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2020 Buyer’s Guide: Bikes

Anyone looking for a new bike in 2020 is in for some fun - there are lots of speedy options available this year.

While racing might be on hold for a bit, hopefully we’ll be able to get outside to at least do some training soon. For those who might be in the hunt for a new ride this year, we’ve got you covered with some impressive options we featured in our March issue Bike Buyer’s Guide.

The Ventum Z. Photo: Nils Nilsen

When it comes to buying a bike these days, the sky is the limit in terms of price. Our needs (and wallets) are all different, of course, but in the all-too-competitive triathlon bike world, there remain lots of options. With the advent of draft-legal racing for age group racers, we’re also starting to see more age group triathletes looking for road bikes for racing, too, which is why we’ve included one road bike in this year’s guide. Suffice it to say, making a bike purchase is never easy, which is why finding a reputable bike store to help make the call is always a good plan.

Ventum Z

Starting at US$2,699

As seen on the cover of our March issue, Ventum’s latest iteration offers most of the benefits of the company’s unique design in a more affordable package. Using the same frame as the Ventum One, the new Ventum Z has a simpler front end to keep costs down. With Shimano 105 components you’ll be able to get a race-wheel-equipped version for US$3,499. It’s a Ventum for the people.

Argon 18 E118 Tri+


Launched in Kona last year, the E118 Tri+ was an instant hit with riders like Heather Jackson, a former track rider who, even when it comes to a tri bike, wants a ride that can capture her bike handling skills. She got it – the E118 Tri+ features aggressive fit and position options sure to please elite age group athletes and pros. You can dial in a lower front profile, in part, because of the updated ONEness system that drops both the arm rests and the grip position. Designed to be UCI legal and with elite cyclists in mind, the stiff frame provides excellent power transfer and excellent climbing and cornering characteristics. Add disc brakes to the mix and you get a bike that will hammer in and out of corners, but can also serve as an aero wonder when it’s time to just push hard in a tuck.

Ceepo Katana

$4,000 (Frame); $7,000 (Bike with SRAM Force 12 Speed)

Japan’s triathlon-specific bike brand, Ceepo, has been steadily gaining in popularity in the triathlon world over the last decade. While the Shadow-R garnered lots of attention thanks to the space-age-looking front wheel faring, you’ll see many athletes on the Katana, one of the lightest frames geared towards full-distance racing on the market. The Katana is the perfect bike for those who’s riding isn’t limited to long, flat straightaways – the geometry lends itself to a variety of riding including climbs, descents and, when needed, fast efforts down in the drops. In 2020 the already-impressive handling characteristics appear to be set to improve even more thanks to the addition of disc brakes. We can’t wait to try one out.

Cervelo P-Series Ultegra Di2 Disc


When the flagship P5 Disc was launched last year, there was a collective groan around the world from all the triathletes who were desperate to be on the super-speedy bike, but couldn’t afford the whopping 15 grand price tag. Christmas came early last year for all those folks with the arrival of the P-Series. This new series replaces the company’s popular P2 and P3 models – it’s stiffer, lighter and more aero than the P3, while incorporating disc brakes and a lot of the handling characteristics that make the P5 so popular with roadies. It’s not the P5, but it’s not far off. The P-Series starts at $4,300 for the Shimano 105 version. The Ultegra Di2 version we reviewed came with speedy Vision 55TC wheels, Vision’s Metron Hydration System, the Smartpak 400 for nutrition, the Aerobottle 500 and a Rear Hydration Mount, making it race-ready right from the store.

Ventum One Ironman Canada edition

Starting at $12,231

Our cover model is Ventum’s new Z model, the One’s little brother in the pecking order of Ventum bikes. Those looking for the ultimate in aerodynamics, though, will want to turn to the company’s flagship bike, which features the unique Ventum shape that eschews a downtube and seatstays and an integrated front end. Thanks to the company’s Ironman partnership, you can even dial in this hot-looking Ironman Canada edition. Along with the great-looking paint job, you get a monstrous 1.4 litre water bottle that’s integrated into the top of the frame 44,(in red, of course), which improves aerodynamics. Thanks to the included straw and bite valve you don’t ever have to leave your aero position to drink, which helps you go faster, too. Available in five sizes, because the One uses standard size parts, you can also customize your cockpit to ensure you nail your optimal position. The Ultegra Di2 Ironman Canada version comes with Vision Team Alloy 25 wheels – if you need race wheels you’d do well to get the Enve SES 7.8 race wheels instead, which puts the price to $15,430.

Specialized Shiv Expert Disc


It seemed appropriate that, when we caught Sarah True out on her Shiv in Kona a few years ago, she was out on the windiest part of the Queen K, down in the drops. The FACT Carbon frame is optimized for crosswinds and features a monstrous Hydration Fuelcell system at the back of the bike, that means you can carry lots of fluid without compromising aerodynamics. There’s also a huge Nutrition Fuelcell on the downtube that will carry lots of food. Everything about the Shiv Expert Disc will ensure you’re race ready – a fully adjustable cock pit, Ultegra components and Roval C38 tubeless-ready wheels will help you to faster splits this season.

Felt B Performance Ultegra Mix


Felt has a long history in the sport – Jim Felt was the man behind many of Paula Newby-Fraser’s bikes in the 80s and 90s when she dominated the world of Ironman racing and has continued that legacy with numerous champions, including Daniela Ryf and Mirinda Carfrae. That legacy shines through in the B-series – you get an impressively well-equipped, tri-specific, carbon-fibre bike that features impressive aerodynamics and lots of fit customization. Like the company’s flagship IA series, the frame features an aerodynamically optimized oversize downtube and seat tube with cut outs that provide aero benefits and improve handling. There are lots of fit options thanks to the road stem attached to Felt’s Bayonet basebar, and you get a solid component mix – Shimano Ultegra derailleurs with a 105 crank. Add a set of race wheels to all this and you have only one problem – you won’t have any excuses out on the bike course.

Scott Plasma 10


With many of the same features you’ll see in Scott’s flagship Plasma bikes used by Sebastian Kienle and other pros, the Plasma 10 offers a responsive, comfortable ride thanks to the Plasma 4 frame and fork, while there’s lots of cockpit adjustability with the Profile handlebar and aero extensions. Throw in the reliable Shimano Ultegra derailleurs and Syncros Race 23 wheels and you have a race-ready package, but one you can grow with with just the addition of some faster wheels as you get more serious about the sport.

Trek Speed Concept


Using Trek’s lightweight 500 Series OCLV Carbon frame that utilizes the company’s Kammtail Virtual Foil tube shaping to cut through the wind, the Speed Concept offers a lot of high-end performance for the money. There’s an integrated handlebar that provides lots of adjustability to ensure you’ll dial in an aero position, integrated aerodynamic storage options, Shimano Ultegra components and Bontrager Aeolus Comp OCLV Carbon tubeless ready wheels. You can customize your Speed Concept, too, through Trek’s Project One program.

Liv Avow Advanced Pro


There’s no compromising with this women’s-specific tri bike from Liv – the Avow starts with an Advanced Grade Composite aero frame that provides a responsive, comfortable ride sure to get you through lots of hard training and racing, regardless of how long. The Shimano Ultegra Di2 components provide precise, reliable shifting, and you even get a Giant Power Pro power meter built into the crankset. As is the case with so many high-end bikes, there’s integrated hydration and food storage and the Giant P-A2 wheels complete the package. Ladies, you’re ready to race.

Squad Hornett

Starting at $3,400

We’re anxious to check out the custom bike manufacturer from Quebec’s new Wolf frame that is due out this year, but in the meantime you can still get the company’s Hornett frame made with Torayaca 60 Ton UD Carbon that offers excellent aerodynamics and performance. The aero profile is enhanced by the front brake which is integrated into the fork and you can customize the bike to come up with your ultimate speed machine.

Pinarello Bolide TR

$15,800 (Frame/bar/stem/extension bar)

The “more affordable” Pinarello triathlon bike (the Bolide TR+ will set you back even more) features the same frame design that is modelled after Pinarello’s Bolide TT time trial bike that you’ve seen lots of during the Tour de France coverage. Without having to worry about UCI rules for the tri bike, Pinarello made the Bolide TR even more aero and triathlon-specific. The Toryaca T700 UD carbon provides outstanding ride characteristics, making this a lightweight, comfortable and super-fast bike that corners well enough to keep former cycling pros like Cam Wurf happy. There are storage boxes in the frame for nutrition on both the top and down tubes and the frame is also designed for easy packing for triathletes on the move.

Garneau Gennix A1 Elite


In triathlon’s new world of draft-legal age group racing, road bikes aren’t just something you look to train on when there’s lots of climbing or a big group ride on the horizon – they’re for racing, too. The Gennix A1 Elite is an aero road bike with aggressive geometry and race-ready Shimano Ultegra components. The RTCC2 full carbon frame and fork offers a comfortable, responsive ride that will serve you well everywhere from a big weekend group ride with lots of climbing to a criterium-like draft-legal sprint triathlon course.