A-Squared Bikes

I generally share stories from bikepacking adventures on mountainous dirt roads. Thus, one could be misled into thinking that I don’t particularly enjoy road riding or the thrill of a lightweight aero bike, which isn’t the case. I love shredding my mountain bike on muddy single-track, yet there’s something equally rewarding about the effortless speed of a carbon racer on silky tarmac. That said, when it comes to premium aero road bikes, I basically don’t consider them a viable option for my budget. I’m not entirely sure when or why this style of bike became so astronomically expensive, but I’d recommend taking a seat before looking at the latest prices. A-Squared (A2) is on a mission to change this financial roadblock with bikes that promise competition-level performance at a budget that’s more wallet friendly.

It’s important to be realistic, though. I’m not going to say these bikes are cheap because ‘starting at $1,900’ is hardly pocket change. However, I also recognize that the latest Specialized Triathlon bikes are the best part of$10,000, so relative to the market, A-Squared presents an excellent value. Nonetheless, these remain premium bikes for passionate riders, and I think it’s crucial to understand their products from this perspective before moving forwards.

Furthermore, I’m sure you’re wondering why someone focused on bikepacking might be interested in a bike like this or its place on an expedition-focused website. Well, fitness is integral to any adventure, and whilst I’d love to be always exploring mountain ranges on my fat bike, it’s not always possible. The beauty of cycling is there’s just so many ways to enjoy it: adventure, sociably, commuting, training, etc. There is no wrong or right style of riding, and the diversity of bikes is all part of what makes cycling so interesting. Would I do a bikepacking trip on an aggressive aero bike? Probably not. Would I ride it for fitness and fun? Absolutely. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what A-Squared has on offer.

A2 currently produces two full carbon frames. Their original release, the Speed Phreak Triathlon bike (starting at $1,900), and their aero-road bike, the Road Phreak (starting at $2,000). There’s a variety of builds on offer utilizing quality components, but at a price that’s considerably less than their competitors (full specifications of the Speed Phreak below). As a result, sales for the company have almost doubled every year since 2016. A-Squared’s mission statement is clear: ‘we want to help put more butts on bikes!’. AJ Alley, A2 founder, states, ‘I originally started A2 to sell bikes to people like me, intermediate triathletes…but the cost of a decent bike was prohibitive for many of us’.

The company has already partnered with a number of top-tier triathletes, including Matt Russel and Justin Lippert, and plan on building their number and range of sponsored riders. Moreover, as the company continues to grow, they’ve recently signed with SIMBOL Communications, a company with deep industry knowledge, a passion for cycling, and the experience to ‘spread the buzz’ that surrounds A2. As the brand moves forwards, there’s even rumor of bikes for different riding styles in the pipeline, so stay tuned.

Speed Phreak Specifications

Mixed 105
Frame: T700 carbon fiber
Fork: T10 integrated front fork
Drivetrain: Shimano 105 R7000 front and rear derailleur, Tektro T100 brakes; FSA Omega crank; FSA Omega BSA BB

Ultegra R8000 build
Frame: T700 carbon fiber
Fork: T10 integrated front fork
Drivetrain: Shimano Ultegra R8000 front and rear derailleur, Shimano Ultegra front and rear brake, Shimano Ultegra R8000 crank, Shimano BSA BB

Frame: T700 carbon fiber
Fork: T10 integrated front fork
Drivetrain: SRAM Red eTap electronic derailleurs, SRAM Red front and rear brakes; SRAM RED crank; SRAM RED BSA BB

No money in the bank, but gas in the tank. Our resident Bikepacking Editor Jack Mac is an exploration photographer and writer living full-time in his 1986 Vanagon Syncro but spends most days at the garage pondering why he didn’t buy a Land Cruiser Troopy. If he’s not watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he can be found mountaineering for Berghaus, sea kayaking for Prijon, or bikepacking for Surly Bikes. Jack most recently spent two years on various assignments in the Arctic Circle but is now back in the UK preparing for his upcoming expeditions—looking at Land Cruisers. Find him on his website, Instagram, or on Facebook under Bicycle Touring Apocalypse.