Just in: Giant TCR Advanced 3

£2,000 carbon road bike that's been redesigned for even greater stiffness

by Mat Brett   April 19, 2012  

We loved last year’s Giant TCR Advanced 2 so we’re excited to say that we have the 2012 TCR Advanced 3 here at Road.cc and we’re looking forward to finding out whether it lives up our expectations.

The TCR Advanced 3 sells for £1,999 and Giant have redesigned the frame significantly for this year. The Advanced frame is still a monocoque built from T-700 carbon composite that’s woven in Giant’s own factory, but it’s even more beefy than before… and that’s saying something.

Just look at the front end. That headtube is so large you can barely call it a tube anymore. Measuring about 10cm from front to back, it’s more of a slab and it doesn’t look like it’ll put up with any nonsense.

Giant have increased the size of the fork steerer that slots in there too. Last year the upper headset bearing was 1 1/8in and the lower one 1 1/4in. This year they’ve pushed things further, the Advanced bikes each coming with a fork that features Giant’s OverDrive 2 steerer.

OverDrive 2? It’s Giant’s new design that uses a 1 1/4in bearing at the top and 1 1/2in bearing at the bottom (Canyon, for example, use the same combo). Giant reckon it provides up to 30% more torsional steering stiffness than a standard setup for improved precision and control. We’ll be interested to see how things work out on the road.

The squared off down tube is another monster and the bottom bracket area is huge, housing a press fit design from Shimano, so it’s clear that Giant are after plenty of rigidity here.

One other change on the frame front is that Giant have moved the cables inside. Why? Sometimes framebuilders talk about the aerodynamic benefits, some talk about aesthetics, but here it probably has more to do with the fact that this is the same frame design as you get with the Advanced 0 and that comes with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting. One frame can be used for both mechanical and electronic groupsets. Whatever the motivation, the gear cables burrow into the frame at the front of the head tube, the rear mech cable emerging towards the back of the driveside seatstay.

While we’re talking about electronics, Giant fit a RideSense sensor into the non-driveside chainstay. It’s a little like the DuoTrap sensor that Trek include on some of their bikes except that rather than sitting flush with the chainstay it pokes out more. The idea is that you can add magnets to a spoke and crank arm to get speed and cadence measurements without needing to add an extra sensor – as long as your bike computer is ANT+ compatible. It’s all about integration.

The groupset is Shimano 105 throughout. You might expect a bit of next-level-up Ultegra on a two grand bike but if the frameset proves to be as impressive as last year’s version we won’t be complaining. Giant have clearly decided to prioritise the frameset over high-end components here although, that said, you do get a Fizik Arione saddle that on its own retails at about £100.

Interestingly, the wheels come from Giant’s new range. When most bike manufacturers spec their own-brand wheels, they’ve just got hold of some generic kit and whacked their logo on there to keep the overall price down. Giant, on the other hand, have actually worked with DT-Swiss to develop an entire wheel range that’s available both on complete bikes and after market. The P-SL1s come with 6061 aluminium rims, sealed bearing hubs and DT Champion spokes. It’ll be our first time on this model so fingers-crossed that they do the business.

Right, there are roads out there to be ridden and we’re off to ride them. We’ll be back soon with a full report on the Giant TCR Advanced 3.

17 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Any information on weight? I'd love to know how much a large with the full rig weighs.

posted by si4star [47 posts]
19th April 2012 - 13:28


Lovely, i'd love to know if there is any real ride difference between the Advanced and the Composite which i'm after.

posted by wors [44 posts]
19th April 2012 - 14:09


my medium weighs just under 8.5 kg

posted by alwaysapleasure [17 posts]
19th April 2012 - 15:30


Giant uses a lower-spec carbon fibre for the 'Composite' frames. A TCR Composite frame weighs less than a TCR aluminum frame and more than a TCR Advanced frame.

posted by rookybiker [38 posts]
19th April 2012 - 17:28


I have the 2012 TCR Advanced 2 - which looks to be an Ultegra version of the 105 fitted to the '3' - but all the other parts are the same as far as I can tell. I'm well impressed with the bike - a totally different experience to my aluminium Lapierre (which has since been put to good use by my son!).

The black plastic disk between the cassette and the spokes is just plain ugly. It's on my bike at the moment, but once I need to change my cassette, the disk will be consigned to the same circular filing cabinet used to store the bell that was taken off the bike the day I bought it. Secondly, the headset bolt has needed to be tightened twice in one month - anybody else experience the same thing?

The wheels feel pretty stiff and quite responsive, but I have noticed that the front is slightly out of true ... no biggie. They'll do fine for now until I can convince Her Indoors that they would make my son's bike go so much better, giving me the perfect excuse to buy something else.

The internal cable routing is pretty neat and tidy. The RideSense sensor works really well with my Garmin. Just don't be a numpty like me by wasting a half hour adjusting the wheel and cadence magnets wondering why nothing seems to work .... you have to take the sensor out and then remove the plastic seal over the battery. Problem sorted.

I do like the aero seatpost aesthetically speaking, even if it means that my existing rear light bracket won't fit to it. An easy tradeoff and nothing to complain about.

I'll be doing a few time trials on the bike, and the bars can accommodate a set of clip-ons quite easily without having to cut off any bar tape.

Now all I need are a decent pair of legs to complete the package. Smile

posted by Mooman16 [33 posts]
19th April 2012 - 22:36


si4star wrote:
Any information on weight? I'd love to know how much a large with the full rig weighs.

We have an XL and it's 8.3kg without pedals.

posted by Mat Brett [2108 posts]
20th April 2012 - 13:20


I have this bike. Bought as an upgrade from a (stolen) Cannondale Synapse, and I am very pleased with it. I haven't noticed any loosening of the headset bolt and the black plastic disk was removed before I left the shop. It will mainly be trained on and raced over long distance triathlons this summer and whilst I was at first considering a wheel upgrade to race on, the Giant wheels that come with the package seem to be doing the job so I may not bother.

posted by Niallf [9 posts]
20th April 2012 - 15:36


Can I ask what owners think of it comfort wise?

posted by wors [44 posts]
20th April 2012 - 18:09


I got my TCR advanced 2 delivered (same frame, different groupset) and it's extremely comfy. takes the sting out of all the lumps and bumps. As for the weight, my ML tcr adv2 with ultegra, pedals and upgraded wheels comes in at 16.5lb

posted by Ant [12 posts]
20th April 2012 - 19:26


I like it, except the colour... damn. Crying

the_mikey's picture

posted by the_mikey [153 posts]
20th April 2012 - 20:08


Very comfortable. Good fit for me with the saddle and my LBS did a pro bike fit session in the price of the bike so it was set up specifically for me. I found with the Synapse that I was often twitching or wriggling my rear around searching for a comfortable position but with the TCR I find when I sit back after coming out of the saddle everything just seems to be in the right place.

posted by Niallf [9 posts]
20th April 2012 - 21:14


I have the TCR advanced frame from 2010, built up with Campag Chorus and Ambrosio/Record wheels. Very nice bike to ride, I would buy another one tomorrow, preferably the TCR Advanced SL with Record groupset.

posted by dreamlx10 [148 posts]
21st April 2012 - 14:31


Hi, i dont own one but rode one for a weekend and its very comfortable, with a Fizik Arione saddle and a very nice carbon frame and fork makes the ride a joy Smile

Rowan Birch

posted by rowanb97 [1 posts]
21st April 2012 - 22:19


Bought a 2012 TCR Advanced 2 in January. It was the only stock bike in my price range that came through with full Ultegra + the optional standard crank and 12/25 cassette. I'm in Florida USA and we ride 12 months. I'm a flatlander so a standard crank is for me. I immediately jumped to the head of the class with my regular crew. My pulls are longer and my sprints are stronger.The bike is fast,responsive,quite, and comfortable.
The 1st problem was the rear tire exploded at the kevlar bead at approx.50 miles. Not only did the shop owner hand me a new tire but Giant came through with a set of tires free. I managed to shred the 2nd Giant rear tire within 200 miles. The tires are front and rear specific, I've got +2000 miles on the front, trouble free. You may want to upgrade the tires. The stem screws do work themselves loose but after torquing them to the proper NM things stayed tight. Some of the screw locations are marked with their proper torque settings, when in doubt start with 4nm, Giant makes a really nice torque key. The seat post was creaky until I shot a little silicon lube onto it,creak gone. The bike wasn't shifting to my satisfaction so I had the bike shop guy look at it, problem solved by cleaning and tugging on the derailleur cable, but it came back. The cable had frayed and spiraled back into the tube that carrys it and wiped it out smack dab under the BB. Until Giant can send a new tube my mechanic cut away the bad section of tube and replaced the cable. Quite the job. While he was at it he judges that the rear derailleur should have a bit more movement, and so he is asking Giant for a warranty replacement. The bike shifts better than ever even with the broken tube. My mechanic is a meticulous fellow and really glad I bought the bike from the local shop. Also a big hi five goes out to Giant for standing behind their products.

Ray Heisey's picture

posted by Ray Heisey [7 posts]
22nd April 2012 - 15:02


Mooman16 wrote:
the headset bolt has needed to be tightened twice in one month - anybody else experience the same thing?

You mean the top cap bolt? That's strange but once the stem is tightened to the fork steerer the top cap bolt isn't doing anything anyway, so although that might be annoying, it's not going to affect the performance.

Mooman16 wrote:
The RideSense sensor works really well with my Garmin. Just don't be a numpty like me by wasting a half hour adjusting the wheel and cadence magnets wondering why nothing seems to work .... you have to take the sensor out and then remove the plastic seal over the battery. Problem sorted.

Worth knowing! Thanks.

posted by Mat Brett [2108 posts]
25th April 2012 - 15:32


The quick release on your brakes isn't done up Thinking

posted by fred22 [209 posts]
26th April 2012 - 22:18


I'm in Singapore and been riding for about 5 years after I was advised to do non-impact exercise. I thus elected for cycling over swimmming. It was great advice as I very much enjoy cycling although more for exercise and fitness.

My Giant TCR Advanced 2 bought in 2010, introduced me to carbon fiber bicycling and after my Trek 1200c aluminum frame, it took me to the next level of cycling. I loved every minute riding on it and always looked forward to my next ride. I had read in detail Road CC's review on my Giant and found it accurate and informative - good review Road cc!

However my world came crashing down after I sent my Giant bicycle for a routine service – this was about 9 months after buying it. My mechanic found a crack on the seat post tube and it was traced to poor tightening of the seat to the tube so whenever I hit a bump, the inner part of the seat tube would hit the seat tube casing. Eventually after many rides (I guess hundreds of kms if not more),a crack developed and I was strongly advised by the local Giant agent not to ride any more on it. It is now under claim against Giant who initially rejected it as they viewed it as not a manufacturing defect which I agree but what I don’t agree to their rejection is that it is a design flaw as they should have ensured the seat tube construction should have been properly designed to account for this.

Going forward and to save the other components fitted on my Giant TCR Advanced 2 bicycle, I cannibalized it and had it fitted to a Specailized Allex aluminum frame. You know what! I ride faster on it than on my Giant. It is also even faster in many respects than my other Specialized bicycle which is a Roubaix SL3. OK I must admit I bought as a Xmas present for myself. That said, the Allez can’t beat the buttery smoothness of my Roubaix which I use for my longer rides.

posted by Teik220 [1 posts]
14th May 2012 - 7:23