Race week in Kona for the Ironman World Championship isn’t just a chance for the triathlon world to catch up with their favourite pros, it serves as an opportunity for manufacturers to launch their latest speed machines. Usually we get to see the pros put the new tech to the test along the Queen K highway, but that was all lost in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, while we have had the chance to check out some of the new 2021 models, it feels like we’ll be on hold to really case out some of the latest speedsters until sometime next year.
That doesn’t mean we can’t anxiously look forward to the new bikes, though!
Here are a few that we think triathletes will be keen to check out next year. These are models that have undergone more than just cosmetic and spec changes this year.
We got a chance to check out the new Ceepo Stinger earlier this year, a super-light aero road bike, and are very much looking forward to checking out the new Katana, which weighs must 1,080 g in a medium size. Like the Stinger, the 40T high modulus carbon fibre frame promises to provide the best of both worlds – agile climbing and fast cruising. As with so many new bikes these days, the latest iteration of the Katana features disc brakes. Andy Potts rode the new frame at the PTO 2020 Championship at Challenge Daytona earlier this year.
Here in Canada we’re anxiously awaiting Canyon’s expected spring arrival so we’ll be able to order bikes without having to have them shipped from the US, and it’s hard not to imagine that there will be a Canadian run on the new Speedmax models. The likes of Lionel Sanders and Jan Frodeno will no-doubt continue to rip things up on the high-end CF SLX and CFR disc models, which test out nine to 10 watts quicker than the previous edition of the Speedmax and feature a frame that is lighter, stiffer and handles better, too, thanks to improved weight distribution.
As awesome at the high-end Speedmax bikes look, what’s possibly more exciting is the CF Disc. Starting at at US$3,799, the CF Disc is an aero wonder – according to Canyon it is only 0.2 watts slower in the wind tunnel than the bikes Frodeno and Patrick Lange used to win in Kona. In addition to the remodelled tube design, the CF Disc features “a new Bento box, a new toolbox above the bottom bracket and an aerodynamically optimized fork with flat-mount disc brakes.” The bikes feature Profile design parts “for high levels of adjustability” and some models will come with power meters.
Announced during what would have been Kona week in October, Scott’s latest iteration of the Plasma 6 looks to an impressive improvement on the previous edition of the Plasma. Alistair Brownlee and Sebastian Kienle were both on the the new bike at the PTO 2020 Championship in Daytona. (Unfortunately Kienle had to pull out of the race due to an injury.) The bike certainly looks quick, though, and features an interesting downtube set up with a gap to the front wheel which is said to reduce drag in real-world riding conditions.
The new bike features lots of new storage and fitting options, and, as has become the norm with new tri bikes these days, disc brakes.
Yes, we featured this new frame on our March, 2020 Buyers’s Guide issue, but it still feels like we haven’t really had a chance to see this new “Ventum for the people” put through its paces yet. We’re looking forward to seeing more of the innovative frames in transition areas next season thanks to the more affordable (starting at US$3,499) Z, which uses the same frame as the Ventum One, but has a simpler front end to keep costs down.
Another Ventum bike we’re anxious to check out is the company’s new GS1 gravel bike, which offers “off-road comfort and versatility without sacrificing speed.”
Other models to look forward to?
It feels like we’ve been waiting for Trek to revamp its Speed Concept, and we wouldn’t be surprised if that happens in 2021. Cervelo launched a few new frames in 2019 and seems to be determined to help retailers out by not rolling out anything new until they can get rid of all their 2020 inventory – while low- and mid-range road bikes flew out the doors of most bike stores in 2020, triathlon bike sales weren’t nearly so robust. Cervelo did announce some new colour schemes and specs to the P- and PX-series along with the flagship P5 in August and September, but we’re not expecting anything new from them for a bit. Giant has a new 2021 version of the Trinity Advanced Pro listed on its website which retails for $300 more than the 2020 version – its a rocket, for sure, helping Gustav Iden rip through the bike course in Daytona on his way to his big win, but doesn’t appear to be dramatically different to the 2020 bike. Will Giant add disc brakes to that frame some time in 2021?