Last week, we speculated that we’d spotted a new Giant Trinity Disc being ridden by World and Olympic triathlon champion Kristian Blummenfelt.
It turns out the truth is far more interesting. The bike – revealed in a video posted on YouTube by Blummenfelt – is actually a radical monocoque prototype triathlon bike made by Cadex, Giant’s premium wheels, tyres and components brand.
A source at Giant confirmed to BikeRadar that “the frame and wheels are both CADEX brand projects”, as opposed to Giant branded ones.
It seems, therefore, that this bike is not a Trinity Advanced Disc, but something else entirely.
What we’ve learned
Though we were right about the wide stance fork, disc brakes and heavily dropped seat stays, we didn’t spot the fact that the new bike lacks a top tube.
Instead of a traditional double-triangle design (as required by the UCI’s technical regulations), the new Cadex bike uses a monocoque frame design reminiscent of the Pinarello Parigina, as ridden by Jan Ulrich and Bjarne Riis at the 1997 Tour de France.
Such designs can be more aerodynamic than a traditional frameset, but were banned from UCI events by the Lugano Charter in 2000.
Because of this, we can now definitively say that this bike will not be UCI-legal.
Blummenfelt is also using four-spoke carbon wheels made by Cadex and a Drag2Zero cockpit.
Being a triathlon bike, it’s also likely that storage space for food, water and spares is integrated into the frame, perhaps in a similar manner to the Canyon Speedmax CFR.
The bike leg of an Ironman lasts a whopping 180km, and athletes must carry everything themselves – either on the bike or in pockets.
Most manufacturers of triathlon bikes have therefore opted to integrate space for this into the bike itself, in an aerodynamically efficient manner.
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Giant looks set to announce a new disc brake triathlon bike, with a radically wide fork stance reminiscent of the Hope Lotus HB.T track bike.
Potentially called the Trinity Advanced Pro Disc, the new bike, spotted in a video posted on Youtube by Cadex (Giant’s premium in-house wheel, tyres and component brand), will completely overhaul the design of the current Giant Trinity Advanced Pro time trial and triathlon bike.
World and Olympic triathlon champion Kristian Blummenfelt can be seen riding the new bike directly towards the camera near the end of the 48-second teaser video, which publicises Blummenfelt’s upcoming attempt at completing a sub-seven-hour Ironman triathlon.
What we know so far
Though there’s little else but the Cadex video to go on, there are a few details that can be inferred from the footage.
Firstly, the new bike uses road disc brakes and is highly likely to be a disc-brake only platform, because the fork looks to have been designed specifically around the use of disc brakes.
The ultra-wide fork uses straight legs and a double crown arrangement, presumably for increased front-end stiffness through the wide-stance legs.
Rather than bowing in at the dropouts, as seen on the Hope Lotus HB.T, the fork legs on the new Giant bike stay straight to the wheel dropouts and then come in at a right angle.
The tops of the fork legs also flow straight into the aero base bar, with the adjustable arm rests stacked directly on top.
This design is possibly intended to break the airflow over the rider’s legs and body, to reduce the overall rider-plus-bike drag, compared to a more traditional design.
It’s a trick we’ve been seeing more of in recent years, with bikes such as the Hope Lotus HB.T, along with the bulbous handlebar on the Ribble Ultra SL R.
Moving the fork legs away from the front wheel can also reduce the aerodynamic interaction between the two components and make a frame more wheel-agnostic. This potentially means improved performance with a wider variety of wheelsets, rather than optimising the bike around one specific wheelset.
Though it’s hard to tell, the front tyre also appears to be fairly wide, at least by time trial standards.
Given the direction in which the road, time trial and triathlon bike markets are generally moving, it’s probably fair to assume the Trinity Advanced Pro Disc will have improved clearance for wider tyres. The current bike is limited to a maximum tyre size of 700x26c.
Will the new Trinity Advanced Pro Disc be UCI legal?
While two chainstays and seatstays can be spotted clearly towards the rear of the bike (some modern triathlon bikes, such as the Cervélo P5X have eliminated seatstays altogether), the seatstays appear to be heavily dropped.
Dropping the seatstays in this manner could improve comfort and aerodynamic performance, but would rule out the bike’s use in events sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), such as the Tour de France and other races on the UCI WorldTour.
Article 1.3.020 of the UCI’s technical regulations stipulates, “For road, track, and for cyclo-cross competitions, the frame of the bicycle shall be of a traditional pattern, i.e. built around a main triangle.”
The key words are “of a traditional pattern”, by which the UCI really means ‘of a double-triangle design’. The UCI handily provides an illustration in its regulations to clarify this point, with red boxes showing the size and placement limits for each of the major tubes.
It’s for this reason that bikes in the mould of Chris Boardman’s famous Lotus Sport 110 are no longer seen in UCI-sanctioned events.
If this is the case, Team BikeExchange-Jayco, Giant’s sponsored UCI WorldTour professional team, will continue to ride the current, rim-brake-only, Trinity Advanced Pro TT for the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, given that the bike was originally released in 2015 and is one of the few remaining rim-brake time trial bikes being used at WorldTour level, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a UCI-legal version in the near future as well.
Given the far greater design freedom permitted for triathlon bikes, it’s possible Giant may choose to design two entirely different bikes, as brands such as Canyon, Specialized and Cervélo have done.
This could take the form of a no-holds-barred bike for the triathlon market (such as the Canyon Speedmax Disc, Specialized S-Works Shiv Disc or Cervélo P5X), and one designed to maximise performance within the UCI’s more restrictive regulations (such as the Canyon Speedmax CFR Disc TT, Specialized S-Works Shiv TT Disc and Cervélo P5).
When will the new Trinity Advanced Pro Disc be released?
When asked about the new bike, Giant declined to give any specific details but said, “As a Giant/Cadex Pro athlete, Kristian is working with all resources available to him, from his sponsors, to maximise his potential in the upcoming challenge.”
Given the bike clearly already exists in rideable form, though, plus the fact Blummenfelt’s sub-seven-hour Ironman triathlon attempt is scheduled to take place on either 5 or 6 June 2022, an announcement is surely imminent.