The Giant TCR (Total Compact Road) has been present in the brand’s line since 1996 and in that time it has completely revolutionized road bikes. Because of it, many modern bikes share a similar geometry, one that can be regarded as ‘compact’ with an angled top tube that improves strength, comfort and fit rather than a horizontal one.
Giant’s latest TCR now has the option of disc brakes, but keeps the same core principles, as it aims to create a fast bike. With disc brakes now commonplace, the next upgrade likely to go mainstream is tubeless and Giant are fully behind the drive to make it happen. The bike comes with Giant SLR 1 carbon wheels and Giant Gavia tires, which are set up tubeless. The increase in comfort is dramatic, making this feel like it has large volume tires without losing a hint of speed.
Although there’s the aero optimized Propel in Giant’s range, the TCR is still a popular bike among pro race teams, but don’t be fooled into thinking that means its too low or too lively for the average rider. Handling is neutral, feeling perfectly safe through the corners, and never scary like some race bikes do.
Uphill it’s rapid. A relatively low weight combined with incredible lateral stiffness in both the frame and wheels will have you grinning when the power is put down. While this isn’t marketed as an aero bike, the slim tubing, especially near the top tube and the 45 mm deep wheels help the TCR to feel quick, even in a headwind.
Tire clearance is quite limited and with 25 mm tires fitted there isn’t a huge amount of space available for anything much bigger. Although to be honest, we doubt that would be an issue should comfort be the main reason for doing so.
The Ultegra groupset is easy to use and slick. The 52/36 chainset with 11-30 cassette is a nod to the TCR’s racier credentials while the finishing kit is all Giant own label and beyond reproach. With a non-standard 1.5” steerer tube, which Giant call Overdrive, being used you are also limited to Giant-branded stems, should you need a replacement or seek to change the length. But It’s a minor quibble.
Comfort – Higher levels than expected -especially on such a race-orientated bike.
Speed – A sleek frame and excellent carbon wheels help it cut through the air swiftly
Wheels and tires – Giant are fully behind tubeless tech.
Not so good
Tire clearance – Even with 25mm tires fitted it’s limited.
Overdrive steerer tube – Larger 1.5” stem functions fine, but it limits replacements.
Lack of mudguard mounts – Restricts the ability to turn this into a true winter bike.
Giant has delivered a bike that seems to tick almost every box. Designed primarily as a race bike, the speed is unsurprising. What is a surprise, though, is the level of comfort. Add in excellent, balanced handling and good value for money and it all adds up to a bike that we absolutely loved.
Size/Weight: M/L/7.9 kg
Frame/Fork: Giant Advanced Grade Composite
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra R8000
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra R8020
Chainset: Shimano Ultegra R8000,52/36
Cassette: Shimano UlegraR8000,11-30
Bars/Stem/Saddle: Giant Contact SL
Seat-post: Giant Variant Composite
Wheels: Giant SLR-1 Disc, 42mm
Tires: Giant Gavia ACI tubeless, 25mm