Giant TCX Advanced Pro 2 review$2,995.00

Proven cyclocross technology and track record trickles down

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The Giant TCX has been around for a few years, and has evolved with the times. It’s proven itself at the highest level of pro ’cross racing, and now offers all that trickle-down technology to club racers at a very reasonable price.

Giant’s broad-shouldered carbon fork looks purposeful, and has immense accuracy, thanks to the beefy OverDrive 2 steerer. Rocky trails, ploughed fields or dirt are all dispatched with disdain and control, the Contact bar and stem ensuring an ideal hand hold and enough stiffness to cope with burly riders.

Central to the TCX’s performance is its massive bottom bracket junction, the 86mm shell buried between the multi-faceted down tube, D-shaped seat-tube and asymmetric chainstays. The down tube’s underside is curved to minimise mud collection, the lower seat-tube curves away from the rear wheel, and there’s tons of tyre clearance between the chainstays, whose tops are angled to shed mud.

Asymmetric chainstays offer loads of clearance for the 33mm Maxxis All Terranes
Asymmetric chainstays offer loads of clearance for the 33mm Maxxis All Terranes

In contrast with the lower frame’s obvious strength, the slimming top tube and slender seatpost seem almost out of place, but the D-shaped post and dropped, triangular seatstays are tough, while providing lots of rider-induced flex that makes a difference to seated riding across rough terrain.

Being able to sit down for longer when it’s bumpy means more effective pedalling, and more speed.

Thru-axles keep Giant’s P-X2 Disc wheelset running true. The 25mm wide and tall aluminium rims are tubeless, spin on Giant’s own hubs, and come fitted with 33mm Maxxis All Terrane tyres. As is common with modern Giants, mine arrived set up tubeless, a service any Giant dealer will offer.

I benefitted from the tubeless tyres straight from the box
I benefitted from the tubeless tyres straight from the box

The tyres have a fairly aggressive open block pattern, which will cope pretty well in the very worst mud, but with the downside that they’re a little too grippy for hardpack, grass or soft ground, and do buzz on tarmac. They measure 33mm inflated, but being tubeless allows you to maximise grip with lower pressures.

The rotational weight saving from the tubeless setup, plus good overall system weight gives the TCX impressive acceleration. There’s no hint of flex from the front end when heaving on it to power out of corners, and maximal thrusts on the pedals result in excellent rear wheel reactions.

Impressive cyclocross ability and excellent value make the TCX a serial winner
Impressive cyclocross ability and excellent value make the TCX a serial winner

Running a little less pressure increases traction and grip too, with inevitably greater all-round speed. Climbing technical rocky and rooty tracks, the TCX makes picking a line and maintaining balance easy, and descending at speed holds no fear either. Great poise and weight distribution means rut hopping and obstacle jumping is almost telepathic.

SRAM’s Rival 1 groupset is fitted without deviation, and the 40-tooth chainring with 11-36 cassette is sufficient for any cyclocross course, or exploratory ride. There are 140mm rotors front and rear, something that’s less common, but they’re quite adequate for ’cross use, where speeds are slower, and heat is never an issue.

The forgiving and friendly nature of the Giant is hard to beat
The forgiving and friendly nature of the Giant is hard to beat

The TCX is a bike that you’ll just want to ride further. With no vices, enormously accessible performance, and a great specification, it’s hard to beat on the high street, or on a ’cross course.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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