2022 Buyer’s Guide: Triathlon bikes
A look at some of the hottest rides available for triathletes in 2022 (including a few off-road options)
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent supply chain issues have made finding a bike more than a bit of a challenge these days, so those in the hunt for a new bike in 2022 are in for a rough ride. It might take you a while, but if you can be patient, you’ll have a chance to get your dream bike. We have a look at a mix of different options in this year’s guide – everything from triathlon super-bikes to draft-legal road machines to the machines that are quickly becoming the go-to “second” bike for many triathletes – gravel bikes.
Canyon Speedmax CF8 Disc
With many of the same frame features we’ve seen the likes of Lionel Sanders and Jan Frodeno ride to some amazing bike splits, the Speedmax CF8 Disc features outstanding aero performance. The aero cockpit is easy to adjust thanks to the Canyon H30 Basebar and Profile Design Aerobar. You get Ultegra mechanical components with disc brakes, along with DT Swiss ARC 1600 (62 and 80 mm) wheels, for a bike that’s ready to hit the racecourse as soon as you get it out of the box. This is a bike on which you’ll have no excuses – the basics are there for a great performance. The rest is up to you.
Argon18 E-117 Tri Disc SRAM Force 22
The E-117 gives you many of the same features you’ll see in Argon18s most expensive triathlon bikes in a much more affordable package. While the Vision Team TC 30 wheelset isn’t super aerodynamic, a set of faster wheels will be a logical upgrade down the road. With that addition, there’s nothing holding you back from a top performance on this bike. The SRAM Force components combined with the Rotor VEGAST24 Aero crankset ensure you’ll be able to get the most out of your power output on the E-117, while the disc brakes provide rock-solid and sure braking. The cockpit is extremely adjustable to allow you to dial in an aero and comfortable position.
Specialized S-Works Shiv Disc
The Shiv Disc is all about triathlon – this isn’t a bike you’ll see in any tour events. The S-Works version comes with nothing but the best: Dura Ace components with hydraulic disc brakes, S-Works Power Cranks for all the power data you’ll want or need and super-aero, lightweight Roval Rapide CLX Disc wheels. The aero frame is optimized for crosswinds and offers hydration and nutrition Fuelcell systems so you won’t have to worry about losing valuable time while fuelling accordingly. The frame comes in four sizes and offers lots of adjustability on the front end, so you can dial in a perfect fit. The bike is also designed to be extremely easy to break down for travel, too.
Felt B Performance Ultegra
Felt was one of the pioneers when it came to triathlon bike design, and the company remains a mainstay on that front. The B Performance offers a triathlon-specific, aerodynamic carbon frame with 11-speed Shimano Ultegra components. The combination of a regular road stem with Felt’s Bayonet basebar allows for lots of fit adjustability. You get tubeless-compatible aluminum wheels which can be upgraded down the road for a speedier race-day set up.
The P-Series is a bike that rides surprisingly like its expensive and super-aero big brother, the P5, thanks to the disc brakes and extremely stiff and responsive frame. Like the P5 there’s lots of adjustability to ensure you can dial in a perfect fit – anything from a more relaxed upright to an extremely aero position is possible. In keeping with Cervelo’s attention to storage that began with the groundbreaking P5X, modular storage remains integral – the Smartpak 400, Aerobottle 500 and Rear Hydration Mount are included with all versions. Available with Shimano 105, Ultegra or Ultegra Di2 gruppos, all the models feature Zipp’s Vuka cockpits.
Scott Plasma RC Pro
Another triathlon-specific bike, the Plasma RC Pro offers outstanding aero performance while keeping the price down compared to the company’s flagship “Ultimate.” You get the impressive Plasma 6 Carbon, HMX Frame that features lots of aero features including fully integrated hydration and storage systems, along with hidden cabling to keep things nice and clean when it comes to cutting through the wind. Add to that Shimano Ultegra Di2 components, Zipp 303 Carbon tubeless disc wheels and a very adjustable Syncros Creston iC Tri handlebar with carbon extensions and you have a bike that’s truly ready for a fast day at the races.
Trek Speed Concept SLR 7
Our cover “model” for this buyer’s guide issue, the latest version of the Speed Concept announced last fall is the fastest bike Trek has ever tested. The new design features a lightweight carbon frame that uses Trek’s IsoSpeed technology to smooth out the ride over rougher terrain. The integrated fuel and hydration systems mean you can easily access all your nutrition needs on the fly, without compromising any of the aero qualities of this speedy bike. The SLR 7 model comes with Ultegra Di2 components, the Speed Concept integrated cockpit and Bontrager Aeolus Pro 51 tubeless ready wheels. In addition to looking good enough for a cover shoot, the bike rides as fast as it looks.
Liv Avow Advanced Pro 1
Liv makes women’s specific bikes, which makes fitting the Advance Pro 1 that much easier. The lightweight frame uses AeroSystem Shaping Technology and an Advanced-grade composite layup that’s tuned for a female rider. The aerovault system integrates hydration and storage into the bike to enhance aero performance. Ultegra Di2 components provide precise, electronic shifting, while the Giant P-A2 wheelset provides aero performance, too. Those looking to pull out all the stops on this bike need only upgrade to a more aero wheelset.
Pinarello Grevil Force eTap
Gravel is becoming one of the most popular types of riding these days, and those looking for a top-end gravel bike will want to check out the Grevil. The frame uses T700 Toray Carbon that provides outstanding lateral stiffness while dampening vibration, so you get a great mix of performance and comfort. The Force electronic shifting and disc brakes will allow you to push to the limit on any gravel terrain. While it might look like a work of art, this is a bike designed to work as hard as you will through even the roughest terrain.
Ventum GS1 SRAM Rival XPLR AXS
Starting at US$4,199
We’ve all seen the unique Ventum triathlon frames, but the company also makes some impressive road and gravel bikes, too. The GS1 is a speedy, light and comfortable gravel bike that will handle all kinds of trail and dirt-road efforts. The bike features a longer top tube and slacker steering to ensure you’ll stay comfortable during your gravel-riding days, while the SRAM Rival electronic shifting ensures precise, accurate shifting, which you’ll appreciate when you’re pushing to the limits.
Ceepo Katana Disc
Frame: $3600. Model with Force AXS with FSA wheels: $5,500
Designed to work well for a variety of different length courses and terrain, the Katana is an all-around tri-specific bike that features aero performance, comfort and speed. With a frameset that comes in at just 1,195 g, this is a bike that can be built up to be super light, all while being extremely aero as well. If you’re the type of rider who likes a lot of variety to your rides but still needs a bike designed to be ridden on aero tri bars, the Katana disc is well worth a look.
Cube Nuroad C:62 Pro
Triathletes have been spending a lot of time on gravel of late, and those looking for a high-performance bike for those off-pavement days will no-doubt be interested in the Nuroad C:62 Pro. The lightweight full-carbon frame is paired with Shimano’s gravel-specific GRX 1×11 groupset so you’ll get the most out of your efforts, while the hydraulic disc brakes provide lots of stopping power. It all adds up to a great mix of comfort and performance to add to the fun of some off-road exploring.
Quintana Roo PRFive2 Disc
Quintana Roo is another of the sport’s classic bike manufacturers, but the PR series is now lighter, includes disc brakes and offers options for integrated hydration. Frame stiffness is improved by 12 per cent so you’ll get more power transfer from every pedal stroke, when it comes to travel, the PRfive2 Disc disassembles with ease. For this price you get Shimano Ultegra mechanical shifting and Shimano’s RS370 disc wheels. Like Canyon, Quintana Roo now sells bikes online, so it’s easy to upgrade and personalize your bike with everything including wheels, power meters, colours, top tube storage options and more.
This story originally appeared in the March, 2022 issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada