Sub £2k full carbon compact racer

Weighing a sprightly 7.9kg (17.4lb) and costing a not-outrageous £1850, the TCR Advanced 2 is the second bike in the second range of Giant's road armoury, and one aimed squarely at competitive riders with a bit of money to spend. Spec-wise It's an out-of-the-box solution for road racing or fast sportives: you get a full Ultegra groupset, Mavic Aksium Race wheels and very decent finishing kit from Race Face and Fizik among others.

Giant TCR Advanced 2 gallery

All this is hanging off the full carbon TCR Advanced frame which is a chunky looking affair that's built with an exacting eye and plenty of attention to detail. New technology wise, Giant seem to have concentrated on transferring rider input as efficiently as possible.

They've christened the bottom bracket and chainstay section the PowerCore claiming 'unrivalled' stiffness, though it's not the first time we've heard that claim! Certainly the whole section is massively oversized and feeds into the enormous down tube; the GIANT logo almost looks like it's referring to the size of the tube rather than the make of the bike.

The headtube junction has also been worked on for this incarnation and Giant have a moniker for that too: OverDrive. The aim is to improve the steering of the bike without adding any weight. Giant are one of a growing number of manufacturers using an asymmetric headset with a 1.125" top race and an oversized 1.25" fork crown, again to beef up stiffness.

There's a nod to aerodynamics though it's certainly not the most aero road bike you'll see. The seat tube and seat post are flattened (and scalloped around the rear wheel) and the rest of the frame nicely scuplted, although that huge down tube is going to shift some air about.

As you'd expect from the people that first brought you compact geometry it's, erm, compact geometry. The drop on the sloping top tube isn't as pronounced as it used to be in the Mike Burrows era, though, so the sizing comes up a little bigger than some with the mid sized frame (M-L) measuring in at 53.5cm for an effective top tube of 57cm.

Full spec

SIZES: S (46.5cm), M (50cm), ML (53.5cm), L (55.5cm) XL (58.5cm)
FRAME: Advanced Composite,Compact Road Design
FORK: Advanced Composite Overdrive,11/4" - 11/8" aluminium steerer
HANDLEBAR: RaceFace Cadence Anatomic
STEM: RaceFace Cadence
SEAT POST: Giant Advanced Composite Vector
SADDLE: FI'zi:k Arione manganese
SHIFTERS: Shimano Ultegra 20 speed STI
FRONT MECH: Shimano Ultegra
REAR MECH: Shimano Ultegra
BRAKES: Shimano Ultegra
BRAKE LEVER: Shimano Ultegra STI
CASSETTE: Shimano Ultegra 12-25
CHAIN: Shimano Ultegra
CRANKS: Shimano Ultegra Hollowtech II 39/53
WHEELS: Mavic Aksium 700c
TYRES Michelin Pro3 700x23mm

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.