“Welcome to the modern cyclocross bike,” says a stoked Adam Craig as he talks viewers through the details of his Giant TCX Advanced Pro cyclocross bike at Cross Vegas earlier this year.
Adam Craig is a US professional mountain bike racer who does quite a lot of cyclocross as well. He’s a very handy rider and has skills to switch from top level cross-country mountain bike racing to the more technically challenging enduro racing that has become big in the sport over the last few years. But for the winter he adds a lot of cyclocross to the mix.
As a member of the Giant Factory Off-Road Team, Adam Craig races Giant’s top-end TCX Advanced Pro cyclocross bike, with a full carbon fibre frame, thru-axle fork and disc brakes. He reckons thru-axles are essential on disc-equipped ‘cross bikes.
“It ties the front end of the bike together,’ he says. “The thru-axle is what makes disc brakes work on a cyclocross bike… and now we can steer, stop and maintain grip, do all the things we need to do with our brakes.”
He’s using a full SRAM Force CX1 groupset, with hydraulic disc brakes (with 140mm rotors) and a 42t chainring and 11-32t cassette. That’s tall gearing but he does point out that he can configure the bike with different chainrings to suit different courses. He’s quite a powerful rider too so likely won’t have many issues turning over bigger gears than we can manage.
Craig is also a tubeless fan. His bike is fitted with Zipp 30 aluminium clincher wheels with Schwalbe's new X-One cyclocross tubeless tyres. There’s currently very little choice of tubeless cyclocross tyres, but it’s slowly gaining ground though tubular tyres are still king with hardcore cyclocross racers. I’ve been racing tubeless cyclocross tyres this season and so far it’s working well - but I’ve yet to do a real muddy race.
The bike is finished with a Zipp Service Course aluminium handlebar and stem and he’s using a new Giant saddle and Crank Brothers Candy pedals. No idea on the weight of the bike but it’s likely to be sub-8kg, maybe even lighter.
The TCX Advanced Pro, Giant’s flagship cyclocross model, is the same one the world cup cyclocross professionals, including Lars van der Haar (who has won a world cup on this bike with discs) and has a claimed 1,050g frame weight. It shares some features from the Defy road bike, namely the D-Fuse SL composite seatpost which provides a bit of seated comfort.
Giant offers this frameset in two builds, the TCX Advanced Pro 2 costing £1,799 with a Shimano 105 groupset and TRP Spyre mechanical brakes, and the TCX Advanced Pro 1 costing £3,199 and decked out with Shimano Ultegra di2 and RS785 hydraulic disc brakes.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.