Tag Archives: Bikes

Triathlon Bike Research (manflu content)

I appear to be suffering from a heavy dose of manflu which has stopped me training, it has however lead to plenty of triathlon bike research. Now to be clear, I don’t need a new bike, but everyone knows the n+1 maths for how many bikes you need to own… Additionally, some folks would call me utterly obsessive when it comes to new challenges, and they’d probably be absolutely right. When I get an idea in to my head I can spend hours, days even weeks meticulously researching it before I actually do anything. Next I become a fully fledged ‘all the gear and no idea’ guy and finally I usually get injured. So this time has been interesting for me, but maybe not so much for my wife!

Whilst I’ve been unable to train, which fingers crossed won’t be for much longer if I can just get rid of this cough, sore throat and find my voice again, I’ve been researching proper triathlon bikes again. As you’ll know from reading my blog, yes all 4 of you… I currently have a Trek Madone 2.1 which I have to say is a lovely bike; despite the fact that I keep falling off it due to clipping out issues. Yet, I know that as and when I get more into triathlon I am going to need (read, want) a proper triathlon bike. I am sure there will be numerous ways of justifying this to myself, but ultimately it’s just that they look amazing and genuinely are quicker. In all honesty on Sprint and Standard distance events I probably won’t notice much difference but as I have longer distance plans in mind it seems completely logical to get one now. Doesn’t it?

I have found myself trawling all over the place, do I want mechanical, probably SRAM Red22 or electronic, definitely Ultegra Di2? Or do I wait to see what the new SRAM Wireless stuff is going to bring to the table? After that I obviously need something that fits into the colour scheme. And finally I don’t want a Cervelo. That latter point is based solely on the fact that I don’t like to follow the crowd whilst acknowledging the fact it’s probably the best choice, I just don’t want one. It’s arguably the same reason I actively avoid BMW’s, that and the atrocious build quality.

Dream League Triathlon Bikes

Like everyone else in the world of triathlon bikes we all have dreams, I’d love a Scott Plasma Team, but at £8499 it’s a touch pricey. Additionally the Cannonade Slice Black is rather lovely but that’s about the same price. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the Trek Project One website too and that’s also rather silly money, but the colour scheme issue is dealt with. We’re talking about £7k for what I want from them… Probably top of the dream list is the Wilier Twin Blade, but the price is more than the others…..

Scott Plasma Team Edition Triathlon Bike
Scott Plasma Team Edition
Cannondale Slice Black Inc Triathlon Bike
Cannondale Slice Black Inc
Trek Speed Concept 7 Project One Triathlon Bike
Trek Speed Concept 7 Project One
Wilier Twin Blade Triathlon Bike
Wilier Twin Blade

Mid Table Triathlon Bikes

Next up we have the mid priced options, Cannonade do a ‘lesser’ version of the team which has Ultegra Di2 but as always with triathlon bikes comes with crappy wheels, so at £3999 it’s not too crazy, but you need to budget at least £1500 for some decent aero wheels. Equally Scott also do a cheaper variant but they come with no electronic options so whilst they look cheaper, assuming the standard cost for aero wheels again, we’re still talking around £4500! At this point the Specialised Shiv becomes an option, the bike (with crap wheels) is around £2500 so all in we’re at about £4000…. still got fairly mediocre gears though with 105’s fitted now!

Cannondale Slice Ultegra Di2 Triathlon Bike
Cannondale Slice Ultegra Di2
Scott Plasma 10 Triathlon Bike
Scott Plasma 10
Specialized Shiv Elite Triathlon Bike
Specialized Shiv Elite

Vaguely Realistic Triathlon Bikes

So finally, to where I think i’ll be starting, I think we’re down to either the slightly cheaper version of the Shiv, or waiting until it’s on a blowout deal (the local Specialized Concept Store recently sold an ex demo Pro version with the fancy wheels for £3000, so that’s worth a look!) or either of the BMC Time Machine TM02 which appeals for some quirky reason, but it’s still £2300. Or finally the Fuji Norcom Straight 2.5, it’s a base spec in terms of components but so are the prices to replace them… at £1600 it’s almost a bargain!

I guess I’ll need to go ride them when I can, which leads on to the next rant, finding a store that has them. Locally I have Epic Cycles who stock Cannondale and Scott. The Specialized Concept Store is in Birmingham and then Evans Cycles are the sole carrier of BMC and Fuji in the UK but they’ve only got stock of both models at their central warehouse in Gatwick!

BMC Timemachine TM02 Triathlon Bike
BMC Timemachine TM02
Fuji Norcom Straight 2.5 Triathlon Bike
Fuji Norcom Straight 2.5

And after I got home, a couple of late entries to the field. I present the Merida Warp Tri 500, which scores very highly on the colour scheme and not too bad on the components – the wheels could actually be useful without needing to be replaced immediately. The same can be said of the Felt B12 which has top end Dura Ace components, slightly let down by the front shifters and crank but hey… the best bit about these is they are £2600 and £1999 respectively. Even better news is I seem to have stumbled across a dealer who carries the majority of the above bikes that I like – welcome Tredz Bikes who carry Scott, Cannonade, Specialized, Felt and Merida, thus I could try all of the realistic options except for the BMC and the Fuji.

Felt Bicycles B12 Triathlon Bike
Felt Bicycles B12
Merida Warp Tri 5000 Triathlon Bike
Merida Warp Tri 5000

Even later entries, i’d forgotten the direct supply options, both of which offer amazing back for buck. The Dolan is just over £2000 in the spec I like (Ultegra mechanical) but comes with genuinely usable aero wheels, even though they’re alloy braking. The Canyon is even better value based on the complete spec of Ultegra Di2, full carbon aero wheels etc… but it is £3999!

Dolan Scala Triathlon Bike
Dolan Scala
Canyon Speedmax CF Triathlon Bike
Canyon Speedmax CF

Of course I could just buy a frames and build my own…. oh god, help me!

Kona 2014 Bikes that caught my eye

Seen as I can’t do anything other than lie down and take it easy following my operation I’ve resorted to watching highlights of past Ironman events on YouTube, speccing dream bikes and cars to carry the stuff around in… Sad isn’t it!? That combined with reading lots about it lead me to realise that there are quite a few Kona 2014 bikes that I rather like.

I’ve created a few galleries of bikes that have stood out to me from the lead up to Kona 2014, photo credits are added where applicable but apologies if I’ve missed you, please let me know and I’ll be sure to credit appropriately. You’ll notice that my main reason for liking the bikes below are that they more or less fit into my colour scheme. Sad again, but hey!

Frederik Van Lierde – Custom Cervelo P5

Pictures courtesy of Triathlete.com and trimax-hebdo

I can’t find too many details about it this at the moment other than it’s a relatively standard Cervelo P5 with a number of custom graphics pertaining to his family, Belgium and his current status of defending champion with his winning time from last year. The biggest difference from standard that I can see is that rather than being DuraAce DI2 throughout he is using a Rotor QXL Q-Ring with a large chainring of 54 teeth, Rotor Power Meter and from the triathlete link ceramicspeed bearings and a paraffin wax lubricated chain from Friction Facts; with a guaranteed saving of 5 watts. Mavic CXR80 T wheels as before, slowed down with very clean and aero looking Swiss Stop Yellow Kings, hydraulic at the front. Some more official data is out now and I’ve updated the above – thanks to triathlete.com

I’ve been harassing Cervelo about making this colour scheme available, here’s hoping Frederik wins again this year and they can release it as some sort of commemorative model.

A minor thing, I’m glad to see that the top mount nutrition holder doesn’t have to be held on with velcro either.

Linsey Corbin – Trek Speed Concept

Pictures courtesy of Slowtwitch.com

Whilst not quite my colour scheme I do love this bike. I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing around with Trek’s Project One system and am currently in to the tune of around £9,000 to get the bike I want, which as far as specification goes isn’t a million miles from this. Linsey is using in house brand Bontrager Aeolus 7 and 9 wheels, SRAM Red with a Quark Power Meter and 55/42 chain rings with an 11/26 rear cassette.

Victor Del Corral – Cannondale Slice

Pictures courtesy of Triathlete.com

I’m clearly showing a lot of brand loyalty here… But as I said it’s all about the colour scheme as at this stage I’m quite certain the biggest weakness is me and not the bike!

The Cannondale Slice does intrigue me though, I love the shape of it, it’s not too fussy but looks right from every angle, it certainly seemed speedy enough under the likes of Chrissie Wellington too!

Specification highlights include 3T Mercurio LTD 80 Clinchers, DuraAce Di2 with an O-Symetric chain ring (56/44 equivalent – eek!) and Ceramic Speed bearings in the dérailleur pulleys. Not sure I’m keen on having to Velcro a nutrition box on though, surely some sort of standard mount like bottle cages should be standard by now?

Jodie Swallow – Scott Plasma 5

Pictures courtesy of Triathlete.com

An obvious reason why I’d love this is that my real name is Scott. It’s a shame that the colour scheme isn’t quite right, the 2014 models were perfect so there is hope!

One of the features I love about the new Scott bikes is the integrated nutrition that aids aero performance. I’m no aerodynamicist so don’t know the exact details but still feel that Specialized have nailed it with the Fuelselage but I’m pretty sure they’ve patented that so we won’t be seeing it anywhere else! This seems pretty decent though and certainly looks great.

Jodie seems to be using a relatively standard setup, apart from, like many others, a Rotor Power Meter but unlike others uses round 165mm crank arms. Otherwise DuraAce Di2 all round, although like Victor Del Corral she too uses Ceramic Speed components in the rear dérailleur. Sponsored by Enve the presence of their wheels is hardly surprising and why not when they look this good!? Those custom designed aero bars are a thing of beauty too, incredibly aero too – look at how close the bars and pads are together!

Random other bikes

Pictures courtesy of trimax-hebd

Some older style Trek Speed Concepts, a Giant Trinity, Cannondale Slice and my other leading contender a Specialized Shiv. Oh and a random picture of the SRAM Red R2C (Return to Centre) bar end shifters which are the best out there for me. I just don’t seem to get on with the Di2 electronic shifters, possibly due to the size of my hands and thumbs!