What are the best triathlon bikes for beginners in 2022?

This article originally appeared on Triathlete

One of the first big considerations you need to make yourself as a new triathlete is which bike to ride. Any bike is better than no bike, so if you have an old eight-speed gear, or if a friend can borrow a test drive, great! However, if you are in the market for a new bike, use these guidelines to find the right rig and avoid making a very expensive mistake. So enjoy our selection of the best triathlon bikes for beginners in 2022.

Ready to learn more about triathlon? Check out our complete beginner’s guide.

Get in shape before buying a triathlon bike for beginners

The biggest faux pas many new triathletes make is buying a new bike without getting in proper shape. An uncomfortable bike limits performance and enjoyment of the sport (at least), and even worse, can lead to injuries. The best bike fitters use a dynamic fit bike to get the right geometry from scratch, but even a fitter who works with different models and sizes is better than nothing at all. Online fit calculators and formulas are far from perfect and can easily lead you in the wrong direction. Check the fitter database at ibfi-certification.com, or ask around for a recommendation from some fitters in your area.

RELATED: The 5 keys to finding the right bike fitter for you

Best triathlon bikes for beginners: road or triathlon?

Many new triathletes are best served by road bikes rather than triathlon bikes. Road bikes are versatile and suitable for pretty much anything. Triathlon bikes can be difficult to handle for new riders; they are made to run fast in a straight line and are not ideal for group driving or easy endurance rides. Every triathlete should own a road bike, but not every triathlete should own a triathlete.

RELATED: Road Bike vs Tri Bike: What’s the Difference?

Best triathlon bikes for beginners: aluminum or carbon?

The bicycle frame material makes a difference in the way a bicycle feels. Aluminum rigs can be as light as carbon, but aluminum tends to run harder. Your budget will likely dictate whether your starter bike will be in carbon. Even if you can not afford a carbon frame, you can dramatically improve the ride quality of any bike by equipping it with high-quality tires and keeping them inflated to the appropriate pressure.

Beginner Triathlon bike must-have: Adjustable fit

Your needs for bike care are likely to change as you develop in the sport. All bikes allow you to adjust fit parameters, but some rigs can be limiting or really challenging to adjust. Before you buy, ask your bike shop how difficult it will be to move the position of the handlebars or aerobars. Some bikes are very easy to adjust, but others require a mechanic to make even small adjustments.


Most companies offer bikes for different price ranges with different component packages. When considering which bike is the best value for your dollar, look closely at the components of the rig. Some manufacturers mix and match some parts, and what they offer as Shimano Ultegra or SRAM Force group sets may not be 100 percent as advertised. Group kits work best with 100 percent built-in parts, so look closely to understand exactly what you are getting.

Disc brakes are in high demand these days, and rightly so. They give riders better control in all conditions and are far less cumbersome than rim brakes. Disc brakes also make it easier to switch between wheel sets, so if you need to buy a set of racing wheels in the future, disc brakes will simplify your life. In general, disc brakes cost about the same as rim brakes, and disc brake wheels are getting cheaper and cheaper, so there is no reason not to go with the disc.

Related: Disc Brakes: Do Triathletes Need Them?

Do not try to drive

This may seem counterintuitive, but test rides can be incredibly misleading. There are many factors that influence how a bike feels on a test ride (poor fit, uncomfortable saddle, etc.). Unless a store is willing to customize a few bikes exactly to your fit specifications and then pat on a saddle of your comfort choice, the test ride is likely to be a waste of time.

Related: Triathlon training for beginners: Everything you need to know before your first triathlon

The best triathlon bikes for beginners

Kestrel Talon X

$ 1,700, Shimano 105 11-speed mixer, rim brake, kestrelbicycles.com

The Kestrel Talon X is one of the best triathlon bikes for beginners.

The Kestrel Talon X is one of the best triathlon bikes for beginners.

This budget tri-bike wins big points for the intangible: ride quality. While it may not have the deepest aero tubes in the game or disc brakes, the Kestrel was actually one of the first bike brands to embrace carbon fiber frames, and it can be seen. This is a well-balanced bike when it comes to smoothing out bumps, providing ample acceleration and overall comfort. Although this is the cheapest bike on our list, the frame is a great place to start building around.

Read more about Kestrel Talon X here

BMC Timemachine One

$ 2,800, Full Shimano 105 11-speed, rim brake, bmc-switzerland.com

The good news about this offer of under $ 3k from BMC is that the Swiss brand has not cut any corners – from the crankset to the cassette, this bike is offered with as many as 105 groups, a rare find today. The attention to detail extends to the Profile Design cockpit (again, hard to come up with for just under $ 3,000), the aero shape and the rear storage container behind the seat. Even the saddle is a Fizik Mistica rather than a generic brand or a house brand.

Read about BMC Timemachine Two here

A2 Bikes SP 1.1

$ 2,800, Shimano 105 11-speed mix, mechanical disc brake, a2bikes.com

A2 Bikes was one of the original pioneers when it came to selling bikes directly to the consumer. With the introduction of its excellent budget-price carbon bike, the Speed ​​Phreak, the A2 became synonymous with removing the middleman to get a really good bike for less. In the years since, A2 got a former chief Cervelo engineer to design their all-disc SP line, and although you can not find an A2 bike for under $ 2,000 anymore, the new SP 1.1 is still a deadly mechanical disc setup for under $ 3k with better fit and aerodynamics than the original

Read our full review of the A2 SP1.2 here

Specialized Shiv Elite

$ 3,000, Shimano 105 11-speed mixer, rim brake, specialized.com

In terms of advanced features on a beginner to mid-priced bike, Shiv brings a lot of trickle-down technology along with an 11-speed Shimano 105 mix group kit. Yes, it still has rim brakes (but most do at this price), but it’s a reasonable prey for deep carbon sections and superbike backgrounds. The Shiv is probably also one of the most aerodynamic bikes on the cheaper, $ ~ 3k list, and one of the few with an integrated hydration bladder – either 16 oz. or 20 oz., depending on size – built into the deep carbon frame. The sleek carbon budget tri-frame can come with a small weight penalty, but it is also a very exciting design.

Quintana Roo PRfour Disc

$ 3,250, Shimano 105 11-speed mix, mechanical disc brake, quintanaroo.com

Using the same unique frame shape as the far more expensive PRsix Disc – an asymmetrical seat suspension, minimal fork and powerful aero-downtube – PRFour is a great value for mechanical disc brakes under $ 3,500. Quintana Roo is another great example, along with brands like Canyon, of a company specifically targeting triathletes, and as such, PRfour Disc has tri-specific details such as a rear seat storage system (with a smart built-in light for visibility), a built-in bento box on the top tube for nutrition and the ability to fit a wide range of positions via a very new seatpost head.

Read our full PRsix2 Disc Extended Review here

Cervelo P-Series

$ 3,400, Shimano 105 11-speed mix, cable disc brake, cervelo.com

Although it does not have the wild non-double-diamond design of the PX series or the advanced carbon construction of Cervelo’s new P5, the cheaper P-series benefits greatly from the latter’s trickle-down technology. Using many of the same frame shapes that make the P5 so fast, the P Series is an incredible value in the tradition of Cervelo’s P2 line (RIP). With clean lines provided by a few cables and a setup that is just a disk (cable pull for this budget-three price), the P-Series feels just as good as it looks with a balanced, smooth and stable ride – thanks to a increase in lateral stiffness, according to Cervelos engineers. While the wheels and some components may require an upgrade years later, the P Series has all the bones for a great “forever bike.”

Read our full review of the Cervelo P series here

Argon 18 E-117 Tri Disc

$ 3,500, SRAM Force 11-speed mixer, hydraulic disc brakes, argon18.com

Argon finally left behind options for rim braking in 2022 and now offers their tri-bike at entry level, the E-117 Tri, as a model that is only a disc. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the SRAM Force 11-speed / hydraulic brake setup is far from starting level. For under $ 4,000, triathletes can get their hands on a tri-specific frame set that is known to be very flexible and flexible when it comes to fit (remember what we said far above?). Although the version pictured here is the $ 5,900 Force eTap AXS version, the frame set is the same on both the $ 3.5k mechanical shift setup and the electronic one.

Read more about Argon 18 E-117 Tri with Ultegra Di2 here

Dimond Carbonado

$ 3,500, Full Shimano 105 11-speed (note: no shifters), rim brake, dimondbikes.com

Carbonado is aero at all costs – and it’s also the only non-double-diamond complete bike available for under $ 4,000 in 2022. By using a slightly different beam bike design as opposed to Ventum’s lack of downtube setup on the more expensive One, Carbonado ‘eats one up bumps and provides a smoother ride at the rear than almost all bikes in this price range. While the front end is not surprisingly more raw than the Z, the Carbonado performs better – though it also lacks the built-in hydration of its NDD competitor. Also: Please note that for this budget price / building, the Carbonado has no shifter and only shifts 11 gears compared to every other tri-bike on this list that shifts either 20 or 22.

Read more about Dimond Carbonado here

Canyon Speedmax CF 7 Disc

$ 3,800, Full Shimano 105 11-speed, hydraulic disc brake, 4iiii Precision power meter, canyon.com

Canyon’s low-end model is a favorite for a few reasons – trickle-down aerodynamics from Canyon’s previous high-end bikes (which won several Ironman World Championships), a fantastic hydraulic brake construction with complete 11-speed 105 and tri-details like f. ex. a built-in bento box on the top tube for nutritional storage. Interestingly, in 2022, Canyon replaced the race-ready Reynolds AR58DB wheels from the 2021 model with a shallower set of DT Swiss 1800 training wheels, but (and this is a big “but”) they added a 4iiii Precision power meter to the 105 crankset. This makes the Speedmax CF 7 Disc by far the cheapest complete bike that comes with built-in power – a trend we will hopefully see more of in the future.

RELATED: The Best Triathlon Cycles of 2021

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