We’re deep into that time of year when manufacturers sneak new bikes out into the wild ahead of their official Tour de France unveiling. Usually, you see a few current pros at the pre-tour races trying their best to not get papped on something new, as with the new Canyon Ultimate or Trek Madone. Rarer is the brazen camo that admits a new bike is here but it tries to dissuade you from working out the shapes, as is the case with the new Pinarello Bolide.
Rarest of all, to the point I cannot remember it happening, is a new bike being spotted in the wild under a former pro while just out and about. Admittedly this former pro was Tony Martin, and ‘out and about’ is my way of saying ‘training for an insane sportive’, but it’s still unusual.
We currently only have a few snapshots from Instagram for now, but putting two and two together along with the new list of UCI-approved frames (which coincidentally features a new Propel), it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that this is probably it.
Big changes, smaller bike
If this is in fact the new Propel, it marks a sea change from the design desks at Giant. The old Propel was very much in the classic mould of an aero bike; deep-section everything, integration at every turn, but a weight penalty. This new model rows back and seems to be aiming for an all-round race bike angle, much like the Tarmac SL7 did upon its release.
The tube shapes are noticeably more dainty, with the most obvious change at the seat tube. It’s less deep, but also seems to swap out the proprietary seatpost for an integrated seat mast. The seatstays too are more narrow and do away with the near-wishbone setup in favour of joining straight to the seatpost with a small triangle of filler material at the join.
The toptube, narrower in the vertical axis, is properly horizontal this time, without the upward inflections at the junctions, which certainly gives the bike a cleaner silhouette. The downtube is shallower, fitting the theme, but less dramatically. At the base, it feeds into a bottom bracket area that, from what we can see at least, is smaller too.
In a second Instagram post, shown below, we get a glimpse of the cockpit, which is a much less propriety-looking affair. There is a standard clamp on the bars, and a visible top cap at least, but with the ubiquitous fully integrated hosing for the discs that we have come to expect from any top-end bike nowadays.
A photo posted by on
It also appears that Martin was trialling a new set of wheels too. Without any official-looking branding, the rim sidewalls appear to have been marked up with handwritten notes, from which we can only really make out the words 'field test'.
As with most leaked bikes (intentional or otherwise), there is a lack of official information available surrounding the intended launch date. Our expectation, given the timing, is that Giant will tie it in with the Tour.
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Will joined the Cyclingnews team as a reviews writer in 2022, having previously written for Cyclist, BikeRadar and Advntr. There are very few types of cycling he's not dabbled in, and he has a particular affection for older bikes and long lasting components. Road riding was his first love, before graduating to racing CX in Yorkshire. He's been touring on a vintage tandem all the way through to fixed gear gravel riding and MTB too. When he's not out riding one of his many bikes he can usually be found in the garage making his own frames and components as a part time framebuilder, restoring old mountain bikes, or walking his collie in the Lake District.
Rides: Custom Zetland Audax, Bowman Palace:R, Peugeot Grand Tourisme Tandem, 1988 Specialized Rockhopper, Stooge Mk4, Falcon Explorer Tracklocross