Giant has revamped their entire carbon fiber road bike lineup for 2012, introducing new standards, new wheelsystems (which we’ll cover separately) and lighter frames. While the latter is almost expected nowadays, getting new wheelsystems and new standards seems – for better or worse – a growing trend, and Giant calls it Beyond Integration thanks to the use of these new standards and wheels into a “holistic approach to performance.”
Starting with the weight savings, Giant was able to drop a whopping 144g from their top of the line TCR Advanced SL-0 frame, putting the Medium-sized frame on the scales at just 820g! This was accomplished by switching to stiffer Toray T-800 fibers, a new “Continuous Fiber Technology” which lets them use fewer pieces to form the front triangle, replacing alloy bits with carbon fiber (dropouts, BB sleeve) and using direct drop-in headset bearings. That’s the material side, now on to production: An improved “Fusion” double mold construction claims to lighten the joints between frame sections and a revised seat stay shape drops weight compared to the previous model’s wishbone design.
All that weight savings comes with an 30% improvement in torsional steering stiffness and a 14% improvement in impact resistance thanks to some other new things, all covered when you hit ‘more’…
On the TCR Advanced SL frame, Giant has started using a new “custom blended resin” with Carbon Nanotube Technology using a microscopic polymer to strengthen the frames. That’s what gives the top models the improved impact resistance.
Across the TCR, Defy and Avail lines, the Advanced models will all get the new OverDrive 2 steering. Giant’s retained the squared off presence of its head tubes, but has increased the steering tube to a 1.25″ to 1.5″ tapered design. Giant claims it’s 30% stiffer than their standard tapered (1.125″ to 1.5″) OverDrive HT with no weight gain. Canyon bikes has used this standard already, and Ritchey, Syntace and FSA make stems to fit a 1-1/4″ steerer, so this “new” standard won’t affect aftermarket options terribly. And of course Giant provides their own branded stems to go on the new bikes out of the box.
The TCR Advanced 0 (above) and the TCR Advanced SL-0 both get RideSense, an integrated ANT+ sensor built into the non-driveside chainstay, and both retain their MegaDrive and PowerCore (read: oversized) downtube and bottom bracket for pro-level power transfer. The SL model uses their integrated seatmast, and for 2012 will include both a 25mm and 40mm mast/clamp. Cut to fit using the shorter one and you have a better chance of reselling it down the road.
Other than the seatmast, the TCR Advanced 0 took advantage of some of the new frame construction methods to drop 60g (from 968g to 908g), but keeps alloy dropouts and bottom bracket sleeves.
These two bikes will retail for $12,500 (SL 0 ISP) and $4,400 (0).
The women’s top-end TCR Advanced W ($3,700) shares many of the same tech as the SL and Advanced models, including OverDrive2 and RideSense, but the tubes and component selection are put together with females in mind.
Both the Advanced 0 and W use an aero-shaped standard seatpost.
Not shown, a new TCR Composite ($2,650 for the “1” model) line will fill in just above the alloy models to provide the PowerCore BB and original tapered OverDrive headset with a T-600 carbon fiber built in a modified monocoque process. They’re designed to be lightweight (1,070g frame, 499g fork), raceworthy and affordable (starting at $1,500). All TCR models will be available this summer.
While the TCR remains Giant’s race-specific design with its sloping top tube and compact frame geometry, the Defy is their all ’round performance bike.
The new-for-2012 top of the line Defy Advanced SL-0 ($7,000) model uses an ISP (Integrated Seat Mast/Post) like the TCR, but keeps the Defy’s more stable handling, taller headtubes and longer chainstays for a more comfortable ride. Aimed at riders that want all of the pro-level race tech but tend to compete in longer, rougher events, this model will also likely be used by the Rabobank team for some of the cobble-infested classics. This model shares the same tech upgrades and frame construction methods as the TCR Advanced SL-0.
Surprisingly, the Defy Advanced SL-0 is actually Giant’s lightest road frame for 2012, coming in at a claimed 799g and just 330g for the matching fork!
Tech step-downs generally mirror the TCR line in going from the SL-0 to the 0 models here, including the switch to a standard seatpost (albeit aero shaped), but the weight savings over the current model seem to jump: The 2012 Defy Advanced 0 ($4,400) loses 166g over the 2011 model for a claimed frame weight of just 894. The accompanying OverDrive2 fork tips in at 356g, a few grams lighter than the TCR’s OD2 fork.
There will also be a Defy Composite ($2,650 for the “1”) line to bring price points down while offering a carbon fiber bicycle that looks like it’s more expensive, lighter brothers. The 2012 models for both the Defy and Avail (below) use the 2011 Defy Advanced molds to get a bike that should perform closely with claimed frame/fork weight of 1,090g / 399g.
For the ladies, Giant’s Avail platform is a women’s version of the Defy and at the top level gets most of the same tech (save for the ISP). Notice this one’s even spec’d with Di2! The Avail Advanced 0 will retail for $4,400 and the Composite 1 for $2,650.
Alloy versions of both the Defy and Avail will also be on tap around $1,350 at the upper end.
All of the bikes use internal cable routing with ports designed for either mechanical cables or electronic wires.