Best Triathlon Bikes for Beginners
If you are reading this guide I am assuming you have logged a few triathlons under your belt and are now looking for the best entry-level triathlon bikes.
If you are purely after the best triathlon bike for beginners, this is the article for you!
This article is all about entry-level tri bikes. And while they might be entry-level please keep in mind that a triathlon or time trial (TT) bike is expensive!
If you are dedicated to the sport and are looking to take your biking leg of the race to the next level then a tri bike will get you there, the performance improvements are amazing!
But make sure you are ready to make that jump and investment.
Still here? Good!
Best Triathlon Bikes for Beginners
Before we go into what makes a good triathlon beginners bike and what it can do for you, let’s first go through our list of recommended entry-level tri bikes to get an idea of what they look like
SAVADECK Carbon Road Bike
All SAVADECK bike parts are from world-class manufacturers. SHIMANO / CAMPAGNOLO speed and brake system, TORAY Carbon Fiber, Fizik Saddle, CHOSEN Hubs, and MICHELIN Tire. All those parts make SAVADECK Bikes outstanding and set them on a great path to be an outstanding intro bike!
- TORAY Carbon Fiber Frame, Fork, and Seat post – It’s a lightweight and stiff carbon road bike at 20.6lbs.
- SHIMANO SORA 2*9 Speed with Shifter lever, Front derailleur, Rear derailleur.
- Fully-internal cable routing ensures clean airflow over the entire bike.
- Oval concepts 6061 Alloy 40MM Wheelset and MICHELIN 25C Dynamic Sport Tire.
- Factory direct bicycles and accessories, offering factory direct value and industry-leading products.
Tommaso Forcella Endurance Aluminum Road Bike
The Tommaso Forcella is built for those looking to experience the vibration reduction and weight savings of a premium carbon fork. They use a full Shimano Claris groupset, for maximum consistency and performance in all moving parts, making the Forcella perfect new and intermediate riders.
- DURABLE & RELIABLE: Lightweight Aluminum Compact Frame combined with a HCT Carbon Fork for added vibration dampening and weight savings, backed up with our industry leading Lifetime Frame & Fork Warranty. Frame is drilled for all varieties of racks and fenders, making the Forcella a great commuter
- POWERFUL PEFORMANCE & SPEED: 3×8 Shimano Claris Groupset, featuring a 30/39/50T Claris crankset and 12x25T Claris cassette. Perfect for varying terrain, from flats to hills, offering a wide range of gears for all levels of riders in all conditions
- PRECISION SHIFTING: Shimano Claris STI shifters provide smooth and consistent shifting in all riding conditions. By keep a full groupset, Tommaso bikes offer a level of performance shifting and responsiveness that the competition can’t touch
- OPTIMIZED FIT FOR ADDED COMFORT: Compact frame geometry and premium compact handlebars offer increased power and comfort in a sleek package. Every part of the Forcella is designed for maximum comfort and efficiency, so you are getting the most out of every ride, whether it is 10 miles or 100 miles
SAVADECK Phantom 2.0 Carbon Fiber Ultegra
The SAVADECK Phantom 2.0 is a striking Carbon Fiber road bike perfect for beginners. Designed in the wind tunnel, this frame is light and aerodynamic. The seat post, seat tube, and stays are all aerodynamically designed.
The Phantom 2.0 comes with a Fi’zi:k Saddle, 800k Carbon Fiber Wheelset, and Michelin Pro 700x25c Tires. It even comes with free pedals which is usually a rarity for tri bikes. SHIMANO Ultegra R800 2*11 Speed with shifter lever, front derailleur, rear derailleur, brake, and freewheel components are also included.
Lastly, it is very easy to assemble the unit. All you need to do is to put on the front wheel, seat post, and pedals and you’re good to go!
- TORAY T800 Carbon Fiber Frame, Fork, Handlebar, Seat post and Wheelset – It’s a lightweight and stiff carbon road bike at 7.8kg (17.2lb), also designed to offer more compliance.
- SHIMANO Ultegra Group Set – SHIMANO Ultegra 8000 2*11 Speeds with Shifter lever, Front derailleur, Rear derailleur, V Brake, 50-34T*170mm Crankset and 11-28T Freewheel – It enables you to start and operate your ride effectively, smooth shifting and durable.
- Designed in the Wind Tunnel, the stays, seat post, and seat tube are aerodynamically contoured; fully internal cable routing ensures clean airflow over the entire bike; The tapered head tube strengthens the torsion rigidity and give riders a better handling.
- Fi’zi:k Saddle, 800K Carbon Fiber 50MM Bearing Wheelset (88mm is optional, please remark) and Continental Ultra Sport II (C304 SL) Wire 700x25C Tire. Free Pedals Included.
- Mostly assembled complete road bike, which is ideal for cycling beginners and enthusiasts.
Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike
The Vilano Shadow is the latest version of this speedy road bike. This entry-level bike is well suited for commuting, exercise/fitness, or weekend club rides. Featuring brake lever integrated shifters (14 speeds), a lightweight 6061 aluminum frame with an integrated headset, and internal cable routing. The integrated shifters offer precise and controllable braking and shifting in a convenient single unit designed for the road. The Vilano Shadow is a fun bicycle that will take you everywhere. While the assembly of this factory direct bike is simple, it takes time and specialized tools. We highly recommend bringing it to a local shop for a safety check/tuning by a qualified bike mechanic prior to riding and at regular intervals thereafter.
- Integrated Brake Lever/Shifters mean controllable braking and shifting in a convenient single unit designed for the road
- 6061 Double Butted Aluminum Aero Frame w/ Integrated Headset & Internal Cable
- Wheelset: 700c Doubled Walled CNC Machined Side, 700c x 25c tires
- Brakes: Caliper
- Free pedals included
Schwinn Fastback Tourney AL Adult Performance Road Bike
- Equipped with Schwinn road-tuned N LITENED GOLD triple-butted aluminum road frame and aluminum fork, this bike is designed to provide performance road geometry for expert level riding
- Shimano AO70 14 speed STI shift/brake levers with Shimano front and rear derailleurs provide seamless gear changes
- Promax aluminum caliper brakes deliver precision stopping power. Alex X2200 double-wall rims with Schwinn aluminum road hubs Alex X2200 double-wall rims with Schwinn aluminum road hubs offer high quality performance without weighing you down.
- Schwinn sport saddle and performance bar tape provide comfort on each and every ride.
- 700c wheel size fits adult riders 5’4″ to 6’2″ in height. Includes a limited lifetime for as long as you own the bike
So now the moment you have all been waiting for.
What is the best triathlon bike for beginners?
This was a tough decision for me but I had to go with my next bike upgrade which is going to be the SAVADECK Phantom 2.0 .
I went with this entry-level triathlon bike for a few reasons. First off, this SAVADECK looks badass!
Also, we are looking for a good bike for a beginning triathlete and so the price point has to come into play here. And nothing is beating the Kestrel Talon in this market.
It has all the key features you would want in a triathlon bike and only needs some aero wheels, which can be found at the higher end with Zipp wheels or Eagle wheels. Or you can go a more budget route with a pair of aero wheels that will still get the job done.
And as for the storage compartment for nutrition, there are plenty of aero water bottle holders that have this integrated! So no need to pay thousands for this extra frame feature
Instead, you should focus on getting the best entry-level triathlon bike you can get, which also has room for growth. The Kestrel Talon provides you with that option and it is why we proudly call it the best triathlon bike for beginners.
Why you want a triathlon bike
Before we dive into the specific entry-level triathlon bikes let’s talk about what you will gain by adding a tri bike to your race arsenal.
Triathlon bikes are built to set you up better for the run. That is their main purpose.
How does it accomplish this?
A Tri bike is set up to put you a lot further forward to open up your hip angle. The bike’s seat post and seat normally sit over the bottom bracket of the bike. And the frame on a triathlon bike will generally run-flat and parallel to the ground.
This creates a 90-degree angle on a tri bike for your hip angle vs an 80-degree hip angle on road bikes.
All this is done to relieve pressure from your hips and glutes to save your legs for the run portion of your race. This is the overall concept of an aero position in triathlons.
Pretty cool, huh?
Are there other differences in a beginner triathlon bike?
Aside from the aforementioned items, there is not much difference between a high-end road bike and a triathlon bike as far as components go. But if you are looking for the best triathlon bike for beginners there is one important feature that it needs to have.
All Triathlon Bikes should be made out of carbon. I did some hunting around and was unable to find any that had the frame built out of any other material.
If you happen to find that occurrence… DON’T BUY IT!
It would not be a good entry-level triathlon bike and would not last you long before you would be looking to upgrade to a faster material.
The main reason for this being that carbon bikes bring a lot to the table. So if you are looking for the best triathlon bike for beginners, well you need the best material.
For instance, carbon triathlon bikes tend to weigh around 400 grams less than an equivalent aluminum bike. What does that mean for roads?
Well in this test a carbon bike performed 25 seconds faster with the same power output over a short course. When you compound this time difference over a triathlon or ironman distance you are shaving minutes off your overall time!
Triathlon Bike Shift Difference
There are a few other differences in triathlon bikes to note.
Triathlon bikes shift you off the drops of a road bike and onto the aero bars. The aero bars on a triathlon bike however are also where the gears are located. The brakes however are NOT located on the aero bars, so you do have to change hand positions if you need to brake. But who brakes in a race! 🙂
Triathlon Bike Nutrition Compartment
Another difference that you probably won’t find in even the best triathlon bikes for beginners is a built-in nutrition container onto the frame.
In very high-end triathlon bikes, frames are now starting to have compartments for all your gels and chews located right behind the aero bars. For an entry-level triathlon bike however this is cut out from all models I researched, I am assuming to keep the cost down. Most triathlon bikes I saw that included these were north of $7000. Small price to pay for a nutrition container!
Triathlon Bike … No pedals included?!
Lastly, and brace yourself if you are completely new to buying a triathlon bike.
Triathlon bikes do not have pedals!
Yep, you read that right.
Even the absolute best entry-level triathlon bike will result in you needing to pick up a pair of pedals or you are going to be in for a rough time trying to ride your new bike.
Fortunately, you can pick up a really good pair of Shimano Clipless Pedals for cheap. No need to break the bank on fancy pedals especially after your tri bike purchase.