The Giant 2018 show was full of flash new bikes - here's what caught our eye.
As one of the biggest, if not the biggest, bicycle manufacturers in the world, Giant Bicycles could be forgiven for sitting back and resting on their laurels. They did introduce concepts such as compact frames, and were one of a few brands to adopt composite technology in frames and components early on.
But instead, Giant continue to grow, and make sure their products evolve to suit the market, or more frequently, their products are ready for where the market is heading.
Giant equip the Sunweb professional road team, who have had a string of high-level success this year. From Tom Dumoulin's win at the Giro, to 4 stage victories and the Points and KOM jersey at the Tour de France, Giant have access to some of the best real world research and development. And this is a key resource that they use in the design and development of their bikes, wheels, and accessories.
Here's what caught our eye in their 2018 line-up.
Get out and explore with the Giant ToughRoad SLR GX
One of the models to really catch our eye at the recent Giant Australia launch was the ToughRoad SLR GX range. While the ToughRoad SLR range was around this year, the GX is new for 2018. The ToughRoad has been built for adventures off the beaten track, with alloy frames and carbon forks that can take upto 50mm wide tyres, and still take mudguards and racks. The GX range are dropbar bikes while the regular range (which is still around in 2018) are flatbar models. The GX series has a 1x and a 2x option, they are disc equipped, have Tubeless Ready wheels.
Riders who wanted this sort of bike had previously moved to a Giant TCX. And while those are still a good option, the ToughRoad SLR GX has geometry more suited for adventure riding and loading up with racks and panniers for truly epic adventures. With pricepoints of $1599 and $2399, both bikes are great examples that you don't have to invest a small fortune for a ticket to escape.
Long live the Giant TCR
The Giant TCR has been around for over two decades. We could say it's a classic modern road bike but we would be contradicting ourselves. The TCR has always evolved, not really getting the time to become a 'classic' beyond the name. And while there are no frame updates for the Giant TCR this year, the availability of group sets and braking options through the range, from the $2099 TCR Advanced 3 up to the $11499 TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc means there's a TCR model for almost any budget or preference.
The TCR is a performance road bike, with sharp geometry that is focused on fast handling, plus low weight and aerodynamic cues to keep it fast. Looking through the range it's hard to not be attracted to the top-tier TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc. With a full Shimano Dura Ace Di2 Disc group set, superlight Giant wheels and finishing kit, and the ever pro-looking integrated seatpost, this is the bike to look at if you never want to look for an excuse from your equipment. Ride this TCR and you just have to look into the mirror if you're not happy with your performance.
But down the range there are some true stand outs. The TCR Advanced SL 1 Disc shares the same frame, but by dropping back to the new Ultegra group set and a change in wheels and parts you save about $4500 - as the bike sells for $6999. Which means if you could buy the bike, and go spend a couple of weeks smashing alpine cols in France, or bagging passos in the Dolomites, for the same total cost as the top model TCR (but you'll probably have to slum it in 3 star hotels!).
While the top models are also available in rim brake versions, with Cycling Australia's announcement that disc brakes are allowed for road racing outside of National Championships and National Road Series events, they may suit only the purists and elite racers. We feel the majority of riders will be won over by the greater power and modulation of a disc brake.
The Giant TCR Advanced 1 Disc is another stand out. At $3299 it has Giant's Advanced grade composite frame and fork with 12mm through-axles, a Shimano 22-speed drivetrain with Ultegra drivetrain matched with RS505 shifters, and a tubeless ready wheel set.
We hear there's something new coming - but we didn't get a look at anything at the launch.
Want all the details on the Giant TCR range? Head to the Giant website.
Defy and Contend in 2018
These popular endurance road models can have their versatility missed. The Defy Advanced was the frame of choice for the Sunweb team in Classics like Paris-Roubaix, thanks to the handling, bump-eating compliance and clearance for larger volume tubulars in the team's race wheels.
What does this mean for you? The Defy (or aluminium Contend) can take the intrepid cyclist off the smooth tarmac and onto the 2WD dirt roads that stretch far and wide. With less cars, more views, and more options, hitting the dirt roads is very appealling. And the Defy and Contend are bikes that are well-suited for adventurous road rides, seeking images to light up your Instagram account.
New for 2018 is a complete move to disc brakes for the Defy Advanced and Contend SL ranges. Only the Contend 1 and 2 will be rim brake models.
Cross it up with the Giant TCX
Giant's TCX range has been popular with cyclocross racers, adventure riders and commuters. With clearance for larger tyres than a standard 33c on the carbon TCX, adventure riders with a passion for 'cross had a bike that could do double-duty.
And with a starting price of $1999, super commuters had a drop bar bike with performance handling, strong brakes and a high-end alloy frame set should take a look at the Giant TCX SLR 2. With a Shimano 105 22-speed group set, hybrid hydraulic brakes and 12mm through-axles on the aluminium frame and composite legged fork - this bike screams value for a rider wanting a bike to get into cyclocross, some adventure, and tackling back roads.
If you want to see more of the range, head to Giant's website.