2013 Giant Propel Aero Road Bike

To kick off the road racing season and the start of the Tour Down Under, Giant has launched their new Propel Advanced SL aero road bike. After years in the making, working with the likes of Theo Bos and Mark Renshaw with Team Blanco, Giant claims the Propel SL is the fastest bike yet – not just for Giant, but the fastest bike, period. Not satisfied with simply making a more aerodynamic machine, Giant was keen on developing a bike that was just as light, stiff, and responsive as their popular TCR Advanced SL, but that was able to cheat the wind offering big gains over the course of a race.

Even in today’s marketing climate, throwing around words like the “most aerodynamic bike in the world” should only be done with evidence to back it up. Giant claims to have created new, innovative testing protocols that allowed for the most complete and accurate data sets in the industry and even went as far as to create a dynamic mannequin for the wind tunnel testing rather than a static dummy or human rider. Wind tunnel testing was completed at the ACE wind tunnel in MAgny-Cours, France with the Dynamic Mannequin accurately simulating the turbulence created by pedaling on a bike. After years of designing, testing, and tweaking, the result is the Propel – Giant’s first aero road bike.

More details plus test results after the break!

2013 Giant Propel Aero Road Bike

Going along with the idea of creating an aero bike that rides like a typical road bike, the frame module (medium frame, uncut fork, uncut integrated seat post w/head, brake system, and headset plug) comes in at 1,675g. Broken down, it should result in the Propel being one of the lightest “aero” road bikes on the market – what Giant says is class leading weight without compromising stiffness and handling. When asked about his new ride Bos said, “It’s been almost a year since I started testing pre-production versions of the Propel Advanced SL. The first time I rode it I knew this was a bike that would give me an advantage in sprint situations where every fraction of a second counts.”

2013 Giant Propel Aero Road Bike

To compliment the new aero shapes of the frame, Giant also includes their proprietary integrated SpeedControl SLR brake system – essentially carbon mini-V’s  built into the back of the fork legs and interestingly, the seat stays rather than the chain stays. The seatstay placement could have something to do with complications with the placement of the Di2 battery, or simply because there isn’t an aero benefit from tucking them into the chainstays. In addition, Giant also introduced a new once piece bar/stem system aimed at improving aerodynamics and offering a stiffer front end.


2013 Giant Propel Aero Road Bike


The top end Propel advanced SL series is built with Giants top of the line Advanced SL carbon technology and will feature Giant’s OverDrive 2 tapered steerer ( 1 1/2 to 1 1/4″ upper), and integrated seatpost (ISP), and their 88mm press fit PowerCore bottom bracket.

2013 Giant Propel Aero Road Bike

Like many new aero bikes and parts, Giant utilized Computational Fluid Dynamics to shape the various tubes to work together for total system aerodynamics. Giant dubbed the process their AeroSystem shaping technology which reflects their belief that each change to the frame should be viewed on how it affects the overall performance rather than just how that individual tube performs. In the end, the use of the Dynamic Mannequin and team Blanco riders helped shape the ultimate design of the frame.



2013 Giant Propel Aero Road Bike

Giant’s Global On-Road Category Manager Jon Swanson is quick to point out that they didn’t rush to market with an aero road bike, rather opting to take their time so that the final product truly offered an aero advantage. To guarantee the results, the Propel was tested in head to head aero tests with other top aerodynamic bikes. In their testing they found that the Propel Advanced SL was more aerodynamic than every other bike they tested, and at every yaw angle. In a 40K time trial at 40KPH, the Propel shaved as much as 36 seconds over the rivals based on drag in the wind tunnel.


  1. Although I disagree with the idea that an aero bike has to “look good,” I will say this looks far more “normal” than the TMR01 or S5.
    But what’s with all these aero machines having traditional steerer/stem setups? The fallout behind the stem has got to be a huge source of drag. The Look 675 smooths that area, and it’s not even touted as “aero.”

  2. Got to hand it to them a dynamic rider is new and very very important in terms of overall system aero. Well done Giant.

    Still dont want one however. My bike is heavy and not very aero, making me stronger and fitter.but then again I don’t race.

  3. @wako and Bagelman- Usually these tests take place months before the launch date and the Giant data says it was in June 2012. The BMC or the Trek weren’t available yet. Additionally those designs have not touted any aero data which leads one to believe that they are not really that fast. Certainly not as fast as a Propel or S5.

    As for theTrek being lighter, add the dedicated DA brakes, der hangers and seat mast/post to the claimed weight and you’ll see that it is not only presumably slower but heavier as well.

  4. I’m not so excited about proprietary parts. The seat mast is one thing, since you can always go back to the manufacturer, but brakes that depend on third parties like Shimano/Campy/SRAM/Mavic/Apple/Lockheed making no changes to cable pull or trends in wheel design aren’t my cup of tea. Then again, I’m not the type to go through bikes like pairs of socks.

    Decent looking machine, though—maybe that was one of the criteria for being included in the test (sorry, BMC).

  5. I don’t know how people out there have allowed themselves to be sold on more mass produced Chinese or in this case Taiwanese crap. Give your hard earned money to the traditional European company’s who actually still provide human made products for the most part, which have an artist value and will continue the cycling traditions to continue for all of us.

  6. Giant always develops their “own” tests to prove their bikes are the best. How about their weight comparision tests where they allocate 250 grams for competitors bikes that don’t have integrated seatposts. Makes their frame/fork/seatpost the lighest (only just) . Don’t remember the last time I saw a high end road bike using a seatpost weighing more than 150 grams???

    This test shows winds coming at you from virtually head on. What happens when you get a slight cross wind?

  7. Ummm most seatposts weigh more than 150 grams. 250g would seem quite reasonable for an average. Thomson Masterpiece – 240mm 27.2 is one of the lightest seatposts I know of and it is 158g. The Zipp SL Speed ($300 seatpost) is 175g. A pretty average standard carbon seatpost, the FSA SLK, comes stock on quite a few bikes costs $100 weighs 225g, weighed myself. Again 250 is not unreasonable.

  8. Also their test does a standard sweep of yaw angles. Yaw angle is deterimined the angle of the resultant vector of adding rider speed (which causes a 0 yaw angle air flow at the speed of the rider) and wind speed. Under most conditions this is between 0 and 15 degrees. The faster you are the “steeper” (closer to 0) the yaw angle.

  9. @vincenzo- The world you are talking about does not exist anymore. The “handcrafted, soulful” bikes you mention are mostly made in Asia now. Colnago, Ridley, Merckx, Pinarello etc.. in some cases all of the models are made in Asia. Look and Time are made in Tunisia.

    You said- “Give your hard earned money to the traditional European company’s who actually still provide human made products for the most part” Do you mean to say that if a euro company produces in Asia but has a euro tradition it’s ok?

    No matter how this reads I am not a super pro-asia consumer. I respond simply because of the misinformed personal stances taken based on insufficient facts.

  10. The thing about their “standardizing” for weight, adding 250g for a post on other bikes, is that THEY DIDN’T WEIGH THEIRS WITH THE SEAT MAST CAP. It typically weighs well over 100g on its own. Only the lightest boutique ones are lighter than 100g.

  11. swangarten, you are completely right, and completely wrong, too. Forget bianchi, pinarello and all that crap. think parlee, crumptom, stork, ax lightness, tune, campagnolo (all made in europe), frm, extralite, rotor, edr, ellore, etc… etc… veloflex…

    the fact that you don’t know who are the current european bike components handcrafters doesn’t mean they are all in asia. So please do your homework before opening your mouth.

  12. parlee and crumptom are yankees, as we all know. still, not asian.

    my crappy ebay carbon seatpost weights 117g, clamping including. these guys at giant tests are ridiculous, but, who would ever be so definitely extremely stupid to think a test made by a manufacturer is not biased?

    I mean, come on…

  13. I like that the graph is at 40kph (25mph) and not the usual 30mph (50kph). Closer to real world long ride speeds so the Watts difference is not exaggerated, trying to make people think they are going to have these huge savings all the time.

  14. Go ahead and scream about foreign made all you want whiile you drive your Toyota or honda to the race… you abandoned car maked to buy your car, no compassion for the local builder from me… That being said – I’ll believe it is faster when slower riders pass the (used to be) faster riders…

  15. Greg, they did include the weight of the seat mast topper: “…uncut integrated seat post w/head…”

    IMO, it looks way better than an S5, and it’s more aero, according to their info. If the weight is within reason, I’d rather have this frame based on aesthetics alone. Everyone needs to remember the 6.8kg weight limit on complete bikes for UCI competition. So long as you can build one to hit that weight, it doesn’t really matter if this is a few grams heavier than another manufacturer’s.

  16. @malol- I was referring to relevant competitors with whom I mentioned. Do you think Giant sees Tune as relevant competition? Most of the brands you listed are small component manufacturers(except Campy), we are talking about a complete bike.

    Keep your comments in context before you open your mouth.

  17. @Vincenzo Lio. That “crap” you speak of is coming from a facility that looms carbon from raw fibers and engineers their own resins AND is also handmade (Time and BMC, if I’m correct, are the only other companies actually making their own carbon) So your lovely Colnago/Pinarello/Bianchi/Willier (or whatever else you may be touting) is made using Chinese or Taiwanese manufactured tubing. Not to mention how many other well known companies that Giant produces carbon bikes for. Should be a solid bike anyway. As for ripping off other aero designs, physics don’t change so there are only so many iterations that can be used to cheat the wind within the limitations of UCI. There’s bound to be a ton of new aero bikes coming out that are simply applying the same principles to the bike as a structure. There’s a difference between rushing a design to the market to be the first there (and sell a boatload of unrefined soon to be “tweaked” concepts) and taking the time to get things done right. I think I could ride this without complaining too much.

  18. Dear Giant,

    riding 40km at 40km/h speed will always take 60 minutes. Please explain me how a bike could make that equation last shorter or longer…

  19. hola me parece que mas importate que unos gramos menos o la aerodinamia aca lo importante es la geometria y que tipo de uso le daremos para sprinter o montaña

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