Introducing the Trillion Prime – hand built, steel, British and a million miles from the shed-built bikes you might rate it alongside.

After a few races and plenty of riding, we’re checking in on our long-term Prime to see how it’s stacking up.

Riding by Dru Farrow, intro by Jamie Edwards, photos by Callum Philpott

What and where

So the Trillion Prime then. It’s a hardtail frame, obviously. It’s made of Reynolds 853 and Columbus Zona steel. It’s hand built in the UK with production split between Leamington Spa in the Midlands and Livingstone up in Scotland.

It’s pretty obvious what the Prime is all about. 65° head angle, low top tube, adjustable chain stay length, 27.5″ wheels with room for big tyres.

It’s built to go bloody fast and to thrash round your local woods without a care in the world for rear shocks or lack thereof.

At £999 for a frame, the Trillion Prime is never going to be a cheap second bike or a winter hack, more likely it’s going to be your pride and joy, main bike and do-it-all right?

The Basics

  • Hand-built in the UK
  • Made with Reynolds 853 and Columbus Zona steel
  • Available in three sizes with custom options available
  • 27.5″ wheels with room for 2.6″ tyres
  • 14 colours available
  • £999 for a frame

It’s built to go bloody fast and to thrash round your local woods without a care in the world for rear shocks or lack thereof.

Who and Why

Now we’ve got the what’s and where’s sorted it’s worth a look at the why’s.

Trillion was born out of a company called Liberty. Liberty are a multi-billion pound multi-national that own a ton of aluminium smelting plants, including the one in Fort William.

The company’s owner, a British-born Indian chap called Sanjeev, loves cycling and has an ambition to boost the British bike industry and likes the idea of great quality, British-built bicycles. So, Liberty formed Trillion with the plan of making that happen.

We’re about as far as we can get from those steel-is-real, man-in-a-shed, hand-built steel bikes stereotypes.

A Scottish twist

The Trillion story gets a little more interesting when Shand Cycles step into the mix. Trillion started hand building their bikes in Birmingham. In a surprising twist, Liberty invested in much-loved British steel bike brand Shand and moved production up to Livingston, Scotland.

Shand are now using their knowledge to build Trillion’s bikes and, from what we’ve seen already, making a big difference to the quality and finish of the frames.

Shand’s involvement also adds a few custom options. You can pay £1199.99 for custom sizing and you can also choose whether to have an ISCG mount or go without. There’s also a whopping list of 14 custom paint options to choose from – with our frame arriving in Hornet Green.

Riding the Prime

Wideopen’s hardtail pinner and team mechanic James Farrow has been shredding our Prime test bike and will be racing the the green machine all year for a proper, in-depth, long termer.

Since the bike arrived Dru has leathered the Prime round his local Cornish secret trails. He’s raced it at the Mini Downhill and Mini Enduro at the Forest of Dean. He’s pushed, pedalled and uplifted the Prime and even won a few races on it.

With Dru on the bike, we’re going to jump over to him to talk about his experience so far…

Wideopen: What were your first impressions of the Prime?

Dru: My first impressions were great. Its long, low, slack and green. What’s not to like?

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The lines of the frame look great and the finish of the frame and the paint is flawless. The low standover height is obviously great for riding but also gives it a really mean look.

I know Trillion had some issues with their earlier bikes and got a bit of stick for the look of their welds and their paint quality but, I haven’t seen any of that so far.

How would you describe the feel of the Prime when descending?

It loves to descend. The wheelbase feels pretty long and stable, the stand over is low and it has a 65° head angle – they all add up to give me loads of confidence to push harder.

I raced the bike at the Mini Enduro at Bike Park Wales and really noticed plenty of stability on the rougher trails, particularly on Roots Manoeuvres which is super rough, rutted and loose.

How is it on the rougher, faster, more technical trails?

With the 160mm Rock Shox Lyrik up front the rough stuff is taken care of nicely. In typical hardtail fashion the back end gets a bit loose when its rough, but with the low stand over you can use more of your legs to soak up the rough stuff. I’ve raced the bike down some pretty rough, loose, nasty terrain and had loads of fun.

It obviously depends how you build the bike up – the ‘enduro’ build I’m riding is working well.

What about less gnarly stuff, like trail centres?

Yea, it’s just as at home at the trail centres. The climbing position is comfortable enough to ride  all day. It’s got a 74° seat angle which isn’t massively steep but feels good for me.

The bike also came with a GX Eagle cassette so you’ve got a nice get out of jail card for later in the day when your legs are tired.

You could build the bike up with a slightly lighter, nippier build than I’m running and the angles would still work.

What’s the build of the bike like? What impressed you? What let you down?

The build that I’ve got is custom and isn’t one of the complete builds Trillion sell. Pretty much everything that it arrived was really good. It came with a SRAM GX Groupset, Lyrik RCT3 fork, Renthal bar and stem, Conti tyres and Hope E4 Race brakes.

The bike arrived with Mavic Crossmax Pro wheels which lasted about half an hour before self-destructing and Trillion swapped these out for a set of Hope Hoops which have been flawless.

Since I’ve had the bike I’ve made a couple of changes. I swapped out the 175mm GX cranks for a set of 170mm Hopes, just for personal preference. I also swapped the brakes for a set of standard Hope E4’s because I prefer the lever feel.

Otherwise, I’ve had no issues at all. There’s very little to go wrong.

Tell me about the geometry. Does it work? What does it do?

I’d like to try the Prime with a slightly slacker head angle. It’s 65° which works really well but I’d like to get it to 64° or 64.5° for the steeper, gnarlier stuff I’m riding on it.

The stand over height is really low and is amazing. I’ve never ridden a trail bike like it, it really is like riding a jump bike and means you can get your weight exactly where you want it and never whack your nuts in the process.

The adjustable wheelbase means you can dial the bike in to preference. I’ve got the M/L (wheelbase 1202mm-1222mm) and I’m running it at around the 1212mm at the moment. I’m just waiting for an uplift day to try it a bit longer.


We’ll be checking in on Dru throughout the rest of the year and we’ll be out shooting a video with him in the next couple of weeks.

For more from Trillion you can visit their website at trillioncycles.com/prime.

 


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