After a season of riding the Giant TCR Advanced SL, Matt Bottrill thought it would be a fair time to do a report on the bike.
Matt writes … When I got the opportunity to be part of the Giant team sponsorship programme - http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-gb/teamsriders/rider/matt.bottrill/363/ – I was over the moon knowing that I would be riding the Giant TCR Advanced SL and that was one of the key reasons for me joining the set up knowing I’d be riding a bike that has taken part in Grand Tours like the Tour de France.
On first picking up the frame, it puts a smile on your face straight away just feeling how light it is. Then, once you start to inspect the frame, your eyes are drawn to the oversize bottom bracket and oversize head tube. The latter is really oversized using a 1 1/4 inch fork steerer. The frame features all internal cabling and is Shimano Di2 (electronic gears) ready. For my build, I would be riding standard cables and Shimano Dura-Ace groupset with Giant Carbon bars and road stem. Smart Enve SES 6.7 clinchers (wheels) would complete the set up.
Onto the build. I started by attaching the bars and stem and then moved on to the part any rider building the bike dreads, attaching the saddle and with the Giant TCR advanced you have to cut the seat-tube down. That’s not as hard has you may think. I fitted the wheels in and then fitted the saddle to the clamp, put the saddle at the level needed and then measured from the top of the saddle to the centre of the bottom bracket giving me the amount I needed to cut off.
Now Giant think of everything as you even get a cutting guide and loads of shims should you be a mm out. But I was bang on and within second’s the job was done! Then came the fun part attaching all the parts. Cabling of the frame was simple, everything is provided for the internal cabling and you just need a bit of patient to complete. It’s worth leaving the press fit bottom bracket to last so you have more room to get your fingers into the bottom bracket to thread the cables through. In around 2 hours the bike was done, and then the really fun part – the test ride!!
With the new bike ready to ride, on came the Giant clothing; well, if you have the bike you got to look the part! The cycling apparrel is really well fitted and the shorts are the best I’ve ever ridden, I’ve done thousands of miles in them now and they still feel like new!
So, onto the road, and the first thing you notice is how stiff the frame is. I’ve been very lucky in my career to have ridden some of the nicest bikes out there and have never ridden such a stiff frame! I also could not get over how light the front end was. With the carbon bars and stem it was just unreal. I was then out of the saddle to see how stiff the bottom bracket was. We all do this when we have a new bike, sprinting down the road, thinking you’re Mark Cavendish!
Again, I was smiling ear to ear. When I first got the frame, I thought how the hell does the seat tube hold your weight. I’m 71kg and 6ft. So thought it going to flex and break but again the seat tube did not move! So into the ride and I could not stop smiling. The frame is so well thought out and provides a very comfy ride.
Basically, in my eyes, this bike ticks all the box’s. I’ve had light bike’s in the past but they had flex and I’ve had stiff bikes but they were heavy. This frame combines the very best stiffness, comfort and what we all like, it’s light too!
The Smart Enve SES 6.7 clinchers complete the set up. Designed by Simon Smart at the Mercedes f1 windtunnel and built by Enve, the wheels are something else. They offer stiffness and the best aerodynamics that complete the set up. My set were fitted with DT Swiss. The bearing quality is really good and with ceramic bearings, the wheels just flow. On went the tyres. I’ve found 22mm to be the best to fit the profile of the rim and gives the best quality of ride.
I then fitted the special designed Enve brake blocks to optimise braking and keep the warranty on the wheels. Braking on the rims with the supplied blocks is really good. Brakes on time trial bikes can be dodgy sometimes but nothing to worry about with Enve brake blocks and wheels.
On the road, the wheels just held the tarmac like nothing I’ve ever ridden and were so stiff. Sprinting down the road to see if there is any flex and I’m happy to report the wheels just moved forward so no power lost! Out on the road and I could instantly feel that the wheels had less drag then the other 50 mm wheels I’ve ridden in the past. And for some reason, felt faster than tub’s! In my opinion the 6.7s handle like a standard wheel but have the speed of a 50mm, very impressive!
So with 4,500 miles ridden, I’m pleased to say I’m still smiling and thinking I’m Mark Cavendish every time I ride up the road.
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