Giant TCR Advanced 3 review

Lightened, tightened, amazing value package

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £1,050.00 RRP

Our review

Giant’s new TCR is the stuff legends are made of, and this one adds great value into the mix
Buy if, You want the pro riding experience without the price tag pain
Pros: Handling and road manners impress, as does the price
Cons: Narrow tyres and squidgy brake pads
Skip to view product specifications

When some of our testers recently took Giant’s TCR Advanced Pro SL1 for a spin, it proved itself to be a genuinely impressive machine that offers everything you’d want from a racing thoroughbred. But what can you expect from a TCR pitched at more budget-conscious riders? Well quite a lot, actually, it turns out.

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Slender but sturdy

The chassis looks slender compared with the previous TCR, but still retains the compact shape that designer Mike Burrows pioneered for Giant in the mid-1990s. Unlike the Advanced Pro SL1, the Advanced 3 comes with an aero seat post rather than a cut-to-fit seatmast.

There’s no messing about with the Giant’s massive bottom bracket shell
There’s no messing about with the giant’s massive bottom bracket shell:
Immediate Media

There’s no messing about with the Giant’s massive bottom bracket shell

We prefer the post setup, as it’s easier to adjust, helps the bike’s resale value and is much easier to pack for traveling. The need for a clamp and some reinforcement at the seat/top tube junction adds a few grams, but the frame’s only 900g as it is, so it remains a very light package.

The Overdrive tapered head-tube and steerer configuration makes the front end absolutely rock solid, and gives the Advanced 3 the kind of planted steering that thrill-seeking riders will relish. And while the new slimline fork looks like it’ll flex under hard cornering, the opposite is true. It moves fore and aft, taking the sting out of bumps and potholes, but under fast, aggressive cornering it tracks exactly as you’d want, never deviating from your line no matter how hard you push it.

And that taut responsiveness isn’t just limited to the fork. Giant claims class-leading figures for the TCR’s drivetrain stiffness, and on the road you instantly feel the frame’s rigidity. Its get-up-and-go response puts to shame plenty of bikes that cost twice as much.

Smooth-riding speed

Giant has combined this performance with excellent comfort, and even with its resolute rigidity, it’s a smooth ride. It copes with poor surfaces and provides you plenty of feedback from the road without letting it tip over into discomfort, even with 23mm rubber. Helped by thick bar tape and a well-shaped Giant saddle, the Advanced 3 is probably more comfortable than its Pro SL1 sibling.

Giant’s combined performance with comfort, and even with its rigidity it’s a smooth ride
Giant’s combined performance with comfort, and even with its rigidity it’s a smooth ride:
Russell Burton

Giant’s combined performance with comfort, and even with its rigidity it’s a smooth ride

Shimano’s Tiagra may only be 10-speed, but its shifting performance equals that of 105 and the climb-friendly gear spread never left us rueing the absence of an eleventh sprocket, even on the stiffest climbs. Giant’s P-SL1 tyres are suitably soft, but wet-weather grip is no more than average and they suffered a few pinch punctures during the test period.

That might have just been bad luck, but wider rubber could be run at lower pressures for added comfort while also reducing the chances of suffering pinch flats. And though there’s nothing wrong with the Tiagra brakes, we did find the standard, non-cartridge pads squidgy under heavy braking.

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But overall the TCR is a seriously impressive machine. You get enough of a feel of the bikes that the Giant-Alpecin pros ride to make for a very rewarding cycling experience. The geometry is racy without being too extreme and the handling is impeccable. And if you like an upgrade project, this Giant is one hell of a starting point.

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Product Specifications

Product

Name TCR Advanced 3
Brand Giant

Available Sizes S M L XL XXL
Trail 4.8
Rims Giant SR2
Saddle Giant Performance Road
Seat Angle 72.5
Seatpost Giant Variant Composite
Shifters Shimano Tiagra
Stem Giant Connect 130mm, 31.8mm
Weight (kg) 8.57
Rear Tyre Giant P-SL1 700x23mm, front and rear specific
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 28
Chainstays (cm) 40
Seat Tube (cm) 53
Standover Height (cm) 83.5
Top Tube (cm) 60
Wheelbase (cm) 102.5
Rear Wheel Weight 1890
Rear Hub Giant Performance Tracker Road hubs
Bottom Bracket Press-fit
Frame Material Giant Advanced- Grade Composite carbon
Brakes Shimano Tiagra
Cassette Shimano CS-HG50 12-28
Chain KMC
Cranks Shimano Tiagra 175mm 50/34
Fork Carbon, Hybrid OverDrive steerer
Fork Offset 4.75
Front Derailleur Shimano Tiagra
Rear Derailleur Shimano Tiagra
Front Hub Giant Performance Tracker Road hubs
Front Tyre Giant P-SL1 700x23mm, front and rear specific
Front Wheel Weight 1260
Handlebar Giant Contact 44cm
Head Angle 74
Headset Type Giant
Frame size tested XL