Giant’s Rapid range of bikes has been covered on BikeRadar in the past, but this range-topping 0 model is the current cream of the crop.
Giant Rapid 0 frame and kit
The frame uses Giant’s ALUXX SL frame — it’s the same alloy that you find in a number of its aluminium road and mountain bikes, so the toils of commuting shouldn’t prove to be an issue.
The frame comes coated in a slightly rough textured finish, which, over the course of the past eight months of day-in day-out urban riding, has proved resilient to scuffs, scratches and general abuse.
The matte-green finish also avoids looking too showy, which though anecdotal, might be less attractive to the thieving magpies that stalk towns.
The frame features numerous rack and guard mounts, as well as bottle-cage mounts, so there shouldn’t be many issues fitting any accessories you might want to the bike.
Up front the fork has carbon legs and an alloy steerer, as well as the pre-requisite rack and guard mounts befitting such a bike.
Giant has its own range of wheels, and the Rapid 0 features the PR 2 Disc wheels. As the name suggests these are disc specific, and they have a fairly deep profile for a commuter rim — these wheels can be found on Giant’s road bikes too. The wheels come shod with 28c tyres, with a little tread to dissipate water.
Giant has gone to Shimano for the bike’s drivetrain, using the ever-popular 105 groupset with a 34/50 chainset and 11-28 cassette.
The bike’s flat bar design means non-series SL-RS700 shifters are used — though these are 105 level in every regard. They feature the double-release click of the higher end mountain bike shifters, meaning getting to higher gears at the back is as quick and crisp as can be. They also feature a composite thumb lever — a touch that is unlikely to draw complaints.Shimano’s M395 brakes provide stopping power with 160mm rotors front and rear.
The rest of the kit comes from Giant’s own Connect range, with a Connect Composite seatpost theoretically adding a touch of compliance and a Contact (Neutral) saddle in place to suit as many riders as possible.
Giant Rapid 0 handling
Giant has picked the Rapid’s name pretty well. Save for a drop-barred road bike, this is as fast a commuter bike as you’ll find.
The aluminium frame keeps weight competitive, but also reactions to drivetrain inputs quick. With the 28c tyres up at 70psi there’s minimal rolling resistance, and the bike accelerates quickly from the lights, avoiding feeling too sluggish.
The downside of this though is that the bike isn’t the smoothest. The frame’s stiffness translates to the ride quality, which on poorly maintained roads can be jarring. At this point, choosing the right line through drain covers and potholes is necessary.
You can run the tyres at lower pressures, which boosts comfort, but in my opinion, the last thing I want on my way to work is a puncture. The composite post does a bit to dull road buzz, but it’s no replacement for chunkier tyres.
The handling, despite a reasonably tall front and long stem, is reactive and accurate, though. This means dodging road obstacles, from potholes to cars is nothing but immediate. That said, a wider bar wouldn’t go amiss — I ended up running bar ends to get a little extra leverage on the bars when pedalling away from traffic lights.
Shimano’s 105 groupset has proved indestructible through testing. I’ve not touched any cables or suffered from degrading shifting performance, despite minimal maintenance.
The shifter, with the double release is accurate and, frankly, a pleasure to use. The gearing is arguably a little tall for the hilliest of cities, and it’s rare that I’ll be in the 50:11 ratio. That said, if you have a longer distance commute with little need to keep stopping through traffic lights you might appreciate the bigger gears.
While the road work is still split on disc brakes, I cannot work out why you wouldn’t on a commuter bike of this type. No rim wear, consistent, powerful braking, and ultra-reliability means I’ll never go back to rim brakes on my commuter bike.
Giant Rapid 0 verdict
For the past eight months I’ve been riding the Rapid 0 through the worst traffic and weather Bristol has provided. It has yet to skip a beat, either in its handling or components.
In criticism, I’d say the ride could be a touch comfier, though one could fit wider tyres to give that — clearance looks reasonably up to 35c I’d say.
The handling suits the commuter who likes to make progress through the city, so if you’re looking for a chilled city cruiser, you’d be better off looking elsewhere.