If you print the word rapid on a bike you’d better be sure it’s no slouch. Happily, this urban machine from Giant doesn’t disappoint.
It looks fast, and certainly as if it should cost a lot more than its £550 price tag, with a snappy paintjob bringing out the best of a frame that’s like a showcase for different aluminium tube shapes. The ﬁnal look is not unlike a kind of aero praying mantis, with the high front end and gently arching down tube.
Some of the hydroformed frame tubing is butted, with the thickness of tubes varying along their length. That might go some way to explaining the Rapid’s reasonably low all-up weight, as our XL 58.5cm model weighed in at 10.9kg with SPD pedals.
Point the Rapid down the road and you’ll be more than happy with how quickly you’ll spin up to speed. There’s no discernible ﬂex wasting your effort from either the own-brand wheels, the angular rear stays or the chunky rectangular handlebar stem.
The only thing that might have you backing off on steep uphill corners is the occasional involuntary power wheelie, as the high front end tilts your body weight over the back wheel just a little bit too much. But bend your elbows a little like you know you should and all your effort will translate to gratifyingly quick acceleration instead.
Giant promise a ‘blend of ﬂat bar control and road bike speed’ with the Rapid, and it delivers. What the company don’t shout about is how versatile this quick bike is too.
Subtly drilled eyelets mean you’ll easily be able to ﬁt a rack and mudguards for shopping, winter hacking or sprightly touring, and there’s plenty of clearance in the frame and fork for mudguards and a wide range of fatter or knobbly tyre options.
When it comes to the gearing, again Giant have added to the Rapid’s versatility and broadened its appeal by ﬁtting a triple chainset allied to an eight-speed cassette. This gives a mountain bike-like range of lower gears that will let you spin up practically any gradient.
While the Shimano Sora/SRAM/FSA mix drivetrain needs a deliberate sweep of the thumb to change into a bigger cog with the Shimano Rapidﬁre-style shifters, the dual-pivot calliper brakes are conﬁdence-inspiringly good.
Not one piece of kit detracts from the Rapid’s comfortable, slick ride. Even the saddle felt good enough for a bike costing ﬁve times as much as this.
The look is not unlike a kind of aero praying mantis, with the high front end and gently arching down-tube: www.smithpic.co.uk