Giant bikes need little introduction. Giant has been making bikes since 1972 and produces many other brands’ bikes, too. In fact, it’s (probably) the biggest bike manufacturer in the world. Years of professional racing and development have allowed Giant’s designers to produce some of the best bikes on the market. Unquestionably, they’re leaders in carbon construction designs and aerodynamics.
At a closer look you can see that the Advanced 3 looks like an expensive frame built up with cheap components to get the cost down. But have they gone too cheap?
The frame is upgradeable and could be a great bike for someone on a budget that has bigger plans for the future. But, as sold, the combination of own-branded components, 105 groupset and the wheels let the bike down – these are the kind of products you would see on a sub-£1,000 bike.
The TCR is also simply a road bike without any tri styling but, out of the two on test, it looks like it could be converted easily and it would definitely look the part with its aero seat post/tube and thick bladed forks, if style is important to you.
On the plus side, Giant has got the TCR’s styling nailed. It has a minimal yet aggressive look that makes you want to jump on it and rag it around the streets under cover of darkness.
The fit’s user friendly and the medium sizing has a universal feel with its 55.5in top tube and 30.1 stand over. Everything’s in the right place in the cockpit area, but there’s too much own branding for a bike at this price.
The Arione saddle lives up to its positive reputation and the aero seat pin is simple to set up, without any need for sawing or over-clamping.
The ride is solid but definitely designed for speed rather than comfort. This is down to the aero post and the thin, yet solid, seat stays that make it feel like it’s a lightweight top-end racer dressed down. You could compare it to a Lotus Elise chassis built on to Nissan Micra running gear: it’s got the look and the feel of something top class, but once rolling it just doesn’t match expectations.
The Shimano 105 has a definite lower spec feel and look compared to Shimano’s higher ranges, but it does the job without hassle. The wheels feel solid but they just don’t live up to the £1,600 dent in your bank account.
In and out of the saddle the bike provides masses of lateral and direct stiffness and, due to its weight, it’s great for climbing. On the descents the bike feels stable and doesn’t (apart from the odd surprising side wind) allow much to knock it offline. Acceleration is quick and the stiff bladed forks allow for no flex under heavy braking; it feels fast and robust.
At the end of the day you’re paying for the frame on the TCR Advanced 3, which is a shame because it’s hardly an appealing prospect if you have to upgrade immediately.
Contact : Giant UK 0115 977 5900 www.giant-bicycles.com/uk