Whether you’re an aspiring Ironwoman or Ironman, or are a seasoned triathlete, you’ll understand how important picking the right bike will be. Now, when it comes to triathlons you do have to do a lot more preparation than in most other disciplines.
In my experience, it was so much tougher to become competitive at swimming and cycling. For a long time, I struggled most with the cycling because I had made the fatal mistake of not investing in a proper set of wheels.
Thankfully I got some guidance after failing in my first triathlon. Fortunately, there is was a simple solution, and you should seriously consider following the same advice.
What was it?
Get a proper triathlon bike!
Now you don’t have to look at the absolute best triathlon bikes when you’re just starting out. There are plenty of them available at very affordable prices. The list of bicycles on this page have been carefully researched to help you through the confusion. And more importantly to help avoid making a really bad investment.
Our Top 10 Best Triathlon Bike Recommendations
Over months of research, we managed to identify some excellent options for athletes of all skill levels. There are triathlon bikes for beginners as well as professional grade choices. For you it will really come down to your budget, and how drastic and improvement in your cycling you want to see.
There is a review for each of them here. If you can’t find what you need then it probably doesn’t exist.
#1 - Diamondback Bicycles Arden 4
|| Top Of The Range For Top Athletes||5.0 stars out of 5|
#2 - Kestrel Talon Tri Shimano
|| Professional Features At A More Affordable Price||4.5 stars out of 5|
#3 - Schwinn Fastback
|| For Beginners And Intermediate Athletes||4.5 stars out of 5|
Everything about this company screams high tech gear. From the design and materials used to the perfected shape from wind tunnel analysis. Not a single penny was saved in the making of this Diamondback triathlon bike.
It is by far one of the best triathlon bikes you can invest in without having to go down the road of custom-built configurations. At just 19.4 lbs in weight, you can lift it with just a finger.
That also means you don’t have to drag as much weight around you, which will drastically improve your performance. By teaming up with KQ Studios a lot of effort was put into making it as aerodynamic as possible.
The result is an incredibly efficient design that has less than half the drag of most competitors. For most people, they will find the perfect fit with the 4 available sizes. Unless you are a lot shorter or taller than average.
And the highly adjustable handlebars allow you to get into a position that is extremely comfortable. The brake and gear systems are both Shimano Ultegra. That gives you exceptional control and practically instant gear changes.
In tough races that alone can add up to many seconds of time saved as you simply keep peddling as hard as you can.
- Entire frameset made of carbon giving a very low 19.4 lbs weight
- Aerodynamic design reduces drag to a minimum
- Shimano Ultegra brake system for excellent control
- Fully adjustable HED handlebar means you get optimum comfort
- Near instant gear shifts with high end Shimano Ultegra
- 95% assembled means it’s practically ready to ride when it arrives
- 4 different sizes give good flexibility but some competitors offer more
- The price tag is out of reach for hobby cyclists, but it’s worth every penny
If the above price tag is too far out of range then this Kestrel product will be far more in range. Created by aerospace engineers in the 80s, this company has been at the leading edge of tech for a long time. They were even one of the first to use carbon fiber in their frames.
By combining carbon and alloy metals they have created a very stiff frame that only weighs 19 lbs. For a hybrid frame that is almost unheard of, especially when you consider the price range.
What’s really great about this one is that it’s available in 5 different sizes. That means you can get a set up that suits your height best. And once you make the final touches to the saddle and handlebar you’ll have something that comes very close to being fully customized.
With Shimano gears and Oval Concept brake systems you get a pretty professional set up. Gears will change fast and with very little performance impact. That means you are a bit more flexible when it comes to timing your changes.
The main downside you have to be aware of is that it will require full assembly. That means everything including tubes and wires. Not a huge deal if you know how to fix up bikes, but it will take a bit of time.
- Hybrid frame combining carbon and alloy metals
- Highly adjustable saddle and handlebars
- Available in 5 different sizes for a better fit
- 19 lbs weight means it reduces the effort on you
- Shimano gear system for great reliability and gear change speed
- Perfected in wind tunnels to reduce drag
- Full assembly required
- Standard saddle can be a bit uncomfortable
This company has long been synonymous with bicycles. If you’re lucky to come across one of their first ones made then you could be sitting on a small fortune. But Schwinn have managed to keep up with the times and create a great option for triathletes on a budget.
At half the price of the cheapest carbon fiber bike you still get an aluminum frame which is solid and light. It really is the best material to invest in if you can’t afford carbon.
The handlebars come with aerobar extensions, which make it a very comfortable ride. You can lean down in comfort to give you an aerodynamic profile. In races, every second counts and getting into the right position will give you those valuable seconds.
With a Shimano 14 speed gear system, you’ll get very smooth gear changes. And the size and number of gears will give you great flexibility to adapt to up and downhill conditions.
Assembly is pretty easy, as most of the bike is pre-built. It’ll still take a little bit of time and effort. But you don’t have to be an expert to get it ready.
The only real downsides we could find is that only the frame is aluminum. The fork is made of steel, which does add a bit of weight. And the pedals are standard which don’t support clip-on cycling shoes. They are easily replaced though.
- Aluminum frame for an affordable weight reduction
- Includes aerobar extensions for added comfort on long rides
- Promax caliper brakes provide excellent power
- Shimano 14 speed gear system provides smooth changes
- Assembly is relatively easy as it’s partially built
- Fork is made of steel which adds some weight
- Peddles don’t include clip-ons
Cyrusher is a fairly newcomer to racing bikes. And you could be forgiven to think they were just trying to impress on some people with the look of their products. But at such a low price they have really created quite an impressive specialized triathlon bike.
The entire frame, fork, handlebars and peddles are made from aluminum alloy. This is a very light material that doesn’t rust. But at the same time, it is very solid and will not break easily. It’s a really good touch to have all major parts made so light, as this all contributes to its weight of 31 lbs.
The 14 speed Shimano gears are very good quality. Not professional grade at this price, but you will get a very smooth and responsive gear change. What is unique to most other products on this page is the disc brakes. They are as effective as caliper ones, but a bit more difficult to repair when needed.
You can choose from several bright colors including black, red and green. With the branding all over in a cool design, this is really a bicycle that will stand out from the rest.
On the downside, it doesn’t include aerobars. If you’re heading into some intense races or a triathlon, then they will be an upgrade to consider.
- Aluminum alloy frame and fork providing a low 30 lbs weight
- 14 speed Shimano gears for smooth and effective changes
- Disc brakes for highly effective results from the slightest touch
- Available in very stylish colors
- Very comfortable handlebar position
- Doesn’t include aerobar extensions
- Wheels are a little wide
To help all those aspiring triathletes who cannot afford to spend huge amounts, we have added this Tommaso model. The company behind this product is based in the USA, but the design is done in Italy. This explains the name. For a very reasonable price, you get a stiff aluminum frame.
This makes it very light at 23.8 lbs. But there is a steel fork, which adds a little. So, it’s not a full aluminum build.
But for this price you do get great quality Shimano gears, shifters and caliper brakes. These are excellent quality, but don’t expect them to perform like professional ones. You will get a smooth gear change and the brakes work very well under all conditions.
With WTB Volt saddle you will be able to sit comfortably even for longer training days or races. It’s easily height adjusted, but you don’t get as many customization options as on more professional products on this list.
If you haven’t assembled one of these before then you might need to budget for a professional to do it. Most parts are easily put together, but getting the gear system and wheels perfectly aligned is not that simple a task.
- Compact and stiff aluminum frame for light and responsive ride
- Shimano Claris 24 speed gears for flexible and smooth changes
- Shimano Claris caliper brakes for great control
- At 23.8 lbs it’s one of the lightest aluminum options
- Very comfortable WTB Volt saddle is ideal for long rides
- Full assembly required and this can be tricky
- Limited sizes available
If you have done some competitive cycling or completed a few triathlons then you probably want to start improving your times. One area where technology can help you is by moving from heavier alloy metals to carbon.
This Kestrel does exactly that and you don’t have to spend as much as on a second-hand car. Despite the reasonable price, you get a fully carbon frame and fork resulting in just 18.8 lbs weight. That is just above the lower limit set for triathlons and not far off high end custom options used by professionals.
You can choose from 5 different sizes, which is great to make sure you find a perfect fit. This is as good as it gets without heading for the fully customized route. You also get high-end Shimano Ultegra shifters and gears for a very smooth ride. You’ll hardly notice the changes.
The main downside is that you’ll have to get the aerobars extra. Just make sure that you get carbon ones as well to avoid unnecessary weight.
Overall, if you want to take that next step towards a more professional set-up, then this is a fantastic option.
- Very light and stiff thanks to carbon frame and forks at 18.8 lbs
- Fully wind tunnel tested for less drag
- Available in 5 sizes for great suitability with your body size
- Shimano Ultegra shifters and gear system for speed
- Oval Concepts saddle is comfortable for long rides
- Aerobars not included
- Saddle is made of steel
This is an option specifically designed for women. While that is generally a good idea, the result is a little bit flawed. The ride angle is too high so you’ll find it a bit difficult to get into a low aerodynamic position.
And there are no aerobars. But you wouldn’t expect that in this price range. That is actually one of the best features of the bike. If you’re on a tight budget then you won’t find a cheaper option than this.
The compact design makes it ideal to get it into the trunk of your car. That could save you the hassle of a rack mounting. It’s also safer that way.
From a racing perspective it’s not ideal, due to the low number of gears. 14 in total is not going to be enough for most terrains. And the gear shifter is mounted on the frame so you don’t have easy access on the handlebar.
Overall, you can do a lot better than this by investing just a little bit more money even for a designated option for ladies.
- It’s very inexpensive for someone on a tight budget
- The compact design makes it easy to transport
- There are some nice color options
- It’s not designed for race type speeds
- It only has 14 speed gears which is too little for a triathlon
- No aerobars included
- Gear shifting is mounted on the frame
If you have your heart set on something that is in the professional time trial range but at a lower price than the first one above, then this Diamondback triathlon bike might be the right option for you. It is substantially cheaper than the Serios F model, so it could be a more affordable option.
The entire frameset and fork is made of carbon fiber. This makes it very stiff but at the same time extremely light. But the company didn’t stop there. To make sure that you gain every possible second the entire setup was tested in a wind tunnel. Until it was perfected.
The result is a product that would not look out of place at a professional sprint race. Nor would it underperform there either. The only problem is that it’s difficult to further customize other than buying the most suitable size.
You’ll also be delighted to know that it come pre-assembled. With just a few things to attach you don’t have to be qualified to repair bikes. With such high-end products, it’s usually not that easy.
The professional HED wheels are also a nice touch. With the reduced drag and increased traction they provide, you will perform exceptionally well.
- Full carbon fiber frame and fork for exceptional light weight
- Fully wind tunnel tested with KQ designs to reduce drag
- Professional time trial quality bike at a very reasonable price
- Fast assembly as most of the bike is factory built
- HED wheelset for even more aero and great traction
- Price tag is too high for many people
- Not easy to customize after assembly
The second Kestrel product to make this list is this 4000 model in full carbon fiber set up. The entire frame, fork, handlebar and aerobar are made of carbon, which makes it very stiff and exceptionally light. At just 18.6 lbs you are close to high end professional spec weight limits.
The aerobar is very comfortable giving you a very easy ride position. The only thing to keep in mind here is that it is known to come a bit lose. So, make sure you tighten it on a regular basis.
Because it’s so stiff you will find that it handles exceptionally well. That’s the case at low and high speed, which makes it ideal for triathlon use. And once you start using the Shimano 105 gear system you’ll see how well it all works together. A stiff ride with very fast and smooth gear changes.
From a design perspective, the aero engineers have allowed for some really nice lines. And with a matt satin black finish it just looks the part. Overall this is an impressive option at a very acceptable price. If you plan on taking part in triathlons on a regular basis, then this a really great step towards professional options.
- Full carbon frame gives you a weight of just 18.6 lbs
- Very comfortable aerobar for an easy ride portion
- The frame comes with a lifetime warranty
- 22 speed Shimano gear system
- Great handling at all speeds due to stiffness
- Very effective and cool color design
- Aerobar can come a bit loose
- Only available in 4 sizes
This is another excellent option for any athlete with a bit of competitive racing experience. If you want to get those extra few seconds from better aerodynamics and carbon fiber materials, then you have to look at higher budgets. But that doesn’t have to mean $5,000 plus.
This Bue Triad is reasonably priced, but that comes at one significant thing to take into account. It doesn’t come fully assembled. And unless you have experience with that you might need to get a professional to do that for you.
With the entire frame made from carbon you do get a total weight of 19.4 lbs. That’s light enough to pick up with one finger. The design and stiffness make it an excellent time trial option. So, if you want to get better results in races, then you can achieve that.
You also get high end Shimano Dura Ace gears and shifters. These are professional grade and will give you a seamless and smooth gear change. The aerobars included are very good quality and super comfortable. They are also made from carbon to not increase the overall weight.
If you have outperformed your starter bike, then this is a great option.
- Full carbon for exceptionally low weight of 19.4 lbs
- Time Trial quality set up will give you those added seconds
- Aerodynamic design for seat post, cross bar and fork
- Shimano Dura Ace Shifters and gears for very smooth changing
- Very good aerobars included for comfortable ride position
- Assembly by a professional may be required
- Customization is difficult
What Features To Focus On
There are huge differences between triathlon bikes for beginners and advanced athletes. Once you head into regular competitive races you will find that you’ll constantly want to improve. If you get the real athletic bug you will eventually have to look at specialized triathlon bikes.
This doesn’t require investing in a fully custom build. But you will have to look at high-end materials and professional grade gear systems and brakes. These do become more expensive but they will make it vastly easier for you to gain many valuable seconds.
In the next sections, you’ll find some important features to focus on.
There are many different materials used in sports bikes, but the most common are steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber. Of all the products reviewed on this page, steel features least on the list. In most cases only in some parts like forks and peddles are made of steel.
The reason is that when you compare it to all other options it is the heaviest. Aluminum is next lightest, followed by titanium. But they also come at increasingly higher costs.
Most expensive of all is carbon, because of a unique manufacturing process. If you can stretch your budget at all then it’s a choice you won’t regret. The stiffness brings great ride control with an incredibly light weight.
Frame and Wheel Size
Real high performance racing bikes that you see at professional events like the Olympics have more than likely been custom made to the size of each athlete. Such racers are extremely expensive and we wouldn’t be lying that they cost as much as a family car.
While that is not going to be an option for the majority of people, you still want to make sure that you buy one that is suitable for your height. Most manufacturers will have sizing guides. These list out the frame and wheels size, but can also include things like handlebar and saddle adjustability.
The more sizes that are available, the better chance you will have of finding a near perfect fit. If you are significantly taller or shorter than average, then this is especially important. Find the right size for your build and height and you will have a much better performance.
Most readers will be aware that you can adjust the saddle on your bike. You’ve probably done this all through your youth. Now, as a grown up, you’re not so reliant on the adjustment. But it’s still an important factor. You really have to make sure that the saddle can be significantly adjusted so that you find the right setting for your height and length of legs.
Same is the case for the handle and aerobars. The more adjustable these are the higher the chance that you find the perfect position. Once you find that perfect position, try and mark it. Or take some photos. It’ll make your life a lot easier in the long run.
Some of the high-end bikes are quite difficult to customize. In most cases that’s really not a problem. If you have top of the range accessories, what are you going to replace them with? But there are a few things that you might want to adjust to your preferences. The peddles are one area where you might find a specialized clip-on shoe that you like. Or you might have a preference for gear shifters.
The easier it is to change these out, the better your chances of getting the perfect setup.
Triathlon Bike Vs Road Bike
In a lot of cases you can adapt a road bike to make it usable for triathlons. But that is often not an ideal solution. Most road versions are not designed with time trial and speed in mind. They have probably not seen a wind tunnel either.
That means they have a lot more drag that will go against you in a race. But it is a viable option if you are on a tight budget. One of the important adjustments to make is the addition of aerobars. These help you lean on the handlebar comfortably so that your body creates less drag.
Another big difference that you’ll find are the tires. They are usually a lot thicker on regular road versions than triathlon ones. This decreases aerodynamics and also causes more friction with the ground.
As a result, you will probably find that you lose a lot of valuable seconds. If you really want to start seeing some time improvements then upgrading to a dedicated triathlon set up will make a huge difference. You could quickly achieve your own fastest records.
It certainly did from my own experience.
Triathlon Bicycle Brands
There are many top brand names in the biking world. If you’re enthusiastic about cycling then you’ve probably seen most of them at competitive or professional events. Just like with cars, they come from all over the world and in different quality standards.
This also brings vastly different prices. Some are made in Europe, others in Asia. And you can also get true USA made options as well. Your budget will ultimately dictate what you can afford.
Here are some top brands:
- Blue Triad
- Giant Trinity
Not all of them are featured above and some come only in partial packages. That means you have to get all the parts individually and then assemble them all. If you know what you’re doing, then that can save a ton of money. And you can fully customize your ride.
But for most people a package with all parts included is going to be the more realistic option. All components will be in the box. And in many cases, they are pre-assembled.
With all the above advice on top rated triathlon bikes you will have a huge selection and options for all budgets. Obviously not everyone can drop several thousand Dollars for a hobby. But when you shop online you can get some amazing deals. All the above Amazon links will bring you to one of the best places to make your purchase.
Not only can it be delivered within 24 hours. But you get a lot of after sales support as well. So, if you want to get that first win or shave off some vital seconds and minutes, then get shopping today. And enjoy the new ride!