A low-BB, long top tube, adjustable-wheelbase gravel bike with a relatively steep front end and a number of comfort features.
Stable but not sluggish; good parts package; comfortable touch points; easy to travel with
Compact frame limits bag and bottle options
I like Giant's modifications to the latest Revolt - steepening the head tube and lowering the bottom bracket. The bike feels stable at speed but not sluggish and stubborn on tarmac the way slack gravel bikes do.
Giant’s new Revolt Advanced Pro 0 is a very good gravel bike in my estimation, with stable but not stubborn handling, a solid parts package, and plenty of comfort touches. I tested it on the Crippler gravel race course in Colorado and in the Belgian Waffle Ride Kansas, where cyclocross and singletrack sections proved illustrative of the constraints of low gravel geometry.
I managed to break the seatpost at BWR (more on that below), but I do recommend this bike as a solid gravel option — provided that you aren’t too keen on running a big frame bag. The low-slung top tube makes for plenty of comfy flex in the seatpost, but it also limits your main-triangle storage options.
That gripe aside, there’s a lot to love about the Revolt Advanced Pro 0, which is the top model of the Revolt range that starts at $2,300.
Geometry: Long, low, but not slack
Gravel geometry is like politics these days — “what’s best” depends on who you ask. One fairly agreed-upon new trend is to lengthen the top tube and shorten the stem, a mountain bike trick that works well for gravel, too. Giant subtracted a centimeter from the stem and added it to the top tube. It looks a little funny for roadies, but lengthening the front end of the bike helps with stability — and toe overlap in smaller sizes.
Bottom bracket height and front-end geometry are not as agreed upon. While some brands are cyclocross-ifying their gravel bikes with a taller bottom bracket, Giant went in the other direction and dropped it to 80mm, which is lower than most gravel bikes save the Specialized Diverge (85mm) and the Evil Chamois Hagar (80mm). And while some brands are slacking out their front ends, with head angle in the 71- or 70-degree range in medium-sized bikes, Giant steepened its front end. My M/L test bike has a 72-degree head tube, steeper by a degree than last year’s model.
What the geometry means when racing
First of all, yes, you can feel a degree’s difference — because the long lever of the fork and wheel and tire means you get more or less trail, which largely determines how a bike feels. A slacker head angle means more trail and more stability; a steeper angle means less trail and more agility.
The definition of good handling is a preference thing. I think bikes in the 71- and 70-degree range feel good on rocky descents, but stubborn and sluggish on flat roads and especially on pavement. When I stand up, the front end of slack bikes feels heavy and floppy to me. Your results may vary. I didn’t like the old Revolt’s front end. I do like the new one.
The low BB is generally a great thing for gravel. It lowers your center of gravity, which I feel to be reassuring at speed. Why don’t all bikes have this? Well, because pedal clearance is a thing, either when pedaling around a corner on the road, or on off-camber or narrow sections of off-road trail. It’s here where I got caught out at BWR: I struck a pedal pedaling around a corner in a singletrack section, which suddenly put all my weight on the nose of the saddle, and snapped the back of the seatpost. Doh!
The low-BB situation was compounded slightly by my use of Garmin’s Rally power-meter pedals, which have a taller stack than my go-to Shimano XT pedals.
To be clear, I’m not saying having the pedals 1-1.5cm lower than some other bikes made me hit the clump of dirt or whatever; that was pilot error. It just reduces clearance by a little, that’s all.
I also hit my pedals a couple of times in the cyclocross portion of the BWR KS course, when riding up rock ledges. That said, I can count on one finger the number of times I have done cyclocross in a gravel race… For the vast majority of what most of us do with gravel bikes, I think a low bottom bracket is just fine. It’s just like tires, in that you have to be aware of the pros and cons of your equipment choices.
Group: GRX Di2 double
Shimano’s gravel group gets a thumb up from me. The 48/31, 11-34t combo provides enough rope on both ends with small steps in between. The clutch derailleur doesn’t eliminate — but certainly minimizes — chainslap. And the Di2 shifting means muck clogging your cables isn’t a thing.
I appreciate the longer hoods on the Di2 levers compared to the mechanical levers; there’s more room for another finger between the lever and the bar. I also appreciate the hooked top shape when riding on the hoods; it feels like your hands are locked in. And I appreciate that the shift buttons don’t squish my fingers when braking; on some bars SRAM’s eTap lever buttons touch my fingers wrapped around the drop before the braking is fully engaged.
Lastly, for gravel, I love that I can control my Garmin with the thumb buttons on the side of the hoods. I just wish that the Bluetooth compatibility was built-in, instead of requiring the add-on D-Fly part.
Contact parts: saddle, bars
Giant has been refining its touch points and the supporting structures for years, and it shows. The flexing D-Fuse post and handlebar add noticeable comfort. I mean, off the bike you can put your body weight on the saddle and watch the post move, and push down on the drops and watch them give a little (but they don’t give nearly as much when pulling up).
Neither D-Fuse piece has a standard shape. The D-Fuse SLR post, as its name implies, is not round. With an adaptor, you can run a round post or dropper post in the frame.
The Giant Contact SLR XR D-Fuse handlebar looks a little funky but feels good in the hands, with its backsweep allowing for a relaxed wrist position on the tops and the flattened area dispersing pressure across the palms. I’d prefer a shallower drop, but the bit of give in the drops is nice when rattling down gravel descents. It comes in 44mm for both the M and M/L size, which I think is spot on for gravel leverage.
The Giant Approach SL saddle is generously padded but doesn’t feel annoying soft. My default saddle is the Specialized Power, but I felt no need to change this one. The shape worked for me when upright or when riding low.
Wheels and tires: Wide and slick
Giant uses ‘house’ wheels on this bike, and just like Specialized’s and Trek’s ‘house’ products, the CXR 1 carbon wheels are legit. (Typically the cheaper the bike, the heavier the wheels. Here you’ve got a top-end bike, a top-end price, and lightweight, strong wheels, with a modern, 25mm internal width.) Nothing lesser-than here, save maybe a flashy brand name.
I appreciate having a lever on the wheels, prioritizing function over a couple of grams of weight savings or minimalist aesthetics.
The Maxxis Receptor 40mm tires are pretty close to slicks, with a very fine file tread on most of the carcass and some small knobs on the side. I realize mountain bikers love Maxxis, but I’ve never been super impressed with the road tires. These gravel tires, though, are sweet. They feel supple and fast and predictable. They didn’t load up with mud in BWR’s ’cross section and didn’t feel squirrelly in the gravel. I would happily race these on most courses.
Frame: Flip chip and mounts aplenty
The frame has a flip chip at the rear that changes chainstay length from 425 to 435mm, and increases tire clearance from 42 to 53mm. I have yet to change it from its shorter setting. Giant’s geometry charts show that the bike’s trail changes with the flip chip — but this is based on measuring with a 42mm tire and a 50mm tire, as the bike’s head tube angle and fork rake do not change.
The frame has a top tube mount, an under-the-down-tube mount, and fork mounts. This is all fine and good for options. I like using a top tube bag for some longer races.
The one main bummer is just the compact frame makes big frame bags difficult. I used a Shimano Explorer frame bag with tall water bottles. It’s certainly doable, but you have zero clearance, and you have to wrestle a bit to get bottles in and out. This isn’t a deal-breaker; just something to be aware of.
Bottom line: Great bang for the buck
The Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 0 is a very good option for riding and racing gravel. The long-and-low geo paired with a responsive front end feels fun and comfortable to me. The parts are all top shelf, and the price isn’t absurdly astronomical like, say, the top-end Specialized Crux. Just be aware that the low top tube makes bags a tight squeeze, and the low BB means you need to mind the tight corners.