While the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the triathlon race season around the world in 2020, that didn’t stop many of the top bike manufacturers from launching new bikes for 2021 in hopes that we’ll get a chance to return to racing and get back to looking for our ultimate aero ride. That leaves our 2021 Bike Gear Guide with an interesting mix of bikes – some that were supposed to be new last year but we didn’t really have a chance to see in action, and some very new bikes that we can’t wait to check out at some point this year.
The Quebec-based company has added discs to its speedy E-119 Tri+ frame, but have done so in an interesting way – the brake calipers are integrated into the frame to provide the maximum aero advantage. The integration continues with a hidden toolkit in the bottom bracket, an integrated bento box on the top tube and a redesigned cockpit that comes from the company’s collaboration with aero guru Mat Steinmetz from 51 Speedshop. All of which is said to give the E-119 Tri+ Disc a 10-watt speed advantage over the previous version. Coming this spring, the new E-119 will be available as a frameset ($6,800), or specced with SRAM’s Force ($9,900) or Red (pictured) eTap groupsets.
The flash yellow and black paint job really stands out, but you’ll be more impressed with the ride and aero features of the CF 7 Disc. You get a bike that tests within a few watts of the Speedmax rides Jan Frodeno and Patrick Lange used to win five straight Kona titles and, at 9.35 kg, the CF 7 is only 210 g heavier than the flagship CFR Disc Di2 that graced the cover of our March issue. In addition to the speedy frame with an extremely adjustable cockpit (the aluminum Canyon stem and flat, carbon fibre basebar are matched with Profile Design J-Bend extensions), the bike comes equipped with Shimano’s 105 components and Reynolds AR58 DB (front) and AR80 DB (rear) wheels.
Starting at $3,500
At just 1,195 g in a medium, the Katana is one of the lightest tri-specific frames on the market – the latest iteration now includes disc brakes. Ceepo has always been a tri-focused brand which has embraced aggressive, forward positioning and aero tubes. The 40T high-modulus carbon frame comes equipped with an accessible Di2 battery location in the lower section of the downtube for those looking to set the bike up with electronic shifting. With the Katana you get a stiff, performance-oriented frame designed for a variety of distances and ride types.
We don’t see a lot of Cube tri bikes in North America, but that could change with the company’s latest high-profile signing – in January Lucy Charles-Barclay announced she’d be riding the Aerium this year. An extremely aero frame designed in collaboration with SwissSide is coupled with DT Swiss ARC 1100 80 mm carbon wheels and SRAM’s Red AXS wireless 12-speed gruppo. While much of the industry now features disc wheels on its flagship bikes, the Aerium features Magura RT Aero rim-brakes.
Following in the footsteps of Cervelo’s P5X, which set the stage for many of the triathlon bikes we’ve seen come to the market over the last four or five years, the PX-Series pairs the innovations to that original bike we saw in the P3X with some high-end components. The heart of the PX design has always been the ability to carry three, round water bottles and the rest of your nutrition needs without any aerodynamic disadvantage. A stiffer, more responsive frame coupled with a drop in weight of 254 g makes the PX-Series feel and ride much lighter than the original P5X. Add that to SRAM’s Red eTap electronic shifting and Zipp’s 404/ 808 Firecrest wheelset and you have one very speedy bike.
Jim Felt was one of the pioneers on the aero bike front, and the Felt IA line continues that impressive legacy in style, maintaining a solid record of Kona excellence. The IA frame is the company’s most popular triathlon frameset – this disc-wheeled version comes with Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 electronic groupset and Reynolds Carbon wheels for a race-ready, speedy package. In addition to the speedy aero frame, you get an integrated CALpac 2.0 storage unit on the top tube for nutrition and a BTSpac storage kit on the seat tube for a flat tire repair kit.
This woman’s-specific high-performance bike pairs a lightweight composite frame that’s tuned for female riders with Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 components. The result is a bike that delivers lots of aero features and adjustability tbat provides both a comfortable and fast ride. The AeroVault System integrates hydration and nutrition storage into the bike, allowing easy access without leaving your aero tuck. There’s also an aero Giant P-A2 wheelset and adjustable Aerodrive Composite Bar system that’ll allow you to dial in your optimal position.
The bike Sebastian Kienle was so hoping to rip apart the Ironman World Championship bike course on this year will have to wait for its Kona debut, but we did get to see Kienle and Alistair Brownlee on the new bike in Daytona last December. The bike looks very different to the original Plasma, with a big gap between the front wheel and downtube, which is said to dramatically reduce drag, especially in windy conditions. A new integrated hydration system that has a straw that winds up through the cockpit, along with a gel storage bottle and an aerodynamic storage box for a spare tube and CO2 cartridge help with the aero features, too. Add to that considerably more front end adjustment options and you have all the ingredients necessary to make an already fast bike even faster.
The custom-made Aero TT pairs a lightweight carbon frame with Ultegra components and Shimano wheels for a bike that weighs in at 7.037 kg – a touch over 15 lbs. While you’ll no-doubt add a bit of weight with some deeper-dish race wheels, that’s still a lightweight package. The bike comes with Squad’s own Aero TT bar and extension which adds even more adjustability so you can dial in the fit even more.
The recent addition of Paula Findlay to Specialized’s impressive group of sponsored athletes means we might see some even faster times from the woman who graced our January cover. That monstrous Hydration Fuelcell remains a mainstay on the Shiv Disc bikes, not only providing lots of hydration, but also helping with aerodynamics. The FACT carbon frame also includes an integrated nutrition system and the cockpit is adjustable in every direction to ensure you can dial in the perfect fit. As is appropriate for the most expensive bike in our guide, you get Shimano Dura Ace Di2 components and hydraulic brakes along with Roval Rapide CLX 51/ 60 mm deep wheels.
While Trek still offers the Speed Concept, we figured it would be fun to check out the company’s high-end aero road option that many triathletes might want to use for either draft-legal racing or clip on some aero bars for an all-around aero speedster. The 2021 version of the Madone SL6 features a lightweight 500 Series OCLV Carbon aero frame that offers an aero cockpit with the ability to clip on aero bars for non-drafting tri events, disc brakes and invisible cable routing. Add the speedy Bontrager Aeolus Comp tubeless-ready wheels and Shimano Ultegra components and you have all that you’ll need for an all-around speedy ride.
Last year Ventum came out with the Z, a chance for triathletes to enjoy the company’s unique design at a more affordable price than the flagship One model. The frame is the same for both, but the Z uses a simpler front end to keep the cost down. This iteration of the Z comes with Shimano’s mechanical 105 components, a Profile Design cockpit that offers lots of adjustability, along with Ventum’s exclusive Enve Carbon race wheels for a race-ready bike that will garner lots of attention in transition.
This story first appeared in the March, 2021 issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada, but there have been some changes from the print version of the story to reflect new models and pricing.