Daniel Baines gets to grips with the Giant TCX SLR-1 cyclocross bike; the manufacturer's top-of-the-range, race-orientated aluminium framed model
The Giant TCX SLR-1 cyclocross bike is the manufacturer’s top-of-the-range, race-orientated aluminium framed model. Built from Giant’s Aluxx SLR-grade aluminium, it features internal cable routing, asymmetric chainstays and double bottle bosses. The bottom bracket area is oversized and the BB is press-fit to allow the widest down tube possible. Giant has done a good job of keeping clearances to the maximum, with lots of space at these crucial areas.
The tapered carbon composite fork incorporates a 15mm thru-axle, which is a contentious choice, since it means extra care and time must be taken to change a wheel, compared to a conventional quick-release system.
The drivetrain consists mainly of 11-speed Shimano 105, with a Shimano Ultegra rear mech and a Shimano CX 50 46-36 chainset being the exceptions. Changing gear is light, precise and a joy to use, encouraging you to really make the most of every available gear.
TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes are confidence-inspiring, though they lack the modulation of a hydraulic system. They provide plenty of stopping power when you need it. Double-sided adjustment will help to keep the wheels spinning freely.
The wheels and the finishing kit are from Giant, and although it may lack some brand kudos, the parts do their respective jobs well enough. Schwalbe Super Swan tyres are designed for muddy and wet conditions, clearing out and dispensing muck well, but at the expense of speed on harder surfaces.
As you’d expect for something so racy, this is a bike that can be pushed hard. It handles beautifully; it’s so easy to move the bike around under you that slow technical manoeuvring is a breeze. Short steep climbs pose no problem either; finding the balance to keep the front down and the rear sticking comes intuitively, with lots of feedback. The TCX turns well too; with its low bottom bracket and minimal flex, you can be really aggressive with your cornering.
There’s no doubt that the thru-axle keeps the front end very stiff and is a great platform for hard braking, giving a great point-and-shoot feeling to the bike. When the back wheel does eventually step out, when cornering hard, it does so in an unassuming rather than alarming way; the TCX seemingly shrugs it off and encourages you to get back on the power. Meanwhile, Giant’s D-Fuse seatpost and saddle help take the edge off the sharp bumps. The D-shaped post is a no-nonsense simple idea that works really well.
With the same geometry as its world-class carbon bikes, Giant has pulled out the stops, producing a great, low-price racing bike.
Available from: Giant UK – 0115 977 5900
The Giant TCX SLR-1 cyclocross bike handles beautifully and comes with a raft of good components, although some elements make it less of a crossover machine compared to similar efforts from other brands