2021 GIANT TCR RELEASE
The brand new Giant TCR is something we’ve been waiting for eagerly.
At every new Giant product release, they’ve pushed the boundaries and created something usable.
In the real world.
A bike that mere mortals can take advantage of. Serious enthusiasts, as well as those beginning their road cycling journey that both groups can benefit from.
You see, that’s the real reason why this bike is so exciting.
You don’t have to be a pro rider to appreciate every change in the new 2021 TCR.
And there’s been quite a few.
Most articles of product releases would usually start with a recap of the golden-days of History.
We all know the GIant TCR has been around for at least 20 years and they’ve been innovators of several trends. They’ve had a presence in professional cycling for all that time too.
So I’m going to cut through the BS marketing and get to the heart of why this is the best TCR we’ve ever seen from Giant.
The aim was to improve the 2021 TCR’s:
These can be thought of as efficiency, drag and handling, respectively.
I’ll explain a bit more about each of these later on.
Needless to say, Giant weren't shy about aiming for the Holy Grail of race bikes.
But to pull this off, some things needed to be changed. Drastically.
Giant needed to change the raw carbon material. So they developed a new carbon weave that’s lighter and stiffer than the outgoing TCR.
To improve impact resistance (by 14%) Giant also uses CNTs (Carbon Nanotube Technology) to produce a stronger resin to glue the carbon fibres together.
Laser cutting is a new technique processing for the TCR. Previous swatches of carbon were machine stamped. This was and is not that precise. There’s still excess material and looser tolerances.
Laser cutting reduces waste material. And allows Giant to exactly produce the size of swatch they need - without error.
Robotic carbon layup is also new tech for the TCR in the pursuit of the Holy Grail. The robot places 150 smaller individual swatches of carbon in exactly the right position to deliver lighter weights for the fork and frame.
The top-end TCR Advanced SL 0 has a new finish called ThinLine paint. It’s a minimal paint technique. Especially compared with the 7 layer application that the other models get.
Giant made no secret that they were gunning for their main competition in the Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Trek Emonda SLR and Cervelo R5.
The testing process was with a size medium and the test was done with the matching fork. Some brands don’t use the fork. This is flawed because it’s not a complete system. Real world remember?
A higher transmission stiffness means more power transferred to the frame and better cornering. This means you can get up to higher speeds faster. And the new TCR curves through corners easier; less flex means it’s less likely to be forced out of it’s turning arc.
The Emonda was never high in it’s torsional stiffness, so a more accurate comparison would be the S-Works Tarmac.
And as you can see it’s 9.8% stiffer.
Giant considers a frameset to be all of the above components. Not just the frame. It’s the components that make the frame functional.
The above table shows that the new frameset is 140 grams lighter than outgoing TCR Advanced SL Disc.
And compared to the competition, the Giant TCR is 17 grams heavier than the Trek Emonda.
Now we come to the real world data: stiffness-to-weight.
The table above shows the 2021 TCR Advanced SL Disc has a ratio of 118. Again, compared to the Specialized S-Works Tarmac, it’s 16% more efficient.
Improved aerodynamics deliver gains in a real world environment. In other words, if stuff works in the wind tunnel it must also work in the real world. In this case, the wind tunnel was in Immenstaad, Germany.
This is done through several key areas:
Truncated Ellipse Tubing consistently produces less drag and at a wider range of yaw angles. It’s an evolution from the teardrop tubing we use to see so much of.
The new tube shapes are used in the down tube and seat tube areas.
Aero testing was done with two 650ml water bottles to replicate real world testing.
Components Integration was a significant part of the process.
And a lot of the lessons learnt through the Propel project were applied to the new TCR. In essence: making a disc brake road bike faster than a caliper one.
The lessons were:
Open the crown race area (see below). Design the fork so that it smooths air flow over the caliper. And modify the cable routing to minimise drag.
And lastly Dynamic Wind Tunnel Testing.
In the image above, you can see a mannequin riding. It’s moving and it’s dynamic. This replicates forces and conditions in the real world, such as spinning wheels, moving drivetrain and limbs.
Testing was done at 40km/h and -15 degrees to +15 degrees wind angles. Not 50klm/h that some tests undertake.
Even though the 2021 TCR is faster than the competition, in reality, the difference is minimal. Except for the Trek Emonda.
The following is the new frame geometry.
There’s no significant changes, except that the ML is 5mm shorter.
And the Trail number has been increased by 2mm. This should deliver a little more high speed stability.
The top of the range 2021 TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc (SRAM Red AXS 12-speed + Cadex carbon wheels):
A model down, the 2021 TCR Advanced SL 1 Disc (SRAM Force AXS 12 speed + carbon wheels):
The TCR Advanced Pro range is a level down. You don’t get the top-end frame but you still get all the aero benefits as well as a lighter and stiffer frame (compared to the outgoing TCR Advanced Pro).
The TCR Advanced Pro 0 Disc (Shimano Ultegra Di2 + carbon wheels) is the top-end in the Advanced Pro range:
And the 2021 TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc (mechanical Shimano Ultegra + carbon wheels)
Then there’s the entry-point TCR Advanced series. Starting with the 2021 TCR Advanced 1 Disc (mechanical Shimano Ultegra + alloy wheels):
And then the TCR Advanced Pro 2 Disc (Shimano 105 + alloy wheels):
All models can now fit up to 32mm wide tyres.
Pricing and ETA is still yet to be confirmed. Please contact any of our stores if you’d like to know more.