Trifox X16 Review: Light Frame That Won’t Ruin Your Budget

Trifox X16 review: Road bike based on Trifox X16 frame on a road with nature background

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Do you consider purchasing Trifox X16, but you are unsure if it’s worth it? 

You are in the right place because, in this Trifox X16 review, I interviewed Peter, who built a climbing road bike based on this frameset.

You learn what to expect from Trifox, what are Peter’s insights from riding this frame, and how he compares it with other bikes.

Additionally, you get an 8% discount on the trifoxbike.com website.

These are enough good reasons to continue reading. What do you think?

Let’s dive in.

About Peter

Hi, I’m Peter, I live in the beautiful Essex countryside in the East of England, and I’ve been cycling for around 6 years now. 

I first got into cycling after a friend arranged a London to Paris ride for a charity that he runs. Having not ridden a bike since I was a teenager, I bought a budget, entry-level set of wheels (B’Twin Triban 500SE). I eventually ended up using them to ride countless miles over the last 6 years. Until just a few months ago, I decided to build my own carbon fiber bike using one of the Trifox frames from China. 


Trifox X16 Build Summary

Trifox X16 is a lightweight road bike frameset with relatively relaxed geometry available in plenty of color options.

Thanks to its excellent price-value ratio, it belongs among the best budget Chinese road bike frames you can buy.

Below, you will find more details about Peter’s build.

Peter’s Trifox X16 Build Main Features

  • Claimed Frame Weight (size M): 914g
  • Weight (with pedals): 7.6kg (size 58cm)
  • Wheels: Elitewheels 50mm (tubeless ready) – 24 spokes – 6 bolt type disc brake fitting
  • Groupset: All Shimano 105 R7000 except for the crankset, which is a ZRace Hardrock CVR 50/34
  • Handlebar: Toseek carbon fiber fully integrated stem and bars, 400 x 100mm
  • Saddle: Toseek ultralight 
  • Tires: Continental Grand Prix 5000
  • Bottom Bracket: Shimano BB-R60 Ultegra 6800

Trifox X16 Pros & Cons

Here are the pros and cons of the X16 frameset. 

Trifox X16 Frameset Pros

  • Available in 6 sizes (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL)
  • Available for disc and rim brakes 
  • Available in multiple colors
  • High finish quality
  • High build quality
  • Very affordable
  • Branded frame from a company that seems to have good after-sales service

Trifox X16 Frameset Cons

  • The handlebar is not included in the price
  • Relatively heavy considering it is a ‘lightweight’ frame
  • The entry hole for the rear brake cable housing in the side of the frame had no slant to it, making doing internal routing difficult

Use this Trifox discount code CYCLISTSHUB on www.trifoxbike.com during checkout to get 8% OFF your purchase. Share this code via email


Trifox X16 Buying Experience

Here, I ask Peter a few questions regarding his shopping experience at trifoxbike.com and why he decided to buy X16.

What was your buying experience at trifoxbike.com? How long did it take them to process and deliver the order to your country?

I actually bought the bike from the Trifox store on AliExpress instead of the Trifox website. 

It was slightly cheaper there, and I also liked that I could message the company directly on AliExpress. They responded fairly promptly. 

In truth, there was an apparent admin error with the shipping method when I first ordered the bike, as shortly after, I was asked to cancel the order and then re-order the frame again. 

However, I was fully refunded for the initial purchase straight away, and the second payment was exactly the same, so there were no issues there. 

The customer service kept me updated too. Regarding the processing and delivery time, I was told that the frame was ready to ship as soon as I had paid. I then received it 3 ½ weeks later, which I was very happy with. 

Why did you decide to buy Trifox X16? What was its main selling point? 

Honestly, the price was the biggest draw for me. I had wanted a carbon fiber bike for a long time but knew I couldn’t justify spending the 1000s of pounds buying one from a mainstream brand. I then hit on the idea of building my own bike from scratch to keep costs down, and so then went looking on AliExpress. 

What other alternatives did you consider?

Trifox was the first brand I came across in my search, but in looking up reviews for them online, I also came across brands such as YOELEO and ICAN. I ultimately decided that Trifox was the best fit, though.


Trifox X16 Build Experience

Peter built this bike by himself. In this section, we dive deeper into the build process.

What was your idea behind this build? You used a nice-looking combination of black and red details…

As I mentioned above, I really wanted a carbon fiber bike, but it needed to be affordable. I am also quite handy and love building things for myself, so although I’d never built a bike from scratch before, I liked the idea of the challenge. 

From the start, I knew I wanted a matte black frame with no branding or decals whatsoever, but I wanted to add a little splash of color here and there. 

I decided on the red details quite early on, as the saddle was one of the first things I bought, and I liked how vibrant it was. 

I then thought it would be cool to continue with other small parts of the bike using the same theme, so I looked for red cable housings, bar tape, and even steerer tube spacers. I love how it turned out, and it stands out amongst other bikes when it’s parked up.

Trifox X16 handlebar (view from the front)
Trifox X16 handlebar

Did you experience any issues when building the X16 bike (especially with the bottom bracket area and internal cable routing)?

The build went fairly smoothly (for a complete amateur like myself). However, as the bike had internally routed cables, the longest part of the build was definitely running the cables and cable housing through the frame. The frame came with handy cable guide tubes, without which the job may well have been impossible, but even with them, it took time to feed the cables through the guides before removing them and sliding the brake cable over the installed cable. 

As listed in the question, this was quite difficult when pushing the cable housing around the bottom bracket area. As the bike would have disc brakes (which require more force to be used when stopping the wheels), there is a tendency for less sturdy brake cable housing to deform under pressure, therefore reducing the brakes’ effectiveness. For this reason, I decided to use Jagwire compressionless brake housing, which has a Kevlar coating but also a much thicker structure to withstand the extra forces. This made the housing quite stiff and meant it didn’t bend particularly easily—as such, sliding the housing down and around the bottom bracket took quite a while. 

However, the biggest issue with the cable runs is that while the gear cable housings terminate into small ‘pots’ on the side of the frame, the brake cable housing has to travel all the way through the frame and fork to the brake calipers. This again is due to the extra force needed when applying the brakes, meaning that it’s best not to rely on the structural rigidity of the frame to cope with this force. 

It, therefore, makes much more sense to have the cable housing run from end to end of the braking system. But unfortunately, the entry hole for the rear brake cable housing in the side of the frame had no slant to it, meaning the cable stuck out at a near 90° angle. 

To solve this, I had to use some fine files to shave some of the carbon fiber from around the entry hole and make it angled so that the cable housing could sit almost flush. 

The handlebars were also a tricky part to cable, as these were semi-internally routed also, but they did not come with cable guides. As such, I spent a long time trying to fit both the brake and gear cable housing around the awkward bend and in/out of small holes. I had to use the small files again here to open the entry and exit holes and little to accommodate the cables. In hindsight, it would have been easier to cable the frame first and then use the cable guides from that to assist in installing the handlebar cables. But you live and learn. 

All in all, the cabling probably took me around 3-4 hours to complete. 

If I saw correctly, you use Chinese chainrings and cranks, right? How is their performance compared to established brands?

Yes, most of my groupset is Shimano 105 R7000 except for the crank, which is the ZRace Hardrock 50/34 compact. 

I again bought the whole groupset from AliExpress, and so some people have voiced concerns over how genuine the Shimano branded parts are. 

Having done quite a bit of research on the groupset, though, each part looks identical to bonafide Shimano parts and weighs exactly the stated weight on the official website.

This tells me that they are either genuine parts or have been made meticulously to look like genuine parts. Honestly, then, if fake parts are being made to such a high spec, I’m more than happy. 

Trifox X16 Crank
Trifox X16 ZRace Hardrock chainrings and cranks

Use this Trifox discount code CYCLISTSHUB on www.trifoxbike.com during checkout to get 8% OFF your purchase. Share this code via email


Trifox X16 Riding Experience

Below, you will learn more about Peter’s riding experience with Trifox X16.

X16 is a relatively lightweight frameset. However, is it also stiff?

To me, it feels plenty stiff enough. It’s true to say I’m not the lightest rider in the world, but it seems even my 85kg bulk hasn’t caused me to feel any flex in the frame, even when putting the hammer down. 

What about the riding comfort? Could you rate it on a scale of 1-10? 

I can only really compare it to my old Triban 500SE, which was an off-the-shelf bike that probably wasn’t the best fit for me. 

Given that I built this bike from the ground up with all my own measurements, I guess it isn’t surprising that it is much more comfortable than my old bike, and I now feel very little or no soreness even after a few hours in the saddle.

I’d have to rate it a solid 8/10. I only leave the extra two points as I don’t know if there might be another bike out there that fits me better, and so I always like to leave a little room for improvement. 

Trifox X16 seatpost (view from the side)
Trifox X16 seatpost with the saddle

Is the bike stable at high speeds, especially in descents?

Yes, absolutely. I have one particular descent on my usual riding route that allows me to get into the now illegal ‘super tuck’ position and go over 40mph (64 km/h). There is no wobble or vibration from the frame at all. 

What are your overall impressions from riding Trifox X16? What surprised you the most about this frameset?

I’ve only put around 250 miles on the bike so far, having only finished the build about 6 weeks ago. However, my initial impressions are extremely positive. It’s light, nimble, and has managed to cope with more than a couple of rough road surfaces/potholes. 

Having never ridden a carbon fiber bike before, the biggest surprise was how light it feels, and I still get a shock now when I have to pick it up to move it. It may not be the lightest carbon fiber bike in the world, but it’s certainly lighter than my B’Twin, and it looks/feels significantly better. 

Is there anything you don’t like about this bike?

I wouldn’t say there’s anything I don’t like. Still, the only feedback I’d give to Trifox is about the cable housing entry points and making them angled during the manufacturing process to make the cable entry easier. 


Trifox X16 Alternatives

If you are looking for a Chinese lightweight bike, make sure also to check out:


Trifox FAQ


Summary

Peter, would you recommend the Trifox X16 frameset? Is it worth its price?

I would 100% recommend and have every time someone has asked me about the bike. 

What are the overall costs of your build?

In total, I paid just over £1200 (1470 USD) for the build, with the most expensive items being the frame itself (£429 [525 USD] including shipping) and the carbon fiber wheels (£270 [330 USD] for the pair).

Use this Trifox discount code CYCLISTSHUB on www.trifoxbike.com during checkout to get 8% OFF your purchase. Share this code via email


Did you like this Trifox X16 review? Let me know in the comments.

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