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.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.