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.
However if you are purely after the best triathlon bikes for beginners, this is not 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
The Kestrel Talon Tri Shimano 105 bicycle, is by far the most popular entry level tri bike. Is it the best triathlon bike for beginners? Maybe. But it does sport an outstanding bang for your buck ratio that cannot go unmentioned.
Kestrel’s claim is the first name in carbon fiber bikes, and I just may give them that. They have been making carbon fiber bikes since 1986. They have also been doing this with their own molds. So what you get is nothing but bikes that are designed with performance in mind for over 30 years!
They hone in their bikes in an A2 Wind Tunnel and if the bike does not meet quality standards they scrap it and start over. Bike have been vetted at 30 MPH winds and against arduous riding conditions. So you know that the Kestrel Talon is going to meet any conditions you can throw at it on race day.
The other name in entry level triathlon bikes is Diamondback Bicycles. There main contender for the best triathlon bike for beginners is the Serios S Triathlon Bike.
Diamondback bikes are built with the triathlete in mind. They did so by utilizing Formula 1 teams and aerospace engineers to create models to allow adaptable and versatile experiments in wind tunnels and aerodynamics. This will really show when you get to the next Diamondback featured bike!
The Serios carbon frame generates only 50% of the drag of most bikes competing against it. The spacers on the headset ensure you have a proper and personalized fit as well.
The Diamondback Serios S also comes with a HED Flanders C2+ Wheelset, which is an extremely aerodynamic wheelset. If you know from reading our aero wheels guide, there is a lot of benefits and cost associate with aero wheels. So this is a great perk. It's also outfitted with Shimano 105 components. You spend less time assembling this ready to ride package.
The SAVADECK Phantom 2.0 is a striking all 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 a very easy to assemble unit. All you need to do is to put on the front wheel, seatpost, and pedals and you're good to go!
This one is a very beautiful tri bike, a bit over a typical beginner's budget but it's got some great components. This bike comes with Aero Frame Tubing, Precise Carbon Construction, and reduces drag while maintaining stiffness and handling.
But the Eagle T Series isn't just a great looking bike. It is also sporting an array of features that are guaranteed to get you to the next level of cycling if you are coming off of a road bike.
To top it all off, this bike comes with a 100% money back guarantee straight from eagle!
Lastly we have the Stradalli Black TT Full Carbon Time Trial Triathlon TTR-8 Bike. A bike that was designed to shave time off of every ride. In fact this is the most Aerodynamic TT Frame produced by Stradalli to date!
What does this mean to you?
It means that you get an incredibly fast bike and maybe the best triathlon bike for beginners.
So what core features does the Stradalli Black bring to the table? It features a Stradalli 85mmx50mm Carbon Clincher Wheelset as well as a Shimano Dura Ace 900
This translates to Stradalli living up to their featured mission statement:
"Stradalli specializes in ultra-light carbon fiber components. These products are Professionally race tested and put through the strictest quality control process. Stradalli produces frames and components which allow the athlete to realize their fullest potential without decimating their savings account. Stradalli components put the cost conscious cyclist on the same level as the professional who gets top of the line equipment for free through their sponsors."
So if you are looking for a competitive intro bike for triathlons look no further than Stradalli!
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 Kestrel Talon.
I went with this entry level triathlon bike for a few reasons. First off, this Kestrel looks badass!
Also we are looking for a good bike for a beginning triathlete and so 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, that 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 bikes seat post and seat normally sits 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 relive 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 weight 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.