First time or entry level triathletes usually have a relatively limited budget due to the high cost of many elements of triathlon (wetsuits, race entries and travel cost). Often the same bicycle will be used for both training and racing, so a versatile mid-range bike is likely to be the best option. A carbon bike is ideal both for maximum speed and comfort for long fixed periods in the saddle. If the cost is prohibitive then comfort can be added to an aluminium cycle through carbon components, such as seat posts, forks and stems. If the bike is likely to travel extensively overseas, then an aluminium model is likely to be more durable.
Clip on triathlon bars are the norm, rather than a full time trial set up. The price range for an entry level bike is £600 - £1000.
More experienced triathletes upgrading to a higher specification will find that their unique position and size will narrow down the choice available. At this level of racing and investment, the frame is likely to be carbon and include a full time trial set up with bar end shifters. The longer the distance raced, the more comfort and speed will be gained from a full time trial set up rather than clip on bars. Brands with an excellent range of cycles at this level include Giant, Isaac and Felt. The price range for a higher specification triathlon bike is £1000 - £2000.
Elite (non-international) triathletes will use high specification time trial bikes which range from £2000 - £5000. International elite level riders are permitted to draft and therefore a full time trial set up is not allowed.