Lake Oswego native’s bike company becomes partner with USA Triathlon

Lake Oswego native’s bike company becomes partner with USA Triathlon

Lake Oswego native’s bike company becomes partner with USA Triathlon

Corey Buchanan

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AJ Alley standing with arms crossed in front of the wind tunnel with an A2 Triathlon bike in the background

As a triathlon athlete, Lake Oswego resident and native AJ Alley could not figure out why high-performance bikes had to be so expensive.

After a visit to Taiwan, he felt he could do a few things differently to make the bikes less expensive and accessible to more riders. In 2016, he founded A2 bikes — located in the Lake Grove area of Lake Oswego — and recently the company was named an official partner with the USA Triathlon organization.

Alley, a Lakeridge High School graduate, said he can reduce the costs of high-performance bicycles by hundreds of thousands of dollars through “good old fashioned elbow grease,” keeping their staff lean and selling directly rather than going through a distributor and bike shops. The company’s latest bike, “The Speed Phreak,” was named one of the best triathlete bikes of 2022 by Triathlete Magazine. Alley acknowledged that bike shops provide a way to access customers, but said that A2 Bikes tries to make up for that through online marketing and partnerships like with USA Triathlon and IRONMAN.

“When you’re going direct, you’re still getting a ton of interaction with triathletes. It’s a very tech-savvy group. We have live chats on the website. We can talk directly to them and reduce any of the perceived barriers there might be,” Alley said.

Alley said A2 Bikes’ customer base includes both experienced triathletes and beginners, noting that the less expensive products lend themselves to the latter group while A2’s mission often resonates with the former.

Similar to A2’s goals, Alley said USA Triathlon is hoping to reach more athletes and make the sport more accessible and less daunting for prospective athletes. This is why the partnership fit.

“Looking around the industry, we stand out as the brand that can deliver a high-performance (bike), but also an affordable option as well,” Alley said.

“USA Triathlon is proud to partner with A2 Bikes, which offers an exciting, accessible, affordable triathlon bike option for triathletes of all levels,” USA Triathlon CEO Victoria Brumfield said in a press release. “A2 is committed to maximizing the potential of age-group athletes and we’re excited to work together to introduce the sport of triathlon to new audiences.”

Through the partnership, A2 Bikes will travel to major competitions in Irving, Texas, Long Beach, California and Milwaukie, Wisconsin to sell bikes, offer demonstration rides and do giveaways. They also are an official sponsor for USA Triathlon’s high-performance team and will support NCAA varsity teams as well.

“I’m most excited about getting out to the races and hanging out with triathletes. That’s always the most fun thing,” Alley said. “It gets me most going selling to athletes just getting into the sport, and they are excited to get going. The anticipation, excitement — it reminds me of when I got started in triathlon. It’s a fun experience.”

Alley recommended those interested in taking on an athletic challenge try to become a triathlete, noting the varied nature of the training, the sense of community and the satisfaction when completing a race. He noted that A2 Bikes sells a road bike as well and encouraged those interested to visit the shop in Lake Oswego.

“Seeing people cross the finish line, there is an absolute elation on their face. I’ve never been able to replicate that feeling anywhere else … the sense of camaraderie and the sense of individual accomplishment. You put your mind to something and you did it,” Alley said.