Felt IA: Felt takes aero bikes to a new level with an uber high-end aero race bike designed for affluent amateurs. According to Felt, it’s the fastest bike of its kind… ever. Felt claims that the drag of the whole bike is roughly equivalent to the drag of a set of wheels.
Felt made the breakthrough by ignoring UCI rules that stipulate tube profile depth-to-width and other ratios.
Which is the first reason this bike is for amateurs—fast ones, with fat wallets and really good taste.
Modular Monocoque construction lets Felt mold each part of the frame individually optimizing carbon thickness throughout. Combine with a molding process called InsideOut that uses heat, pressure and polyurethane inserts to keep tube junctions clean, Felt eliminates all excess material and thus all excess weight.
What’s unique about the IA is not just its extreme light weight, but its user-friendliness. It’s integrated—brakes are tucked into and behind the frame, for example—but they’re easy to get to when you need to make an adjustment. Extensions and pads can be easily set up or fine-tuned by removing a cover. The oversized tubes are nearly dinner-plate wide, designed to be stiff and to minimize rider drag when a rider is pedaling this bike down the road. Despite its gold-medal pricing, the aero geometry is in fact optimized for the pedaling speed and flexibility of most amateur riders—not the blistering spin of elite time trialists. Felt dropped the seat uncommonly low on the seat tube to further reduce drag, and they added a never-slip seatpost that expands into the seat tube when tightened. Available in two builds or as a frame–only $6000-$14000, feltbicycles.com
Barracuda Fenix Swim Goggle: Goggles may be the most important piece of gear that triathletes are least concerned about.
Barracuda raises the bar with its Fenix. A fused frame combining three layers of plastic and rubber yields what Barracuda calls the most comfortable, low-volume and leak-free swim goggle ever made. The lenses are molded from tough, UV-blocking polycarbonate plastic with 180 degrees of vision achieved thorough a proprietary polishing technique. A semi-rigid layer of rubber is fused to the lens to best match your face’s structure. And a soft, thermo-plastic rubber seals around your face with minimal suction.
Because it’s so low profile, the Fenix reduces drag, while and anti-fog coating keeps your view clear. Easy-adjust silicone straps are completely chlorine-proof, and the goggles come with three different snap-in nose bridge sizes. (Changing the bridge is a snap.) Lastly, the reusable hard case protects your water shades when they’re not on your face. $25-$30, skylinenw.com
Hincapie Flow Tri Skinsuit: On October 12, when the world’s top Ironman athletes hit the water in Kona, an elite few will be seeking the competitive edge with Hincapie’s Flow Tri Skinsuit. Part of a collection designed by triathletes Morgan Zornes and Anna Cleaver, the Skinsuit uses a water and air reflective fabric with yarns that optimize airflow over the body to enhance comfort and performance. Hincapie’s speedy Skinsuit is water-repellent, oil- and stain-resistant, and durable. It dries fast and is highly breathable, with fatigue-reducing compression optimized for long-distance racing. If a onesie is too Spiderman for you, get Hincapie’s Flow Tri Bottom and ergonomic Tri Top. $150, hincapie.com
Zoot Ultra Race 4.0: Triathlons can be won and lost in the transitions. Velcro revolutionized the swim-bike transiton, and now the speed-dial Boa is saving racers tying time between the bike and run.
Zoot’s Race 4.0 triathlon running shoe snuggles the glove-like upper around your foot with dial-adjust coated micro-steel cable lacing that can be battened down in seconds.
The eight-millimeter offset puts the feel somewhere between minimalist and traditional to help you climb your age group rankings. $150, zootsports.com