Giant, one of the largest bike manufacturers in the world, has released details on the 2011 Cyclocross Lineup. In addition to the cyclocross bikes that the venerable Rabobank team will be riding, there are several models for us mere mortals, including a new women’s specific frame.
Announcing the 2011 Giant Cyclocross Lineup
With a talented roster of world class cyclocross racers on its new Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team, plus a new series of 2011 ’cross bikes including an all-new TCX and the TCX Advanced SL composite bike, Giant is placing more emphasis than ever on its commitment to cyclocross.
Earlier this year Giant launched a new global off-road team with a dual focus on endurance mountain biking and cyclocross. Now, with the fall ’cross season approaching, Giant is introducing a new line of cyclocross bikes including the TCX Advanced SL that will be raced by team riders including World Cup contenders Gerben de Knegt and Bart Aernouts of The Netherlands.
The new TCX Advanced SL marks the culmination of a development project that began more than 18 months ago when Giant first partnered with the Rabobank Professional Cycling Team. Shortly after Giant and Rabobank joined forces, Giant’s product development team met with Rabobank ’cross racers including Lars Boom—who was the Elite Men’s World Cyclocross Champion at the time—to begin the process of creating a new World Cup-level ’cross bike.
“The Rabobank team has very deep roots in cyclocross,” said Giant Global Product Development Director Dennis Lane. “With riders like Boom, de Knegt and lots of other developing stars in Europe, they asked us to come up with a bike that would give them a real edge at the World Cup and World Championship level.”
The heart of the new frameset is Giant’s Advanced SL composite material. Starting with T-800 raw carbon fiber, Giant weaves its own composite at its renowned C-Tech composite engineering facility to produce a superlight, stiff and compliant frame sharing the same DNA as the road and TT frames raced by Rabobank road pros.
The next, and perhaps most important step in the development of the TCX Advanced SL, was determining tube shape through Finite Element Analysis (FEA). Generally speaking, the TCX Advanced SL features smaller-diameter tubes than Giant’s composite road bikes. This results in a more compliant, ride-tuned feel the Rabobank ’cross pros asked for. It makes for a better-handling bike, one that “flows” through the tight corners and constantly changing terrain of cyclocross.
The TCX Advanced SL’s Integrated Seatpost, a signature feature of Giant’s pro-level road bikes, is engineered with a bit more compliance than Giant road bikes. There’s less emphasis on aerodynamics, more on comfort. And of course the TCX Advanced SL frameset takes into consideration the elements of ’cross racing. Plenty of rear wheel clearance helps shed mud, and internal cable routing ensures crisp, precise shifts no matter how adverse the conditions.
The TCX Advanced SL does incorporate some of the performance features of Rabobank’s pro road bikes. The Overdrive headtube and fork steerer, with 1-1/8-inch top and 1-1/4-inch bottom bearings, is super stiff for razor sharp handling; when paired with a composite fork for a compliant feel on rough surfaces and harsh transitions, it offers an unparalleled performance ride.
2011 Giant ‘Cross Lineup Includes The Made-For-Women TC W
As part of its expanded commitment to cyclo-cross, Giant is proud to introduce the 2011 TCX W, the first made-for-women cyclocross bike from a major brand. Designed and developed with input from Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Kelli Emmett, who raced prototype versions of the bike last fall, the new TCX W will be available to consumers this summer.
Like all Giant women’s bikes, the TCX W adheres to Giant’s Five Point design philosophy. Five Point is essentially a product checklist that focuses on five key elements: Sizing, Styling, Construction, Geometry and Components.
The TCX W project started more than a year ago. Emmett and Giant women’s product developer Abby Cooper had specific ideas about how to use Five Point to create a unique bike that would enhance the cyclocross experience for women.
“Everyone knows that women generally have different proportions than men,” Cooper said. “So the goal was to address women’s unique needs and provide them with a ’cross bike that would improve their experience whether they’re racing or just riding a mix of road and dirt.”
The TCX W frame is constructed with lightweight, ride-tuned ALUXX SL aluminum tubing. The key to optimizing the bike for women riders was perfecting the frame geometry and dimensions.
“Before this bike there were really no great options for women cyclocross riders,” Emmett said. “One big problem with riding men’s cyclocross bikes is that the top tubes are often too long. I thought a bike with a shorter top tube would handle much better for women, especially on steep drop-offs and other tricky terrain that’s such a big part of cyclocross racing. The TCX W is a little more upright and the top tube also isn’t quite as high as it is on most men’s bikes.”
Emmett rode early prototype versions of the TCX W to a handful of podium finishes at major U.S. cyclocross races last fall, including UCI events in Portland, Oregon, and Boulder, Colorado.
“Giant engineers created a bike that fits women better and will give them more confidence, but it’s also a very performance-oriented bike for racing,” Emmett said. “It has the larger triangle and rounded top tube for easy shouldering and one thing I recommended was a slightly higher bottom bracket, which helps for pedaling through corners—which is really important in cyclocross.”
The TCX W also features Giant Connect SL women’s handlebars, a women’s saddle and components including the SRAM Rival group that tested well in the adverse conditions ’cross racers must face.
Giant Announces Exciting Additions To Team Lead by de Knegt and Aernouts
The cyclocross division of the Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team is managed by former Cyclocross World Champion Richard Groenendaal. Four Junior and Under-23 riders from The Netherlands will join de Knegt, silver medalist behind Boom at the 2010 Dutch Cyclocross Championships, and Aernouts on the team.
The developing Rabobank ’cross riders will look to follow in the footsteps of Boom. He came into the sport through cyclocross, won 10 Dutch Cyclocross Championships and a World Championship with Rabobank, and is now racing the Tour de France with the Rabobank Road Team.
In addition to de Knegt, Aernouts and the four young European-based racers, some of Giant’s World Cup mountain bike racers will switch to cyclocross competition in the fall. For example, Adam Craig, a U.S. Olympian in mountain biking, competes in select North American ’cross races and played a role in the development of the new TCX Advanced SL.
For more information on the Rabobank-Giant Off-Road team, and to learn more about the complete new series of Giant cyclocross bikes—which also includes all-new TCX models and a specially designed TCX W for women—please visit giant-bicycles.com.
RABOBANK-GIANT OFF-ROAD CYCLO-CROSS TEAM
Bart Aernouts (Ned)
Gerben de Knegt (Ned)
Emiel Dolfsma (Ned)
Lars van der Haar (Ned)
Mike Teunissen (Ned)
Gert-Jan Bosman (Ned)
Stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine for more updates and news as other major manufactures finalize their lineups for the upcoming year.