This week, Giant unveiled their two newest models, the 2014 TCX Advanced and TCX SLR bikes, which feature new frame designs, disc brakes, and 15mm front thru-axle technology, while sister company Liv/giant unveiled their new high-end women’s cyclocross bike. We saw hints of the new TCX Advanced with Adam Craig’s prototype model at Sea Otter back in April, but Giant declined to comment until now, though they allowed us to take photos and draw our own conclusions. We’ve reviewed an older iteration of the TCX Advanced way back in Issue 17, but now it’s out with some changes for next season.
According to Giant, “The 2014 TCX Advanced and TCX SLR bikes combine Giant’s deep pedigree of world championship-winning cyclocross bikes with a host of forward-thinking technologies and designs. Last year, Giant assembled a team of engineers, athletes and product developers to rethink the possibilities of cyclocross performance. Tapping into Giant’s industry-leading engineering and manufacturing capabilities—plus its long history of collaboration with some of the world’s top ’cross racers—they set out to create bikes that weren’t just light and efficient, but that could significantly boost a rider’s level of confidence and control.”
The result is a thorough overhaul of Giant’s cyclocross bike lineup. Their flagship model, the TCX Advanced, features a sub-1050-gram frame made with Giant’s Advanced-grade composite material and geometry that’s updated with a slightly lower bottom bracket drop (by 5mm, now 6cm) and a slightly longer wheelbase compared to previous models. The result is a “more stable ride with a lower center of gravity.” We’re pleased to see Giant drop the bottom bracket, but are frankly surprised they didn’t go further to match most modern cyclocross bikes’ bottom bracket drop of 6.5 to 7cm, but their top riders are often battling on more technical, World Cup courses and may need the pedal clearance.
The frame is designed with Finite Element Analysis (FEA), which was used to create tube shapes that “enhance the performance and ride quality for cyclocross racing including a flattened and smoothed top tube shape for easier shouldering.” It also eliminates the outermost woven composite sheet in order to reduce weight without affecting ride quality, strength or stiffness.
Gone also is the integrated seat mast, making initial setup a whole lot easier and making the bikes easier to borrow (or resell). In our review of the previous TCX Advanced, we noted the incredible stiff ride of the carbon frame, and eliminating the seat mast will likely help in smoothing out the ride. They also add that the “lightweight, all-internal seatpost locking mechanism provides clean, confident clamping power where it is needed most.”
“For a long time cyclocross racers of all levels had to accept certain compromises when it came to the performance of their bikes,” said Jon Swanson, Giant Global On-Road Category Manager. “We set out to change that. We’re implementing cutting-edge technologies like disc brakes and thru-axle forks that will completely change the way you ride a ’cross bike.”
Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Adam Craig was part of the development process. As an all-around racer who competes in cyclocross as well as XC and Enduro mountain bike racing, Craig is accustomed to pushing the limits of technology and speed.
“I’m super excited about seeing some of the off-road technologies like disc brakes and a front thru-axle crossing over to cyclocross,” Craig said. “The new geometry helps too, it just makes these bikes more versatile and way more capable in different types of conditions and terrain. It doesn’t matter what level you ride or race at—anyone who rides a ’cross bike will immediately feel the difference.”
All TCX Advanced models are equipped with hydraulic disc brakes. And all models feature the innovative new 15mm front thru-axle design, which boosts front-end stiffness and wheel tracking. Asymmetrical chainstays improve pedaling stiffness while also increasing compliance on choppy surfaces. And the proprietary D-Fuse SL Composite seatpost further alleviates shock and vibration with its D-shaped design for a smoother, more efficient ride.
The second new series in Giant’s 2014 cyclocross lineup is the all-new TCX SLR. It’s engineered with ALUXX SLR, an all-new, superlight alloy technology that Giant clams to offer the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any Giant aluminum frame tubes. The tubes are triple-butted and 20 percent thinner than those used on Giant’s ALUXX SL frames.
Like the TCX Advanced, all TCX SLR models benefit from disc brake technology, a 15mm front thru-axle, and Giant’s D-Fuse seatpost for compliance. Both the TCX Advanced and TCX SLR models feature Giant’s OverDrive 2 front end with an oversized, tapered steerer tube for precision steering. And both also feature internal cable routing.
The TCX Advanced and TCX SLR cyclocross bikes will be first available at Giant retailers starting in August.