The Triad Zero is the top bike in Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative’s own-brand hardtail range. It’s not simply an upgrade from the cross-country orientated Triad 1 but a different kind of bike: a long-travel trail hardtail with a short stem and wide handlebar. Its fantastic RockShox fork makes it a spirited descender and a capable all-round trail bike.
Ride & handling: All-rounder hardtail that can hold its own on any black run
The Triad's 150mm-travel RockShox Revelation RL fork jacks up the wide bar and the short stem puts it in easy reach, providing a compact riding position that makes it easy to move your weight around the bike for maximum control.
Although the head angle isn’t slack, the fork will cope with anything you throw its way. It swallows small hits as well as big ones, and isn’t flustered by the rapid repeat hits of steps or rock gardens. Steering is both firm and controlled.
An upright riding position isn’t so good for gunning along flat trails, although it doesn’t feel held back here. It climbs reasonably well too. It’s only a shame its 32-tooth cassette isn’t even bigger: this is a hunch-and-winch climber that could use twiddly gears.
The bashring doesn’t just prevent drivetrain scrapes; it’ll stop chainring puncture wounds if your foot slips off the pedal. The one unpleasant surprise we got was some unexpected bashring braking. The tape measure confirmed a low bottom bracket, which makes handling trickier in just the situations that the fork urges you to power through.
Low bottom bracket aside, the Triad Zero does everything you'd want from a hardtail at this price. And it does so with aplomb thanks to its superior fork, which gives the bike smooth running as well as bigger hit capability. It's not a full-bore play bike – it’s a bit steeply angled and low-slung for rock gardens and jackhammer hazards – but feels totally at home on most technical routes.
Frame & equipment: Fantastic RockShox Revelation fork; sensible bar and stem combination
Massive boxy aluminium top and down tubes give the Triad Zero the look of something ‘made in Scotland, from girders’ – although the frame will have been made in Taiwan. There’s a lot of metal making the join with the head tube, plus a big, shared seam between the top and down tubes. It’s very unlikely to kink and fold, even with a fork this long attached. The only thing it doesn’t have to firm up its front end is a tapered steerer and head tube: it's 1-1/8in top and bottom.
The bar is a trail-width 680mm and the stem just 70mm, which gives you tight rein on the steering of that fabulous fork, which defines the bike. The RockShox Revelation is one of our favourite trail forks and it’s astonishing to see even the cheaper RL version on an £850 bike – it’s worth £400 by itself! It’s a dual-air fork with 150mm of travel, a 20mm Maxle for unshakeable steering, and all the adjustability you need.
The back end is solidly built, with big, angular stays. The pannier rack eyelets look incongruous but could come in useful if this is your only bike. We'd ideally have liked more space for a fatter tyre in between them to soften the feel of the back end though. The wheels aren’t bad. Rims are Mavic, double wall, with eyelets, and they turn on Formula front and Shimano rear hubs. The rear hub doesn’t have a 150mm air spring between the trail and your body, so it’s good that it’s more reliable.
The drivetrain underscores the bike’s trail bike credentials with a 24/36T double-and-bash crankset. Derailleurs are Shimano Deore and SLX, while the shifters have been downgraded to the more entry level Alivio but work fine. Since it’s designed to be ridden down hills at speed, it’s nice to see some investment in the brakes. They’re Avid Elixir 5s with 185mm rotors front and rear.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike