The new Giant Propel Advanced SL road bike has yet to be released but it has already clocked up two Tour de France stage wins courtesy of Team BikeExchange-Jayco, and this is what we know about it so far.
We first showed you the new Giant Propel Advanced SL road bike a couple of months ago when Tony Martin was spotted riding it. Was it an intentional leak or was the recently retired pro going off script?
Pic Tony Martin via Instagram
We’d say it was probably deliberate because Giant Bicycles posted pictures of the new bike a couple of weeks later, although it didn’t give any details. It all helps to create a buzz ahead of the launch.
Since then the Giant Propel Advanced SL has been ridden by Team BikeExchange-Jayco throughout the world’s biggest bike race so it’s hardly a secret anymore. Everyone knows a launch is coming but we couldn’t tell you when. We’re in the same situation with the Colnago Prototipo (or whatever it eventually gets called) and the new Canyon Ultimate.
The fact that the Giant-owned Cadex brand has just revealed a new wheelset and tyres “engineered for outright speed” makes us think that the Giant Propel Advanced SL is due any time now.
Giant divides its top-end road bike lineup into the TCR – which is all about lightweight and stiffness – the Propel – which prioritises aerodynamics – and the Defy – which is more focused on endurance and comfort.
Pic Michael Matthews © ASO/Aurelien Vialatte
Giant last updated the Propel in 2018 and a lot has changed in the road bike landscape since then. Over the past couple of years, brands have been making their lightweight bikes more aero – the Specialized Tarmac SL7 is a prime example – and their aero bikes more lightweight – such as Trek’s Madone
Being either lightweight or aerodynamically efficient is no longer enough; top-end road bikes now need to be capable of hitting the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum weight limit for racing – or very close to it – while also being super-slippery through the air.
Although Giant has yet to release information, looks suggest that it has tried to shed weight with the new Propel – to the point that it barely looks like a Propel anymore. We’ll be stunned if Giant doesn’t eventually release this bike as “the lightest ever Propel” – as well as being more aero than before, of course. Hell, why not go for the full package? It'll probably be stiffer and more comfortable too.
The seat tube is much shallower than previously and has also lost its cutout around the leading edge of the rear wheel, and the down tube is shallower too. The seatstays are slimmer and there’s a far less beefy stem. The current stem has a composite cover to hide the gear cables and brake hoses, but there’s nothing of that kind on the new model.
Rather than giving you a complete rundown of everything different, it’s a whole lot more sense to tell you what hasn’t been altered. Um, the top tube is still horizontal – in marked contrast to Giant’s other road bikes – and it still has an integrated seat mast, although even that looks like it’s a completely new profile.
Pic Michael Matthews © Zac WiLLIAMS SWpix.com (t-a Photography Hub Ltd)
The bikes pictured here are fitted with the 50mm Ultra Disc wheels from Cadex mentioned earlier. These have hookless rims and an internal width of 22.4mm which Cadex says is ideal for tyres between 25mm and 32mm wide. The claimed weight is 1,349g.
Cadex claims that these wheels are faster than key rivals such as the DT Swiss 50 ARC 1100, Zipp 454 NSW, and Roval Rapids CLX.
We're not certain where all these changes will leave Giant’s TCR. When Specialized brought in the Tarmac SL7 it effectively killed off its Venge aero bike.
We can’t see anything similar happening here because the TCR is Giant’s flagship road bike. The brand likes to boast about the TCR’s stiffness-to-weight, handling, and ride quality so it’ll be interesting to see how the new Propel is pitched. It presumably won’t be as light as the TCR and it’s unlikely the tyre clearance will be as generous, but we’ll just have to wait and see on those details.
We'll give you more info on road.cc when we get it.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.