Here at BikeRadar, Giant’s TCR has proved a serial winner from its very first aluminium incarnation to today’s Advanced Grade Composite offerings.
Sitting firmly low to mid-range in the extensive TCR model lineup, this Advanced Pro 2 is barely distinguishable from its more costly siblings until you look much closer.
The usual TCR features are present, beginning with that composite frameset, plus matching aero seatpost and Overdrive 2 steerer, topped with a similarly oversized stem.
It’s all tried, trusted and, along with the compact frame design, the cornerstone of the bike’s performance.
The Overdrive steerer increases precision. David Caudery/Immediate Media
The compact frame’s geometry has barely changed since day one, but then neither have its advantages. A smaller frame is lighter, stiffer, able to accommodate a wider rider size range and permit plenty of exposed seatpost for flexy seated comfort.
The 1 1/4in to 1 1/2in Overdrive steerer maximises stiffness and increases steering precision under load, contributing hugely to the TCR’s handling.
Making all that engineering tick is a complete Shimano 105 groupset, with 52/36 rings and 11-30 cassette, dual pivot rim brakes, while everything else is from Giant.
The Contact alloy bar and stem and Contact saddle deal very well with your contact points, offering good hand positions, great stiffness and vibration damping up front, and surprisingly good multi-hour seated comfort behind. But what really makes this bike is lower down…
Shimano dual pivot rim brakes. David Caudery/Immediate Media
Giant’s SLR-1 Wheelsystem comprises 42mm tall, tubeless carbon rims, which come set up tubeless (if so desired) from your Giant dealer, in this case with Giant’s Gavia AC 1 25mm tubeless tyres.
As well as the decrease in rolling resistance, this does make lower than normal tyre pressures almost riskless, but for consistency I still tested at just over 80psi.
It’s a light bike at 7.51kg in a size M/L with enormous torsional rigidity and wheels that feel instantly responsive, which is a heady mixture. It’s a bike you feel immediately at home with, and as the miles fly by it becomes very intuitive: line changes and weight shifts couldn’t be more natural and the cossetting ride feel helps hugely.
Pointing the TCR at rippled and broken tarmac does nothing to ruffle its feathers, it just tracks straight and true, softening the impacts before they reach your hands and rear.
On the flat it just breeds speed, accelerating swiftly to race pace out of slow corners and easily sustaining it – the benefits of ideal positioning paying dividends.
It’s a great climber too, efficiently gaining height with every pedal revolution and feeling like there’s more in the tank if you have the strength to attack it.
A bike to look after you in the rough and tumble of an ever-surging bunch. Russell Burton
When descending at 30mph or more, the TCR feels utterly planted, the rims unaffected by most wind, and the Gavia tyres cornering with confidence.
Braking is a calm and progressive affair, the Giant rims and pads shedding speed fast without needing to haul on the brake levers.
This TCR feels most impressive in constantly rolling terrain, where its naturally brisk change of pace helps you cover ground more quickly than expected and with seemingly no more effort.
If you’re looking for a bike to look after you in the rough and tumble of an ever-surging bunch, and still have what it takes to sprint for the line later on, the TCR is very hard to better, especially at this price.
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 2 geometry (M/L)
Seat angle: 73 degrees
Head angle: 73 degrees
Seat tube: 50.2cm
Top tube: 57.5cm
Head tube: 16.8cm
Fork offset: 4.4cm
Bottom bracket drop: 6.5cm
Bottom bracket height: 27.5