Fast For Less: Three Affordable Tri Bikes

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Sep 27, 2012
  • Updated Feb 19, 2013 at 11:31 AM UTC
Photo: Nils Nilsen

These aluminum tri bikes—priced as affordably as any—have all the essential features you need to ride fast and comfortably. We road-tested them to help you find the best match for your riding style.

Specialized Shiv Elite A1 Apex


Any bike fitter will confirm that comfort, not a low position, is the key to a fast ride. If you’re most comfortable in an upright position, the Shiv is a perfect match. This frame is optimized for a high bar position, and the tall and adjustable bars further complement that riding style.


Thanks to the omnidirectional adjustment offered by the aerobar and reversible seat post, the Shiv can span an incredibly broad range of positions. Both front and rear shifting is crisp. Wide gearing options (52/36 chainrings with an 11-28 cassette) help you stay connected at high speeds while still offering spin-able gears for steep hills.


Road vibration is more subdued when riding the Shiv. It corners with incredible precision and stability, and turns a little more deliberately and quickly when riding in an upright position than the Blue.

RELATED: 10 Tri Essentials For $50 Or Less

Next »

FILED UNDER: Bike / Gear & Tech

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at

Sign up for our free e-newsletter, SBR Report!

Subscribe to the FREE Triathlete newsletter