Best Bikes For Kona | PedalChef

If you're one of the exceptional triathletes that beat the odds and qualified for the Ironman World Championships, you now only need the best bikes for Kona.

You've trained, sweated, and bled to make it to the Vega Ironman Championships, and a tool shouldn't be what trips you up. If you didn't know, you've beat tens of thousands of other gritty triathletes and need a bike that'll propel you even further without holding you back.

These are some of the best triathlon bikes to sear through the competition at Kona:

  1. Vitus Auro CRS
  2. S-Works SHIV
  3. Cervélo P3 Rival
  4. Cube Aerium C:68 SLT
  5. Shiv Disc Limited Edition
  6. Trek Speed Concept SLR 9
  7. BMC Time Machine 01 Two
  8. Felt IA 2.0
  9. Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0
  10. Cervélo PX
  11. Pinarello Bolide TR+ Carbon T1100 UD

Great! You now have a solid list of the best triathlon steeds, and you can pick one and dominate Kona, right? Well, not quite. You still have to go through the literature to make a more educated decision based on what you’d like a helping hand with and how big a cash stack you’d like to invest into your legacy.

Because of the sophisticated nature of triathlon bikes, I cashed in on several favors from friends with more triathlon experience and friend-adjacent experts. I also perused numerous forums and went through reviews and suggestions from trusted sites like BikeRadar and CyclingWeekly, and many others that now cause me PTSD to recall.



Best Bikes For Kona

Before I venture any further, I should address some critical stuff first. It's vital to get yourself fitted for your bike to get a bike that best suits your riding style. I know that you’ve heard that many times from your road bike adventures, but it has to be done.

Every time I get a new bike, I spend a bit more and get my local fitter to check in with my mobility and help me find the best frame size. My flexibility seems to be escaping my lower back as age sets in, and it helps to have professional advice when deciding on aero bars or drop bars.

I know that customizing and setting up your own kit is probably a part of the journey, but it's also good to not have to worry about anything else besides training; that’s why most of these bikes come ready to shred straight off the truck. Anyway, this longer-distance riding at Kona demands a bike that doesn't compromise on swiftness but has more amenities.

A hydration reservoir or some form of water bottle gadget is a must, and a generous space for holding nutritional packs and gels is appreciated. A bike that should compete at Kona should remain lightweight, and the manufacturer should build the bike robust to endure the grueling, long, distance sprints you’ll put it through.

1. Vitus Auro CRS

Vitus Auro CRS
Vitus Auro CRS

Weight: 19.3 pounds

Storage: None but has mounting pins

Frame construction: T700 High-modulus UD Carbon

Handlebar configuration: Zipp Vika TT Aero-bars

Bike groupset: Shimano Ultegra R8000

Bike wheelset: Prime carbon rims with Continental Ultrasport II tires

The UD (unidirectional) carbon fiber is more robust than cross-section weaved carbon fiber and is more cost-effective than the usual time-intensive carbon fiber weaving process.

The bike's Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset has all the high-end components of Shimano's performance-focused Shimano Dura-Ace for a lesser price.

The Vitus Auro is the perfect sprint bike because it specializes in time trial competitions and will swiftly get you through the biking lag with the least resistance.

This bike has plenty of adjustabilities to meet different athletes' dimensions and customization whims.

View on Vitus Bikes

2.  2016 S-Works SHIV

2016 S-Works SHIV
2016 S-Works SHIV

Weight: 17.6 pounds

Storage: Integrated Fuesalage hydration

Frame construction: FACT 11r carbon

Handlebar configuration: Integrated aero-bars

Bike groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace

Bike wheelset: Roval Rapide CLX 60

The road S-Works TT without the hydration storage is much lighter than its monstrous tri-specific brethren. The TT version is also less prone to crosswinds, especially with the optimized airfoils to reduce crosswind impact.

The Functional Advanced Composite Technology (FACT) carbon fiber uses bike-specific carbon fiber layers and orientation, producing better material than other carbon fiber compositions.

Specialized SHIV uses the previous generation professional level Shimano Dura-Ace for the best and lightest drivetrain at this performance level.

View on Specialized

3. Cervélo P3 Rival

Cervélo P3 Rival
Cervélo P3 Rival

Weight: 18.6 pounds

Storage: Integrated hydration and mounting points

Frame construction: Carbon fiber

Handlebar configuration: Aerobar profile design Svet Zero

Bike groupset: SRAM Rival eTap AXS 1

Bike wheelset: Aero indexed thru-axles, DT Swiss P1850 wheels with Vittoria Zaffiro Pro V tires

The P3 Rival eTap is a beautiful midrange time trail bike from the acclaimed Cervélo P-series line. The P3 maintains its wind-slicing lightweight design at a reasonable entry-level budget.

The all-carbon tapered P fork, now a market standard, might add heft but makes your ride on the P3 dynamic. The SRAM Rival eTap AXS groupset uses similar technology to SRAM's pricier offerings and remains the cheapest electronic option.

However, the technology crammed into this bike's groupset makes it weigh more than wired mechanical groupsets. The less-aggressive geometry of the P3 helps this model edge over the P5 by easing the strain and exhaustion experienced during a fast-paced race.

The P3 has integrated hydration and storage mounting units, making it expandable for longer races.

View on Cervélo

4. Cube Aerium C:68 SLT

Cube Aerium C:68 SLT
Cube Aerium C:68 SLT

Weight: 19.8 pounds

Storage: Integrated hydration system

Frame construction: Aerium C:68 Monocoque advanced twin mold technology

Handlebar configuration: Cube handlebar Aerium C:68 TT Low (flat bar)

Bike groupset: SRAM Red eTap

Bike wheelset: DT Swiss ARC 1100 DICUT Carbon 80

Cube has designed the Aerium C:68 SLT to help you scoff at the wind. The company reports that it managed to reduce turbulence and crosswind through exhaustive wind tunnel tests.

This claim is apparent from the stiff Aerium C:68 frame made from a single, seamless mold of 68% carbon and 32% resin.

The Twin Head Tube technology allows the bike to be dynamic under different wind conditions. They change to act together when the conditions allow and act separately when the wind is beating from the side, which lessens the effects of that pesky crosswind.

The Aerium C:68 may have been around for a couple of years now. Still, because of Cube's shift from the nonsensical rim brakes to some quality hydraulic brakes, it'll continue being relevant for many trail and triathlon events.

The revamped design will not only be the perfect companion at Kona, but Cube has also worked to make the Aerium's designed degrees more UCI compliant.

Although the bike has full cable integration, brake cables would have been the only visible cabling if there was shown around the head tube.

Hydraulic hosing is also tucked within the bike's internals, so nothing seeps the power you'll be pumping into the Schwalbe Pro One TT tires. The nervous system of the bike is the 12-speed SRAM eTap AXS wireless groupset.

View on Cube

5. S-Works Shiv Disc Limited Edition

S-Works Shiv Disc Limited Edition
S-Works Shiv Disc Limited Edition

Weight: 17.64 pounds

Storage: Hydration fuel cells Integrated and nutrition

Frame construction: S-Works FACT 11r carbon, FACT IS construction with crosswind-optimized airfoils

Handlebar configuration: Carbon Specialized Shiv aerobar with a variable stack adjust

Bike groupset: 11-speed Shimano Dura-Ace

Bike wheelset: Roval CLX 64 disc rim, 700x24mm Turbo Cotton wheels with Presta valve, Turbo Ultralight tubes

Unlike my previous entry, Specialized wasn't burdened with trying to satisfy the elusive UCI regulations. The S-Works Shiv Disc breaks all the rules because it is solely made to help you go further faster at Kona. While not explicitly made for Kona, it is made to leave a mark at the best time trial and triathlon competitions.

There's ample storage on the S-Works Shiv Disc. The tube has an enclosed compartment for nutritional packs and other small items. Behind the seat tube is the Hydration Fuel Cell pool for liquid hydration, which doubles as a hand of the wind bamboozling engineering.

Before even getting to the frame material and the other design choices that make this bike worth the whopping $14,500 investment, I have to address the broom-handle-thin profile. This is on top of the front that already presents the bike as a machine that only talks about the business of winning.

Now, the frame is optimized for the best aerodynamic performance under hectic crosswinds. If you can still get your hands on this work of art, you'll quickly come to appreciate all the scheming that Specialized put into catapulting this bike into next year.

Even with the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, the weight remains low at around 17.64 pounds without being loaded. The brakes have been reported to squeal a bit during wet riding, but even if you somehow encounter that during your race, it'll quickly drown out as you realize that performance hasn't been affected.

View on Specialized

6. Trek Speed Concept SLR 9

Trek Speed Concept SLR 9
Trek Speed Concept SLR 9

Weight: 19.19 pounds

Storage: Integrated downtube storage and integrated Bento box

Frame construction: 800 Series OCLV Carbon with a Kammtail Virtual Foil tube shape

Handlebar configuration: Speed Concept full aero bars

Bike groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace R9200

Bike wheelset: OCLV Carbon Bontrager Aeolus RSL 51 rims, Bontrager Switch thru-axle with Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite tires

The Speed Concept comes from Trek's Project One program, allowing you to add custom touches to your purchase. Trek has said they've optimized the new Speed Concept line to shed around 6 minutes from your Kona bike leg.

Although I looked at the $13,499.99 SLR 9 eTap, the pinnacle offering of the Speed Concept series builds starts at $8,799.99 with the SLR 6 eTap to the $9,999.99 SLR 7 eTap before they jump to the final level.

You'll get more from the SLR 9 compared to the other versions. The 48/35t crankset alone sees a significant advantage from SRAM RED AXS Power Meter.

Keeping up with your riding metrics should help you stick to your desired pace and help inexperienced challengers not wear themselves out before the foot-marathon leg.

Trek has created a final product that helps you fend-off riding fatigue with their IsoSpeed system and forgiving assembly.

The 700x25c Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite tires make you one with the tar without letting the miles abuse you and give you speed and stability without holding you back.

An integrated down tube storage and bento box give you 700ml (just shy of 24 fluid ounces) of water hydration and plenty of space for nutritional packs and gels. You can double your liquid reserves with the Speed Concept's attachable storage.

View on Trek

7. BMC Time Machine 01 Two

BMC Time Machine 01 Two
BMC Time Machine 01 Two

Weight: 17.64 pounds

Storage: Bottle mounts but no considerable integrated storage

Frame construction: Timemachine Road 01 Premium Carbon equipped with Aero Module

Handlebar configuration: Compact bend, BMC ICS Aero

Bike groupset: Shimano Ultegra

Bike wheelset: CRD-501 SL Carbon rims with Vittoria Corsa tires

Once you get your hands on the Timemachine Road 01 Two, you won't want to part ways. BMC came into the lab to design an aero bike that shouts the category's enduring relevance.

The Timemachine Road is made for speed and nothing much else, which is precisely what you need to cut through your rivals at Kona. You might struggle to keep up on climbs and flat starts with the 12-speed Shimano Ultegra 52/36t chainwheel and matching-class 11-30t cassette, but you'll almost be untouchable once you get the bike up to speed.

Although roughly 17.6 pounds, there seems to be resistance from the weight; despite the reworked and optimized geometry for both aerodynamic efficiency and relative riding comfort.

Even though the bike looks like a naked time trail bike, it has Aero Module, which has some integrated storage and external hangers for bottles.

You might not enjoy a hydration tube that feeds straight to your maw like the previous two bikes through the handlebars, but you benefit from the absence of additional drag from making space for all of that business.

Everywhere I looked at this beauty, I had my drooling eyeballs kissed by some of the cleanest finishes they've ever ogled.

It might also be this bare-bone aerodynamics that results in a less-responsive ride and less-than-ideal companion on rough roads. However, your Kona race should feel like a speed run.

View on BMC

8. Felt IA 2.0 Ultimate

Felt IA 2.0 Ultimate
Felt IA 2.0 Ultimate

Storage: Integrated storage with a straw system

Handlebar configuration: Felt base bar with aero extensions

Bike groupset: Dura-Ace Di2

The Felt IA 2.0 is the most Tron-esque bike you'll see at Kona. Its design, smooth angles, aggressive but forgiving geometry, storage, and aerodynamically-pressed urgency make this one of the complete triathlon bikes you'll see this season.

If you can get your order before the start of the competition, you'll be speeding through the race without being further fatigued because of the recalibrated InternaLoc system.

The dual-bolt clamp InternaLoc gizmo gives some of the finest levels of adjustments to your riding posture that's on the market without subduing you to the constant need to re-orient yourself because of slow slippage.

Felt has wholeheartedly committed to bringing us their most aerodynamic and fastest bike yet. They claim it is measured and optimized to be 4% faster than its previous rendition. That is fast, considering that a difference in seconds often decides the race.

However, despite being their most-anticipated offering, the pregnant stem that melts into the top tube and sizeable down tube does give the cockpit a look that seems like it might wince from a blow of those dastardly crosswinds.

Fortunately, every little body on the IA 2.0 is made to either hold something or get something done. You'll find a generous 6.75 ounces of integrated storage volume, which should be sufficient for your gels, nutritional packs, and other small assortments.

An easily assessable slot along the bike's top tube should let you grab what you need without pulling you out of your power position.

View on Felt

9. Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0
Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0

Weight: 17.64 pounds

Storage: Lacks considerable storage

Frame construction: Carbon Canyon Speedmax CF

Handlebar configuration: Profile Design T4+ aluminum aero extensions

Bike groupset: Shimano Ultegra R8000

Bike wheelset: Mavic Comete Pro Carbon Exalith

Canyon Speedmax CF 8 Disc Di2 sits in the happy middle of the CF line. It's not an all-out splurge like its bourgeois and elder siblings, the SLX or CFR, but it still retains all the outstanding performance for which the CF range has come to be known.

Along with the adjustable cockpit, the Fizik Mistica saddle also receives the same level of adjustability with its comfort, not compromising on the superb performance. Don't be fooled by the stubby-nosed design; from the deep groove to the non-slip surface, the saddle is designed to be a gentle companion.

The 11-speed, mostly Shimano Dura-Ace Di2/Ultegra groupset provides a willing canvas for a masterful race. The hydraulic disk brakes also bring exceptional modulation and stopping power whenever you may need it.

One of the few issues with the bike is that it doesn't have fully integrated internal cables, and they do detract from the seamless design when you see them prancing in front of the headset.

Canyon also equips the CF 8.0 Disc Di2 with one of my favorite tires, the 25mm Continental Grand Prix 5000. I've known these tires to tear away on the tarmac, and I'm sure that if you can still manage to get this slightly older CF 8 from Canyon, you'll have a friend at Kona.

View on Canyon

10. Cervélo PX

Weight: 20 pounds

Storage: Stealthbox 300, Smartpak 600, Speedcase 600, and rear hydration mount

Frame construction: Cervélo All-Carbon

Handlebar configuration: Aero Bar Cervélo P5X base bar with Profile Design Carbon Extensions

Bike groupset: SRAM Red eTap

Bike wheelset: Zipp 404/808 Firecrest wheels with Vittoria Corsa Speed TLR G tires

Cervélo's PX continues the excellent work that the company started with the P5X and refined with the P3X. The bike has been put through a rigorous exercise regime and emerges as a superhero's steed.

It's light enough not to hold you back as you tear away at Kona and stiff enough to not detract from that winning pose. Unfortunately, the hero to which the steed belongs feels something like a Gizmoduck or Captain Underpants.

Both of whom famously don't use rides to get around. The design will get you stares, but I'm not sure if it'll be the kind you want. That's because the PX-series frame first looks bizarrely enthralling and ends up being bizarre as it looks like it has a seat stay scooped out.

Fortunately, the grass is greener in this upside-down world. There's ample integrated storage and entire cable and hose integration. There's the SmartPak 600, Speed case 600, Stealthbox 300, and a rear hydration mount that taunt you into trying to make use of it all.

The frame is engineered to bamboozle wind in every direction, even with the chunkier front end and chain stay area. You can get the SRAM Red AXS eTap 1 or Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 kit, which both provide speed and help give you all the help you'll need.

View PX-series on Cervelo

11. Pinarello Bolide TR+ Carbon T1100 UD

Weight: 20 pounds

Storage: A generous integrated sort

Frame construction: TorayCa T1100 1K Dream Carbon with Nanoalloy Technology

Handlebar configuration: Bolide Aero TT Bar

Bike groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-9100

Bike wheelset: Pinarello offering

Pinarello has already proven that the Bolide TR+ is a fast bike not to be overlooked in just a couple of years in the time trial/triathlon-specific bike game.

The TR+ is not only built to stagger distance, with the wholly adjustable aero extensions and integrated custom TT base bar, the aero-optimized tires, bountiful storage, and classy Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset.

The Dura-Ace BR-R9100 disc brakes provide control to the fraction of an inch. At this price tag, there's Ninja cabling and hosing that only adds to its fantastic performance for a triathlon bike with storage and disc brakes but aims for time trail acceleration and max speed.

A bike that already has a championship under its belt hardly needs talking up, but if you are worried about comfort because of its heavy-handedness in speed, don't; the ride is plenty forgiving.

View on Pinarello