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The Triathlete Blueprint Newsletter #34-Buy Speed: Choices That Will Make You Ride Faster

Updated: Apr 8

Read time: 3min.

By Coach Yan Busset

Sorry for those who thought, due to the title, this was an article on how to get drugs to bike faster ;) By "Buying Speed," I mean that in cycling you can literally go faster by getting the right gear. Before going any further, a little disclaimer: You don’t need to invest in expensive gear to get started and enjoy triathlon. In this article, I am more into gearing up to improve performance.

So yes, in biking you can literally "buy speed," but some investments won’t give you the best return versus the price. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you will need to make choices on what to prioritize. So here's a quick overview on what to focus in to get faster on the bike.

Power Meters: The Game Changer:

If you already have a decent bike, the next big thing you might want to invest in to improve your bike speed is a power meter. The bike won’t be faster when you put it on, so in that way, it’s not an "effortless" passive gain upgrade, but the effectiveness on your training and therefore your speed will be significant. Training with or without a power meter is a bit like going to a gym where the weights are not mentioned on the discs or the machines. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. A power meter will help you in training but also will be your best ally when it comes to race day pacing.

(To go more in-depth on how to get started on training with power, read my article here )

In the same logic of non-passive speed gain on the bike, I could add here: get a coach, join a training squad, and hit the gym. Sounds obvious, but some people buy a 10k€ bike but sometimes forget the training side ;)

Recommanded models:

Position and TriSuit: Aerodynamics and Comfort:

You can have a great bike and try to mimic a Tour de France rider's TT low position, but if you can’t hold that position for long due to discomfort and end up upright like a cyclotourist, it’s useless. The most aerodynamic position is the one you can sustain for the entire race. So, invest in your bike position via a bike fit; you will have a direct impact on your performance. Also, having a great position is a must, but if you drag a parachute, you won’t go so fast. The rider is the factor that impacts aerodynamics the most; it’s the biggest surface exposed in the bike/rider combo. So avoid relaxed fit kits, flappy bib numbers, or loose-fit rain jackets: Get a second skin like tight fit aero Trisuit and you will save time and energy.

From the aero-bars to Triathlon Bikes Speed Machines:

If you are getting started with triathlon on your road bike, one of the best way to buy speed is to get aero bars. (About 4min faster over a 40km bike course at 35km/h )

As soon as you are getting serious about triathlon, a proper dedicated tri-bike is a must. Why? Even if you invest in aero bars on your road bike, you will be limited in terms of comfort and bike handling on the bars. We said it earlier: the most aerodynamic position is the one you can sustain for the entire duration of the race. And on a tri bike, the seat tube angle will allow you to reach a more natural aerodynamic position. Not to mention all the nutrition and hydration integration options available that will be way more practical and aerodynamic over a 70.3 or Full Distance IM.

Recommanded models:

photo credit @nikkihama

Aero Helmets: Slicing Through Wind:

We are getting a bit more ‘nerdy’ and performance-oriented for this next upgrade, but an aero helmet offers a great deal of aerodynamic gain, almost as much as aero wheels but for a lower investment. Only one thing regarding aero helmets: Keep it for race day, or race like specific training, don’t be that triathlete that goes on easy ride full aero more on. 

recommended models:

Bonus: "Free Speed":

Or should I say, how not to lose speed. Drive Chain Maintenance:

Keep your chain clean! You can lose up to 15-30 watts with a dirty and poorly lubed chain!!! And your drive chain's lifespan can double, so you will also save money - so you can pay your coach ;)


Yes, you can literally "Buy Speed" to go faster. I am a bike nerd; I've always loved that techy side of triathlon. Sure, it can scare beginners away, thinking you need very expensive gear to get started. You don’t. But as a hobby, I prefer to put my money there rather than on cigarettes or booze. I am in the club of "my bike is more expensive than my car" - it’s my guilty pleasure. That said, I ranked it first on my list: the most important way to "buy/gain speed" is to invest money in the rider's training environment and health. Once that is in check, you can start drooling over "bike porn" ;)

Looking for More Tips?

Check out some of my past articles that are in connection with this article:

Thank you for reading and see you next week!


Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. If you are in the Helsinki area and looking for the best training group check here

2. If you are looking for an online coaching service check here.

3. If you are looking for support for your triathlon journey, I recommend you book a 30min 1on1 video consultation with me here.


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