Friday, May 07, 2010

2009 Giant TCR Advanced 2

Most of the product reviews I’ve seen are after using a product for a short period of time. Motor Trend does follow-up reviews on some cars after a year in use why not do the same for bike gear? I decided to share my thoughts on my Giant TCR Advanced 2 after riding it for one.

This is a bike I purchased a year ago. I was not given this bike and receive no sponsorship from Giant. I’ve put close to 1000 miles on this bike including the 210 mile LOTOJA race. I have done two upgrades on this bike a Richey Carbon bar and Shimano RS-80 wheels.

This bike has seen rain, hail, sand and plenty of sun in the year I’ve had it. I didn’t like the seat that came with the bike but most people find a saddle they like and stick with it anyway and changed it. I also had an opportunity to swap the Race Face aluminum bar with a Richey Carbon so I did that as well. Using the geometry of my old aluminum touring style bike I ordered a medium frame and should have gone down to a small. I’m 5’9” with a 30” inseam and the reach across the top tube is almost too far for me. But that’s my fault not Giants.

The ride on this bike is like a dream. One of my first rides on this bike was up Wolf Creek Pass and it definitely is a climber. The bottom bracket feels stiff when out of the saddle and when seated the geometry of the frame makes leaning forward comfortable. On the flats this bike feels smooth and takes small bumps easily. On the descents this bike really shines. It feels very smooth when descending down mountain passes through the curves it holds it lines. At one point I was surprised to look at the computer and see 50 mph as it didn’t feel like I was going that fast. The Mavic wheels however seems to be the biggest disappointment. As happy as I was with the carbon frame some of the benefit seems to be negated by the Aksium’s inability to absorb road vibration.

Overall I’m extremely happy with this bike. If I could buy another road bike right now I would probably give serious thought to the Giant TCR line as it seems to be the best value for the dollar.

Pros: Great entry level race bike, stiff enough on the climbs but not so stiff that you feel every pebble on the road. Bike is light on the climbs and holds the lines on downhill.

Cons: After riding a non-racing frame didn’t like the extra stretch on top-tube. Seat included with the bike wasn’t my style. The Mavic wheels are a little heavy and almost too stiff.

Summary: I really have enjoyed this bike. The seat and wheels aren’t my favorite but for the price, $4200 msrp, I feel like you get your money’s worth out of this bike.

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