Trigon RQC-29 - First ride £3799

Recession-proof superbike

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

You have to get your priorities in order when buying a new bike. To paraphrase Keith Bontrager, "performance, affordability, prestige – pick two". A ‘Made in Taiwan’ tag is a long way from conjuring the romance of an artisan Italian badge, so in the absence of prestige Trigon have delivered on the other two points with their flagship RQC-29. We’re not suggesting that a bike costing nearly £4,000 is ‘affordable’ to all but that’s a relative term anyway – relative not least to the performance.

Trigon are new to the UK but you’ve almost certainly seen the Taiwanese manufacturers' products before; they make frames and components for some of the biggest names in cycling. The RQC-29 uses Trigon’s advanced proprietary technology, including Venus C8 carbon fibre, a super-high-modulus blend claimed to give an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio.

The frame is cured using a high-pressure compaction method, dubbed ‘Hipact’, with a solid inner mould that produces denser material than conventional air bladders. The entire rolling chassis is made by Trigon, with a lightweight fork, radical one-piece handlebar and stem with an accessory/computer mount, and their own 58mm aero carbon clincher wheelset – tubular tyre and other rim depth versions are available as options.

It’s finished with a full SRAM Red groupset and a top-of-the-range Prologo Nago Evo Nack carbon-railed saddle. Details such as colour-matched Jagwire cables and two good carbon bottle cages give a quality finish. It tickled our scales at just 6.8kg (15lb). The racy styling is well co-ordinated and stops short of brashness. It looks fast. The question is, can it back that up on the road?

The short answer is, yes. The RQC-29 is alert and responsive without being twitchy. There’s a deep-rooted feeling from the tapered (11/8-1½in) front end that gives a lot of cornering confidence, aided by the very grippy Schwalbe Ultremo tyres. It’s comfortable too, especially for such a racy bike. Long rides are no problem as very little wearing vibration reaches the saddle and bigger bumps are also well diffused.

The one-piece carbon bar and stem combo cuts down buzz and the wing-profile provides a large area to rest your palms. Love or hate the accessory mount, it’s great to use. It positions your computer nearer your field of vision for a faster and safer glance down, and in the dark your light doesn’t shine in your eyes when climbing out-of-the-saddle.

The riding performance is the highlight and bears comparison with pro-issue superbikes costing twice as much. The pedalling stiffness around the bottom bracket is excellent, with a real spark to the acceleration thanks to a similar lack of flex at the front when you’re out of the saddle and pulling on the bar. Despite running slightly heavier deep-section clinchers, it climbs brilliantly.

On superlight hoops it would be astonishing. The 58mm wheels pay off on the flat where they cling to your speed and the braking’s good too. The RQC-29 is a joy to ride hard and if you’re hung up on brand image, you’ll have to pay a lot more for something this good. So: performance, affordability, prestige – which two really matter most to you?

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