Giant’s TCR seems to have been a fixture in the bike world for more years than I care to remember; like Trek’s Madone, Specialized’s Allez and Cannondale’s CAAD series, its evolution is closely entwined within the history of the company.
From Mike Burrows’ original revolutionary compact frame design, Giant has continuously improved the TCR, keeping it relevant and competitive.
Today’s TCR range is built from three different qualities of carbon fibre, or Advanced-Grade Composite, in Giant speak.
The Advanced, Advanced Pro and Advanced SL bikes are all available in rim and disc brake versions, which is becoming much less common, and my Advanced 2 Disc is the cheapest carbon disc TCR available.
With an identical profile to its more costly siblings it can take a close look to tell some models apart. You won’t be able to see the aluminium steerer, which interrupts the otherwise completely carbon fibre frameset, and it’s not something to lose sleep over.
It’s hard to spot the Shimano RS-510 chainset (the sole deviation from a full 105 hydraulic groupset) and Giant’s PR-2 Disc aluminium wheelset does a passable impression of carbon.
Shimano’s RS-510 chainset is the bike’s only deviation from a full 105 hydraulic groupset. David Caudery / Immediate Media
So the TCR scores in the looks department, but where the bike’s aluminium aberrations do become apparent is on the scales.
Although, at 8.84kg for a ML frame size, it’s hardly an anchor, and is around 2kg lighter than the similarly priced steel bike I began racing on in 1988.
With 52/36 x 11-30 gearing, this TCR should satisfy the needs of everyone from racers to weekend riders, and its sensible build helps you make the most of its potential.
For some time, Giant dealers have been supplying customer bikes already set up tubeless, if required, and my 25mm Giant Gavia tyres arrived ready to go.
On the 30mm tall PR-2 rims they measured 26mm wide, which looks close to the frameset’s limit because there wasn’t much more space between the tyres and the seat tube, chainstays or fork.
Being tubeless, you can take a little more of a liberty with tyre pressures and the improvement in rolling resistance and suppleness gives a 25mm tubeless tyre a feel much like a 28mm tyre with an inner tube.
Perhaps this goes some way to explaining why the TCR felt almost the opposite of the Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 7.0, which was also on test.
Where the Canyon seemed like an endurance bike with a racy feel, the TCR goes like a race machine but offers greater compliance and rider comfort than the Canyon.
The front brake hose is routed externally behind the front fork. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Giant TCR Advanced 2 Disc ride impressions
In ML size, the 570mm top tube with 110mm stem, 168mm head tube and 997mm wheelbase create an ideal position for a rider used to 56cm bikes.
The 73-degree head and seat tube angles help with perfect weight distribution, for predictable handling whatever the terrain throws at you.
Giant’s aluminium bar and stem have an unyielding feel when out of the saddle, but give precise control with good ergonomics and help soak up road vibrations.
Giant’s Contact saddle has a pronounced fore-aft curve and a pressure relief channel, which proved more comfortable than expected. The Variant seatpost works hard dynamically, as well as being aerodynamically shaped.
The seat tube mostly shares the seatpost’s airfoil profile, while the down tube covers almost all of the bottom bracket shell’s width.
The TCR Advanced 2 Disc offers great compliance and lots of rider comfort. Robert Smith
The sloping top tube slims dramatically by the buttressed seat-tube junction, behind which are wishbone seatstays and asymmetric chainstays.
The gear cables enter the head tube through neat ports and the rear brake hose on the side of the down tube, but the front brake hose is routed externally behind the left fork leg.
The substituted chainset doesn’t affect the 105’s confident performance with slick shifts, controlled stops and great satisfaction.
Whether spinning smoothly across my local broken tarmac, bounding up hills or making mincemeat of tricky corners, even with fairly average wheels, the TCR’s performance envelope exceeds my talent.
Giant TCR Advanced 2 Disc geometry
Seat angle: 73 degrees
Head angle: 72.5 degrees
Seat tube: 47.5cm
Top tube: 55.5cm
Head tube: 16.8cm
Fork offset: 4.3cm
Bottom bracket height: 27.2cm
How we tested
This bike was tested as part of a five bike grouptest of bikes priced at around £2,000 that have been searched for the most online in the past year and are still available.
The bikes were tested against each other to find out which one provides the best blend of comfort and performance.
Bikes also on test: