First-look review the 2016 giant tcr advanced sl cyclingtips gas natural inc

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This week Giant introduced the refinements made to their new 2016 TCR Advanced model lineup, as well as their newly designed SLR WheelSystems and performance saddle offering. A group of journalists were fortunate enough to spend two days riding Giant’s new models up and down the demanding roads of Mallorca to familiarise themselves with the changes and putting them to the test.

The TCR continues to be Giant’s all-in-one flagship race bike (TCR stands for “total compact road”) and since it was introduced to the market in 1997 with their revolutionary compact framesets that broke the mould. The TCR has undergone an evolution of refinements to bring it where it is today.

Giant offers three levels of TCR which incorporate the advancements made in this release: the TCR Advanced Pro, Advanced SL and Advanced. Much of the technology in the frame is shared amongst models so the ride quality and performance level is similar amongst them. The exact same carbon lay-up is used for each of the frames and only the components make up the difference between price and performance.

Illustration showing the changes between the previous iteration of the TCR, and the new 2016 TCR frame and fork. The red shows the areas where Giant were able to strip away material, stiffen up the ride qualities, and reduce weight by way of learning’s from tube shape improvements, advancement in manufacturing techniques, or design changes.

Giant says, “The new TCR Advanced SL shaves 12% of frameset weight (181 grams) from the previous generation, without sacrificing stiffness. The toptube, seattube, integrated seatpost and seatstays feature minimalistic profiles, while the MegaDrive downtube and PowerCore bottom bracket have been refined to maintain TCR’s renowned pedaling stiffness. The new lightweight headset assembly and ISP seat clamp design save 39 grams.”

• They used a spoke lacing technique dubbed as “DBL” – dynamic balanced lacing which they say improves transmission stiffness and balances out the wheel when riding pressure is applied. This is accomplished by placing the heads of the “pushing” spokes lower in the hub flange than the “pulling” spokes (i.e. more leverage on the “pulling” spokes, less on the “pushing” spokes)

Giant’s proprietary resin system boasts an impressive Glass Transition Temperature (Tg) rating of 245C. Giant says this ensures heat resistance under heavy braking load. When combined with Giant’s automated layup process, Giant says that the result is greater overall consistency in materials placement, best-in-class brake heat protection, and improved overall toughness of the rim structure. The Ride Verdict

When our CTech Editor Matt Wikstrom reviewed the previous TCR (Advanced 0), he described the ride quality as such: “My first impression of the TCR Advanced 0, which also proved to be the longest lasting, was how smooth this bike is. The ride was so smooth, I might have been riding on glass, but there was more to it: all the parts worked beautifully too. I found the stays to be firm, the bottom bracket steady, and the head tube sturdy but riders hoping for a stiff, efficient bike will be disappointed.”

Over the years I’ve learned to trust my gut on first impressions and there’s no other word to describe this bike other than what Giant has promised in the new TCR: stiff and efficient. There’s no other way to put it, and while I didn’t ride the previous TCR generation back-to-back last week, there’s nothing in my memory that described it as “stiff” when I last rode one. Giant has certainly hit the nail on the head with their goal of creating a claimed “highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any road bike on the market” while managing not to sacrifice handling or comfort.

The bike is categorised as an all-rounder “GC” bike, but this new generation of TCR Advanced 0 frameset and SLR wheels elevate this into the category of a climbers bike in my view. Coupled with the new SLR wheelset (weighing 1331g for the pair) which are also designed with stiffness and efficiency in mind, the resulting performance of the new TCR will be welcomed by those who love to climb. If you’re a sprinter, you’ll also love the ride qualities this bike has to offer as it’s no precious featherweight.

I welcome the chance to ride some familiar descents to better understand the new TCR’s handling abilities. First impressions were promising, but pushing it too hard on the notoriously slippery roads of Mallorca was against my better judgement. Price and availability

Each brand defines the weight of their framesets differently. Giant defines their frameset as the following: size Medium (with paint), fork (uncut), headset, seatpost, seat clamp, front/rear derailleur hanger and clamp, water bottle bolts. The overall weight of the 2016 Giant TCR Advanced 0 is 1376g. The full bike (size M) weighed in at 6.36kg without pedals.

Asymmetric chainstays provide additional stiffness on the driveside and stability on the non-driveside. Also retained is Giant’s “Ridesense” wireless data transmitter. The fully integrated, removable transmitter sends wheel speed and cadence information directly to an ANT+ compatible computer.

With Giant’s “Dynamic Balanced Lacing” approach on their SLR wheels, opposing spokes have different levels of tension when the wheel is static. But when a rider applies pedaling force as the bike is being ridden, the spoke tensions balance out. Giant says that this improves a wheel’s transmission stiffness, which increases efficiency. The rear wheel is is built with 21 spokes: 14 on the drive side and 7 on the non-drive side.

Although trimmed down, Giant continues its trend with very chunky stem designs. Fortunately they offer a good selection of sizes as their “OverDrive 2″ (which is their label for an oversized 1.25” head tube and steerer), limits aftermarket choices for new stems.

Giant’s newest line of saddles uses their “Dynamic Cycling Fit” concept to determine individual fit for your body, your position and your riding style. Every Giant Contact SLR and Contact SL model is available in three different options based on the shape and angle of a rider’s pelvis while riding: “Forward”, “Upright” and “Neutral.”