Gear Upgrades That Really Matter

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Oct 23, 2012
  • Updated Oct 31, 2014 at 4:40 PM UTC
Photo: Nils Nilsen

For The Every-ride Thrill Seeker

If you think it’s crazy to drop thousands of dollars on a set of race wheels only to leave them hanging in the garage for dozens of training rides, you’re probably looking for quality gear that you can enjoy on every ride. This versatile kit will fit the bill on weekend group rides, in tri training and during the occasional race.

Scott Foil 15

Blending straight-line speed with a comfortable, responsive ride is the ultimate goal of a do-it-all road and tri setup. Enter the Scott Foil 15. Its broad tubes look anything but aerodynamic, but wind tunnel testing conducted by our sister publication Velo magazine revealed this frame is among the fastest aero road bikes. And its broad tubes give the Foil the backbone to stand up to a strong acceleration or aggressive cornering as effectively as any road bike, regardless of aerodynamic performance.

Deda Elementi Parabolica Uno

The biggest compromise when using a road bike for triathlon is fit. Getting into a comfortable aero position on a road bike can be a challenge, so offset the inevitable compromise of racing tri on a road bike with an aerobar such as the Parabolica Uno that creates a tall pad position with a wide range of adjustment.

Mavic Infinity jersey and bib short
$180 (jersey), $220 (bib short),

Precisely outlining the body’s contours without creating any pressure points is the key to comfortable cycling apparel. Mavic’s Infinity jersey and bib short do just that with the aid of a few clever features, such as the double-backed mesh fabric that applies even pressure around the arms and legs (adios, sausage legs).

Pearl Izumi Elite RD III

Cut to fit mid- to larger-volume feet, this shoe has an upper that firmly bonds the rider to the robust carbon sole. Its ratcheting buckle closure is better suited to everyday road riding than race day, and it will cost a few seconds in T1, but its foot-to-sole connection far exceeds most tri shoes.

Aero shifters:

Shimano Ultegra Di2 Bar End Shifters

Mis-shifting the Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic drivetrain is nearly impossible, but the biggest benefit these components offer is the ability to change gears from both the aerobars and brakes. Shimano’s new Di2 aerobar shifters—available in September—can plug into Ultegra Di2 road shifters, enabling shifts from both locations.

Cobb Cycling Plus

Swap the standard saddle for the more adjustable, ergonomic Cobb Cycling Plus, which combines a comfortable road position with pressure relief in the aero position.

Olympic Bike: Sarah Groff’s Race-Ready Scott Foil

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Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

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

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