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The best road bikes for triathlon

Throughout the year the 220 team test and review some of the finest road bikes for triathlon on the market, priced between £950 and £11,000. Here are the road bikes we considered the best for triathlon; all scoring 85% or more.

Road bikes balance lightness, stiffness, handling and comfort, with just a little focus on aerodynamics thrown in. This is because they’re designed to perform well over a multitude of surfaces: for short sprints of a few seconds or long slogs over several hours; on tight courses with many corners or long straights; against buffeting winds; in close contact within bunches of other riders; or on lone rides.

>>>Triathlon bike versus road bike

>>>How to turn your road bike into a triathlon bike

Bianchi Oltre XR4


Speed was the goal during this bike’s development and Bianchi approached it from two directions. The first was aerodynamics, the highlights of which include a more slender, tapered head tube with an air-piercing ‘nose’ and a reduced 1.4in lower bearing; a new bowed fork that reduces pressure caused by forward rotating spokes fighting incoming air in a small space; and a new profile for the down tube and seatstays. 

The frameset is fantastic. It’s stiff under hard efforts, the handling is balanced and neutral, and it’s compliant, though the 25mm tyres do lots of the work on poor surfaces. The bar has pleasingly long drops but no Garmin mount, can’t take clip-ons and comes in limited sizes. The Fizik saddle isn’t suited to tri use but the post to which it’s mounted is – you can flip the head from +25mm setback to -10mm for a glute-friendly forward position.

What we said: Fast, light, comfortable, adaptable and very tri-friendly, but costly 90%

Read full review


V02 V:Pro:Carbon 


Kent-based V02 have been around since 2009 when they launched the Victory tri bike, and have continued to upgrade and expand their range ever since. The V:Pro:Carbon is their signature road racer, and now comes specc’d with full Ultegra Di2 instead of a Sram groupset following ‘feedback from customers’. Throw in some seriously racey Reynolds Strike carbon wheels (over £1.2K on their own) and you have a very good value package with plenty of speed credentials, despite the frame not being out-and-out aero road geometry. 

We said: The test build isn’t for everyone, but price and customisation options make for a fast, good value racer 85%

Read full review


Pinnacle Dolomite 5 


Evans Cycles’ house brand, Pinnacle, has earned a reputation for sensible, smartly specced bikes offering considerable value for money.

At this price we don’t expect premium levels of refinement or race-bike stiffness, but it’s a solid all-rounder that won’t beat you senseless over potholes or sap your enthusiasm on the climbs. The subtly curved seatstays and skinny post do a fair job of cushioning your rear, while the saddle is, if anything, too soft – we’d swap in something more supportive in the long run.

What we said: A rounded performance and great versatility in a remarkably affordable package 86%

Read full review here


Boardman Air 9.9 (Brownlee Signature Edition)


On first impressions it's impressive just how integrated everything is - to the untrained eye it may not look as space-age as a fully aero road or TT bike, but on a club ride and at a local triathlon it turned more than a few heads. Hidden front brakes and a rear brake located below the bottom bracket mean there's minimum airflow disruption, and a four-bolt saddle clamp allows you to adjust the seatpost angle for an ultra-aggressive position.

We said: A very fast ride with top components for short-course tri. In any version, the Air 9.9 is a stunning bike 89% 

Read full review here


 Giant’s Propel Advanced Pro 1 


The point Giant’s Propel Advanced Pro 1 demonstrates most clearly is what a difference a complete package makes. Plenty of manufacturers make aero road bikes and, for the most part, those bikes exist in the most expensive region of the price spectrum. 

All three complete-bike models in its Propel Advanced Pro stable come with deep-section wheels. They’re Giant’s own wheels, which obviously helps from a pricing point of view, but nevertheless they all have approximately 50mm of aero profiling. And, in the case of the Propel Advanced Pro 1, it makes a noticeable difference to the way the bike performs. 

The Propel Advanced Pro 1 goes for £2,600, which isn’t exactly cheap. But when you consider the fact that you’re getting a Shimano Ultegra groupset and full-carbon aero wheels, you begin to see what a bargain it is. 

What we said: A complete aero package that's practical, great value and great to ride 94%

Read the full review here


Eastway Emitter R4 


Eastway has returned, backed by Wiggle. So what can the partnership offer in the training and race-day stakes? We ride their sub-£1k offering to find out.  

The R4 is based around a lightweight (1kg) carbon frame with a matched carbon fork, which is impressive for a bike with a sub-£1,000 price. On to that frame is bolted a full Tiagra groupset, Shimano wheels, Ritchey components and classy finishing touches like Continental tyres and a Fizik Aliante saddle.

Overall, as a debut for the re-invention of Eastway, the Emitter is an impressive one, and it’s certainly a strong new entry in the competitive £1k, carbon-training-and-racing bike market. It’s just a shame the online-only availability means test riding for many is going to be tricky.

What we said: A seriously good bike, with class-leading equipment and a ride to match 91%

Read full review here

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