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.
Photo courtesy of Magura
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.
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.
Photo courtesy of Parlee
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.
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.
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.
Photo courtesy of CeramicSpeed
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.
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.
Photo courtesy of Enve
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.
Photo courtesy of Speedplay
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.
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.
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.
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