This article originally published on BikeRadar
For cyclo-cross this coming season, Giant has redesigned its TCX bikes with disc brakes and front thru-axles across the board, as well as revamping geometry with a lower bottom bracket.
The top-end TCX Advanced carbon chassis will be accompanied by a new TCX SLR aluminum version, plus a women's specific liv/giant Brava SLR. All bikes will be available in August 2013.
TCX Advanced goes disc only
The biggest news for the new Giant TCX Advanced is that it's moved to disc-only compatibility for 2014, complete with post-mount tabs front and rear, 135mm rear hub spacing, and a very forward-thinking 15mm thru-axle up front.
While we found the original Giant TCX Advanced SL's wide-profile cantilevers to be rather lacking in the stopping department, there should be no problems this time around.
The new carbon fiber chassis is also slightly lighter than before, with a claimed weight of 1,050g for an unpainted medium size compared to 1,193g for our previous TCX Advanced SL painted test sample.
The matching carbon fork supposedly weighs 380g. Notably, Giant appears to have left the door open for further weight savings, given the 'Advanced' labeling of the 2014 model compared to the 'Advanced SL' tag usually given to its flagship models.
Other features include Giant's extra-oversized OverDrive 2 1 1/4in to 1 1/2in tapered steerer tube, asymmetrical chain stays, internal cable routing (for the rear brake cable, too), a removable front derailleur mounting tab, press-fit bottom bracket cups on an 86mm-wide shell for extra tire clearance, and dual water bottle bolts for improved versatility (the previous version had none).
Giant has also moved to a conventional telescoping seatpost with a hidden binder, instead of the predecessor's integrated setup. The new carbon post will use a proprietary D-shaped profile, which the company claims will lend a smoother ride than a traditional round form.
Geometry is mostly unchanged, with 71- to 72.5-degree head tube angles, 43cm-long chain stays, and 13cm to 19cm head tube lengths depending on frame size. Bottom bracket height has decreased from the previous version's sky-high 55mm drop, but only by 5mm. This should make it a little better suited to North American-style cyclo-cross courses while retaining good pedal clearance in deep mud.
As has been the trend with its road and mountain bikes, Giant will include house-brand wheels with the new TCX Advanced. "The wheels on the bikes (both the P-CXR-0 on the Advanced 0 and the P-CXR-1 on all other bikes but the SLR 2) are adopted from our mountain bike range, and have a 19mm inner rim width," said James Hibbard of Giant's global on-road marketing department.
"This is ideal for 'cross applications as it opens up the tires profile – helping to create a wider, rounder tire profile. So far, we have had excellent luck with the durability of these wheels, and although they don’t have the brand recognition equal to a third-party wheel, like our road wheels, the ‘cross wheels were made in conjunction with DT Swiss and really are a value-add from our perspective."
Giant will offer two versions of the TCX Advanced for the coming season, with both models available at dealers in August: the US$7,150 TCX Advanced 0 with SRAM Red 22, Rotor 3DF crankset, 1,430g P-CXR0 wheelset and tubeless-ready carbon fiber rims; and the US$4,050 TCX Advanced 1 with a SRAM Force 2x10 group, Rotor 3DF crankset, and 1,750g P-CXR1 wheels.
Those of you lamenting the passing of rim brakes on Giant's cyclo-cross lineup can find solace in the fact that the company will still offer the TCX Advanced SL with canti posts – but it's last year's model and will only be available as a bare frameset.
TCX SLR aluminum chassis
Accompanying the carbon fiber TCX Advanced is an all-new TCX SLR frameset, which should be far cheaper but still with an impressive claimed weight of under 1,200g. Giant builds the TCX SLR with a new triple-butted 6011A alloy, extensive hydroforming throughout, and double-pass welds for a smooth, seamless appearance.
Otherwise, most of the TCX Advanced's features carry over. These include disc-only compatibility, a 15mm front thru-axle, an extra-oversized 1 1/4in to 1 1/2in steerer tube, press-fit bottom bracket cups, a D-shaped carbon seatpost (with a more conventional clamp), a removable front derailleur mounting tab, fully internal cable routing (rear brake included), and revised geometry with a lower center of gravity for more stable cornering.
Build kit on the US$2,975 TCX SLR 0 and US$1,600 TCX SLR 1 will closely mirror that of the TCX Advanced 0 and 1, respectively, with the exception of Giant P-CXR1 wheels on both.
Giant will also offer the TCX SLR 2 with a slightly heavier fork, a Shimano 105 drivetrain, Shimano BR-M515 cable actuated disc brakes, and Giant S-X2 rims laced to 28-hole Giant Tracker hubs.
Liv/giant TCX SLR bikes
Giant's liv/giant label will offer two women's specific versions of the TCX SLR, too, in the Brava SLR line, with pricing from US$1,600 to US$4,800. Tech features are shared between the two platforms but the Brava SLR's altered geometry will include a shorter top tube and longer head tube.
As with the TCX Advanced, availability for both the TCX SLR and Brava SLR is scheduled for August. We're still waiting for UK retail prices and will update once they're available.
Meanwhile, for more information see www.giant-bicycles.com.