As is frequently the case, Giant delivers a lot for the money here. No, we’re not saying $9,000 is cheap. It’s not. But it also isn’t unheard of for high-end race bikes, which the TCR Advanced SL most definitely is. In fact, a lot of bikes in the TCR’s competitive set sit north of $10,000. So, in the real world, this bike is gaudily expensive. But in the narrow world of pro-caliber race bikes, it’s … well … “reasonable” isn’t the right word. But you see where we’re going. This is an elite frame draped in Dura-Ace Di2 and deep-section carbon rims.
When it comes to performance, the TCR leaves no doubt about its intentions. That massive BB cluster isn’t decorative; it’s the heart of a pedaling platform that is as efficient and unfussy as one could hope for. Standing on the pedals on a climb is a revelation. And handling is simply spot-on. Our Buyer’s Guide test loop featured a tight left-hander after a descent near the start. On very few bikes could we make it through that turn without hitting the brakes. On this one, we had room to spare.
That said, there were two areas where our testers were unanimously underwhelmed: the TCR’s utilitarian graphics and its harsh ride. Giant has never led the way in terms of aesthetics, so no surprise there. And if you’re looking for all-day, gran-fondo comfort, look elsewhere — though the tubeless-compatible wheels would probably take care of a lot of the vibrations if they were set up tubeless.
But the bottom line on this bike: Crazy light and WorldTour fast, but racers only need apply.
Component highlights: Shimano Dura- Ace Di2 drivetrain with 52/36 crankset and 11-28 cassette; Shimano Dura-Ace brakes; Giant SLR0 wheelset