Probably the most important thing you need to know about the Speed Phreak is that the bike company, A2, is not called A-two. It’s A-Squared. I know that this is confusing because the A and the 2 are on the same level, but figuring out how to type the squared symbol using alt, ctrl, +, shift, etc is impossible.
Mission Statement of the Company
The primary goal of A² founder AJ Alley was to create a triathlon bike that was both inexpensive and gets the job done. This means that speed, handling, and esthetics couldn’t be neglected. How is this feasible you ask? Is A² merely a laundering front for an Oregon soccer gambling ring? Possibly. No, AJ was able to keep the price low and the quality high by already having established contacts in Taiwan as a wee child, knowing Mandarin, and doing other business stuff. But you don’t care about business stuff. You care about your bike getting down to business. Am I right or am I right.
Cornering, Descending, and Overall Handling
I’m not going to start off with the aero benefits of the frame (I’ll save that for later), because as everyone knows, the aero-ness of the frame is the least important part of going fast. The most important aspect of riding fast over a one to six hour bike split is being able to maintain a comfortable yet aerodynamic position. This requires being confident in the aerobars riding over rough pavement, cornering without losing speed due to a sloppy front end, and bombing descents with ease because the bike doesn’t get speed wobbles. Being comfortable on the bike means not losing energy due to clenching up or grabbing the base bars whenever a cross wind hits or you have to make a pass around another racer. The Speed Phreak excels in all of these criteria and exudes confidence because of smart yet simplistic geometry.
A lot of tri bikes, even much more expensive tri bikes, feel like sails in the wind, not blades. Much of that comes from incredibly wide tubing, which isn’t necessarily good for a triathlon, given the relatively slow speed that even the fastest men and women go. The more surface area on the frame, the more you get pushed around when the wind isn’t directly head on or behind you, which is virtually all the time–the wind is usually coming at an angle. The Speed Phreak uses deep tubing where it needs it (at the front end and at the down tube wheel cut out) and avoids piling on unnecessary carbon, that adds weight and drag. This, in turn, helps with the handling as mentioned earlier.
Another feature I like is the sleek integrated stem, which lets you slam the bars as low as you can get while tucking all of the cables underneath (there’s even room for a Di2 junction box, though not pictured). The stem keeps the base bars at the same height as the top tube, which is one of my favorite aspects of the bike. You can buy the fastest bike in the world and if you can’t get low, you’re gonna go slow. I did a rhyme! Also, if you want to be more upright, the included aero bar/arm rest stacking spacers will easily accommodate any position you want. Vision (the cockpit supplier) does a great job providing a highly adjustable front end setup.
Last but not least: the Speed Phreak has two water bottle cages! This is actually a really good thing for a tri bike to have, and something that’s quite rare. Bottles on the down tube and seat tube are much faster than anything mounted up above on the aero bars, and are super convenient to reach. Being able to fuel well, be comfortable and confident on the bike, and maintain an aero position go a long way in a triathlon. Whether you plan on upgrading some of the components, or racing this bike out of the box, you’re going to be happy with your decision of ordering it. And, you’re going to have quite a bit of extra money to spend on races, massage, organic produce, strippers (male or female, I’m not being sexist), or, my personal favorite: gummy worms. Bulk food style by the kilo.