Launched back in 2013, the Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 has been around a while but it remains a top-spec aero bike and is used by the Giant Sunweb team. How does it stack up against more modern alternatives?

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8

Giant Propel Advanced SL 0

Pros:

  • Stiff
  • Light
  • Great spec
  • Great handling

Cons:

  • Integrated seatpost
  • Not the most aero
  • Harsh ride

Product:

Giant Propel Advanced SL 0

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£6,299.00

Frame

The Giant Propel Advanced SL features bladed tube sections designed to minimise drag, and Giant’s integrated Speed Control SL brakes from TRP.

Constructed on the Advanced SL frameset, the Giant Propel has an integrated seatpost, unlike the second-tier Advanced, which uses an aero post that’s adjustable in a conventional way.

The integrated seatpost helps keep the weight down to a respectable 6.84kg – although it is worth noting that the low weight is aided by the speccing of SRAM Red eTap rather than the Dura-Ace found on aero bikes from rival brands. I am not a fan of the integrated seatpost, purely from a practicality standpoint, as it can make reselling the bike difficult once cut down, and is hard to pack into bike boxes.

The Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 has an integrated seatpost

Specification

No arguments here: SRAM Red eTap is great and Giant has included Blip sprint shifters too, which allow you to change gear in the drops. Little touches like this mark the Giant out against other top-spec aero machines such as the Venge ViAS or Cérvelo S5 and represent good value for money.

>>> Giant Bikes: which model is right for you?

I was impressed with the quality of Giant’s proprietary components. The tubeless SLR 0 wheels in particular are highlight, as is the Giant carbon-railed saddle. The wheels arrived set up tubeless with Giant’s own tyres, which rolled well, and I felt confident in the grip on offer too.

SRAM Red eTap on the Giant Propel Advanced SL 0. The groupset is complete apart from the brakes

The Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 also comes complete with Giant’s own integrated aero bar and stem. I got on well with the shape – it’s fairly neutral. Should you want to change the stem bear in mind that Giant uses a larger steerer diameter, limiting stem choice.

Giant’s integrated aero bar and stem

Riding

Out on the road, the Propel rides very well. The handling is spot-on and the frame feels beautifully balanced in the corners. It’s very stiff too, giving that clichéd sensation of no watts being lost through flex when you give it the beans up sharp inclines or sprints. By comparison, the Venge ViAS feels slightly stiffer, but it is significantly heavier and more expensive. The Propel doesn’t like rough surfaces though, and is much less compliant than the Canyon Aeroad and Trek Madone – something which was glaringly apparent on a 75-metre stretch of cobbles next to the Cycling Weekly office.

Very narrow and svelte when viewed head on. It would appear the cables create significant drag when compared to the Madone

Although aero, this bike doesn’t feel as fast as the Madone when on the open road. It does, however, handle well and feel stable in crosswinds.

Aero testing with WattShop at Derby Velodrome placed the Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 last in our group test of five aero bikes, by a significant margin. I should point out that the Propel was the only bike without an out-front Garmin mount, meaning the Garmin was mounted on top of them the stem – something which could conceivably account for a few watts of increased drag, but not the whole deficit.

The integrated TRP brakes are OK, but not as good as the Shimano calipers with regard to power and modulation. Furthermore they aren’t as easy to adjust – a slight issue if your training wheels are a different width to your race wheels.

The integrated TRP brakes. Giant’s wheels impressed.

Value

Our data suggests it may be the slowest out of the five bikes tested (more on this to come), but at £6,299 the Giant offers impressive value against other top-spec aero bikes. For example, the Cérvelo S5 features a similar spec and costs £9,000 in a SRAM Red eTap build. The frame is World Tour level and the spec is great. It’s a race-ready machine with no need to change any components.

Frame 7/10

Specification 9/10

Ride 7/10

Value 9/10

Verdict

The Giant Propel Advanced SL is starting to show its age against more modern aero bike designs. Our aero testing suggests it is not as slippery as the Trek Madone or Specialised Venge ViAS and it is a harsh ride over rough surfaces too. However it remains a superb bike, offering great value and spec. The Giant Propel feels made for cornering at speed too, with excellent balance, geometry and handling.

Details

Supplier:www.giant-bicycles.com
Weight (frame claimed):1,675g
Size tested:ML
Weight (without pedals):6.78 kg
Size range:XS-XL
Frame:Toray T800 carbon
  • Rich Green

    Jack Peterson- The scaffolding contractors near you must be artists. I love how everyone if trying their hardest to find fault with this bike but the reality is its one of the most impressive bikes I’ve ridden. Better than the Cervello S5 I on raced this year and in a different league to the Spesh S-Works Venge I raced on in 2012. I tested this bike over 3 days testing over a varied terrain in different weather conditions, it performed flawlessly and felt considerably faster than the two bikes mentioned above. This really is as good as Giant say, I suggest you haters ride it before slagging it off for “seatposts” and “scaffolding” …..enough said!

  • jack peterson

    Not a fan of proprietary components, hideous paint job, 1/2 gloss 1/2 matt is dumb idea, looks like sccaffold with wheels on

  • Bike 2013

    i have here another site with the same as this 🙂

    http://www.bikeroar.com/

    thanks 🙂

  • Ken Evans

    “….I hate fixed seat posts…..”—-Also makes taking bike on airplane more difficult, Giant could have used Focus (Walser) / Team GB / etc, aero seat-post wedge-lock system, more similar to traditional separate seat-post & frame design. Some seat-mast designs are a hassle to cut-down for rider fitting.

  • Samuel

    Looks like a truly nice bike but I hate fixed seat posts…. something about them doesnt agree with my eyes.