Giant Trinity Composite 2
If you’re looking for a performance-oriented bike that won’t break the bank, look long and hard at Giant’s Trinity Composite 2. Combining an extremely aerodynamic carbon fibre frame with a combination of Shimano’s 105 and Ultegra components, the Trinity Composite 2 offers great aerodynamics, a solid and responsive ride and solid performance for a great price. What’s almost as good is the fact that this bike looks so fast, too – you’ll definitely feel like a contender when you wheel this into transition on race morning.
Giant has managed to keep the price down on the Trinity Composite 2 by using T-600 raw carbon fibre in the frame and modifying the construction process a bit to differentiate this bike from the Advanced framesets in their line up. The Composite 2 doesn’t have the outermost woven composite sheet that the more expensive Giant TT and triathlon frames enjoy, but that doesn’t seem to affect the ride much at all. In fact, the Composite 2 feels really good on the road. The frame manages to dampen a lot of the road shock you often feel on stiff bikes, but doesn’t sacrifice any performance to do that. The beefed up bottom bracket no-doubt helps with that process – you really feel like the energy you put into pushing the pedals moves you forward.
The aero-optimized frame is a treat to set up into an aero position, especially if you like to be extremely low at the front end. As I typically do when I get a frame to review, I quickly removed all the spacers and set up the stem as low as I could and was in heaven once I got out on the road. The cockpit is set up with a Giant Connect stem, base bar and clip-on, which offer lots of adjustment and provides an excellent aero position. It’s all pretty basic, but the straight bars look good and are very comfortable – you’ll have no problems staying down on the drops if you’re set up properly. All the cables other than the front brake are internally routed to help cheat the wind, too.
For a bike that costs less than $3,000, the Composite 2 offers an incredible amount of aerodynamic features. Shaped just like the more expensive Giant models, the frame is certainly very aerodynamic. The front brake uses a mountain-bike like system to provide an innovative behind-the-fork aerodynamic set up, while the rear brake is tucked behind the bottom bracket to cheat the wind there. Braking is surprisingly good – certainly on par with most other tri-bike offerings (other than cervelo’s incredible hydraulic brakes offered on the P5). There’s one water bottle cage on the curved seat tube, but if you’re looking for the most aerodynamic set up you’ll use the provided behind-the-seat mount for a couple of water bottle cages.
The provided Shimano R501 wheelset is a solid training choice and will get the job done for races, but if you really want to improve your times you’ll invest in some quicker wheels to get the most out of this bike. Shifting with Shimano’s front 105 and rear Ultegra derailleurs was solid and consistent.
Riding the Composite 2 you quickly get the impression that you’re on a much more expensive bike. The ride is impressively smooth and the bike feels rock solid no matter how hard you push on the pedals. This is not, however, an easy bike to set up as a more all-around ride. While the seat-tube angle is 78 degrees, which is fairly standard for most tri-specific bikes, if feels like you are a lot further forward than that. It’s not a super-easy bike to stand up and climb with, but for rolling type climbs it does extremely well – I was able to stay down on the aero bars during a lot of climbs that everyone else around me was standing for, enjoying the aero benefits and still being able to power over the hills. While this might not be your best bike choice for a course like Ironman France, there aren’t too many tri courses that won’t be perfectly suited to this bike.
At just under $2,600 the Trinity Composite 2 offers incredible value. Coupled with a fast set of race wheels, this is a bike that, with the right rider, could perform at the highest levels. If you’re riding one, you certainly won’t be able to say that you lost because of your bike.