial than the bike’s fit and feel.
Choose a bike that is not too heavy to handle. You don’t want to tire yourself out before hitting the running leg!
Check the Components
Groupsets, which include the bike’s gears and brakes, are a vital factor to consider. Brands like Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo are well-respected.
Check out this post if you need more help choosing a road bike for your triathlon.
Keeping It Clean
Once you have chosen a bike, remember to take good care of it to maintain its top-quality condition.
First, try always to keep it clean. It would help to wash your bike after each practice session with soap and water. Don’t worry, I’m very guilty of this myself…
Secondly, watch out for any deflating tires. Buying a pump with a pressure gauge is best to have the correct air in both tires. You can also use a degreaser to remove dirt or oil in the chain or other gears.
Another feature to maintain is your bike’s brakes. Having working brakes is essential for safety reasons! You should tighten any loose or saggy brakes and check the brake pads.
Lastly, take your bike to the local bike shop before any race. Make sure everything is tight and squeaky clean before your upcoming tri race.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there significant differences between road bikes and triathlon bikes?
Yes. Triathlon bikes are specifically designed to optimize aerodynamics and provide a more forward, aggressive riding position.
This position helps conserve the muscles used during the running segment. In contrast, road bikes offer a more upright and versatile stance suitable for various terrains and rides.
That said, a road bike is sufficient for your first few triathlons.
Do beginners need to invest in aero wheels and other high-end components?
While aero wheels and premium components can offer performance benefits, they aren’t necessary when training for your first triathlon.
It’s more crucial for newcomers to focus on a reliable and comfortable bike setup. As you progress and become more competitive, consider investing in high-end components.
Is it essential to get clipless pedals and cycling shoes for triathlons?
Clipless pedals and cycling shoes enhance power transfer and efficiency, making them beneficial for triathletes.
While not necessary, they are recommended for those looking to improve performance and comfort.