The Most Excessive Triathlon Bike Upgrades

If you’re thinking of the most exotic—and pricey—bike upgrades as gifts for a special triathlete, you’ll want to add these to your shopping list. Plus, interested in one of these out-of-this-world upgrades but don’t have the funds? Lower cost options are also included, because you don’t have to break the bank to upgrade your ride.

bike wheels

Photo courtesy of Magura

Lightweight Fernweg 60 Clincher Wheelset, $9500

With a price tag that surpasses that of many complete, top-tier bikes, this German-made deep wheelset is both aerodynamic and wickedly light at just 1560 grams for the set.

Lower Cost Option: Deep and wide aerodynamic wheels from Bontrager—at a much lower price point—have tested faster than narrow, light wheels on all but the longest and steepest Alpine climbs.


powermeter

Photo courtesy of SRM

SRM Powermeter, $2999

The German-made SRM powermeter has been used by UCI pros since the early 1990s and until just a few years ago was the dominant brand used by pro triathletes. SRM has been proven durable, reliable, accurate, precise and light.

Lower Cost Option: A Stages L Powermeter provides a wealth of data—and you don’t have to ship it to a servicing center for a battery change.


bottle cage

Photo courtesy of Parlee

Parlee Arundel Mandible Bottle Cage, $75

There’s little question that your hydration bottle will stay put, even on the worst roads. At just 28 grams (claimed), this cage is barely there.

Lower Cost Option: A nylon version—Arundel Sport—will hold your bottle in place at a fraction of the cost.


bike saddle

Photo courtesy of Dash

Dash TT.9 Saddle, $499

Those who have ridden the most minimal saddle from Dash swear by it. It’s not just light; it’s designed to comfort women and men while training and racing.

Lower Cost Option: Saddle weight should never be prioritized over saddle comfort. Get a bike fit, and inquire about a saddle testing program to help you find a bike saddle that meets your specific needs.


brake calipers

Photo courtesy of Lekki8

Ciamillo Lekki8 Limited Edition Brake Calipers, $749 per set

These featherlight stoppers can accommodate wide rims and fat tires up to 32mm. They are claimed to weigh a scant 129 grams per pair (BYO brake pads, cables and levers).

Lower Cost Option: We like the security that “full-bodied” brake calipers offer. Drop weight from your bike by using latex inner tubes. These tubes weigh less than standard butyl tubes, and also offer decreasing rolling friction and improved flat-resistance while enhancing ride quality.


bike component

Photo courtesy of CeramicSpeed

CeramicSpeed Ti printed Jockey Wheels, $1700

Save at least 2.4 watts over a stock derailleur pulley system with these printed titanium spinners. Why are the pulleys bigger? A larger turn radius for chain wrap means less friction—which means more speed at any given effort. This setup weighs in at 52 grams (claimed), and the printed titanium is said to last three to five times as long as the material used for stock jockey wheels. Accommodates up to a 32-tooth cog.

Lower Cost Option: Before modifying stock components on your drivetrain to decrease friction, consider reducing tire rolling resistance first. Checking tire pressure with a digital pressure gauge is cost-effective even if it doesn’t look as cool.


bike chain

Photo courtesy of Muc-Off

Muc-Off NanoChain, $199

Buy a Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo chain treated with Muc-Off Nanotube Speed Film Lubrication, and you could experience 10-watt savings over a similarly-treated Dura-Ace chain from CeramicSpeed. The Muc-Off treatment is claimed to last upwards of 400 miles in dry conditions and to 250 miles of cycling in wet conditions.

Lower Cost Option: Clean your drivetrain to reduce friction, and apply Muc-Off lubricant as needed.


bike handlebar extensions

Photo courtesy of Enve

Enve Road Bar Clip-On Extensions, $395

If you’re not quite ready to buy a new triathlon bike, convert your road bike to be tri-ready with clip-on bars from Enve Composites. These bar extensions will allow you to get into an aerodynamic position and can be easily installed and removed when not needed. Plus, they come in at just 525 grams per set (claimed).

Lower Cost Option: Profile Design ADL aluminum clip-on bar extensions 420g (claimed) weigh less on your bike and on your wallet.


bike pedals

Photo courtesy of Speedplay

Speedplay Nanogram Zero Titanium Pedals, $630

The only thing that connects you to your bike are your pedals; you can stand up and ride with no hands, but you’re still on your pedals. The 130 grams per set Speedplay Nanogram Zero Titanium Pedals just might be the lightest production bike pedals created and will keep you connected even when you’re laying down huge watts.

Lower Cost Option: The Speedplay Ultra Light Action, at just $130, do everything the more-expensive versions do, even if they weight just a bit more.


bike tire

Photo courtesy of Soyo

Soyo Seamless Road Racing Tire, $499/tire

The carcass of these Japanese-made sew-ups looks more like it was extruded than bound. The 1000tpi silk casing—and price—sets these tubulars apart from other race tires.

Lower Cost Option: Unless you’re racing in a Keirin on a wooden track, check out the new top-of-the-line Continental Grand Prix 5000 clinchers at $79 per tire.


cycling shoes

Photo courtesy of Rocket7

Rocket7 Custom Cycling Shoes, $2,300

Nothing feels better than the fit of bespoke apparel. To help match your unique needs for custom cycling shoes, a video meeting with a Rocket7 designer is required before a custom-fit casting system is shipped to your door.

Lower Cost Option: Although 2016 Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet wears Rocket7 shoes, recent 3-time UCI Road World Champion Peter Sagan wears Specialized S-Works shoes coming in at $399.

READ THIS NEXT: 25 Bike Upgrades for $25 or Less

About the Author

Greg Kaplan,

A lifelong endurance sports athlete, Greg raced bikes on the road as a junior prior to changing his athletic focus to rowing. Upon retiring from elite rowing competition, Greg revisited his passion for racing bikes and also added some swimming and running into the mix, competing at the ITU Age Group World Championships on multiple occasions. He and his wife Shannon—also a rower, bike-racer, and triathlete—enjoy traveling, learning about wine and keeping up with their rescue cats when they are not training or racing.
A lifelong endurance sports athlete, Greg raced bikes on the road as a junior prior to changing his athletic focus to rowing. Upon retiring from elite rowing competition, Greg revisited his passion for racing bikes and also added some swimming and running into the mix, competing at the ITU Age Group World Championships on multiple occasions. He and his wife Shannon—also a rower, bike-racer, and triathlete—enjoy traveling, learning about wine and keeping up with their rescue cats when they are not training or racing.

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