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By Matt Pacocha
Giant Bicycles brought a prototype TCX Advanced SL carbon bike to Interbike for Adam Craig to race in Wednesday night’s CrossVegas event, and VeloNews took an exclusive first look mere hours after team manager Frank Trotter finished building it.
At first glance, the bike is similar to the company’s TCR Advanced SL road bike — which Rabobank rides — but the cyclocross-specific features go beyond just the cantilever brake bosses. Just refining the angles and clearances of the TCR would produce a bike much too stiff for cyclocross, said Giant road product manager Pierre-Henri Medas.
“In cyclocross the bike has to flow, rather than just be stiff,” Medas said. “So the primary target is comfort with this frame.”
So, tube sizes are scaled down and the seat tube has separate intersection points for the seat stays and top tube for more seat mast flex. The seat mast is designed for comfortable flex rather than aerodynamics, as on the TCR road bike. But like the road version, the prototype ’cross model has an Overdrive tapered head tube and fork steerer, and a press-fit bottom bracket.
The realities of racing in mud were taken into consideration: Separate seat stays and a wide junction of the chain stays and bottom bracket offer tons of clearance to keep the wheels rolling, no matter the conditions.
Further, the prototype has internal cable routing — or in the case of Craig’s bike, Di2 wires. Whether you prefer cables or wires, they all go through the down tube.
“There is no support for mud on this frame,” says Medas.
Craig is using a standard TCX Overdrive fork with tapered alloy steerer, but a 420-gram carbon fork is in the works. Rabobank racers are testing two prototype versions in Europe.
Giant has three goals for its carbon ’cross bike: comfort, stiffness and frame weight — in that order.
According to Medas, this prototype will be used to test and possibly refine the tube shapes, evaluate the mud-shedding design and get the geometry right.