For beginners, assembling all the necessary triathlon gear can feel overwhelming and expensive. Multi-sport races require equipment for swimming, biking, and running, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to participate. Whether you’re looking for budget-friendly essentials or advanced performance gear, we’ve got you covered. Below are our top picks for affordable swim, bike, and run gear to suit every budget.
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Swim, Bike, Run: Your Guide to Triathlon Gear for Every Budget
Affordable Swim Essentials
1. Speedo MDR 2.4 polarized goggles
Speedo’s top-selling goggles feature large, anti-fog lenses that provide a comfortable fit and keep water out. These polarized goggles also help reduce glare on sunny race days. ($33, speedousa.com)
2. 2XU A:1 Active wetsuit
This wetsuit by 2XU features a thickened, coated chest panel designed to keep you higher in the water and reduce drag, improving your pace. The back strap connected to the zipper makes it easy to put on and take off, reducing transition time. ($300, 2xu.com)
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3. Roka Maverick X wetsuit
The Roka Maverick X is a high-end wetsuit designed for efficient strokes. The arms-up construction provides flexibility and freedom for a faster swim. The internal taping offers core support, helping you maintain proper form as you freestyle, while the durable neoprene ensures longevity. ($900, roka.com)
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Budget-Friendly Biking Must-Haves
4. Cannondale Synapse Disc Tiagra bike
This lightweight bike is an excellent choice for triathlon beginners. With an absorbent shock frame, it offers a comfortable and stable ride, guaranteeing a smooth experience on different terrains. The versatile design allows for a balanced race position, providing both comfort and confidence during long rides. ($1,250, cannondale.com)
5. Bell Stratus MIPS helmet
The Bell Stratus MIPS helmet offers moderate pricing and is lightweight and highly breathable. With ample ventilation, it ensures a cool head, no matter the weather. The adjustable dial provides a snug fit, easily adjustable even during transition or while riding. ($150, bellhelmets.com)
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6. Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit Tri Suit
The Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit Tri Suit is an essential item for triathlon athletes. It serves as an all-in-one outfit for swim, bike, and run. Its quick-dry chamois prevents moisture buildup while providing padded comfort during the cycling phase. With two convenient pockets, storing essentials like gummies or lip balm is hassle-free. Additionally, its fabric is designed for cooling effect, and the elastic silicone grippers ensure the suit stays in place throughout the race. Priced at $145, it’s a worthwhile investment available at pearlizumi.com.
7. Shimano TR5W Cycling Shoes
Shimano TR5W cycling shoes are tailored for maximizing power during cycling. The ergonomic design includes an asymmetrical loop at the heel for swift wear and secure straps and extra-wide collar for ease. Moreover, the breathable mesh construction keeps feet cool and dry during the ride. Priced at $130, it’s available at amazon.com.
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Worth-the-Price Bike Upgrades
8. Specialized Shiv Expert Bike
For dedicated triathlon athletes, investing in a tri-specific bike like the Specialized Shiv Expert can be advantageous. The aerodynamic carbon frame and comfortable aero bars offer a competitive edge during long-distance races. Additionally, the built-in storage compartments for water and snacks contribute to sustained performance. The Specialized Shiv Expert Bike is priced at $3,800 and is available at specialized.com.
9. Giro Aerohead MIPS Helmet
Serious triathletes aiming to optimize performance may consider the Giro Aerohead MIPS helmet. Its polycarbonate shell and ventilation system are designed to regulate head temperature during the ride. Priced at $250, it’s available at giro.com.
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10. Saris SuperClamp EX Bike Tray
Saris SuperClamp EX bike tray offers a convenient solution for transporting bikes to triathlon events. With a lightweight build and no contact with the bike frame, it keeps the bike protected and scratch-free. The tray can carry up to two bikes and is priced at $470, available at saris.com.
11. Smith Attack Max Sunglasses
Smith Attack Max sunglasses are engineered to enhance performance by shielding against bright sunlight, bugs, and road debris. Equipped with interchangeable Chromapop lenses, they enhance visibility during the bike and run. The adjustable nosepiece allows for a personalized fit. Priced at $250, they are available at smithoptics.com.
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Gotta-Get Running Sneakers Made for Miles
Running sneakers are crucial for triathletes. High-quality running shoes such as those with ample cushioning, stability, and breathability can enhance performance and comfort during the run leg of the race.
12. Asics Noosa FF Sneakers
When it comes to triathlon, the right gear can make a significant difference in your performance. The Asics Noosa FF sneakers are designed with a seamless mesh for running without socks. Their elastic laces and grips on the heel and tongue allow for easy wear and removal. Additionally, the FlyteFoam soles make these sneakers extremely lightweight, providing a sensation of flying as you transition from cycling to running. Priced at $140, these sneakers are available at asics.com.
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Beyond Footwear: Quality Accessories for All Three Sports
13. TomTom Spark 3 Cardio Watch
The TomTom Spark 3 Cardio watch is perfect for tracking your performance across all three phases of a triathlon. Priced at $190, it features a built-in heart rate monitor, a large easy-to-read face, and a ventilated band for comfort during your race. The watch allows for seamless switching between different sports, making it an essential accessory for triathletes. Find it at tomtom.com.
14. Fitletic Hydra 12-oz Hydration Belt
The Fitletic Hydra 12-oz hydration belt offers convenience and functionality for triathletes. With adjustable toggles for race number attachment, a pouch for your phone, elastic loops for nutrition, and two bottles for carrying fluids, this belt is an ideal companion for staying fueled during a race. Priced at $42, it can be purchased at fitletic.com.
Top Tracker If You’re Willing to Pay Up
15. Garmin Forerunner 935 Watch
Priced at $499, the Garmin Forerunner 935 is a high-end triathlon watch designed to provide comprehensive tracking of your performance. It monitors various stats including distance, calories burned, elevation, and heart rate. Additionally, it assesses your VO2max and workout efficiency to help you optimize your training. Find this advanced triathlon watch at garmin.com.
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