Giant launched their revamped TCR Advanced SL to the world in late June and less than two weeks later unveiled the new Rabobank edition at the team presentation in Les Herbiers, France just prior to the start of this year's Tour de France.
While the production bike is finished in a rather stark bare clearcoat with dark grey logos, Rabobank's edition is a bit cheerier-looking, with a gloss white base and brighter orange and blue graphics than in years past. It's still far from over the top but it's almost as if Giant have finally allowed one of the graphic designers to have some more leeway. It's a decidedly more modern look and one that's easier to pick out of the crowd.
Underneath the paint, though, Giant say Rabobank's TCR Advanced SL chassis is the same as the everyday version about to land on showroom floors. The overall appearance and design language are similar to last year's version but there are a number of key differences, the most significant of which is a move to a 1-1/4 to 1-1/2in front end that Giant say provides a whopping 40 percent improvement in "steering stiffness".
The new OverDrive 2 head tube houses a tapered 1-1/4 to 1-1/2in steerer tube
While pundits may scoff at the likelihood of such a claim, keep in mind that steerer tube rigidity is a much more substantial issue with increasing frame size – and the Dutch Rabobank squad is chock-full of vertically gifted riders such as Lars Boom, whose bike is profiled here, and team leader Robert Gesink. In addition to being newly reinforced up front, Giant say the new frames are also lighter by as much as 148g (nearly a third of a pound).
Claimed weight is now as low as 820g, though Boom's is likely to be a fair bit heavier owing to the large size and thick coat of paint. Tube shapes have been subtly refined throughout, too, with slightly more rounded forms in many areas, a shallower integrated seatmast base, an even more compact rear triangle, and neatly executed internal cable routing.
The wide top tube provides plenty of surface area for an enormous Rabobank logo
Shimano continue on as the team's primary component sponsors and Boom's bike is equipped with a complete Dura-Ace Di2 electronic group. Shimano also provide pedals and a variety of wheels – 50mm-deep carbon tubulars are pictured here – while sister company PRO supply the cockpit parts. Nearly all of the Rabobank riders have opted for prototype PRO stems and integrated cockpits with the new 1-1/4in steerer clamp size.
However, Boom's machine is fitted with Giant's own Contact forged aluminum stem instead. According to Giant global communications manager Andrew Juskaitis, Boom just likes it better, though it's also possible that it's due to the Giant stem's somewhat rare 115mm extension length. Completing Boom's team-issue build is a Fi'zi:k Antares saddle, Vittoria tires and Tacx Tao Carbon cages. Total weight as pictured is 7.11kg (15.67lb).
Giant have long spurned carbon fiber dropouts but have added them to the latest TCR Advanced SL to save weight
Complete bike specifications:
- Frame: Giant TCR Advanced SL, size L
- Fork: Giant TCR Advanced SL w/ OverDrive 2 steerer
- Headset: OverDrive 2 integrated by FSA, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2in tapered
- Stem: Giant Contact, 115mm x -8°
- Handlebar: PRO PLT Anatomic, 42cm (c-c)
- Tape: PRO
- Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900
- Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900
- Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-7970
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-7970
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-7970
- Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-7970
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 11-23T
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7900
- Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7900, 175mm, 53/39T
- Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace press-fit SMI-FC7900
- Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
- Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7900-C50-TU
- Front tire: Vittoria Corsa Evo CX Team Prototype tubular, 23mm
- Rear tire: Vittoria Corsa Evo CX Team Prototype tubular, 23mm
- Saddle: Fi'zi:k Antares w/ braided carbon rails
- Seatpost: integrated
- Bottle cages: Tacx Tao Carbon (2)
- Rider's height: 1.91m (6ft 3in)
- Rider's weight: 78kg (172lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 823mm
- Saddle setback : 78mm
- Seat tube length, c-c: 485mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 591mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 130mm
- Head tube length: 185mm
- Top tube length: 585mm
- Total bicycle weight: 7.11kg (15.67lb)