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In.Triathlon - Fabio Tomi

In.Triathlon - Fabio Tomi

12th Jan 2024

Triathlon, as much as many cyclists hate to admit it, is often at the forefront of technological advancement. With less regulations around bike design and position, triathletes are able to adopt all sorts of weird and wacky set-ups.

While the pros rule the roost, it is the age groupers that make up the greatest percentage of race entries. What works for the pros, will often not work for the amateurs, so why does all the literature focus on the former?

In our new series, we’re going to speak to amateur triathletes across the world, inspired by performance and hear how they set up for their events, in the not-so-limited world of Triathlon.

Fabio Tomi is a 44-year-old triathlete living in Melbourne. He has been an athlete his whole life, but is a relative newcomer to the sport of triathlon.

How it Began

The entry barrier to triathlon can often be one of the biggest issues for any newbies. It seems as if everyone is riding space-age equipment, or has a long history in at least one of the three sports, for Fabio, it was a touch different.

“Most triathletes seem to come from some specific background, like swimming, running or cycling. In my case, I grew up swimming when I was a kid but then dropped to play full time tennis at competitive level. I skied at a national level and then fell in love with water sports. Competing in kitesurfing, with podiums in the Australian championships. I can say, I’ve been competitive since a really young age.
I fell into triathlon out of frustration during COVID. I wasn’t able to access any gym (crossfit) or other facilities so I decided to take a road bike, swim in the sea and run. I discovered a number of physical challenges. It became the mission to challenge myself, a consistent and continuous improvement.”
— Fabio Tomi

The Set Up

Here, Ken Ballhause, the founder of Adaptive HP and Sync Ergonomics talks us through the evolution of Fabio’s set up. And as Ken explains, Fabio’s story is actually a commonly seen trend, as athletes progress through their journey in triathlon.

Entry-level triathlon bikes are always a compromise and the manufacturer has a tough job in delivering a product that actually caters to the intended market. Too aggressive in the geometry and you miss the mark, too conservative and the customer “outgrows” the bike quickly. Integration adds cost, although it’s required to deliver a performance-oriented package. It’s a hard ask!

“For the astute person, the learning curve in Triathlon is steep and one of the first discoveries is the limitation of geometry and components on entry-level Triathlon bikes. Often 75% of the challenges, if not more, can be overcome simply through equipment considerations. This is precisely where we have landed with Fabio this year, with him moving to the Canyon Speedmax CF SLX.”
— Ken Ballhause

Fabio progressed quickly from the Canyon Speedmax CF and now rides a Canyon SpeedMax CF SLX, set up with the Sync Ergonomics EVO ecosystem, and CADEX Aero wheels.

“With this bike, we are not at all limited by what we can achieve with Fabio’s position, and as an athlete, that is a great place to be in. There are always small equipment changes that can enhance performance and typically these can be applied over time as equipment evolves, but with the Speedmax CF SLX, we have an exceptional base to build from.
The length of the Speedmax CF SLX is well suited to Tri application with a longer reach measurement than most more basic bikes. Canyon has clearly refined their Tri geometry over time and this is reflected in a stack measurement that is usable across the whole range of saddle heights that would be applicable to a frame size. The seat tube angle, and the range of positions that can be achieved with saddle offset, are perfectly aligned to modern-day triathlon positioning.
On the integration front, the refillable hydration system, the spares storage, the CP0019 cockpit, the Speedmax CF SLX and CFR tick all the boxes. Where Sync joins the party is in cockpit solutions that increase angulation and increased arm cup reach. These provide the opportunity for position optimisation that goes beyond the standard provisions from Canyon.”
— Ken Ballhause

It’s not all been simple in his early years in triathlon. Back in July, just after his original fit with Sync, Fabio was hit by a car. His injury list totalled two broken ribs, an over-extended shoulder and some ligament tearing too. All in all, Fabio got away without any major long-term injuries. When revisiting Sync, his new fit was relatively copy-paste to the previous. It does serve as an apt reminder that crashes can cause deeper issues which may need addressing.

“Having a bike fit was tremendous. I optimised my position, and reduced my aerodynamic drag while increasing power output and overall comfort. On top of that, Ken is a great person to consult with on the new technical developments in and around cycling.”
— Fabio Tomi


While having the correct equipment set-up in the right way is essential for triathletes, it is only one piece of the puzzle. Any triathlete will tell you that training takes up seemingly endless hours.

With a job as an APAC regional director for an international organisation industry, and with a family at home too, training time isn’t always the easiest to find.

“I generally alternate my easy days between gym and swim sessions, then my intense days are the bike and running sessions. The weekends are for long bike rides and long runs. There is no doubt that the bike rides are my favourite.
I’ve won races and events in a whole host of different sports since I was young. With that said, there is one that I remember the most: my first Ironman 70.3. It was testament to the hard work and the challenges that I had to overcome. I think that defining ourselves through mindset and challenge is the greatest achievement anyone could hope to accomplish. Going forward I’m going to be targeting the Olympic and half-distance events. The beauty of Ironman is being able to combine destination and challenge at the same time.”
— Fabio Tomi

Fabio Tomi is our first case study in the triathlon world. If you have any questions, or athletes that you would like us to cover in future, feel free to reach out via our Instagram DMs.


Images by: @brett_focusphotography

About the author

Joe Laverick’s cycling introduction was via the British time-trial scene, since starting the sport, he has been all about speed. He’s a freelance writer and privateer racer who mixes road, time trial and gravel racing. To this day, he remains one of the only riders on the planet to have beat Remco Evenepoel in a time trial.