Tell most people you’re riding a Tiger Frog and their answer will usually be, “A what?” Once you’ve then assured them that it won’t bite their head off, nor go ‘ribbit’, you can explain that Tiger Frog is in fact a UK-based online retailer specialising in tri clothing and a range of bikes. The TF300C is the company’s top-of-the-line machine for 2009, and is available built as tested, or to varying component specs depending on your budget and preferences.
The TF300C is a reasonably light bike with aerobars, deep-section tubing and wheels. The SRAM Force groupset and bar-end shifters were very good in function and very smart in appearance, with carbon shifters and cranks. SRAM has now proven itself as a viable alternative to Shimano and Campagnolo so, if you’re looking for something different, this could tick the box.
As tends to be the case with carbon rims and normal brake pads, braking performance could have been better, but the Edge wheels ran very true with well-finished surfaces, which helps. In a straight line the Edge wheels performed very well – smooth bearings and profiled aero rims cutting along as good as any of the mid-level race wheels we’ve tested.
The Profile carbon tri-bars matched the high gloss finish of the frame and are a comfortable and sturdy choice. Profile is no longer the dominant force it was in the 1990s, but it still produces excellent and reliable kit. Comfort-wise, the Tiger Frog puts the rider in a very aggressive aero position. This equates to good power delivery over the bottom bracket, but twitchy and sensitive steering.
This isn’t too much of a problem in a straight line, but cornering on the tri-bars takes skill and confidence to say the least. Due to this geometry it also prefers flat courses to hills, with climbing made all the more challenging when too much weight is put over the front end.
The test bike, priced at £2,750, was supplied with SRAM Force components, Edge deep-section carbon tubular wheels (50mm front, 90mm rear), Profile bars/stem and Selle Italia SLR saddle. All good solid kit. The frame is from Taiwan and an open source mould, branded in Tiger Frog’s lime green and white colours – which does of course mean that there will be other manufacturers out there offering effectively the same machine with a different paint job.
The quality of the frame is a bit of an unknown quantity in terms of pedigree or background. The finish is certainly smart enough, but details like the rear wheel cutaway in the seat tube not hugging the rim profile and the bulbous bottom bracket area mean this is not the best, aesthetically speaking.
The look of the Tiger Frog is not to everyone’s taste and opinions were divided on the graphics and very shiny black finish. It’s very ‘loud and proud’ and could possibly do with a more classy appearance to help justify what’s nearly a £3K spend. That said, some people do like to stand out from the crowd.
On paper the Tiger Frog looks like excellent value and the specification is indeed good for this price point. Highlights are the SRAM Force groupset and Profile bars, which you could easily find on much pricier bikes. Two things that possibly let the bike down are the ‘love ’em or hate ’em’ graphics and the aggressive nature of the ride. Some will love the way it puts you over the bottom bracket and bars – and for a flat 10- or 25-mile TT it’d certainly be quick – but on a more demanding course, many would prefer a more conservative rig.
A definite plus point when looking at this bike is that you can spec it according to your own taste and budget. Another big plus is the fact that when you deal with Tiger Frog, the guys on the other end of the phone are clearly real triathletes who are passionate about their business – which makes for a nice change in these days of faceless international call centres.
Frame TF300C Carbon Aero Tri Geometry
Forks TF300C Carbon Aero
Groupset SRAM Force; SRAM Force callipers; SRAM TT 900 Carbon levers
Wheels Edge Carbon Tubular (50mm front and 90mm rear); Vittoria Triathlon Evo CX 700c x 21 Tub
Cockpit Profile Carbon x1.5 integrated bar/stem/tri bar
Seating TF Carbon Aero seatpost; Selle Italia SLR T1 saddle
Weight 7.75kg (17.09lb) without pedals
Sizes S, M, L
Contact : Tiger Frog 01256 698058