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by Clifford Lee
It’s always exciting when we spot things so new that even the reps can’t give us details on the equipment, so we were thrilled to see Adam Craig’s prototype Giant cyclocross bike, a bike so new that Craig himself hasn’t been on it. We reviewed the Giant TCX Advanced in Issue 17 as a super-stiff, superlight race bike with a high bottom bracket, but what makes this one so different? Primarily, the disc brakes and the lack of integrated seatmast. Adam Craig is a longtime Giant-sponsored rider who certainly has specific preferences, as evidenced by the setup of his new SRAM Red 22 hydraulic disc brake-equipped TCX Advanced.
The Giant team is comprised of riders who are no strangers to winning races: Adam Craig took the win (and the tattoo!) at SSCXWC and in the singlespeed races at the 2010 and 2013 Cyclocross National Championships, while his teammate Marianne Vos took her sixth World Championship title this year in Louisville.
Andrew Juskaitis, Global Product Manager for Giant, told us that Craig’s bike is a prototype and some final tweaks are being made, so he declined to comment on the new frame, aside from the fact that it will likely be available on the market well before this fall cyclocross season begins.
Our sharp eyes spotted several differences from the previous TCX Advanced, including the move away from a integrated seatmast to a normal seatpost secured by a wedge tightened by a bolt in front of the seatpost. The other significant feature is the use of a 15mm thru-axle fork that should tidy up handling, especially with hub-centric braking. The post mounts on Craig’s frame and fork were set up for the 140mm rotors that were on the bike, as no caliper adapters were in place.
Craig’s bike uses Giant Overdrive 2 (OD2) that combines a proprietary fork steering tube taper that starts at 1.25″ at the top and widens to 1.50″ at the crown race with a matching stem. Giant started the tapered steerer trend with their original Overdrive and now have upped the ante for even better steering control. It’s the largest steerer diameters we know of, as the standard is 1.125″ to 1.50″ and some companies like Cannondale and Specialized are reducing the lower flare to 1.25″ or 1.375″.
The thru-axle and massive head tube and steerer should suit a powerful and air-prone rider like Craig well, but we’re curious to see if smaller riders like Dutch superstars Marianne Vos or Lars van der Haar will want or adopt such such oversized, stiff.
Other small details include slightly different internal cable routing, adaptable to electronic shift wires and hydraulic brake lines. Ports for electronic shift wires are in place by the front derailleur, and the rear shifter line (cable or wire) exits elegantly at a hole just above the rear dropout. The cable/wires the front and rear derailleurs are exposed under the bottom bracket for easy threading and maintenance, and the cable guide is removable if a racer is electing to go electronic.
Craig’s prototype was finished as raw carbon with a shiny clear coat with no cosmetic weave layer. Details that I was not able to verify included geometry, especially BB height, which was quite high on the previous model of the bike. But after doing a bit of Photoshop work, we’re guessing they’ve dropped the bottom bracket by over a centimeter on the new model, and possibly extended the top tube.
Craig is running SRAM Red 22 as a 11×1 with a XX1 crankset using a 36 tooth chainring combined with an 11-28 cassette.
As soon the bike comes to production, you can bet that we’ll get our hands on one to put through the CXM paces!
Stay tuned for more Sea Otter goodies, and keep an eye out for more news from Giant and Liv Giant, the women’s side of the company: we were told that there are some top-secret projects in the works!