It seems all the major brands are launching disc brake equipped race bikes at the moment. This week first saw the launch of the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Disc and now this: The Giant TCR Advanced Disc.
The TCR is an immensely popular road frame with heritage dating back to the 90’s when Giant bikes with compact frames were ridden by the likes of Lauren Jalabert. With a light, stiff and compact design this is a bike designed for racing.
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While at the Eurobike Media Days in Kirchberg, Austria, I was able to get hold of the new Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc and take if for a spin on some of the surrounding mountians. Within the new range, this model sits below the all singing, all dancing TCR Advanced SL Disc. The Advanced SL features a higher spec, stiffer, lighter carbon frame and integrated seat post.
Below the Giant TCR Advanced Pro you see here, there is also the slightly cheaper TCR Advanced Disc which uses the same composite frame as the TCR Advanced Pro Disc, but with a composite fork and hybrid alloy/composite OverDrive steerer tube.
Our test bike was fitted with Shimano Ultegra Di2, and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. In addition, there are substantial 12mm through axels front and rear, to help stiffen up the wheels under increased forces from disc braking. The wheels themselves are proprietary Giant SLR 1 rims, fitted with Giant Gavia SLR tubeless tires. Incidentally the bike is set up as tubeless straight out of the box.
The front brake line was secured to the fork with a cable tie on our test bike. Giant informed me that when the bike goes on sale, this will be different and have a neater solution.
Anyone who has been to Tirol (the region in which Kirchberg is situated) will attest that the climbs are plentiful and often very steep. This provides a superb testing ground for a bike that is designed to be proficient and going up and down hill.
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I took the new Giant TCR down some long, steep descents. I deliberately hammered the brakes, because I wanted to really push the limits. Shimano’s Ice tech rotors and pads work superbly and offer excellent modulation, power and feel. However, I would prefer to see 160mm rotors specified over the 140mm on this bike. Merida’s Scultura has 160mm front and rear, with a heat sink on the rear calliper too.
This really helps to dissipate heat and it is a shame that the Giant doesn’t have 160mm rotors. It may not be an issue for professionals, but most of the people who will buy this bike are not pros and could find themselves at the top of a mountain pass in the rain. I would argue that amateur riders who are cold and wet are likely to be scared and drag the brakes in this situation.
Despite the strong 12mm thru-axel, I did detect some shuddering in the fork when braking hard into hairpins at high speed. Having ridden this bike immediately after the new BMC Road Machine, the fork certainly felt less stable with regard to torque steer.
That said, the Giant TCR Disc is tremendous fun the geometry is great. When cornering, the TCR Disc feels beautifully balanced – I was even able to lock the back wheel and get the back end to step out!
Giant’s own brand SLR wheels were good too. This is certainly a bike that is not in need of a wheel upgrade out the box and tubeless ready gets a thumbs up from me.
I would prefer a wider internal rim width though. The 25mm Gavia tyres came up quite narrow on the rims and having wider rubber allows you to make better use of the increased disc brake stopping power.
Even though this is not the range topping, lighter, stiffer SL model, I was hugely impressed with how stiff the bike was in the bottom bracket and rear end. In addition, it only weighed 7.75Kg – impressive for a second tier disc brake bike. I really like the way the TCR Disc looks and the orange and black paint job really suits the bike.
Details of UK pricing and availability are yet to be announced, but the model you see here has an rrp of $4700 in the US. For more information, head over to Giant.