The Trinity Alliance is the middle option in the triathlon range from Taiwanese giants Giant, sitting between the aluminium framed Trinity (£1200) and the tricked-out carbon composite Trinity Advanced (£3250). The Alliance splits the difference with a frame that fuses carbon and aluminium. A female-specific version is available too – the Aeryn Alliance W (£2000).
Ride & Handling: steady rather than super speedy
With an all-up weight of 9.2kg the Giant is a little portly, but while it’s not lightning-quick out of the blocks, it accelerates just fine. Those deep tubes hold the bottom bracket good and tight so when you’re jumping up and down on the cranks to wind up the speed, all your effort is converted straight into forward motion.
Although the head tube isn’t mega-short, the steep seat angle helps you get into an efficient, flat-backed riding position without too much trouble even if you’re not especially bendy. Once you’re down there, the Alliance isn’t the most forgiving bike – the tight back end in particular can skitter when you hit a section of frost-damaged road fast. That said, there’s enough damping courtesy of the carbon in the frame and fork that you’re never left feeling battered and bruised for the run, and the Arione saddle is a real star.
The Alliance just gets on with the job of racking up the flat miles with no drama whatsoever. It’s swift enough that you can hold your cruising pace without feeling that you’re in a constant battle, and it’s controllable enough for you to stay down on the aero extensions even through tight turns and steep descents.
The Alliance will get you up and over moderate slopes without breaking your rhythm too much, but it’s not at its best when the road really heads skyward. It’s a couple of pounds too heavy to be a natural climber and the deep-section Mavic wheels are a tad porky although, on the plus side, they’re virtually flex-free when you get out of the saddle and stomp. And you might find yourself wishing that your biggest sprocket was a 25t rather than a 23, although that’s easily sorted.
Frame: neat carbon/alloy combination
It’s the top section of the Trinity Alliance’s frame that’s carbon – the sloping, triangular-profiled top tube, the upper section of the deep, aero seat tube, and the seatstays that angle in sharply to produce small and taut rear triangles. The rest, including the broad, teardrop shaped down tube, is made from Giant’s AluxX alloy with carbon filament wrapped around the junctions. Those joints are so smooth that you have to work hard to find them.
The fork blades are carbon too and so is the aero seat post. There’s a composite insert moulded to the inside of the seat tube designed to soak up road vibration while the cables burrow through the tubes up front and travel backwards inside the frame to reduce drag.
Equipment: respectable spec and finishing kit
The Trinity Alliance’s gearing comes courtesy of Shimano’s slinky Ultegra range. The alloy Cosmic Elites aren’t in the same league as Mavic’s more expensive carbon aero wheels, but for tri use they’re a cut above standard road hoops. With 30mm deep rims and just 20 bladed spokes per wheel, they’re pretty quick on the flat and are strong and durable with it.
Fizik’s Arione Tri 2 saddle is well proven too. You get all the butt-saving flex of normal Ariones but with extra padding on the front – where you most need it – and a seamless nose cover, which you’ll appreciate when you’re spinning along in just a thinly-padded trisuit.
The women’s version, the Aeryn Alliance W, comes with a slightly longer head tube and a female-specific Fizik Vitesse tri saddle, but that aside, the spec is exactly the same.
+ Steep frame geometry helps you get into an efficient ride position
+ More efficiency comes courtesy of the high level of stiffness
– Too heavy to fly around the hillier courses
– A bigger sprocket would make things easier on steep climbs