The around-£1800 sportive bike category is a hotly contested one. Giant’s contender, the SCR C2, gains kudos for its SRAM kit, but its overall performance and especially its heavy wheels make it only average for the money.
The Giant SCR C2 has more forgiving ride than racier road bikes. It’s aimed at the sports rider who is after more comfort. Does the marriage of Giant’s compact frame design, top-drawer composite technology and upright position work to make it a speedy big ride bike?
Ride & handling: pinpoint accuracy
This is a sportive bike with a little extra bite. It lacks a little excitement but its uber safe and secure steering geometry will forgive the foolhardy on fast descents.
Head for the hills and the long saddle allows you to push your pelvis back to work those calf muscles on a steep climb, while the steering has pinpoint accuracy that makes you grin from ear to ear on killer descents.
Along with an upright riding position, tyre choice is a crucial factor in the spec of a sportive bike; get it wrong and you’ll be scanning your map for smoother shortcuts. While 23mm tyres are still the norm for race bikes, the best for sportives are 25mm or even 28mm in width, as their shock dissipating, larger air pockets will pay comfort dividends on longer rides.
The Michelin Pro Race 25mm tyres create a smooth but ﬁrmish ride that takes the edge off washboard-rough surfaces, though there’s still enough of the racer’s edge left in the handling to let you know this bike is capable of ripping up the tarmac in a sprint.
Frame & fork: balanced for multiple applications
The SCR C2’s T700 carbon monocoque frame with carbon/aluminium fork has a balance of frame geometry that works for fast and slow sportive riders alike.
Giant was the ﬁrst company to use the now familiar compact frame geometry when it introduced its immensely popular, race orientated TCR range in 1996.
More recently Giant introduced the SCR design with its more inclusive rider appeal, and at the same time expanded the range of sizes across both model ranges to make it easier to get the perfect ﬁt.
Compared to the TCR, the SCR has a longer head-tube, shorter top-tube and increased clearances that allow for wider tyres.
The ﬂattened chainstays should kill road buzz, but how much can the smooth ride simply be put down to the selection of unusually wide Michelin tyres?
Equipment: the third way
The SRAM Rival components and Race Face bar and stem look cool but it’s not a light combination compared to the parts on some more affordable bike slike the Trek Madone 4.5.
In a market dominated by Shimano and Campagnolo it’s good to see SRAM, the third player in the groupset market, represented here. Its Rival equipment is the mid-range equivalent of Campagnolo Centaur and the new Shimano Ultegra SL.
Much research and time has been put in to develop brakes which have a level of stopping power to match their competitors.
A compact chainset is used here to get a range of crawler gears, though the absence of a triple option on any of the Giant SCR range is disappointing. To get a slightly lower bottom gear a Shimano 12-27 cassette is used in preference to the 12-26 offered within the SRAM range.
The Fizik Aliante saddle and Race Face anatomic handlebars and stem are a match for the kit ﬁtted to the costlier titanium bikes on test, but though the Michelin Pro Race 25mm tyres gave a superb ride and we safely dropped them down to 90psi without collecting a pinch puncture, overall the Giant’s wheelset is neither light enough nor well specced enough to match the rest of the bike’s spec.
Wheels: downspecced, but saved by tyres
We would have expected better, lighter wheels than the Mavic Aksium Race pair at this price.The Michelin pro Race Service Course 25mm tyres go a long way to making up the difference by delivering a superb ride.