Reviewed: A2 Bikes’ new SP1.2

This article originally appeared on Triathlete

A2 Bikes SP1.2 Tri Bike: The basics

A2 Bikes was one of those brands that business people call a “disruptor”. At a time when most people bought bikes in a bike shop, who bought the bikes from a brand that bought the bikes from a factory (and spent money on research and development, quality assurance, marketing, etc.), AJ Alley thought it would be a good idea even to buy the bikes from the factory and then sell directly to triathletes. A2 Bikes is no longer alone in that model (although the bike brands that sell directly to consumers do not pass on 100% of the savings, mind you), but Alley and his brand enter the 20s with a new line of tri rigs with superbike design and disc brakes.

The big news, apart from the obvious disk-only setup, is that this round of A2 bikes, called the SP1.x series (available from SP1.1 for $ 2,800 to SP 1.4 for $ 8,000), was designed by Kevin Quan– the former senior engineer at Cervelo. A2 spent time with Quan in the wind tunnel on this iteration, and although we have not seen the data, they were probably not there just to hang out and take beautiful pictures.

Below we take a very quick look at the highs and lows of the A2 Bikes new series. For a deeper dive into each of the many features, close-ups and more, check out our extended review.

A2 Bikes SP1.2 Tri Bike: The Good

While Quan’s involvement is remarkable for the pedigree of this new bike line, we still have no facts and figures on how this is related, aerodynamically with other bikes in this price range. The good news is that unlike other brands, the frame you get for the $ 2,800 105-equipped version is exactly the same as you would get with the $ 8,000 Di2 / SRAM Red version. This is trickle-down technology at its best.

Elsewhere, the A2 did a good job of offering four sizes with a fairly wide range, made even more adaptable with deliberate adjustability. In particular, the front end of the new SP1.x series has a stem that allows for more flexibility than the latest version, and the seatpost head has a wide range of front / rear adjustability, allowing for very steep or low effective seat angles and potential customization setups.

In terms of driving, the ride quality of the SP1.2 version we tried was with very basic Vision training wheels, right in the middle between rough and smooth, but absolutely smoother than most under $ 3,500 carbon frames.

A2 Bikes SP1.2 Tri Bike: The not-so-good

As with everything, there is definitely a trade-off when it comes to a cheaper bike. Obviously, the weight is not going to knock your socks off at $ 3,500, and as such, the SP1.2 tipped the weight over 22 pounds for the size XL we tested. That said, the extra pounds or so did not make the bike noticeably harder to climb with, and it would not be difficult to knock it down with some better wheels and / or rods.

On the other hand, we were surprised to find that handling on the SP1.2 required much more rider feedback than most other bikes we’ve tested. It struggled to keep a straight line – either in the aerobars or in the base bars – without almost constant adjustment, even in still winds. Although we got used to it pretty quickly, it required more energy to keep track of, and the fluctuations suffered as well. The aerobars were moderately stacked on the risers (so unlikely the culprit), and the base bars had no unusual adjustments. Nothing was loose and the bike was assembled and inspected by professional mechanics.

A2 Bikes SP1.2 Tri Bike: Conclusions

There may be people reading this and wondering, “Well, how much does swinging and handling really matter on a tricycle?” And yes, even though cornering will not make or break your run, it’s actually an energy-saving blessing for triathletes to be able to check out a bit in the aerobars and let the bike steer on “autopilot”. them.

Elsewhere, though, the SP1.x series is a refreshing update to A2 Bikes’ budget line. Still, the barebones 105 version of the carbon-framed SP1.1 is actually the only bike available today for under $ 3,000 with disc brakes, but Quintana Roo and a few other brands knock on the door with bikes in the mid- to low- $ 3k range .

If you are a new to mid-level triathlete looking for a carbon tri-specific bike with disc wheels, definitely start your search with the SP1.x series for a great mix of design pedigree and trickle-down technology at an unmistakable price.

Related: An in-depth look at A2 Bikes’ new SP1.2 Superbike

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