Giant are one of the biggest bike manufacturers and they've had a fair few of the world's best riders using their rigs, which has no doubt aided the design and image of their bikes. One of their latest creations is the STP - a street/trials/skatepark bike developed by US rider Jeff Lenosky.
If you haven't heard of him, go and buy the New Word Disorder flick Flying High Again to see the man in action aboard a stock STP. His riding effortlessly blends trials, dirt jumping and street riding to amazing effect. Gee and Dan Atherton also rode STP frames to great success in 4X and freeride events in 2006.
The STP is available in three builds, with even the top-of-the-range STP Zero being affordable at £650. The price of the STP 2 base model defies belief: it's £299, the same as the frame alone, but has a cheaper finish.
The frame is built from Giant's ALUXX 6061 aluminium and it includes advanced features such as an ovalised down tube, an internal headset and a CNC machined chainstay yoke.
The dropouts are fairly standard affairs with 135mm spacing, a tidy mech hanger and an international standard disc brake mount. There are also V-brake posts and cable guides for both V-brake and hydraulic cables.
There are two sizes available - 14 and 15in - which are essentially the same other than the 22 and 23in top tube lengths and the 4.6 and 5in head tube lengths respectively. Short 15.75in chainstays keep acceleration ultra snappy, and a 69-degree head angle makes the ride lively without it feeling too much like a BMX. The STP frame comes with the relevant hose guides, upper and lower headset races, a seat clamp and a seatpost shim that converts the 30.9mm tube to a 27.2mm version.
The standalone frame has the same finish as the top-end STP Zero, so we decided to build our own top-notch number with a 4X tinge. Up front was a Marzocchi 4X fork and a SRAM X-7 shifter (moving an X-9 rear mech) provided flawless gear changes, until we binned it and broke the unit. RaceFace Diabolus cranks with an e.thirteen chainring and chainguide made the drivetrain strong and fuss-free, and Shimano's DX pedals were excellent as usual. Braking was handled by Shimano XT disc brakes and the Mavic wheels were shod with Tioga FS100 tyres.
The STP is a great bike with perfect geometry and a quality build. Everything feels just right - the low head tube and bottom bracket height keep the bike slammed low for optimum handling, while the long front end matched with the ultra short rear end make the bike stable. Strangely, for a fairly long rig, the STP is really easy to whip around and spin - one of our testers was pulling smooth 360s his first time riding it. He liked the bike so much that he's just ordered two.
The STP has a versatile frame that can be built for any use - we built ours for 4X style thrashing, but it could easily be specced as singlespeed for street, or with low gearing for trials/street riding.