Best 2018 Triathlon Bikes
Felt, Cervelo, Trek and Parlee all make nice tri bikes that we carry. None are introducing revolutionary new frames for 2018. Cervelo introduced the revolutionary P5X last year and Parlee introduced the first disc brake equipped tri bike in the TTiR disc a little before the P5X. The veritable Cervelo P2 and P3 have the same frame they have the past couple years, as does the proven Felt IA. On the surface, 2018 looks like it may be a boring year for tri bike buyers. The reality is that 2018 may be one of the best years in a long-time to be looking at a new tri bike.
Why Would You Want to Buy a New Tri Bike for ’18 if so Little has Changed?
- Reliable and proven aren’t bad descriptors. Sometimes new aero designs hold the promise of even more speed, but they can also hold the reality of additional complexity and sorting out. ’18 introduces few new frames, but the designs from a year ago are settled and sorted and stalwart models like the Cervelo P2, P3 and Felt IA models are established and known entities. It is nice to be on a bike that is reliable and familiar as it can mean fewer items to sort out and an easier bike to service.
- While frames aren’t new for ’18, the most popular components are! 2018 introduces a new Ultegra component group. Carrying many of the features of the significantly more expensive Dura Ace group, Ultegra is the most popular performance oriented group on earth. Getting the latest R8000 series Ultegra component equipped bike today means enjoying leading edge components for the next 3-4 seasons. Some triathletes buy a new bike every 3-4 seasons for good reason…
- The maturation of SRAM RED eTap wireless electronic shifting. SRAM RED eTap started shipping in ’17, but has only become readily available more recently. eTap, like Shimano’s Di2 electronic, works great on aero bikes. You get rid of the cable friction compromises caused by all the bends and twists of internally routed aero cables and you gain the benefits of being able to shift from multiple hand positions.
- Gen 2 TT disc brakes. Many tri bikes, especially those with under the chainstay and integrated fork designs, aren’t known for their braking performance or consistency. Disc brakes address these compromises. SRAM has introduced a hydraulic TT lever for ’18, which ups the performance benefits over caliper brakes even more. Disc brake equipped bikes, like the Cervelo P5X and Parlee TTiR disc may appear more complicated, but surface appearance doesn’t always tell the full story. The Cervelo P5X may actually be the easiest to pack tri bike on the market, making it a great choice for those that travel to race.
A Few of Our Top Tri Bikes for 2018
- “Bolt on Race Wheels and Go” Value. Felt IA10. The Felt IA10 hits the sweet spot for many riders as it checks off the Di2 elec
tronic shifting boxes and provides a chassis that comes out of the same mold (and thus has the same aero shape) as the top of the line bike for under half the price. While it doesn’t fit everyone, the Felt IA geometry does work for a wide range of riders. Add a pair of race wheels to a Felt IA10 and go superbike hunting… $4999.
- Superbike. Cervelo P5X. While the P5X doesn’t offer notable additional aerodynamics over the P5 or other superbikes on the market, the rider being suspended without a seat tube isolates the vibrations that get to the rider and helps the rider maintain better aerodynamics longer and conserve energy. This is a big benefit. The P5X also offers one of the lowest standover heights of any tri bike and features disc brakes and a slick aerobar that not only allows for quick adjustment, but makes the bike the fastest to pack on the planet. It even has its own carry case. The Cervelo P5X is available with Ultegra Di2, Dura Ace Di2, SRAM RED eTap or as a frameset for 2018.
- Upgrade Waiting to Happen/Entry Level Value. Cervelo P2. The Cervelo P2 remains the best selling tri bike on earth. At $2800, it offers the same frame (albeit a different fork) as the P3 and a workhorse component spec, making it a great value of the level frame it offers. The combination of a friendly frame geometry and a very adjustable aerobar makes the P2 a good fit for many riders with minimal changes needed out of the box while straightforward cable routing and brake placement makes it one of the easier TT bikes to service. The P2 is also well worth slapping a pair of aero wheels on or upgrading to electronic shifting as your budget allows, so it is a great growth bike.
- Best “I want something different, but won’t compromise performance to get it.” Bike. Parlee TTiR. Disc brakes make for undiluted brake performance. Parlee makes for great ride quality and eye-catching beauty and custom spec and finish options that won’t look (or ride) like what your friends have. If you want a unique and special tri bike, the Parlee TTiR is well worth a close look.
Contact us to learn more about what tri bike, power meter, race wheels, hydration and other options can help you PR in 2018!
I am looking a good triathlon bike for my training and at the same time use it for future competitions. I’ve experienced my first and last triathlon on 1996. Now I want to come back and try my endurance at the age of 56. Hopefully I can manage my schedules for this challenging come back.