The Other Bike Count: TriBike Transport

The bike brand drilldown in Kona at the Hawaiian IRONMAN World Championships has given us a pretty good idea of brand penetration worldwide. It’s morphed over the 20 years that count has been in existence, because IRONMAN has gone from being a U.S.-centric to a global experience. European Union countries gave Kona as many or more participants as did North American countries at the just-held 2022 event.

But what about tri bike sales in the U.S.? A brand count at IRONMAN Wisconsin will be Trek-heavy, because Madison is Trek country and that event’s clientele will come from within 500 miles of the starting line. Events held in Chattanooga will show a pumped-up number of Quintana Roos. TriBike Transport’s count is as good as you can get at what bikes triathletes are buying, and not just the pointy end of the spear, which is what Kona gives you.

About 97 percent of all TBT’s bike transports are to triathlons. There is the odd gravel race or gran fondo, but it’s 5 figures (over 10,000) bikes a year and it's mostly triathlon. Even if the events were held in Canada or Mexico TBT’s customer originated in the U.S. This is what the count looked like for 2022.

Below is the count from 3 years ago, the final pre-COVID year. Of course Cervelo is the leader, but Canyon hasn’t penetrated as deeply into this count as it did the Kona count. In Kona, Canyon eked out the top spot in the men’s race; Cervelo widely won the women’s; and that made Cervelo #1 overall and Canyon #2. Here, Canyon has gone from the #10 brand to the #6 brand. Certainly a healthy upward move.

This is the difference between a global versus a U.S.-centric count. Canyon has very deep penetration in Europe and it probably would have moved further forward in the U.S. were it not for supply chain woes. In our own polling of Slowtwitchers Cervelo and Canyon share the #1 spot as “tri bike you’ll buy next,” each with 25%. Then it’s Trek and Quintana Roo, and they total another 25%. The rest of the brands split up the final 25%.

This is reflected both in Canyon’s run-up, and also in QR’s increase from 5th place in 2019 to 3rd place this year, displacing Specialized and Felt. Based on polling of Slowtwitchers and counts like this one it appears that the most popular consumer direct brands for triathletes are Canyon and Quintana Roo, in that order. The most popular brands for users who prefer a bike shop interface are Cervelo and Trek, in that order.