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Best Beginner Triathlon Bike

– Morning, Trainiacs. We got some bike decisions to make. Go for the OG road
bike, the new road bike? No? Is it a tri bike kinda day? What about the entry-level
Ventum, the Ventum Z? No, no? (grunts) We’re taking the fat bike out for a ride. Now, a lot of the beginner
triathletes out there might be going like, how
many bikes do I need? Well, the answer is, just one. These are bikes that you accumulate over the course of many, many years. Don’t stress about it. And when you’re ready to step
up to your first tri bike, we’re gonna give you some guidance on which tri bike you should get, what you should look
for, and how you should go about buying your very first tri bike, because you wanna make sure
that you don’t pay more than you need to. You wanna make sure that
you’re gonna buy something that has value for a long time. You wanna make sure that your total cost is a really good value. Good bang for the buck. And you’re dealing with
somebody from Winnipeg. I’m professionally cheap. Dealing with a pro, here. (energetic groovy music) We don’t get hills like this in triathlon. What do I do with this. Whoa. However, you don’t see this is triathlon. Just a tad more scenery on the fat bike. Just reviewing that sweet jump footage. That looked way cooler in my mind. I felt like I was so high
up in the air, but not. So, Trainiacs, as you get into, (grunts) get into the sport, a lot of you might be looking at people like me, rolling around transition
with bikes like this that cost upwards of $15,000 and thinking that this
is what you have to do. I assure you, that is
very much not the case. And I can show you by like my experience that you do not need
a super expensive bike to do well in triathlon. And the reason that I know that is because I have done as fast as a 31-minute sprint triathlon, 20K bike. I think it was a 1:04
Olympic-distance triathlon 40K bike on a fairly tough course. And I did those bike splits
with a $600 triathlon bike that I actually got for super cheap because it was in a fire. Like, literally, it was
browned and in a fire. And when I actually qualified for the 2018 Half Ironman
World Championships with one of the fastest
bike splits in the day at 70.3 Austin, I did that on a bike that I borrowed from the local bike shop. It was an entry-level Cervelo P2 with really basic Shimano 105 components. Like, a $3000 bike,
nothing too terribly fancy. You can still put out very
fast times on a tri bike that doesn’t have to look
like this super sexy beast. In fact, in our book,
“Triathlon Bike Foundations,” which has 100% five-star
reviews on Amazon, I outline the start to finish, what’s the first thing
triathletes should buy? What’s the second thing? What’s the third thing? What’s the fourth thing? And it is all the way
up until the 10th thing into the bike that I recommend
that you get a tri bike. Like, it’s way, way into the lifecycle of being a triathlete, because I think that you can do fairly
well with whatever bike you have access to. And it’s not until you say,
all right, you know what? I’ve done a few triathlons,
I’m committed to doing more, I’m gonna be doing this for a few seasons, that you really even need to
think about buying a tri bike. So now that you don’t have to stress about buying a tri bike right away if you’re a total beginner, what happens if you have decided,
okay, I’m in the sport, I’m going to be in for a little while, what kind of tri bike is the
best bike for a beginner? Well, really it doesn’t matter, but I think that there
are three main things that you should consider when you’re buying your
very first tri bike. Number one, I think that if you are buying
a beginner tri bike, and that’s anything that’s under $4000, in that case, try to look
for something that is used. And the reason that I say this is because bikes are like cars. They depreciate very, very quickly. And specifically in that
beginner triathlon bike market, there are a lot of tri
bikes that become available. So A, that makes it easier
to find a good tri bike that’s used, and B, it becomes harder if you buy a more high-end tri bike to end up reselling it and
making your money back. So what you will end up doing, typically, is you will have a beginner tri bike, your first tri bike, and
then several years later, I guarantee you’re going to
want to upgrade from that. And if you have a ton of money into it, you’re gonna take a big loss. But if you’ve already
bought that bike used and it’s still in good shape,
maybe just two seasons old, you can ride it for a season or two and then once you decide that you’re going to be even more into
the sport for lifetime and you can invest
upwards of five to $15,000 on a bike, at that point,
you can potentially sell that bike that you bought used for close to what you bought it for. Now, if you are buying your first tri bike and money isn’t an option and you’re going over the $4000 mark, in that case, then it’s a luxury purchase
and you’re not looking to make money or even preserve
money, buy whatever you like. But if you’re looking
at doing that beginner, entry-level tri bike, ideally
look for something used. Next, and this is a big
thing, with the groupset, with the crank arms, with the shifters, look for either Shimano Ultegra, Shimano Dura Ace, SRAM Force, or SRAM Red. What’s gonna happen is
if you end up buying those entry-level Shimano
105 or SRAM groupsets, when you go to resell that bike, there are going to be a heck of a lot of competitors out there that
have the same components, the Shimano 105 and the comparable
entry-level SRAM groupset. Now, if you have a
slightly nicer groupset, A, it’s going to wear a little bit better, B, it’s going to be
just a little bit nicer to ride while you have the
bike, and C, it’s going to set your bike apart from all
of the other bikes out there because there are so many
beginner bikes out there that are getting resold. If yours has slightly nicer components, it’s going to end up holding
its value a little bit better. And then the third thing is, if I had to recommend one brand over
the other, I love my Ventum. I legitimately think that
it is a game-changing bike because of the lack of the downtube, which I’ll talk about in another video, and they have the Ventum Z, which is their entry-level tri bike, that still lacks that downtube. But for people who don’t
have mechanical experience, they need a bike that basically builds in some sort of protection
for the whoops factor. The what happens if I get to a race and something bad happens? And in that case, you’re
going to be a lot safer if you have a more common bike. Now, I will say, a lot
of the parts and bolts and everything that are on the Ventum bike are so easy to find that
you can go to Home Depot and find them, but its
more specific parts, you’d be better off with one of, we list this in the book here, one of the 10 most common bikes. And what we use for that, in this book, is the top 10 most common bikes at the Ironman World Championship, based on the Kona bike count. And those bikes are
Cervelo, Trek, Specialized, Felt, Canyon, Argon 18, Scott,
BMC, Quintana Roo, and Giant. If something goes wrong
with one of those bikes, and particularly if you
have Shimano components as opposed to SRAM, again, I love SRAM, but Shimano components with
one of those top 10 bikes, at just about every Ironman event, you’re going to have a tent or a booth with a lot of the components and parts that are on those bikes
and are on that groupset. So if something does go wrong at the race, or even at home, and you don’t yet have a really good relationship
with a local bike shop, odds are much better that
they’re going to be able to fix it for you fairly quickly. And then beyond that,
for your first tri bike, if you’re on a budget,
stick to those principles and then just buy any bike
that you like the look of. The color doesn’t matter,
the exact real manufacturer, it doesn’t really matter. The exact groupset, it
doesn’t really matter. As long as you stick to
that ideally, a used bike, ideally, a very common
bike, ideally, Ultegra or Dura Ace components,
you’re gonna have a bike that is really, really fast,
that is easy to work on, that is easy to repair, that has a big kind of built-in buffer for the oops factor,
and you’re gonna be able to resell that bike
when you do want to buy that dream bike in a
few years for very close to what you paid for. And then, all of a sudden,
you can get the super bike. So Trainiacs, I hope that
that guide helps out. If you wanna check out more
things that you should buy, go check out “Triathlon Bike Foundations” at That’s where you can get
the ebook, the audio book, or if you want the paperback book, this little, that thing right there, you can get that at all of the
Amazons all around the world. Go check it out, go buy a bike. Buying bikes are fun. Later, Trainiacs.

Reynold King

25 Replies to “Best Beginner Triathlon Bike”

  1. Love the advice thanks!! My two cents, buying used can be an excellent way to get into cycling and/or triathlon for a reasonable price.. as other commenters have noted there are probably tons of cyclists/triathletes in your area upgrading their equipment! I got my first TT bike (Trek Equinox 9.9) for <$1000 off of Craigslist… make sure you’re on the lookout and be patient! Also, make sure you’re comfortable on the bike… a professional bike fitting can be a huge benefit to a beginner as far as strength and endurance in the saddle!!

  2. Another approach is to buy a good quality road bike first. Put aero bars on it and use it until you are ready for a dedicated tri bike. After you get your tri bike, keep your road bike for the off season.

  3. Great recommendations. I have no shame in shopping used. I have for my bikes for years. This year however, I built up my dream bike. Found a 2017 Cervelo S3 disk Frameset for $900 (used of course), A SRAM red eTap groupset from Amazon on sale new for $900 (they had just announced axs), Bontrager Aeolous 5 wheelset new on ebay for $350, and other odds and ends like bottom bracket, crankset, cassette, rotors, handlebar, stem relatively cheap. All in all, built the bike for just under 3k. At the time, I priced out a new 2017 Cervelo S3 disk with eTap and it was running 8-9k. I slapped some aerobars on and a few blips and I was good to go!

  4. i would suggest get a new old stock bike from a reputable bike shop that does bike fits. save hundreds (sometimes thousands) on a 1,2,3 year old new bike and get fitted at the same time to ensure it fits.

  5. Dura-ace should not even be mentioned in a beginner bike video. the only difference between it and Ultegra is weight. And with trickle down tech the 105 is more than sufficient.

  6. i think the only bike you need for triathlon is a good aero road bike with some level of integration that does not make it tricky and a pair of clip on bars. Then you can do triathlons, climb mountains do some gravel riding with just a few changes like a different pair of wheels and removing the clip on bars

  7. Great vid taren. Off course it is important to that your bike fits you, or you fit the bike, but that is common sense making it logically that you didn't discussed it. Keep the good work up 👌

  8. I dont agree with any of these! Fit is and should be the number 1 thing to think about when buying a beginner bike! Look and color should not go into thinking. Again, brand shouldn't have anything to do with. If a bike fits you perfectly, that is the bike for you. Brand does not matter. This guy does not cater to beginner triathletes. He is just trying to sell his books and get more sponsors. Please, get professionally bike-fitted first, it will save you a lot of time and pain in the long run.

  9. I got into the sport January of last year and the first road bike I bought was a 500 USD Giant SCR. Did three Olympic distance races that got me 7th, 4th, and 3rd place in my age group. I finally bought a 3400 USD brand new Argon 18 E-117. It was super easy to build and it rides great!

  10. All true! I bought my first Tri-Bike used for €650. It is a 2005 or 2006 Specialized Transition. It had Shimano 105 Groupset on it, i changed it into a full (old) Ultegra-Groupset and i got a HED-Aerobar used for €100. Still no fancy Aero-Wheels, but i had a proffestional Bikefit and i´m going to do more seasons on it! In case i can afford a Canyon Speedmax i would change……. 😉

  11. $3k entry level bike!!! Jeez. Maybe dentist entry level. That's more than my main go-to race bike! (BMC Time Machine TMR02 Ultegra.) My tri/duathlon bike is a 10yr old secondhand Planet X Ultegra for $700, with upgraded wheels. Its red so its automatically one of the fastest bikes out there! 😁 You don't need to go nuts. As some of the other posters say, fit is also v. important.

  12. Totally agree with Taren, I won my age group in my last race this year on a £300 2nd hand road bike with clip on aero bars. Would always get a good bike for tho!

  13. Good advice, but i think one of the most important things is: buy a bike that makes you want to go ridding when you see it( even if it’s pouring and you are tired ) because you will ride your bike a lot 🙂

  14. Timing of the season can also make quite i differences. I bought my tri bike (second hand) last year at the very end of the season. There was A LOT of people who bought bikes, tried out triathlon and didn't like it, who was looking to make a quick sale. I got a Specialized Shiv for les than half the retail price – and it still had some of the plastic wrapping on it! So my advice is don't wait until spring where all the other athletes are buying as well 😉

  15. It all depends on how serious you are and experienced. If you are a cyclist, then you already know about bikes and you'll probably want a good one if you don't want to use a road bike. If you are new to cycling and triathlon, then get a cheap one if you are on a tight budget.

  16. After 8+ years of doing triathlon, I finally just bought a tri bike. I did my first 70.3 on an aluminum frame Trek and raced a pretty fast (for me) spilt. I just completed my first IM on a Trek Emonda. Now it’s time for me to see what happens in aero.

  17. On Canyon’s Outlet site I bought a mid-level Speedmax with race wheels and Fizik saddle and it still came in under Taren’s $4,000 mark ($3800 inc tax and fees). Great deals!

  18. Great video, Taren. And great book also. I’ve been following you, and know you did Challenge Roth. Did you ride your Ventum, or if you had to do it again, would you ride a “Roadie” because of the course hills and technicals, and use deep section wheels? Thanks, and keep up the great videos. Bill

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