We test the Giant Trinity Composite 2 triathlon bike

Giant Trinity Composite 2 Giant Trinity Composite 2 

The radical Trinity Advanced SL frameset ridden by Power Horse athlete Timo Bracht may be a true thoroughbred, but when it comes to real-life racing and riding, most riders would be far better saddling up the Trinity Composite.

Frame and fork

The difference in material between the two frames is clearly stated in their names. Advanced SL is Giant’s premium-blend, Toray-T800-rich carbon fibre, while the Composite grade used here is Toray T600 based. With both materials, the end results are tilted in your favour by the fact that Giant is one of the few brands to create its own carbon fibre build sheets from raw materials in-house. We’ve certainly got no complaints about stiffness on the Trinity Composite, and at 1,422g it’s one of the lighter aero frames we’ve tested at any price.

When it comes to shape – and therefore aerodynamics and fit – the rear end is identical to its superbike sibling, including a U-brake under the chainstays and full compatibility with Shimano’s electronic Di2 transmissions. Up front, a conventional fork takes the place of the bayonet fork and brake shroud of the Advanced SL. TRP’s neat angular V-brakes sync neatly into the trailing edge of the fork legs, and we’ll take the powerful braking of the Composite over the anxious anchoring of the SL any day.

The kit

The conventional base bar and clip-on extensions of the Composite generate more drag than the Advanced SL’s integrated set-up, but the Giant Connect cockpit ticks every box that matters. An own-brand soft-nosed tri saddle sits on top of the vertical aero seatpost in just the right place for putting the power down and you even get a twin bottle mount for drag-free drinking.

Power is handled well by the mixed Shimano transmission, too. The Tiagra compact chainset is heavy but the weight couldn’t be better placed in terms of hiding it from handling effect and the solid arms are stiff underfoot. The gears are flawless through the Dura-Ace tip shifters. The beginner-friendly compact front rings and 11-28T rear block mean bigger jumps between gears, but easy climbing and a 60kph+ top end if well spun.

The Shimano wheels roll smoothly and will make a great set of training wheels if you upgrade to deep-section race wheels later. The same applies to the slightly slow but usefully puncture-resistant tyres. A set of Giant’s P-SLR 1 tyres and aero wheels would be a great way to upgrade, though, and would still leave £284 in your pocket compared to the Advanced SL frameset alone.

The ride

It’s difficult to avoid these comparisons to far more expensive bikes that we’ve ridden because the Trinity comes out of them so well. Finding the right cockpit set-up can be a frustrating business on any new bike but the single-bolt secured Giant cockpit is widely adjustable, stiff, secure and a great match to the Trinity character. The underslung extensions offset the relatively high head tube in terms of actual position height, and the seat is perfectly positioned and padded for riding on the rivet.

As you’d hope for a true tri bike, handling is built around an aero tuck too. That means the steep head angle and aggressively forward position can fidget around out of the saddle up climbs or at slow speeds, but drop onto your elbows and the whole bike clicks into place perfectly. Outstanding tracking stiffness from the deep-tubed front end meant we stayed confidently tucked even on 50kph+ corners and there’s no reticence about the way it rips through roundabouts or jinks through potholes either.

Because there’s no worry about the handling you can relax and focus on your pedalling. The big rear stays and oversize bottom bracket mean there’s no shortage of reward for whatever wattage you can put through the cranks. Add the totally contemporary aerodynamics and the Trinity makes sitting at threshold at Strava-busting speeds an addictively easy experience rather than a test of endurance.

On flatter, longer roads the relatively large gear gaps occasionally interrupted perfect cadence, but the Giant never struggled to surge to the next gear up to regain rhythm. The lower ratios will definitely be appreciated at the end of a long, lumpy UK Ironman course,  where they let you stay tucked and efficient rather than taking a headwind in the chest.

Despite high overall bike and wheel weight, the power-friendly Giant never struggled to keep pace on climbs either, and often led the pack over the top of shallower grades that it could carry plenty of speed on to the bottom of.

+ Super-upgradeable, high-performance frame
+ Reliable kit and sorted cockpit create a ready-to-race bargain

– Tiagra chainset and wheels create hefty overall weight
– Climb/novice-friendly ratios mean gears are gappy on the flat

while pro riders can go to extremes to get the ultimate results, the Composite 2 proves less is sometimes more for age-groupers