Giant TCR Advanced 2 Disc 2017 Long Term Review
Words by Aaron Scott
on 27/06/2017 12:39:33
Review by Kyle Armstrong.
Giant are a company with a long history of quality bike design and manufacture, the most famous of which being the long lasting TCR. From Team ONCE, being used for time trials and still going strong in Le Tour; the TCR has a strong heritage.
The latest offering from Giant now has a disc brake option, and whilst discussions are still heated around the use of discs in the pro and amateur field I won't be delving into this during this review. A quick search of Google will reveal all the for and against arguments for an evenings read.
So why did I choose disc brakes then? Yes, there is a weight penalty associated with disc brakes over rim brakes, however for me it comes down to the type of riding I'll be doing. This year I'm racing the Transatlantic Way race in Ireland which is a 2600km race of roads that can be quite questionable, with weather that can change quicker than Clark Kent in a phone booth. So then, consistent braking, particularly over a long period in all sorts of weather out weighed my need to get the bike as light as possible. Would I still choose discs for a shorter, well paved race? I'm not sure. What I do know is that these brakes work a treat - the shimano STI levers are without a doubt the most comfortable set I've ever had the pleasure of laying my hands on. They're a bit longer than your standard lever, but provide a great position for resting hands. The braking itself is easy and smooth, and the flat mounts for the calipers are super easy to align. Overall I've had no issues with the brake system as a whole since set up 7000km ago. Winner.
Onto the wheels then. As with most bikes at this price point you don't get anything fancy. Say that the PR-2 disc wheel set are a great bit of kit. Sealed bearings, thru-axle and not too heavy. Peel off the sticker decals are they instantly look about £500 more expensive. The thru-axle system works really well and makes the power input super stiff and responsive. It's also incredibly easy to take the wheels in and out without worry about aligning the disc in the caliper correctly.
I changed out my front wheel because I wanted to run a dynamo hub to power my light and charger. If it wasn't for this I probably wouldn't have bothered changing the wheels. If you want to offset the additional disc weight then by all means spend the money on some new wheels, however the basic PR-2s work great.
Having ridden this bike in everything from club runs to a 450km overnight ride I can quite happily say it's a comfortable bike. It's not so relaxed as the Defy but is still able to put the power down when needed and transfers my pedal efforts into moving forward efficiently. On my ML sized frame I have the seat post out a decent amount and it flexes just enough to provide some subtle suspension on rougher ground. Being able to use 28mm and 30mm (just) on this frame means it's a really diverse bike, from racing to audax.
The bike comes with a 105 groupset and to be honest, it's amazing. Over the last 7.5k km I haven't had any issues. Obviously there is a weight trade off between 105 and Ultegra, but in my mind 105 is the must have groupset. Great performance for the value. If you're looking for parts that will last, but aren't too expensive to replace, this is the one to go for.
So the bike has now been returned to work and if I'm honest, I'm going to miss it. For a race orientated bike it is amazingly comfortable. I honestly didn't think that I could do rides that ranged from 100km to 450km on this bike and still remain as comfortable as I would on a more relaxed geometry. Saying that, it is still a super responsive bike. I've done everything from fast chain gangs to bikepacking and I've never felt like it was a sloppy ride. Fully loaded and weighing around 13kg it still let's me put the power down, and climbs amazingly.
More recently I decided to put 28mm gatorskin tyres on the bike and what a difference it made again in terms of comfort. Great for longer rides without sacrificing too much speed, and still plenty of clearance. If you want a great value, comfortable road bike that seems to do everything, then the TCR is the one to go for. Spec it with 105 or Ultegra and you've got a performance ready bike that won't break the bank.
Giant TCR Advanced 2 Disc 2017
The Giant TCR Advanced Disc is built for next-generation road race performance. Superior efficiency meets added control in all conditions.
- Frame - Advanced-Grade Composite
- Drivetrain - Shimano 105 22 Speed
- Brakes - Shimano BR-RS505 hydraulic disc
This review originally appeared on Armstrong Endurance Racing
Kyle Armstrong is store manager at Giant Store Cambridge. He is an endurance athlete and GB age group athlete in Duathlon.