Just Landed: Fresh out of the box in the Cycling Weekly offices, the Giant TCR Advanced SL 1 is the top-level racing machine from the world’s biggest bike brand
One of the bikes of choice for Giant-Alpecin in 2015, few machines in the pro peloton benefit from a bloodline stretching as far back as that of the Giant TCR Advanced SL. The frame is engineered with Giant’s Compact Road Geometry with its trademark sloping top tube and small rear triangle, a design which can be traced back to 1995 before being refined by Mike Burrows for the ONCE team.
The first carbon-fibre version of the TCR frame appeared in 2003, and three years later saw the arrival of the TCR Advanced, which introduced the integrated seatpost into the range, a feature that is present on the TCR Advanced SL 1 that we’ve got in for test.
This bike features a frame constructed from the same high-grade carbon-fibre used for the top models across the Giant range. The Advanced SL Composite Technology uses Giant’s own specially developed resin and bonding processes to create what the company claims is a frame with the greatest stiffness-to-weight ratio on the market today.
“Stiffness-to-weight” is obviously the phrase du jour over in Taiwan, as Giant is also using it to extol the virtues of the OverDrive2 tapered headtube. Oversized headset bearings and tapered steerer tube combine to provide what Giant describes as “unprecedented” steering precision with “up to 30 percent more torsional steering stiffness” and no weight penalty.
If the headtube design comes with no weight penalty, the integrated seatpost is said to save 45 grams as well as increasing the compliance of the frame. And the final feature of note with the frame is the RideSense wireless data transmitter, which, in a similar manner to Trek’s DuoTrap sensors, is a sensor that is integrated into the right chainstay and will send speed and power data to any ANT+ enabled cycle computer.
As you would expect from the world’s largest bicycles manufacturer, the various TCR models are offered in a wide range of builds. This ranges from the £1099 TCR Advanced 3 with Shimano Tiagra groupset, through the two TCR Advanced Pro models, until we reach the two builds which are available for the pro level TCR Advanced SL frames. We were lucky enough to get our hands on the TCR Advanced SL 1, the top rung on the extensive TCR ladder.
With a price point north of £4000, it’s no surprise that the Giant TCR Advanced SL 1 comes fully equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace; admittedly not the Di2 version, but we’re not going to complain too much! The crankset is a semi-compact 52/36 affair, and is paired with an 11-25 cassette at the rear with a KMC X11SL chain connecting the two.
Giant has fitted the bike with its own P-SLR1 WheelSystem. In the past we’ve found these wheels to be pretty solid performers, if not spectacular, so we hope they don’t let down such a high-end performance machines. Unsurprisingly we also see P-SLR1 front and rear specific tyres to match the rims.
The finishing kit also largely consists of Giant’s own-brand offerings. The short, stubby (and slightly bulky) stem is a Contact SLR model, with the handlebars also coming from the same range. The only departure from in-house kit comes courtesy of the saddle, which is a Fizik Arione R3.
A full review of the Giant TCR Advanced SL 1 will appear in this Thursday’s (19th February) edition of Cycling Weekly.
For more details visit the Giant website.