2010 Giant Rapid Bicycle Review

The Base Model Giant Rapid 3

The 2010 Giant Rapid 3
The 2010 Giant Rapid 3

Potential Commuter Bike of the Year

Giant Bicycles decided to ditch their FCR line in favor of the new Rapid line of hybrid commuter bikes in 2010. As someone who owns one of the new Rapids and works in a bike shop that sells them, I think they made a terrific call. The entire series of 2010 Giant Rapid bikes is not only a significant improvement over the old FCRs, but they can easily hold their own with any other commuter on the market.

The 2010 Giant Rapid Series

As with most of their models, Giant numbers each bike in the Rapid line. The smaller the number, the higher the quality of the bike.

The Giant Rapid 3

I own the Giant Rapid 3 - the base model - which retails for $600. I got the bike when it first came out, weeks after we received it at the bike shop where I work. It looks better than the FCR and the new frame geometry makes it a faster bike. I cannot pinpoint why, though I am sure Giant's engineers can. Although the drivetrain is not all that different from the FCR, it is an amazingly smooth shifting bike. I was concerned that the Giant branded wheelset could not handle the punishment I give a commuter (rides over 20 miles almost every time out, speeds consistently in the 20s, bad Los Angeles roads), but it has held up. I just had the wheel tensioned and re-trued before I took my initial rides, and it's given me zero problems. I am not an upright, commuter bike kind of guy, but I like this bike. This might be because the frame is almost identical to the Defy road bike frame.

Cons: No matter how hard I tried, the wheelset will not take 700 X 23 tires to replace the 700 X 28s that are stock. And after about 500 miles, the bottom bracket started knocking on the downstroke. No problem, though. I just disassembled the crank and BB, regreased, and it is all good.

Check out additional advice on buying a hybrid bike.

Need a road bike saddle?

Consider my advice for selecting a bike helmet.

The 2010 Giant Rapid 2

The Giant Rapid 2
The Giant Rapid 2

The Giant Rapid 2

I do not own the upper end models in the Rapid series, but I do sell the Rapid 2. (Speaking of that, I have sold about ten Rapid 3s in the last six months; I believe in the product!). The biggest upgrades from the Rapid 3 to the Rapid 2 are the move from a 8 to a 9-speed drivetrain, a lighter FSA crankset, and a carbon fork. You save a pound or two, but is it worth the steep $325 jump in price? I am not so sure.

The Giant Rapid 1

If you are going to spend more on a Rapid, you might as well skip the Rapid 2 and go straight for the Rapid 1 at $1100. The upgrades are much more substantial. For the extra money, you get a Mavic CXP22 wheelset, a Shimno Tiagra crank, and clipless Shimano M505 pedals.

The Giant Rapid 0

If you are willing to spend $1100 then why not drop an extra $250 on the Rapid 0 with a Shimano 105, 10-speed drivetrain and a bombproof (though I have seen otherwise) Mavic Axium wheelset. I have seen this bike on a special order, and it is a solid bike. My only concern is that for a few hundred more you can get a Giant road bike equipped with Shimano 105. Really the only reason to opt for the Rapid 0 over a road bike is if you have a desire for the upright position the Rapid offers.

The End

I did not have plans to get a commuter bike until I saw and rode the Rapid 3.  The improved design over the FCR series initially caught my eye.  When I rode it I was sold.  In fact, I echo one of the early online reviews I read about the Rapid 3.  Another early Rapid owner contends that his Rapid 3 rides like other commuters that cost $1,000.  I agree.  Giant seems to have hit it big with this new line.

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Comments 26 comments

Larry 6 years ago

I found your comments informative and quite useful. I had my eyes set on a Trek 7.5 and now I will need to take the Giant our for a ride.

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composed 6 years ago from the place where I have what it takes Author

Great, Larry. It's a solid bike. Tough to disappoint I think.

Todd 6 years ago

Thanks for the review. I think you made my decision. I think the Rapid 3 makes most sense. Cannot see spending so much for so little in upgrades.

olearydc 6 years ago

Hi there

Thanks for the review.

Quick question, buying the Rapid 3 also in the next 2 weeks.

Can it take mudguards and panniers?

Thanks again

Dan from sunny Ireland!

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composed 6 years ago from the place where I have what it takes Author

Hi Olearydc--

Yes, it can take panniers, for certain. You will need to install a rear rack first though. Then buy compatible panniers. As for the mudguard-- if you are referring to fenders, yes it will.

Glad the review was helpful.

Dan 6 years ago

Hi composed 4

Thanks for that. Just went to bike shop and ordering the rapid 3, like others looked at the trek7.5 but moved over to Giant.

Thanks again for your time.



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composed 6 years ago from the place where I have what it takes Author

Good choice, I think.

BTW, I managed to get some 700 X 23s on my Rapid 3. Vredestein Ricorsos or something, I think. Specialized Armadillos just would not hook to the rim.

jezza 6 years ago

I have a Rapid 3 - I like it a lot but could not find any fenders that fit. Maybe you have a specific brand? It does take 2 water bottle cages though...

Bryan 6 years ago

I just bought a Rapid 3 two weeks ago and I'm very happy with it. Rides smooth and gears shift nicely. Glad I picked this bike over the Trek 7.5 and Specialized Sirrus models. I believe Giant makes a better bike at a better price.

Bryson 6 years ago

The Giant 3 took me for a spin today, and it seemed like a great bike. I'm wondering what it would ride like with a set of road bike bars. I like the frame for the price, but dislike the upright position. Do you think it would be a good idea to swap bars?

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composed 6 years ago from the place where I have what it takes Author

I think you are better off getting a road bike. Honestly, if you switch to road bars on the rapid, you will need new shifters and probably a new drivetrain as well. Not cost-effective.

Look at the Specialized Allez or something.

Bryson 6 years ago

thanks v. much, I didn't consider what it would take to adapt road bars.

Ade 6 years ago

Hi, your review was very helpful. Thanks for that = helpful enough to motivate me to head over to my new Giant Store in Cambridge (UK).

They had 3 Rapids on show. The 1, 2 & 3. In the Uk the 1 is the 105 rear mech and the 3 is the red one. I tried the 2 as they had it in a Size L (at 6 foot it seems to fit me ok).

I took it for a spin down Hills Road and up to the Railway Station. Less than ideal because the traffic in this area of town was terrible.

I really liked the bike. It was, surprisingly, light and quite nimble but has a fairly harsh ride (note-buy some good quality Schwalbe tyres (from somewhere like www.thebicycletyrecompany.co.uk who sell them cheap) and ditch the stock tyres to sort that out.

I'm considering the Rapid because I no longer find road bikes with drop bars comfortable due to trouble with my abused and ageing neck.

I found the riding position on the Rapid excellent. Handling too is excellent. It's quick, stiff and confident.

However, after getting back from my test ride (which I would would have happily extended to a burn around the colleges and Parkers, Mid Summer Common etc albeit for my Wife waiting in the Giant shop) I started looking at the Rapid 1. It has much better quality components and wheels and feels worthy of the extra cost.

I like the Rapid 1, but I'm wondering how I'd feel after riding 100 miles? I'm planning to do a 100 mile ride in September. Would you ride 100 miles on yours?

Elrod 6 years ago

Just bought the Rapid 3, I test rode back and forth, back and forth against the Trek FX 7.2. It was a hard decision, but felt the Rapid felt much more efficient. The FX fits a purpose, but definitely more upright and "mountain bike" feeling. I'm not a seasoned cyclist, but for our purposes (bike paths as a family with kids and trailer) and my desire to get some road riding in I went with the Rapid. Only thing I likes better during testing with the FX was it shifted smoother and felt more "positive" in it's engagements. Thanks for your input, I probably wouldn't have considered the Rapid until I read your review.

Franklin Blunt 6 years ago

I still ride the predecessor to this. It's a Perigee and was aquired in 2003 at Fleet Cyclery in Freemantle, WA. A great bike that is really durable. It survived with me, although with some work and an overhaul, even after I was hit from behind by a faulty motorist. Unfortunately, I haven't fared as well but that is the problem with negligent medical treatment and a corrupt torte law system in America, well San Diego, not as great as all the rhetoric would have you believe since victims are clearly at a disadvantage in trying to achive justice and recovery.

Those are other topics but I have some advice about biking though, for me the best commuting wheel/tire is a 700x35. Sure there is some rolling resistance but the stability and overall performance is worth the compromise. It's difficult to check online for the specs on this bike because it seems to be a customized model; I was lucky to get it when the opportunity was provided. It came with complete Tiagra complement but the wheelset was all Mavic. A criticism I have about Giant USA is the idea of providing variants that try to fulfill every possible combination. Although compromise seems to be the end result instead of overall fulfillment; I'm sure they end up having excessive inventory and wasted resources as a result. Anyway, after restoration, the bike is virtually the same as original except the wheelset has Tiagra hubs to complement the Mavic rims so the components are virtually all Tiagra. Perhaps I would change the bottom bracket but the cartridge is fine as I have another bike that provides higher-end road performance. The Perigee is pure rolling enjoyment and with the chronic pain that I now suffer, any relief is welcome.

Duccman 6 years ago

I have the Rapid 3, I love it.

Two months after purchase and nearly 500 miles later, still glad I purchased it.

I have ridden in 3 charity rides ranging from 35-50 miles in the last month and the Rapid 3 was a dream to ride.


Bill 5 years ago

I got a Rapid 2 in June 2010 and have logged 1,000 miles so far. This bike is a joy to ride, but I do regret my decision to go with the Rapid 2.

I am new to biking and wasn't sure if my body was up to the task of crouching over an "all-out" road bike, and I thought the upright riding position of the Rapid would also make me more noticeable to drivers. While I do sit higher, it actually comes at the EXPENSE of comfort. Compared to the flat-bar Rapid, drop-bars (ex. Giant Defy) give you the option to alternate hand positions, which is a godsend during an endurance ride. And yes, you can still ride upright on drop-bars. Lesson learned.

By the way, my Rapid 2 made it through two high-speed wrecks with no major damage (both accidents were due to my inexperience, and damage was limited to cosmetics)...I survived too, by the way. The bike is built well at a great price.

I am saving for a Giant Defy Advanced. (look it up, and buy one from the reviewer!)

Gord 5 years ago

I just bought the Rapid 1.

Strengths, good components, light, fast.

Issues, compact crank means only 2 chainrings. Not great for short steep climbs.

I'm an old school mtn biker that wanted a cross over bike. This bike is great, I changed the tires to 32mm as I want to ride some rail trails also.

For City biking it's a great bike!

Recommend any one of the rapid models


All in I expect good service out of this bike as it's well made and has good components.

Dylan 5 years ago

Bought my Rapid 3 just over 8 months ago. Rode throughout the winter unless it was lower than -10C (ice cube head makes me stupid) on the 'as is' bike. I average daily 20km rides with about 2 50km/wk. (The traffic is too dangerous [stupid] around north eastern Toronto to ride on the roads without a group to take a whole lane). So, bottom bracket is starting to rattle, chain is rusting, rear brake cable replaced today. Tires suck and will soon be replaced, but I don't know with what; will not get larger rubber under the frame or brakes. No guards or rack - the bike is outta the box light and I wear a small pack with gear and miscellany, including a Krpyto U lock and water bottle.

This is really a road bike with an upright ride. I am experienced enough to take the odd trail but this bike is not set up for it (this is the only non-MTB I've had in over 20 years). Stay on the seat always since the tires won't grip. Still, I LOVE IT. Seriously fast, phenomenal handling, incredible frame. Rather than upgrading I expect to buy in the 15-2500 range for a road bike (or CX) and make this my all-purpose ride. This is the best commuter bike I have ever sat. Forget panniers, racks and fenders - dress right, wear a pack and get off on a beautiful ride. you'll also have fewer headaches - the frame symmetry makes most clamps impossible. Built-in minimalism!

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CyclingFitness 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

Nice hub dude. I have a love of Giant bikes although I have a plastic TCR which I love to bits. What wheelset is on the 3 you have? I find it very strange that they will not accept 23's.

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CyclingFitness 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

Nice hub dude. I have a love of Giant bikes although I have a plastic TCR which I love to bits. What wheelset is on the 3 you have? I find it very strange that they will not accept 23's.

Ariel 5 years ago

Debating between the Rapid 1 and Cannondale Quick 2.

Any advice?

Mike 5 years ago

I've had a Rapid 3 for a year and previously had road bikes. I ride streets for fitness & fun & I like to go fast. I'm not disappointed with the 3. Added a Brooks saddle (fabulous!) and Ergon GC2 grips (the ones with ergonomic bar ends). Have a good look at these; they've eliminated numb hands. Great bike! Fun and good looking, too!

Rapider 4 years ago

I've owned the "original" Rapid 3 for over a year now and it has served me well. I was amazed how well it held up with the winter punishment. Basically the premise I get out of the fairly low price tag is that the bike is solidly made for the 1k range but the components may wear out quickly - so you're getting a deal really. If price isn't an issue for you definitely go for the high end Rapids because you really do "feel" the difference, even though the Rapid 3 is already very light and agile. I love the new all white/black color schemes for 2012 and am considering powdercoating mine. The Rapid is by far the best commuter bike I've ever had, unfortunately it will be hard to find the cheaper Rapids now that Giant has upgraded their line.

Ron 4 years ago

I bought a Rapid 3 in Jul, 2011 and have enjoyed it since then. I've never owned a road bike and my bicycling experience was mostly on a MTB, on a 1993 Giant Iguana (still alive!). Anyway, the Rapid 3 turned out to be the perfect bike for me. I enjoy riding it and it makes me really happy to hear and feel the wind whistling by my ears. Even when the weather is gloomy, cold and dreary, five miles on my Rapid 3 makes me happy and content. I learned how to adjust my shifters, how to shift effectively (like if its on the smallest front gear; rear gear should be on the bigest #1 or #2 on right)


Anyway, my town is on the bronze level of the bicycle friendly community so there are lots of bike paths. When I first got the Rapid 3, I biked a few miles.

five miles, then 10, then 20. It kept to a point where I look forward to my weekend of biking. But Fall came and days got shorter, and my biking time got shorter and eventually disappeared because of family duty (picking up kids from school). Then I realize, I should just bike to work! 5 miles, 3.5 mi on designated bike paths, ~1 on a bike route (a secondary road where every car that pass by is essentially my neighbor).

Gabby 20 months ago

This could not poissbly have been more helpful!

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