Buyer’s Guide: Bikes
2012 Super Bikes
Triathlon bikes get even faster
Cervélo’s launch of the P5 (see sidebar) was, in part, a step back from the super-bike era we’ve seen in triathlon racing over the last few years. Simply Faster is the tag-line that’s going along with the P5, a comment on the increasingly elaborate designs we’re seeing in the triathlon world these days. At the highest end, there’s never been a more competitive batch of bicycles for triathletes to choose from, all providing incredible aerodynamics and performance. Good luck trying to pick one from the list – from where we’re sitting that would be an impossible task.
You’ll see the top-of the line Di2 electronic gruppo on many high-end bikes this year. Manufacturers have worked hard to ensure that their frames hide all the cables for these incredible components and most even provide a hidden compartment for the battery. Shimano also released an electronic version of it’s next-in-line gruppo, Ultegra, last year. In descending order from there are the 105, Tiagra and Soragruppos.
SRAM Red SL R2C Aero Shifters
A number of top-end bikes come equipped with SRAM’s Red gruppo, which is due for a slight re-vamp this spring, but remains both impressively light and reliable. The Force gruppo, which is next in line, provides great value since it’s not much heavier than Red and renowned for it’s reliability. A number of bikes will also come with the next two gruppos in SRAM’s line up: Apex and Rival.
The legendary Italian component manufacturer is making a move back to the triathlon world in 2012 with their Triathlon and Time Trial components. While there aren’t a lot of manufacturers offering the Campy gruppos on their bikes, pairing a frameset with the Campagnologruppo of your choice is certainly an option.
Triad SL $11,60
We raved about the Triad SL in our January issue (TMC, Vol.7.1), which came equipped with Di2 and super-sleek Reynolds 81 Carbon Clincher wheels. ($11,600). Going with SRAM’s Red gruppo will save some money ($9,800) and still provide an awesome racing bike. The Triad EX-W comes with the SRAM Force Women’s gruppo and goes for $5,000. For those looking at an entry level Blue bike, the Triad AL offers all the aero features of it’s faster brethren, but comes with Shimano’s Tiagra 10-Speed and sells for $1,800.
TimeMachine TM01 $7,088
Andreas Raelert managed to move his TM01 at record-setting pace in Roth last year, setting a world-best time for the full distance. This super-aerosubA Carbon frame and integrated aero-hinge fork on the TM01 help this bike fly. It will set you back $7,088 set up with SRAM’s Red gruppo. The TM02 is pretty much the same bike as the TM01, but comes with a standard fork and non-integrated brakes. It goes for $4,425.
Slice Carbon 4 Force $3,200
Ridden by Chrissie Wellington to more than a few Ironman wins and records, the Cannondale Slice frameset is aptly named with its aerodynamic styling. The full-carbon Slice frames are available as the Carbon 4 Force with SRAM Force components ($3,200) or as the Carbon 5 105 with Shimano’s 105 components.
You can read about Cervélo’s incredible P5 in the sidebar, but it might be a tough bike to find for the early part of 2012 – it looks like demand is far outweighing availability for Cervélo’s latest speed-machine. That doesn’t mean you still don’t have some great Cervélo options, though. The P4 (starting at $6,200) remains one of the most aerodynamic bikes on the planet, the P3 (starting from $3,350) has claimed more Ironman titles than any other bike and the P2 (starting from $2,800) is a fantastic aero-option for those looking for a slightly less aggressive position.
As one of the sport’s original innovators, Felt offers one of the most complete line ups of triathlon bikes. The DA1 ($9,999 without wheelset) is the latest and greatest from the California-based company and comes in 14 percent more aerodynamic and 13 percent stiffer than previous DA models. It’s optimized for Di2 shifting and has an integrated battery mount. Towards the midway point of Felt’s extensive lineup is the DA4W ($4,199), which offers the same aerodynamic shape as the DA1 (as do the DA2, DA3 and men’s DA4), but offers a women’s fit and Dura Ace components. The entry-level aluminum S22 comes with SRAM Apex components ($1,799).
Trinity Advanced SL 0 $12,899
The super-aero Trinity Advanced SL has powered Tour de France riders and Ironman champions (TimoBracht seems to keep winning on his) to impressive times. In addition to the aerodynamic, light and responsive frame (the super-stiff PowerCore bottom bracket helps power you through the course), the AeroDrive stem/handlebar unit helps cheat the wind. The Di2 optimized model with Zipp 808 wheels will set you back $12,899. The Trinity Composite offers a lightweight aluminum aero frame and Ultegra/ Dura Ace derailleurs for $3,199.
Xenith T2 Di2 $11,950
The Xenith T2 Di2 ($11,950) offers an incredible number of wind-cheating features including hidden brakes (the rear sits behind the BB, while the front is tucked in behind the fork) and an aero-profiled frame, which integrates Shimano’s Di2 components. The Xenith T1 ($4,717) has the same Windshield aero fork, but comes with SRAM Force and Rival derailleurs and American Classic 420 wheels. The entry-level Comet ($2,448) has an aluminum aero frame and Ultegra/ 105 derailleurs.
Gennix T1 Ultimate $11,950
The Gennix T1 Ultimate ($10,000) combines a UHM carbon frame with the GarneauUni-T Aero monocoque fork for a speedy aerodynamic package. Add in the Di2 components and you have the makings of a very fast machine. The bike comes with Shimano training wheels so you can pick the speedy wheel set of your liking to complete your race day package.
Ordu GDi2 $11,824
The Ordu frame is designed to maximize both aerodynamics and stiffness to ensure the optimal transfer of power. There are two levels of carbon used in the various Ordu models – Carbon Gold and Silver. The Ordu comes in seven models in a variety of combinations of frame material and components. The Ordu GDi2 ($11,524) uses the Carbon Gold material and comes with, of course, Shimano’s Di2 gruppo along with Zipp 808 wheels. The GDR ($6,974) offers Zipp 404 wheels and Dura Ace components. The Ordu SLE ($2,999) uses Carbon Silver material and comes with a combination of Ultegra and 105 components.
Plasma2 Ltd $10,199
Considered one of the premier developers of innovative carbon fibre for it’s frames, Scott remains at the top of the aerodynamic pile with it’s Plasma series. The top-of-the-line Plasma Premium ($10,199) uses Scott’s latest Plasma 3 carbon frame and integrated Plasma 3 HMX-Net fork. Using SRAM’s Red gruppo and a combination of Zipp 404/ 808 wheels, the Plasma Premium is dialed in for maximum performance. The Plasma 10 ($4,399) offers Scott’s Plasma 2 carbon and Dura Ace components, while the Plasma 20 ($3,699) uses the same frame but comes with the Ultegragruppo. Rounding out the Scott line up is the Plasma 30 ($3,299) which uses Shimano 105 and Ultegra components.
Shiv S-Works Di2 $12,800
Launced at last year’s Ironman World Championship, Craig Alexander rode his S-Works Shiv Di2 to an impressive 13-minute PB and a new course record in Kona. We reviewed the Shiv in our January issue (TMC, Volume 7.1) and had nothing but great things to say about this super-aerodynamic bike. The S-Works Shiv ($12,800) uses a FACT IS 11r carbon frame with an integrated hydration system inside the down tube, along with Di2 components and Zipp 404 wheels for a super-speedy set up. The Shiv Pro SRAM Red ($5,429) uses a FACT IS 10r carbon frame (that still utilizes the integrated hydration system) and comes with SRAM’s top-of-the-line gruppo and DT Axis wheels. The Shiv Expert ($4,749) uses the same frame but comes with Dura Ace/ Ultegra components. Rounding out the Shiv lineup is the Shiv Comp Rival ($3,519) with SRAM Apex components.
Volt TT $4,899
The Volt TT ($4,899 with Ultegra) offers a carbon monocoque aerodynamic frame with an adjustable seat post that can be set for between a 74- and 78-degree seat tube angle. The Chrono TT ($4,099 with Ultegra) is a super-lightweight time trial frame that also offers a very adjustable seat post.
Aero 2 IS $8,575
The Aero 2 IS pulls out all the aerodynamic stops, offering integrated carbon brakes in the fork and rear (you try and find those brakes in the picture) and an innovative stem-handlebar unit that’s all optimized for Shimano’s Di2 gruppo. The Aero 2 IS will set you back $8,575 for the frame, Scapula fork, hidden carbon brakes and integrated carbon aero bar. The Aero 2 ($6,175) offers a Stiletto 2 Aero fork and the integrated carbon aero bar, but doesn’t have the hidden carbon brakes.
Speed Concept 9.9 $9.500
The Speed Concept series was three years in the making, but all that time led to an incredibly aerodynamic frame that has led the way in more than a few races over the last few years. Julie Dibens powered hers to an Ironman 70.3 World Championship, while Chris Lieto missed setting the bike course record in Kona by a handful of seconds on his, despite the windy conditions. Their riding the top-of-the-line Speed Concept 9.9 ($9,500)uses 600 Series OCLV Carbon and hides all the cables, brakes and event the wheel quick releases and comes with SRAM Red components and Bontrager Aeolus 6.5 wheels. There’s even an integrated box behind the seat tube not only holds essentials, it improves the aerodynamics. There are 14 different Speed Concept models in total. Below the 9 series is the 7 series (starting at $2,520), which uses 500 series OCLV Carbon and comes with a variety of gruppo and wheelset options. The entry-level Speed Concept 2.5 ($2,100) utilizes a 200 Alpha Series aluminum frame and comes with SRAM Apex components. Women Specific Design (WSD) models are also available.