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This article first appeared on Cyclingtips.com.
Just last week an MY23 Giant Propel popped up on the UCI-approved frame list. At the time, it was the first indication that Giant had been working on a new dedicated aero platform and the closest thing we had to confirmation it would appear soon.
While we have kept our eyes peeled on all the racing action since then hoping to spot the new Propel, it turned up today thanks to a less likely source. Former world time trial champion TonyMartin_ProCyclist inadvertently (likely intentionally) unveiled the new Propel Advanced SL in an Instagram post declaring his delight to be in Norway for a ride from Trondheim on the North-Western coast to Oslo 500km further south.
The new Propel looks a lot like, well… a Giant Propel, and could easily be overlooked as the existing model, were it not for a few subtle changes that confirm to us this is the new bike.
Evidently, Tony Martin’s Pro Cyclist habits die hard as his tendencies to adopt the aero hoods arm position prevents us from getting a proper look at the new stem, one area many Propel fans are eagerly anticipating an update to. That said, there is plenty of other evidence this is the new Propel to unpack.
While the fork and the forward-facing side of the head tube see only minor design tweaks, the head tube has grown significantly deeper. This shift towards deeper head tubes is a trend we have seen across countless other new aero and time trial frames as the UCI has relaxed aspect ratios rules and brands have presumably found aero improvements from increasing the surface area in this location.
It’s unclear from the photos what, if any, design changes have been made to the down tube. Furthermore, Giant was an early adopter of the extremely high bottom bracket area on the current Propel and if anything it appears the designers have reduced the bottom bracket area height with this new frame. If that is the case it will fly in the face of what most other manufacturers are doing. However, it must be said we do only have these few photos to work from at the moment and what we can see of the bottom bracket area might just be a trick of the light or an awkward camera angle.
The seat stays also appear to have shrunk, with the deep aero profiled stays of the outgoing Propel making way for much thinner-looking stays on this new bike. The stays also appear to be dropped slightly more than those on the existing Propel.
One thing we can see for certain is a redesign to the upper section of the seat tube. It appears someone at Giant has got hold of Wayne Szalinski’s shrinking machine as the seat tube again appears much smaller on the new frame. Gone are the deep aero profiled tubes of the current Giant Propel Advanced, replaced by a much shallower aero profiled seat tube and integrated seat post. Disappearing almost entirely is the so-called compensation triangle at the top tube to seat tube junction.
Speaking of top tubes, while this new Propel seemingly retains a horizontal top tube, the tube itself again seems much sleeker and slimmer than its counterpart on the existing Propel.
While we still have no official confirmation from Giant on a forthcoming new Propel, all the evidence suggests it can’t be far away from an official now. From what we can see from Martin’s Instagram post it seems Giant might well make a move into the lightweight aero road one bike/do-it-all bike category. All those smaller tubes should add up to a decent weight saving. Arguably, the new Propel, although appearing much like a Propel, might actually be closer to a TCR than a Propel if our investigative eye is proved correct.