The TCR has proved a serial winner from its very first aluminium incarnation to today’s Advanced Grade Composite offerings. Sitting firmly low to mid-range in the extensive TCR model line-up, this Advanced Pro 2 is barely distinguishable from its more costly siblings… until you look much closer.
The usual TCR features are present, beginning with that composite frameset, plus matching aero seatpost and Overdrive 2 steerer, topped with a similarly oversized stem. It’s all tried, trusted and, along with the compact frame design, the cornerstone of the bike’s performance. The compact frame’s geometry has barely changed, but then neither have its advantages. A smaller frame is lighter, stiffer, able to accommodate a wider rider size range and permit plenty of exposed seatpost for flexy seated comfort. The overdrive steerer maximises stiffness and increases steering precision under load, contributing hugely to the TCR’s handling.
Making all that engineering tick is a complete Shimano 105 groupset, with 52/36 rings and 11-30 cassette, dual pivot rim brakes, while everything else is from Giant. The Contact alloy bar and stem and Contact saddle deal well with your contact points, offering good hand positions, great stiffness and vibration damping up front, and surprisingly good multi-hour seated comfort. But what really makes this bike is lower down.
Giant’s SLR-1 Wheelsystem comprises 42mm tall, tubeless carbon rims, which come set up tubeless (if so desired) from your Giant dealer, in this case with Giant’s Gavia AC 1 25mm tubeless tyres. As well as the decrease in rolling resistance, this does make lower than normal tyre pressures almost riskless, but for consistency we still tested at just over 80psi.
One of the lightest bike oat this price range with enormous torsional rigidity and wheels that feel instantly responsive is a heady mixture. It’s a bike you feel immediately at home with and, as the miles fly by, it becomes very intuitive: line changes and weight shifts couldn’t be more natural, and the cossetting ride feel helps hugely.
Pointing the TCR at rippled and broken tarmac does nothing to ruffle its feathers; it just tracks straight and true, softening the impacts before they reach your hands and rear. On the flat it just breeds speed, accelerating swiftly to race pace out of slow corners and easily sustaining it – the benefits of ideal positioning paying dividends. It’s also a great climber, efficiently gaining height with every pedal revolution and feeling like there’s more in the tank if you have the strength to attack it. When descending at 30mph or more, the TCR feels utterly planted, the rims unaffected by most wind, and the Gavia tyres cornering with confidence. Braking is calm as the Giant rims and pads shed speed fast without needing to haul on the brake levers.
This TCR feels most impressive in constantly rolling terrain, where its naturally brisk change of pace helps you cover ground more quickly than expected and with seemingly no more effort. If you’re looking for a bike to look after you in the ever-surging bunch of draft-legal tri, and still have what it takes to be the first into T2, the TCR is very hard to beat, especially at this price.
Buy from www.giant-bicycles.com