Top triathlon bikes and helmets

Bike tips from a pro triathlete

Triathletes in general are kit junkies and with three different sports to buy for and so many top brands there is a lot of choice out there. Sometimes you won’t know where to start, especially when it comes to the bike. 

Written by Will Clarke

Will is a British triathlete. He's a former U23 World and European Champion, competed at Beijing 2008 and has twice been British national champion.  He now competes on the World Ironman 70:3 circuit.

At the top end of the field it pays to have the best equipment and you’re certainly at a bit of a disadvantage if you haven’t got the best. You can literally pay as much as you want for bikes, especially once you start to add on aero wheels and power meters. However for the average triathlete it doesn’t really matter too much, especially if you’re an amateur who’s just looking to get round and enjoy your race. 

Time trial bikes

Time trial (TT) bikes are generally more expensive than road bikes but road bikes can also do a perfectly good job at getting you around a Triathlon in good shape. If you are able to spend a bit more and get a TT bike though then it’s definitely worth it. 

I am lucky enough to ride one of the best bikes on the market, a BMC Time Machine 01. It’s a luxury bike that’s for sure, and my race bike has a SRM Power meter and I usually use a Pro Disc wheel and Shimano C75 front. This is the top level bike, but they also do cheaper versions with slightly downgraded group sets to suit the buyer. BMC also obviously have a great range of road Bikes which are also fantastic and you see many of them on the race course.

BMC’s biggest rivals are Giant, Cervelo and Specialized. The bikes produced by all these manufacturers are all amazing.  However I can also recommend Boardman Bikes who have a large range of bikes to fit all budgets, and if you’re just starting out in Triathlon, some very fairly priced road bikes.

Top triathlon bikes and helmets

Choosing a helmet

After a good fast pair of wheels, helmets are the next biggest time saver for a rider. Primarily the helmet is there to protect your head, but the helmet you choose can make a big enough difference to your speed on the bike. There are so many helmets on the market to choose from and to get the maximum benefit from it you need to find the one that suits your position. 

Aero helmets with the pointy tail are designed to fill the gap in your back when time trialling, however they are terrible if you are someone who can’t keep their head facing forwards and still. If you are someone who sits up often and looks around then you’re probably best suited to a rounded helmet. This is all marginal gains, so if you’re an amateur doing a triathlon for the first time please don’t worry about just using your training road helmet with all the vents.

I use the Giro Attack and the Giro Selector.  I more commonly use the Attack as it tested fastest for me on the track. This is mainly because I sometimes struggle to hold the tail down into my back but it’s also a helmet that keeps you cooler then a full face aero helmet. 

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