Giant TCR Composite 2 £1299

Entry-level carbon competitor

BikeRadar score 4/5

Not that long ago, Composite frames were at the top of Giant’s TCR tree. But when Giant’s Advanced frames came along Composites were bumped down to ‘entry-level’. Which is great for bargain-conscious riders.

  • HIGHS: Great spec, impressive low weight
  • LOWS: Not as smooth a ride as some, and the aero seatpost limits replacement options
  • BUY IF… You have a need for speed on a budget

The TCR Composite is a distinctive chassis. The aero seat tube (and post) is unusual for an entry-level bike, but it’s a bit of a mixed blessing. The aero benefit will be marginal, and alternative seatposts are thin on the ground. On the other hand, your saddle will always be straight. 

Elsewhere, the down tube is huge, and there’s lots of volume around the tapered head tube. Tall chainstays flow into the press-fit bottom bracket with a broad, frame-stiffening stance.

Giant nearly always comes up with a high-value parts spec, and the TCR is no exception. Giant has managed to include 105 shifters and mechs. It’s a worthwhile upgrade over Tiagra, with the levers having a reassuringly solid feel but retaining light, fast operation.

You’ll find a lot of Giant-branded parts, including wheels and tyres. Compared with some wheels, the P-Elite C hoops are very conventional. And we think there’s a lot to be said for standard profile rims and conventional spoking if you want light, reliable wheels.

Gearing always presents a dilemma for manufacturers, especially on bikes like the TCR with race aspirations. Giant’s gone with a 12-30 cassette, which gives low gears at the expense of closely spaced ratios. If that doesn’t suit you, it’s no big deal – cassettes are easy to swap.

Though the TCR frame looks chunky, it's not overly heavy, and it has a sprightly ride feel. That high-volume frame plays a part in that too. The TCR also has a smoother ride than the big tubes would suggest. It’s not as smooth as some, but it’s not unduly harsh even with 23mm tyres. That fits in with how Giant positions this bike – it’s designed for performance and a bit of comfort rather than vice versa.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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