Giant has always been a little ahead of the game with the Propel. The original was one of the first aero-road hybrids to hit stores and was also one of the first to incorporate disc brakes into the equation, too.
In recent months more brands have got around to launching disc brake-equipped rivals, with Specialized, Trek, BMC and Cannondale all now providing serious competition to the Propel.
While its rivals are all looking for some compromises on the aero side, either to increase the smoothness of the ride or to reduce weight, the Propel is a pure aero machine, concentrating on going fast. And fast it is.
It’s rare to get on a bike that’s just so willing to accrue speed. It doesn’t achieve this in the same way as its nimble sibling the TCR does, whipping up acceleration with ease. The Propel is more like a super-fast freight train, seeming to gather momentum and hold onto its speed for longer. I’ve rarely experienced a bike this good at covering flat ground, it’s genuinely time-trial-bike rapid.
The Propel is an effortless speed machine Robert Smith
Giant Propel Advanced Pro Disc kit
The ride quality is better than you’d expect from a big aero tubed bike, especially one that feels as stiff as the Propel. Some of that has to be down to the excellent wheel package and Giant’s commitment to shipping tubeless-ready bikes actually set up tubeless so you can take advantage of the more supple tyres and ability to run lower pressures when you need to.
The complete package impresses, with Shimano’s wonderful Ultegra Di2 providing fast, accurate shifts every time. The disc brakes are so imbued with feel and ample power, without any hint of noise on long descents on some warmer testing days, I really can’t fault the Propel’s running gear.
The differential wheels with a deep 64mm rear and shallower 42mm front run super smoothly on DT Swiss internals. The shallower front is a real boon when it comes to control in windy conditions, too.
Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes sort stopping Robert Smith
Giant Propel Advanced Pro Disc ride experience
The Propel has enough of a range to climb well, but its weight doesn’t do it any favours on long, steep slopes. Coming back down, the Propel has an effortless ability to feel stable at serious speeds.
The handling is beautifully balanced and body weight shifts are enough to keep the Propel powering on with straight line speed. In corners you have to anticipate your line a bit more, but when you get it right the Propel feels extremely fast through an apex.
Giant Propel Advanced Pro Disc overall
So, is the Propel the ideal bike for everyone? Well no, probably not. The firm ride won’t appeal to endurance bike fans and the stable handling won’t thrill the racing crowd, but as a point-to-point speed weapon it’s really hard to beat.
If you like your speed matched to confidence-inspiring stability from great handling, the Propel could be just what you’re looking for.