There’s no way around it, triathlon requires a lot of stuff. If you’re new to triathlon, you don’t necessarily need to shell out for everything right away, but there are some things you can’t do without. Like a helmet. I picked 13 of my favorite bike things for triathlon — some of them totally necessary, and others that just make us feel like pros.
How we made our decisions
There’s a lot going on in a triathlon — it’s three sports in one — so there’s a lot of equipment. A lot to remember, pack, and get set-up. So, I picked accessories that make everything about the bike portion a little bit easier. This gear helps you be your best, in training and in racing.
1. Best triathlon water bottle: Camelbak Podium Ice
No matter the distance, staying hydrated is key, and the bike leg is the best time to drink up. One thing that makes hydration much easier — especially on a hot training ride or in a race — is having a cold beverage. Designed to fit a variety of bottle cages, along with an easy squeeze design to ensure more liquid with less effort, Podium is equipped with a self-sealing cap for less spills and splatters. This bottle will keep your water or hydration mix cool and refreshing throughout your ride.
2. Best triathlon helmet: Smith Podium TT
Maximize your speed, vision, and protection with the Podium TT helmet. Using Smith's proven Aerocore construction featuring Koroyd, it combines protection and aerodynamics. The VaporFit adjustable system gives a precise fit while the oversized exhaust vents provide maximum ventilation without the added drag.
3. Best triathlon GPS: Garmin Forerunner 745
With so much to think about in transition, you want a watch that makes tracking your entire triathlon a breeze. The Forerunner 745 makes everything simple. It provides elevation changes with a built-in barometer; altimeter, and electronic compass help you keep your bearings. It also includes a wrist-based heart rate monitor, and keeps track of your FTP and VO2 max.
4. Best triathlon hydration system: XLab Torpedo Versa 500
If you’re ready to step your tri bike setup up a notch, invest in a hydration system. This helps you stay aerodynamic and makes drinking easier. Instead of reaching for a bottle, you’re simply sipping from a straw. The Torpedo Versa keeps everything in one place — easy to use and access. Raise the computer mount up to tuck in a Refill Bottle for race day, or seamlessly lower it down for a standard bottle on training days. Compatible with Garmin & Wahoo bike computers and multisport watches. Also compatible with Polar and strap-mounted computers.
5. Best triathlon light: Light & Motion VIS 180 Pro tail light
If you love to train in the early morning hours or after work, a bright tail light is a must. We use this light no matter the time of day. The Vis 180 Pro gives cyclists unmatched visibility with 180 degrees of dedicated lighting. Powerful red LEDs coincide with high-intensity amber side lighting giving riders peace of mind. Simple and secure seatpost mounting allows tool-free removal and installation between various bicycles. Micro-USB charging gives users a straightforward solution to charge almost anywhere.
6. Best triathlon shoes: Mavic Cosmic SL Ultimate Tri
In the stressful swim-to-bike transition, simpler is better. That's why we love Mavic's Cosmic SL Ultimate Tri shoes. They have one big velcro strap so you can quickly secure your shoes and ride on. This model is super-efficient, thanks to a carbon fiber sole that's stiff enough to let you put power to the pedals and even ventilated to keep your feet cool. Especially for Ironman-distance events, comfort is king!
7. Best triathlon bike travel bag: Sci Con Aerocomfort 3.0 TSA Triathlon Bike Travel Bag
One of the best parts about racing triathlons is traveling to new places. A good case helps you safely transport your bike and gear. The Aerocomfort Triathlon 3.0 TSA soft-shell bike case with an internal bike stand makes traveling with a tri bike as easy as possible. What makes this bag stand apart from others is the combination of the internal bike stand that locks your bike into place and a proprietary outer shell that is shaped to keep your handlebars, aero bar extensions, and seatpost in place.
8. Best triathlon backpack: Huub TT Bag
By now you're realizing that triathlon requires a lot of stuff! Organize all of that equipment and never forget something crucial with the Huub TT Bag. The whopping 40-liter Huub has a pocket or place for everything: Zip-away helmet cradle, waterproof storage for your wetsuit, storage compartments for shoes and helmets, multiple pockets for essentials, and so much more!
9. Best clip-on triathlon aerobars: 3T Clip On Pro S-Bend Riser Kit
Before you go all-in on a tri bike, it might be a good idea to try clip-on aero bars on your road bike. The 3T Clip-On Pro S-Bend Risers have a subtle S-bend that helps your hands stay low and aero. It’s certainly not the same feel as a dedicated tri bike, but it gives you a great taste for aero position.
10. Best triathlon saddle: ISM PR 1.0 Saddle
Both in training and racing, your saddle can make all the difference in the world. All of the ISM saddles are nose-less, which relieves pressure on soft tissue areas to ensure maximum blood flow for a more comfortable ride. ISM’s Performance Recreation (PR) saddles are based on the same platform as ISM’s Performance Short saddles, but feature extra padding for all-day comfort.
11. Best triathlon power meter: Garmin Rally RS200
Power is the best way to track your bike training progress. The Garmin Rally RS200 delivers reliable power measurements and is easy to transfer between bikes no matter what bike you’re on or where you’re riding. These pedals precisely measuring your cadence, power, and more using sensors in both pedals. The RS200 allows you to sync data to your favorite apps for analysis, data sharing, and pacing.
It’s easy to go from a casual weekend warrior to a serious athlete. But there are all kinds of accessories out there to help you, no matter if comfort is at the top of your list or speed is the priority. Whatever your goals, we always suggest a pro bike fit and a coach for training guidance. Beyond that, have fun with the bells and whistles that come along with the sport. And remember, you don’t have to go all-in on every bit of gear for your first race. Just enjoy the process and add gear as you see fit.
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