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!
Let’s get down to the fun part and talk about some triathlon bikes!
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.
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?
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!
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!
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!
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.
Well now that we have gone through some differences, and how picking up an entry level tri bike is going to help save you for the run. It is time to crack into the list of the best triathlon bikes for beginners.
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 F 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 F also comes with a HED Jet 5 Expresso Aero 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.
The Kestrel 4000 Shimano Ultegra is another homerun from Kestrel. As mentioned prior Kestrel has been making Ironman competition bikes for over 30 years and the Kestrel 4000 is no different. Not only does it contain all the great testing and carbon fiber features as all Kestrels have but it also contains additional features as well.
The Kestrel comes with Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Stick 700 23c tires. It has Oval Concepts 750 basebar and clip on aero extensions. As well as, Oval Concepts 720 crankset with a 52/36T chainring
It features a smooth shifting system via the Shimano Dura Ace Tech on 2x 11 speed bar shifters. And Shimano Ultegra derailleurs and cassettes for that smooth gear transition that is a must have in the best triathlon bike for beginners.
Ready to look super sexy on your entry level triathlon bike! Then look no further than the Andean 1 by Diamondback Bicycles. If this list was based on looks this would be the gold medal winner!
But the Andean 1 isn’t just a good looking bike. This bike was made in collaboration between Kevin Quan Studios, external aerodynamic experts and Diamondback with the goal of creating a fast aero bike!
The design team truly made a bike that defies drag at every yaw angle on this bike. It offers SRAM Force 1 1x11 drivetrain with streamlines shifting. And a HED Ardennes Plus LT wheelset, which is not only lightweight and strong but is tubeless compatible.
To top it all off, it earned media recognition for smashing course records! Thus making it an obvious contender for the best triathlon bike for beginners.
Lastly we Fuji Norcom Straight 1.1 triathlon bike. A bike that was designed to shave time off of every ride. In fact, during design they worked side by side with Olympian Matty Reed and Pro Triathletes Sarah Haskins and Cameron Dye to address issues from a professional rider point of view.
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 Fuji Norcom Straight bring to the table? It features a C10 carbon frame and FC-330 carbon fork technology. This translates to an overall improvement to response and of course aerodynamics!
The team at Fuji also made adjustments to the rear brake cavity and went with a BB86 bottom bracket to improve the stiffness of the frame and the crank itself. This accounted for a 26% increase in stiffness which directly correlates to faster times for the triathlete!
You also get a SRAM Red eTap drivetrain and a mid-compact 52/36 SRAM Red carbon crankset. And then of course there is the wheelset.
The Norcom 1.1 features deep dish Oval Concept 980 Carbon Wheels, 700c 16/20H aero carbon rims! This wheelset alone normally MSRP’s for $1500!
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.
Hey there, my name is James and I am the creator and editor of this site. I have been doing Triathlons for a while now and am competing in 70.3 Ironman's as well come this year. I created this site to help those new to the sport and to share my journey with other athletes.