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Fit for a champion – what can the CADEX Tri do for you?

The clue is in the name of the CADEX Tri - it's a bike designed purely for triathletes

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Ridden by Kristian Blummenfelt to victory at both the IRONMAN World Championship in St George and when besting Joe Skipper at the Sub7 project, the CADEX Tri has burst onto the scene.

However, Blummenfelt is, arguably, the best male triathlete in the world, why should you, an amateur, splash your hard-earned cash on the CADEX Tri? We take a closer look…

The CADEX Tri has landed

As product launches go, CADEX hit the jackpot with the CADEX Tri. In fact, even before the launch on 29 June 2022, the CADEX Tri began making waves – Blummenfelt was first spotted riding a prototype in October 2021 on the way to his exceptional full-distance debut at Cozumel.

Then, on his way to victory, he completed the 112-mile bike leg in St George in a scintillating four hours, 18 minutes, and 42 seconds. After that came the cherry on top of the cake, at the Sub7 event in Dresden, seeing Kristian and his team of cyclists riding seamlessly as a well-oiled machine all astride CADEX Tri bikes paired with the CADEX Aero WheelSystem (that is, a rear disc wheel and a four-spoke front wheel).

Sub7 Kristian blummenfelt 6 photo credit CADEX
[Photo credit: CADEX]

When you add in the eye-catching and the, potentially divisive, aesthetics of the CADEX Tri, it has been hard to ignore.

However, the CADEX Tri is not the first, and it won’t be the last, bike to come to the market professing to be a game changer. Further, just because an elite professional athlete, that is completing the bike section of a full-distance event potentially hours faster than us mere mortals, talks of the virtues of the CADEX Tri, why should you, an amateur athlete consider spending your hard earned cash on this bike? Read on.

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A triathlon bike for triathletes

The clue is in the name. However, rather than just being marketed as a bike for triathletes, CADEX asserts it has designed a bike with the needs of a triathlete as the driver.

Further, unlike bikes for cyclists, the CADEX Tri is not limited or restricted by the rules and regulations of cycling’s governing body, the UCI. This has resulted in a visually striking bike with a unique look.

Jeff Schneider, head of product and marketing at Giant Group, explained: “There’s a lot of fast bikes in the triathlon world… But those bikes are fast until you start adding on the things a triathlete needs to support them during a race.

“So, then we started looking at what we could do – and that is keeping the the triathlete in an aerodynamic position for as long as possible.”

Blummenfelt is also a fan of a triathlon bike for triathletes, and that a brand such as CADEX has entered the world of triathlon.

I like the whole way it’s purely built for triathlon.

IRONMAN World Champion Kristian Blummenfelt on the CADEX Tri

He told us in the build-up to this year’s IRONMAN World Championship at Kona: “I like the whole way it’s purely built for triathlon.

“I think it’s cool that you have some brands who have maybe been in triathlon before, but then have moved out and now to see that CADEX and the Giant group really believing and seeing value in the sport and supporting it the way they are is really good.”

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Unique look and aero focus

The CADEX Tri’s appearance can divide opinion, but all must be in agreement that it is eye-catching and will certainly stand out in racking on race day.

The side-profile is arguably the most striking – with the lack of a top tube. However, as explained by Schneider, nothing has been done by chance. The lack of a top tube is possibly the most tri-specific element of the CADEX Tri.

“When we started looking at what we could do, the top tube was the first thing to go, because the top tube got in the way of allowing the rider to have access to all these things [nutrition and fuel] while they’re riding,” explained Schneider. It makes sense, the longer you are in an aero position (assuming it is comfortable), the better, and having easy access to you nutrition is part of that!

The development of the CADEX Tri involved CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), wind-tunnel testing, and real-world feedback (from Kristian). CADEX’s aerodynamic lead on the project was Xavier Gergaud, and he has worked with the Giant group on numerous products, including bikes and kit, and has previously worked in Formula 1. As a result, and not unexpectedly, several features on the bike have a primary function of helping the rider cut through the air.

The wide, bladed, and straight forks, run all the way up to the handlebars, and push the lack of a top tube for the award of the bike’s most noticeable feature. CADEX claims the design of the forks has multiple benefits. First, the length and shape of the forks aid stiffness and reduce flex; in addition, aerodynamics, that is the forks direct the air around the rider’s legs and to the rear of the bike, saving watts.

This brings you to the next unique feature of the frame, the horizontal seat stays with the abrupt downturn. Again, the design is all about aerodynamics, namely reducing drag by allowing air to flow freely through the rear of the bike.

CADEX Kristian Blummenfelt custom
[Photo credit: CADEX]

Although we are focussing on the frame, it would be remiss not to mention the sleek looking CADEX WheelSystem. CADEX’s WheelSystem offers either combining a front and rear Aero 4 Spoke wheels, or opting to pair a front Aero 4 Spoke with the Aero Disc.

High-tech foundations

There is no point in having an aero bike if the foundations of the frame are not up to standard.

The CADEX Tri’s frame is made from the highest grade T1000 carbon fibre and CADEX has used cutting-edge layup techniques, to provide a bike with claimed class-leading pedalling and torsional stiffness for a frame with a weight said to be under 4577g.

Personalised fit

And again it sounds obvious, but there is no reason to spend a lot of money on a bike if it doesn’t fit you.

The CADEX Tri comes available in five frame sizes, from XXS to L. However, CADEX says that its exhaustive adjustment options (including 80mm of stack height adjustment, arm extensions that can be moved up to 90mm in 15 mm increments, and – by adjusting the saddle position – an effective seat tube angle of between 76 and 80 degrees) offer over 1,000 different potential fits.

CADEX also assert that making any adjustments is straightforward, which is good to hear if you have ever worked on a modern time trial bike.

Endurance aero

One of the main results of the wide-ranging fit options, is that you should be able to find your optimal position from the perspective of both aerodynamics and comfort, what CADEX calls ‘Endurance Aero’.

As said by Schneider above, CADEX’s aim is to help keep you “in an aerodynamic position for as long as possible,” and it is hard to disagree with the objective.

It’s counterproductive being able to ride very quickly for an hour, if you then struggle to maintain your position for the remainder of the ride, and there’s even less justification if you are then unable to run well off the bike.

The complete travel solution

If you are a triathlete that likes to race abroad, you will have experienced the ‘fun’ of trying to pack your treasured bike into a bike box, and then hoping it makes it to your destination safely. There are some very good bike boxes on the market, but even then, dismantling, packing your bike, unpacking your bike, and assembling your bike, can be stressful and time consuming.

In an attempt to make the above experience significantly more pleasurable, and to ensure your bike seamlessly fits your bike box, the CADEX Tri comes with a purpose-built Topeak travel case.

The robust polycarbonate shell provides protection from bumps and scrapes, whilst the inside of the box case is designed to make dismantling and reassembling the bike straightforward. For example, the base bar and extensions do not have to be dissembled, rather they simply fold down.

CADEX Tri travel case
[Photo credit: CADEX]
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Written by
Chris Hovenden
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