More stiffness, more efficiency, more compatibility; less weight… Giant’s 2012 road bike range, naturally enough, delivers all of these and does so without losing its identity, thanks to a ground-up redesign, based on the concept of “Beyond Integration”, around existing features that are considered proven to be effective. Like sticking to two wheels… Or, to be sensible, sticking to the Total Compact Road concept but giving it a thorough overhaul.
The resulting series of 11 models, comprising variations on themes by TCR, Defy and Avail, is topped by the TCR Advanced SL. This machine, used during this year’s Tour de France by the Giant-sponsored Rabobank pro race team, shares its inner workings with the “alternative geometry” Defy Advanced SL and is Giant’s expression of what is possible using the state of the biggest bike manufacturer in the world’s bike-building art. It incorporates a full house of technological features and innovations: OverDrive2, CNT, RideSense, CFT, PowerCore, MegaDrive and possibly others unknown outside Giant’s laboratories.
Of them OverDrive2 is perhaps the biggest news. Intended by Giant to become a new industry standard (although if it is justone of many such, it can hardly be called “standard”, eh?), it means that the steerer tube is 1 1/4″ in diameter along its length until it approaches the fork crown, where it widens to 1 1/2″ to fit the new 1 1/2″ lower headset bearing implied by the name. The outcome is a massive 30percent increase in steerer torsional stiffness, improving, according to Giant, steering response and accuracy.
CNT means Carbon Nanotube Technology; Giant’s vast resources, often used by competing manufacturers, include the ability to manufacture their own resins. In this case, new resins have been developed incorporating carbon nanotubes. They save weight by displacing resin and add strength to improve impact resistance by a claimed 14percent. Continuous Fiber Technology means just that; new construction methods allow Giant to use – er – continuous carbon fibres in place of short lengths, adding stiffness and shaving weight.
RideSense is Giant’s ANT+ compatible computer sensor, while PowerCore and MegaDrive are pre-existing labels describing the beefy bottom bracket area and fat down tube respectively.
Each collection – TCR, Defy and Avail – comprises several machines, each enjoying a different level of composite material and construction: Advanced SL-grade composite , Advanced Composite and T6oo Composite respectively and, given that the firm has developed new ranges of contact points and wheelsets to accompany the frames and forks, there will surely be a noticeable performance progression between models.
Oh, and all these bikes get a replaceable rear derailleur hanger that sits on the inside of the dropout, adjacent to the wheel hub locknut. It stiffens the hanger and ensures more accurate alignment with the cassette that way, see?
TCR Advanced SL First Ride on its way