July 7, 2009


With two time trial events within the first four days of the 2009 Tour de France, there has never been as much discussion and speculation about the TT bike market in years as there's been in the last few days. All the hub-bub centers around the new UCI rule that mandates that all Pro Tour race bikes must be made available for the public to purchase. For as wild in design and event specific as the team TT bikes have been, this rule has definitely elevated the intercine marketing battles between all the big bike makers. Suddenly, words like “aero efficiency” and “wind tunnel proven” have less relevance than do phrases like “available soon at a dealer near you.”

For the last few months most TT bike discussions have centered more the evolution of the TT/Tri market with the realization (again mostly among the big guys) that they could no longer get away with marketing the same bike for both the TT and Tri. Despite their shared aero cocerns, both groups have specific use needs that don't suit the other. The problem for dedicated TT bike buyers is that there are ten (actually a thousand) times as many Tri fans looking for a bike so TT riders have usually been forced to TT up a Tri bike to get by.

However, as aero shapes, styles, and science as evolved so too as the realization among elite Pro riders that a re-badged Tri bike just won't cut it across the French countryside anymore.

Or will it?

Earlier this year Scott Bicycles learned that the hard way when Team Columbia riders showed up at the Tour of California using the TT bikes previously made for them by Giant in 2008 rather than a Scott Tri bike. Team riders know what works and unlike the 2009 Scott Tri/TT bike,  it was the older TT specific bike that truely fit their needs best. As a result, Scott got to work designing a new TT bike. 

Which brings us to Stage Four of the 2009 Tour de France. It was here in Montpellier that Giant bicycles took the leap and introduced their new 2010 Trinity Advanced SL 0 TT bike. More importantly still, they not only showed off a new bike (as Specialized and Trek have also done) but they added a firm date for it's availability to the public (which neither of Giant's biggest competitors Specialized (Spring 2010) or Trek (vague) have really done).

To say that the teams are just a tad unnerved over this new rule would be an understatement, though it's as much due to the bumbling ways of the UCI rules committee as any real fear of retribution. In theory, any bike raced today in the Tour that is not sold to the public could, in theory, be taken out of the race. Or the team could be fined. Or the podium girls could be replaced by taxi drives hired in Marseille....who knows. The bottom line is that nobody knows for sure. The result is that suddenly every bike you see on TV has plans to be sold publicly....at least that's what the new company line has become.

Clearly, the most radical part of the bike is the Giant is the "AeroDrive" front end assembly that includes the head tube, stem, fork, handlebar and extension. The stem is actually comprised of an upper and lower section and is not be referred to as a "fairing", otherwise a UCI official will show up on your door step and give you a verbal lashing! There will be 40mm of stack height allowed for the handlebar height adjustment.

So what do you need to know about the Giant Trinity Advanced SL 0?
1. It will be available this September.
2. It won't be cheap. If you think all the hours of design, wind tunnel testing and manufacturing a complicated bike like this don't add up to much, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Asking price will be $14,000.
3. As Giant's good looking PR honch Andrew Juskaitis reminded us, all of Giant's performance bikes are sold at various levels. The new Trinity too will be available at a variety of prices and with an assortment of different component selections.
4. Perhaps most important of all, the bike you can buy in September will be better than the bike the Pros are riding today. As the saying goes (and has been proven time& time again) racing improved the breed and so what problems they have uncured and solutions they have found with the team bikes have been incorporated to the production bikes.
5. By touting both a Tri/TT variable seat angle adjustment (74, 76 and 78 degrees), it would seem that Giant is sticking to the one bike/two use model for the new bike. Whether or not they will profit, or pay a price for that decision, is something the aero aficionados out there will have to decide.
6. The frame will be available in three sizes and Giant is making eight differently sized stem assemblies available for optimum sizing.

Kudos to Giant for proving to be ahead of the pack on this one. With the realization that actual Pro team TT development is now available to the average Joe, both the sport of cycling and the bicycle industry as a whole has reached a new plateau in how bicycles are used and by who.  

Here's the Team Rabobank bike that the Trinity Advanced SL 0 production bike was based on. Best of all, the bike you'll be able to buy is better than the bike the team riders race. 

For additional features on the wild new Giant, check out the handy photo gallery...

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