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RCUK100 - Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 road bike

Reviews

Giant TCR Advanced SL 0

Pro-proven climber's frame updated for 2016

Giant revamped the TCR range in 2015, introducing the new TCR Advanced SL ahead of the Tour de France, and then watched Simon Geschke put in the performance of a lifetime on it and earn a stage win in the Alps.

And as if that wasn’t enough of a glowing reference for their new machine, it was also the bike on which Tom Dumoulin so nearly grabbed what would have been an improbable victory at the Vuelta a Espana.

Giant-Alpecin’s riders already used the original TCR, of course, riding it to success on some of the biggest stages thanks to a winning marriage of performance and comfort coupled with the best stiffness-to-weight ratio in its class.

The new iteration of Giant’s climber’s bike is 12 per cent lighter than its predecessors in fact – without any compromise when it comes to that fabled stiffness.

In fact, the carbon TCR frame has been around since 2003 and the geometry for five years longer than that.

ONCE, T-Mobile and Rabobank all used incarnations of the iconic machine, and all achieved plenty of success on it before Giant-Alpecin gave the nod to this version.

The TCR Advanced SL is the latest and greatest reimagining of the bike and sits – as did its predecessor – as a lighter, more comfortable and compact alternative to the Propel, Giant’s aero road bike you’ll have seen under John Degenkolb and, until last winter, Marcel Kittel.

The new frame has been rebuilt from the ground up, with the finished product a lighter, torsionally stiffer frame and a lighter fork.

TCR means Total Compact Road; Giant were pioneers of the compact geometry whereby the toptube slopes from the headtube to the seattube to reduce the size of the front and rear triangles for a lighter, stiffer bike and the TCR is evidence of their pioneering work.

And the new iteration of Giant’s climber’s bike is 12 per cent lighter than its predecessors in fact – without any compromise when it comes to that fabled stiffness.

RCUK100 - Giant TCR Advanced SL0 road bike
RCUK100 - Giant TCR Advanced SL0 road bike
RCUK100 - Giant TCR Advanced SL0 road bike

Light weight isn’t even one of the core principles behind the TCR either, they save that for efficiency, handling and race-tuned ride quality measured according to how the bike performs in the hands of the best in the business

The frame weighs a paltry 856g, and even when you chuck in the full frameset it tips the scales at just a claimed 1,376g in medium. Such a low weight has been achieved by getting Giant’s engineers to strip any excess material in the tube profiles, slimming them down and refining the shapes.

The top tube, down tube, seat mast and seatstays have all been put on a diet and all while ensuring it remains best in class when it comes to stiffness-to-weight. We’ll have to take Giant’s word on that one, but they’re not just bandying hyperbole around – the bold claims come from having bought samples of their rivals’ machines to test it.

Light weight isn’t even one of the core principles behind the TCR either, they save that for efficiency, handling and race-tuned ride quality measured according to how the bike performs in the hands of the best in the business – pretty damn good then, if you look at messrs Geschke and Dumoulin.

Giant’s MegaDrive downtube and PowerCore 86mm-wide bottom bracket  provide a solid base for power transfer, and the shape of the integrated seatpost and seatstays has also been refined for improved comfort without taking anything away from pedalling efficiency.

RCUK100 - Giant TCR Advanced SL0 road bike
RCUK100 - Giant TCR Advanced SL0 road bike
RCUK100 - Giant TCR Advanced SL0 road bike

Giant call the seatpost the Variant Integrated Seatpost and it has been rounded to offer more compliance than on the former TCR.

The new frame is also used in the revamped TCR Advanced Pro and TCR Advanced collections, but it’s the TCR Advanced SL 0 which stands top of the range.

A Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and Giant SLR 0 wheels – another new product from the Taiwanese firm which we’ll come to now – complete the build.

Giant have been hard at work on their hoops, and have come up with a concept they’re calling Dynamic Balanced Lacing – a system which places more stress on pulling spokes and less on pushing spokes under tension. These balance out when you start riding, making for a stiffer, more efficient wheel according to Giant and the new wheels come in at 1,330g for the pair.

Giant led the way on compact road bike geometry, ever since they first designed their sloping bicycle in 1995, just eight years after their partnership as a private label OEM for Schwinn ended and they branched out solo.

The TCR Advanced SL, released two decades later, is the latest iteration of that pioneering journey and certainly lives up to its predecessors’ reputations.

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