Sam Appleton's Giant Trinity Advanced Pro

There were two Giant Trinity Advanced Pros underneath riders at Challenge Daytona earlier this month, unless there's somebody we missed. Other brands had more prolific representation, but Giant accomplished a lot with those two.

Gustav Iden won in what was the ultimate sprint-meets-ultra format we all love to see. In 6th place was Sam Appleton and below is his Giant. Of course it’s the legs, right? Sure, but we all have to ride something, and here is Mr. Appleton's something.

Sam rides a Trinity Advanced Pro with factory hydration. Roughly 4-ish years ago Giant solved an adjustability constraint by doubling the amount of pad height range per each bike size. That made these bikes a really compelling value. Of course, now everybody’s rushing to make a disc brake tri bike. Are disc brake bikes faster? By virtue of the disc brake? No. Especially if it’s Giant making the bike, because this brand came closer than anyone to perfecting the integrated aero caliper brake, with its Propel road race bikes and with this bike you see here.

Nevertheless, disc brakes are all the rage and it could eventually be that integrated disc brake systems are faster, that is, when you make a tire and a wheel that are as fast as they can be, and you’re not constrained by the need for a braking surface, perhaps that makes for a faster bike.

But few brands, so far, have taken advantage of that. Giant could be said to have done this with its brand family member CADEX, but that new platform (that we've been writing about) is not evident on this bike.

Sam was sent 2 sets of the same wheels – CADEX Four Spoke front and disc rear – one set for tubular (sew up) tires, and the other for tubeless tires. Sam chose tubeless.

But as noted these wheels, while certainly first-rate, are not really part of the new paradigm CADEX recently introduced. Both these wheels are rim brake wheels, and neither have hookless beads. The changeover to a new paradigm is evident in Giant’s road wheels, both 42mm and 65mm.

Because Sam is riding hooked bead wheels, he’s free to ride the fastest-rolling tubeless tires, at least as per Bicycle Rolling Resistance, which are the Vittoria Corsa Speed TL. It's not readily evident, because the brand is blacked-out, but that’s what these tires are.

Sam subbed-in 51 Speedshop Ultimate Carbon Extensions, its 51 Speedship armrest cups/pads, and a prototype 51 Speedshop wedge that angles the system up 8 degrees. How that integrated with the factory front end I don’t know, but it’s a pretty nifty retrofit.

Sam is riding a pretty stock Shimano Di2 Dura Ace 2x system. The pedals appear to be Shimano’s PD-R9100 (Dura Ace level). If you look at that black dot right on the chainstay that you can see peek-a-boo through the spider arms, that’s part of Shimano’s R9100P power meter.

It looks like he’s got pretty traditional 2-button shifting at the ends. It looks like he’s using a Garmin 1080 head unit to pair with his Shimano power meter.

What's changed since the last time we look at a Sam Appleton bike, which was 2 years ago? Most obvious was the switch from SRAM/Zipp to Shimano/CADEX. Less obvious was the upward 8° tilt in aerobars. He's taping his extensions now. Otherwise, it looks like the same Trinity Advanced Pro in size small.