If you’re going to buy a tri bike between now and, say, next summer, this is a “moment” when the marketplace favors you, depending on what you’re looking for. What about road bikes? Is this a similar “moment?” I have no idea, and I also don’t know about gravel bikes. Probably not a “deal” moment for e-bikes. Just tri bikes. I’ll tell you why I believe that a little further below, but let’s just get to the deals I see right now. Caveat: Many of these deals are on rim brake bikes, which is either good or bad news to you, based on your preference (if you have one).
Here’s a Speedmax WMN CF 7.0 for $1,913.98. This Canyon CF SLX 9.0 LTD is pretty much a carbon copy, decked out down to the wheels and tires, of the bike Jan Frodeno rode to victory in the last Hawaiian Ironman, and they're selling for prices in the $7000s and $8000s.
In my opinion Canyons are best ridden with electronic shifting, and this CF 8.0 Di2 is selling for $4,679.98. I’m looking at the same pages you can shop on yourselves, which is in this case Canyon’s Outlet (tab for triathlon).
Bear this in mind, and don’t shoot the messenger please: Canyon just announced its new Speedmax Disc lineup, and it’s really cool, but these bikes start at $3,800. Just remember that all these bikes, at all price points, come with power meters. This is one reason why the bikes are, apples-to-apples, a bit more than they were. However, let’s say you already have an Assioma or Garmin power meter and that’s what you intend to use. In this case, take the savings in these closeout bikes. Just, when they’re gone they’re gone.
The Pro’s Closet
I’m not going to spoil the journey. Go over there and shop around for yourself. But when I look, I see a supply – maybe an oversupply – of tri bikes. When supply exceeds demand, prices drop. Also, let me tell you a secret about “outlets.” Some of these bikes are (say) from the manufacturer’s demo fleet. If you see a bunch of bikes over at TPC that are curiously similar in spec, colorway and the like, and they’re all in terrific shape, these may be off the demo truck and very lightly used. I see some Ventums (Venta?), Cervelos and QRs that look pretty darned nice for the price offered.
I wrote about what you can expect when selling to TPC, and over the summer I sold 5 or 6 of my bikes to them. The steep upward price creep of what constitutes “entry level” in triathlon is what allows – demands – TPC’s existence.
Cervelo at My Bike Shop
You have to look around for the deals. Here’s the page. All the 2020 colorway P-Series are on sale, and that black/white one? I have one of these on loan (pic above), and it is a terrific looking bike (here’s what mine looked like when I got done making it “mine”). The P-Series at $2,699 is not the normal price for that bike. It should cost $500 more.
P-Series 105 $2699
P-Series Ultegra $3699
P-Series Ultegra Di2 $5599 (with the Vision Metron disc wheels included).
They’ve started their Black Friday sale. How about, PR4Disc $2,677 complete? Rim brake PR5 105 for $2,300 and change.
I’m going to just talk straight with you, if that’s okay. I’m going to write about some themes that reflect the time we’re in; rather than the relative virtues of disc brakes and on-board storage.
We have two truths converging around this pandemic: We’re on our way to a third infection census peak, which does not bode well for race organizers who need to get their permits, and that’s separate from the question of whether you’ll even feel safe racing, or traveling to races. On the other hand, we’re on the cusp (perhaps 6 months away?) from a reasonable access to one of two (or more) highly efficacious vaccines, as well as highly effective therapeutics. What we have is uncertainty. Bike brands don’t want to get stuck with bikes.
That’s issue #1. We’re surveying race organizers now on the prospects for racing around North America and the World. It is my raw guess that Q3 and Q4 look good for racing. Q1 is not yet racing season anyway in the Northern Hemisphere, Q2 is the iffy one (April thru June). The calculus might be this: Get your bike with enough time to train on it, adjust it, ride more, readjust, buy your accessories as needed, in preparation for you’re “A” race next year. But, again, what we have is a lot of uncertainty.
Issue #2 is that, in my nosing around, I’m finding tri bike sales lagged all year long, while road and gravel bike sales soared. Why? Because tri bikes – like wetsuits, racing flats and aero helmets – tend to be race-specific purchases. Lifestyle purchases? They flew out the door. Many of you certainly bought bikes, but you bought lifestyle bikes. You know that road, gravel and ebikes flew out the door as if Lemond and Armstrong mated, had a baby, and he just won the TdF. Right? Beginning in March we entered the biggest bike boom since the Lance era. And it’s not just bikes. Brooks announced today a Q3 50% revenue bump year over year. HOKA is on its way to being – or is already – a $600 million company, with almost all of its sales in tech running, and most of it just in the U.S. We’re in the middle of – inexplicably – an endurance sports boom, and I mean swim, bike and run. And all this without the capacity to race.
Most folks held off on their tri bike purchases in 2020, and these purchases, plus the 2021 purchases, will all take place in 2021. Brands sensed the soft market this year, and throttled back in production. This is going to collide in 2021, and my instinct tells me that by the time you’re ready to buy a bike in, say, April of next year, there won’t be bikes available. What I heard from one major bike brand earlier this week: "The tri bike market was very soft until, literally, last week. As of last week things have ticked up."
Accordingly, the enterprising shopper will consider the opportunities available now, while the market is priced to sell.