At a launch timed to coincide with the Tour Down Under – the first race of the Giant-sponsored Blanco squad – the Asian manufacturer has launched two fresh lines of bikes named Propel and Envie, men’s and women’s aerodynamic road bikes. The Envie is the first women’s specific aero bike in the world.
The Propel and Envie will sit alongside the current top-of-the-range TCR and Avail bikes, both are road race frames designed with aerodynamics in mind. The Propel was previewed at the season starting show, Eurobike in September 2012, the launch at the 2013 Tour Down Under provided Cycling Weekly with the first chance to look over, touch and ride the new machines.
To start with there will be the Propel Advanced SL, which includes an ISP or integrated seatpost and the Envie Advanced that uses a more standard style of seatpost. Whilst the frames are designed for different users and carry different names they are essentially the same bike and all importantly use the same tube profiles.
Below is a table produced by Giant showing drag of the Propel against some of its biggest rivals at various Yaw angle up to 15 degrees (see graph below).
Highlights of the range topping Advanced SL frame include:
Giant has created an aero bar and stem combo, they call the Contact SLR, the stem carries a look that’s very reminiscent of the stem found on the Trinity TT machine.
Another new development is the Speedcontrol SLR a TRP manufactured carbon fibre brake, it has a pull ratio that makes it compatible with Shimano 9000 Dura-Ace and SRAM’s new Red.
All the aero testing for the new frame be it CFD (computational fluid dynamics) or validating the results in the wind tunnel included a pedaling manikin and a rolling road plus a single water bottle.
Unlike some to the opposition Giant has used the same Overdrive2 tapered fork steerer tube on the aero bikes as the TCR so that a 1 1/4-inch top and 1 1/2-inch lower bearing to improve front end stiffness.