With 17 different bikes in the TCR Advanced range, plus two frameset options, things look a bit bewildering at first. But there’s a logic to all those choices
The Giant TCR Advanced is designed to be an all-round race bike, with good rigidity coupled to a low overall weight.
Previously the weapon of choice of Team Sunweb, for 2019 it will be CCC Team that aims to shine aboard Giant’s TCR.
But the range comprises no less than six sub-families of bikes, so it’s easy to get lost in the Taiwanese superbrand’s offering. Let us explain.
First up, although we’ve said above that there are six TCR Advanced sub-families, three of them are disc versions of framesets which are also available as rim braked bikes. So there are really only three different levels of the TCR Advanced: the TCR Advanced, the TCR Advanced Pro and the TCR Advanced SL.
What you can expect across the TCR Advanced range
Giant sells the TCR Advanced in five sizes from S up to XL. This means that there’s a frame to fit riders from 167cm right up to 194cm tall.
TCR stands for Total Compact Road. A Giant first, the top tube slopes downward. This leads to smaller, stiffer and lighter frames than the horizontal top tube which used to be the norm on road bikes.
Giant uses its OverDrive steerer through the range. OverDrive is just Giant’s name for a standard tapered steerer – it was the first bike company to use one. Giant also has an OverDrive 2 system, which has larger top and bottom bearings and is used in its higher spec machines.
Another bonus is the fitting of a composite seatpost right up from the lowest spec bike, for more saddle comfort than an alloy number. The frameset is compatible with electronic groupsets as well as cable-operated shifting.
The entire range uses Giant’s own wheels and tyres, bars, stem and saddle. All Giant’s TCR Advanced bikes are now tubeless-ready and Giant provides sealant with the bike, so you or your dealer can set up tubeless from the word go.
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Giant TCR Advanced road bike
The TCR Advanced frame, used throughout the entry level range, is made from Giant’s Advanced Grade composite with a matching fork with an alloy steerer and carbon fork legs.
Giant TCR Advanced 3 road bike £1299
The entry into the TCR Advanced range is the TCR Advanced 3. At this level you get a full Shimano Tiagra 10-speed drivetrain. That includes a Tiagra chainset and brake calipers. These are popular items for other manufacturers to swap out for cheaper components, so their inclusion is a bonus.
The chainset is a 50/34 compact and there’s a 12-28 cassette, so you miss out on some of the top end range of more expensive models, which come with an 11-speed 11-28 or 11-30 cassette. Wheels are alloy Giant SR2 with Giant Gavia AC 1 25mm tyres.
Giant TCR Advanced 2 road bike £1449
Move up from the TCR Advanced 3 to the TCR Advanced 2 and for your extra £150 you get a full 11-speed Shimano 105 groupset with a compact chainset and a wider range 11-30 cassette. Giant also upgrades the wheels to its PR 2 model.
Giant TCR Advanced 1 road bike £1799
The TCR Advanced 1 upgrades the groupset to Shimano Ultegra, while the gear ratios, wheels and other components remain as for the TCR Advanced 2.
Giant TCR Advanced Disc road bike
Alongside the rim brake TCR Advanced models, there are two models available with disc brakes.
Giant TCR Advanced 2 Disc road bike £1749
As well as Shimano 105 shifting, you also get 105 hydraulic brake levers, operating Giant Conduct SL brakes. The wheels are a disc brake specific version of the PR2, again with Giant Gavia AC 1 tubeless ready 25mm tyres.
Giant TCR Advanced 1 Disc road bike £1999
Finally in the TCR Advanced range, the TCR Advanced 1 Disc gives you an upgrade to Shimano Ultegra shifting, but Giant’s own Conduct SL disc brakes.
Giant TCR Advanced Pro road bike
Move from the TCR Advanced to the TCR Advanced Pro range and you get Giant’s all-carbon fork with an OverDrive 2 steerer, which has wider 1¼ inch top and 1½ inch lower head tube bearings. This should provide a bit more steering accuracy than the standard OverDrive set-up found on the TCR Advanced range, with Giant quoting a 30 per cent increase in torsional stiffness.
You also get a wheel upgrade to Giant’s carbon rimmed SLR1 wheel system and Giant Gavia AC 1 25mm tyres.
The left chainstay carries a built in Giant RideSense speed and cadence monitor, letting you pair up to a Bluetooth or ANT+ head unit for extra ride stats without needing to buy a separate device to zip tie to your shiny new frame.
As well as complete bikes, the TCR Advanced Pro has a frameset-only option for £1299 set up for rim brakes or £1349 with discs.
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 2 road bike £2399
The entry to the TCR Advanced Pro range, you get a Shimano 105 groupset with a semi-compact 52/36 chainset coupled to an 11-30 cassette. The wheels are 42mm deep Giant SLR-1s shod with 25mm Giant Gavia AC 1 tubeless tyres.
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 road bike £2799
As you’d expect, your extra cash buys you an upgrade to a full Shimano Ultegra groupset, with the other components remaining as for the Advanced Pro 2.
There’s also a Team Sunweb version of the same, marked out as a 2019 bike – something we find a little odd, as for 2019 Subweb will ride Cervelo bikes whilst Giant sponsors CCC Team.
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 road bike £4299
The mechanical Dura-Ace spec of the Advanced Pro, with the same components as the lower priced Advanced Pro models, although there’s a tyre upgrade to Giant Gavia AC 0 from Gavia AC 1.
Notably, this model has seen a price hike for 2019, in light of the inclusion of Giant’s Giant Power Pro power meter, which comes pre-installed.
Giant TCR Advanced Pro Disc
As per the Advanced, there’s a selection of Advanced Pro models with disc brakes.
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 2 Disc road bike £2599
A Shimano 105 build which comes with matching hydraulic disc brakes and Giant SLR-1 Disc wheels with a 42mm depth. The gearing is 36/52 with an 11-30 cassette and tyres are Giant’s Gavia AC 1 tubeless in 25mm.
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc road bike £2999
This version comes with Shimano Ultegra mechanical shifting and Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes. Gear ratios, the disc-specific wheelset and other components are equal to the lower spec model.
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 Disc road bike £4499
Finally, in the Advanced Pro range is the TCR Advanced Pro 0 Disc, fitted with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic groupset with Ultegra hydraulic stoppers. Again, this model is more expensive for 2019 because it comes with the pre-installed Power Pro power meter.
Giant TCR Advanced SL road bike
Top of the TCR tree is the Advanced SL range. It’s the bike ridden to Giro d’Italia victory by Team Sunweb‘s Tom Dumoulin in 2017 and comes with the spec options and price tag you’d expect for a grand tour winning machine.
It’s made with Giant’s Advanced SL carbon composite, which includes carbon nanotubes in the resin, which Giant says increases strength and adds impact resistance. It also has the OverDrive 2 steerer sizing.
Unlike the other TCR frames, there’s an integrated seatmast. This saves weight, but may need to be cut down to suit the bike’s rider, although there’s some adjustability in the saddle clamp.
As with the Advanced Pro, you get Giant’s built in RideSense speed and cadence sensor and tubeless ready carbon Giant SLR 1 wheels. Tyres get an upgrade to Giant Gavia AC 0 25mm tubeless ready.
There are three rim brake specs alongside one disc brake options. The TCR Advanced SL is also available as a frameset, priced at £1999.
TCR Advanced SL 2 road bike £3499
The Advanced SL 2 comes with mechanical Ultegra groupset with a 52/36 semi-compact chainset and 11-28 cassette. The wheels are Giant SL-1 with 25mm Giant Gavia AC 0 tubeless.
TCR Advanced SL 1 road bike £4999
Same spec as the TCR Advanced SL 2, but with an Ultegra Di2 electronic groupset.
TCR Advanced SL 0 – Dura-Ace Di2 road bike £7999
TCR Advanced top dog is the SL 0 equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting. Again, you get a semi-compact chainset, here Shimano’s Dura-Ace power meter.
TCR Advanced SL Disc £5499
But that’s not quite the end… For 2018, Giant has introduced a disc brake version of the TCR Advanced SL. This comes with Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting and Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes.
Which model should you go for?
Giant’s road bike range has consistently garnered plaudits in our reviews over the years. As the largest bike company in the world Giant has the resources to put into its R&D, developing innovative solutions like its compact road geometry and OverDrive steerer.
Giant’s emphasis on composite technology and its development of quality own brand wheels and tyres mean that you’re unlikely to feel short changed by the components fitted to its bikes either. So whichever model you go for, you can expect a quality machine for the price.
But if you’re looking for a moderately priced road bike for faster sportives, club runs and entry level racing the TCR Advanced range is likely to fit the bill. As we said above, it’s got quality features like full Shimano groupsets and carbon seatposts throughout.
For serious riders with a budget of over £2000 though, it’s worth stepping up to the TCR Advanced Pro range, even if that means a lower spec groupset. Not only do you get an OverDrive 2 steerer, the range includes a full-carbon fork and carbon wheelset too. And all Shimano’s groupsets are so good that you’re unlikely to feel disappointed if you need to trade down a notch.
But if you really want the full job, the Advanced SL gives you a genuine race winning machine – it’s a bike that can stand proud in any company.