2016 Culprit Legend Triathlon super bike on Kickstarter

Teased at Ironman World Championships in Kona in October, the Culprit Legend triathlon super bike is now live on Kickstarter.

Designed to run either rim or disc brakes equally well on the same frame, it also promises to be the easiest tri bike to service and pack. That’s thanks to a clean design with easily accessible mounting points for all the usual parts that need to be maintained or decoupled for packing.

Even better, it does all this without any aerodynamic compromises. They claim Wind tunnel tests show it’s within 2 watts of drag of the Cervelo P5, even beating it at a few of the yaw angles they tested. And that’s with disc brakes and a standard (read: non-integrated) aero cockpit. But there is integration, using simple magnetic covers to hide a multitool compartment, Di2 wiring inside the stem and direct-mount front brake if so equipped…


Assuming you’ve already got your favorite super aero wheels, chances are you’ll opt for the rim brake fork to start. The frame itself is compatible with both, but the fork is either/or. The rim brake frameset comes with an as-yet-unannounced new TRP direct mount top pull brake caliper, chosen for its ability to fit inside the aero cover plate and because it easily disconnects for travel. The fairing pulls into place with magnets to hide it from the wind without any tools required to remove or replace it. That, plus easy to reach adjustments on the caliper itself, makes brake setup and fine tuning so easy even –wait for it– a triathlete could do it.

The video below is just a collection of quick shots, but toward the end it shows the magnetic fork and stem cover plates being removed.

The top of the stem comes off in the same manner, revealing the Di2 junction box and wiring. To pack the bike down for travel, you simply unhook the brake’s wedge and disconnect the main wire from the junction box, then unbolt the handlebar and lay it beside the headtube (preferably with some bubble wrap between them. Mechanical drivetrains should have enough slack in the lines coming out of the aero extensions to let the bar lay where it needs to be for packing with no adjustments. Other than the four bolts to remove the bar from the stem, there are no tools required.


Part of the secret is the use of “standard” aero bars and stem, which come with the frameset. They’re from a new brand that’ll launch soon developed in collaboration with Culprit. They’ve wind tunnel tested these against popular sets from Shimano PRO and Profile Design and they say theirs showed the least drag when installed on the bike. It’s also highly adjustable and will fit any BTA (between the arms) hydration system you choose (plus two bottles inside the front triangle). Our own experience with Culprit’s cockpit parts in the past has shown them to be both comfortable and reliable. But, the bike’s designed to be aero with any cockpit you (or your sponsors) like.



The rear rim brake sits under the BB and uses the same TRP caliper. In the unlikely event one of the brakes gets damaged, any direct mount (including Shimano’s latest) will work, they just won’t fit under the front fairing.


Disc brakes use the flat mount standard on both fork and chainstay, and it comes with parts to swap between standard vertical 130mm QR dropouts and Shimano E-Thru 12×142 thru axles.


CFD analysis and optimized tube shaping with a front brake cover do a lot to cheat the wind, but the biggest cheat comes from eliminating the seatstays. UCI rules don’t apply to triathlon bikes (thankfully), so designs can take full advantage, and some of the fastest tri bikes in history have made do without seatstays. Add in Culprit’s year’s of experience designing and producing carbon bikes for themselves and other brands and you get a bike with plenty of lateral stiffness even without a complete rear triangle.

The bottom bracket shell is sized for BB386, which accommodates cranks from SRAM, Shimano, Rotor and others either directly or with adapters.

2016 Culprit Legend triathlon bike with magnetic cover plates for rim and disc brakes

There’s room for 700x28c tires front and rear.



Three years’ worth of R&D and testing has gone into this version of the Legend, and it shows. Now, they’re using Kickstarter to fund the production process, make the molds, etc. Three sizes UPDATE: FIVE sizes will be offered initially, with additional the XXS coming if stretch goals are met. Options and specials for the campaign are:

Carbon Culprit Ruler $30 unlimited
The Early Bird Gets the Worm Legend Frameset $2,095 10
The Early Bird Gets the Worm Legend Frameset with aerobar/stem $2,550 10
The Early bird special Legend Frameset $2,275 25
The earl bird special Legend frameset with aerobar/stem $2,762 25
30 % off Legend Frameset $2,447 25
30% off Legend frameset with aerobar/stem $2,974 25
25 % off Legend Frameset $2,621 unlimited
25% off Legend frameset with aerobar/stem $3,185 unlimited

Prices include shipping to almost anywhere in the world. All supporters committing to any frameset will get a custom triathlon short and jersey color matched to the frame, and backers will have a choice of seven frame colors:


They’ll also be able to get a custom color for $200 more, and complete build groups will be offered at “too low to advertise” pricing after the campaign closes. They’ll also offer backers special pricing on their standard road bikes in case you need a daily driver for training and group rides.

Check the Kickstarter campaign page for full details and lots of little videos showing off all the Legend’s features.



  1. culprit Bicycles on

    Eric.nm and Antipodean see the kickstarter campaign and you will see. The cost of opening a project like this, far exceeds our financial ability. Road bike molds are less complicated and less costly. This project is a HUGE Investment and even as an established brand, We are 100% family owned and just don’t have the capital to front the molds and production Many established brands use kickstarter to help them out. Doesn’t need to only be a new brand. Example, redshift, volagi, etc. .Also, the Best triathlon frame factory is behind this project and has higher MOQ than we have worked with before. So we need supporters to help make this bike a reality.

  2. Myke on

    Hmmm. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate the honesty. But really being in business all about risks. If your not ready to fully take on the risk don’t do the project! Focus on building your core more to support the protect.

    To me Culprit doing a Kickstarter only goes to do a established company harm to their name.

  3. cerebis on

    @Myke, not sure I agree that it harms the brand. Though failure to bring the project through to completion with good results would be bad.

    The bike looks ambitious and short of the non-UCI compliancy, seems pretty well conceived, almost to the extreme (28mm tyre clearance?). The traditional approach to an ambitious business idea is finding funding and for many that is usually in the form of credit. So now we have Kickstarter and a business doesn’t have to follow a traditional course. It’s up to the consumer to make the choice; take on a risk, reap the benefits. We get to decide.

    I would much rather see established brands making use of Kickstarter and taking on projects that might never have seen the light of day, than it being restricted to new businesses. Think of it per-project, rather than per-business.

  4. Chris L on

    Am I the only one here old enough to think that TRP brakes looks like a modern version of a Modolo Kronos or DuraAce AX brake?? Bad idea then, not seeing how it’s any better now. As a former mechanic I give them points for thinking about what a huge pain the ass it is to work on modern TT bikes!!

  5. Craig B on

    Great work Culprit. Bike looks awesome!!! Great to see a company embracing the modern word! No risk no reward = No business these days with escalating costs of materials. Kickstarter is excellent and some great products are on there including the Legend. Great work

  6. bielas on

    @Myke, I have to agree with Cerebis.
    So, a business idea can only be legitimate and trusted if it puts its creator at loss risk? Uhh… then most innovative companies would no exist.

    Besides that, the bike looks cool, comes packed with tons of features and options. Sounds like a good alternative to established brands.

  7. Antipodean_eleven on

    @culprit Bicycles, oh, I am not discounting the idea of Kickstarter but it does represent more of a zero risk business model than doing it any other way. First you get to see how many people will actually pony up for the bike and when enough do, you go into production. It is quite smart at many levels.

    I am all too aware of MOQ with frame factories etc. so I can’t actually fault the idea of going to Kickstarter but from a brand value perspective, as @eric.nmalluded to, the KS approach could have some unintended consequences.

  8. pgm on

    I come here to complain……but I’m not finding much to complain about with all of the options this thing has going for it. Pretty dang cool to see something similar to what I would dream up.

    I guess if I had to poke at it, maybe the reach numbers don’t go as long as many other brands??

    Adjustable, looks easy to work on (compared to the current ‘super’ bikes), non-proprietary parts, decent tire clearance and not worried about UCI compliance. Very cool.

  9. William on


    I’ve backed the project.

    Personally I’d prefer a disc break only version of the frame.

    I’m concerned about aero and CFD, but I’m more interested in functional use aero. Test the bike with frame mount water bottles vs seat mount water bottles vs both. And if the frame can be adjusted so the performance is optimized with functional use items for Triathlon that would be ideal!

    While you are close to the Cervelo P5-6 frame aero wise, they have a significantly improved frame pending release. So if you invest in this project go big and prove the best CFD/aero for a bike that has stuff mounted a rider would use for an Ironman!

  10. Question on

    Crowdfunding is garbage. Typically, a business would have to get a loan from someone if there wasn’t already sufficient capital. Which means investors (equity), angel investors, or some form of financial institution (bank) loan… All of these require a business plan, market research for demand, distribution, etc. Not having sufficient capital is understandable for small biz breaking into the market, but for an established business? Red flag… They don’t have the money, due to already poor demand/product or worse – poor management.

    Crowdfunding is about getting money from people, without the accountability. As we’ve seen recently with the drone KS that made millions, only to evaporate into air (http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/11/kickstarter-launched-drone-startup-denies-it-cheated-customers/). There is no equity in crowdfunding, just a promise depending on what level of commitment. There’s no interest rate for the people to be concerned with about paying the loan back, or a cut in the profit…

  11. Math on


    If aero data of bikes tested with all the accessories where to be published, manufacturers wouldn’t be able to claim anything. Aero gain from the frame design only typically gets way lost with all the noise from everything else (rider-clothing, helmet, shoes, wheels, accessories, etc…). The gain falls within the margin of errors of most tests.
    I remember a recent magazine article that boldly state on their cover page that an aero road bikes was much faster, when in reality they compared an aero road frame with aero wheels, aero clothing and helmet and a lower handlebar position to a regular bike with regular stuff and a higher handlebar position.

    From what I believe, no one has yet to publish a true side-side comparison of frames with the exact same equipment and rider position.

    When I was working in the bike industry a while ago (for a custom bike manufacturer), a short visit to the wind tunnel showed us that the effect of “wobbling” the shoulders when pedaling in an aero position had a 2x to 5x increase in drag to any frame shape optimization that we could do…

  12. Myke on

    @Question this is what I was thinking. By going the crowd funding route it says we don’t want to assume the risk (regardless if the product is good or bad). The implications is that everyone will start doing this with just a idea, no research, testing, prototyping etc. there is only so much you can do in the box (computer).

    Btw I consider myself as established. should crowd fund my grocery list or get food stamps?….

  13. BFro on

    This whole discussion is dumb. They are putting themselves out there to the tune of however much they raise and how they deliver it. It’s one thing to put up a kickstarter with no previous business and no name to protect – throw up a page and see what happens. This is a huge opportunity for a small business to do something cool and you’re putting them down. This is direct to all of the potential customers – you get the contact, feedback, see how it’s doing, then get the product you ordered. Then come “Small Business Saturday” or whatever they call it now, you all post something to Facebook saying that you support your local small business bike shop, food store, etc. Blah. It’s too bad you can’t support a small business more than one day a year. Good luck Culprit.


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