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Pro bikes: Giant-Shimano's TCR Advanced SL & Propel

Take a look at the bikes that the brand new team will be racing on in 2014

We told you yesterday how the Dutch WorldTour team Argos-Shimano has become Team Giant-Shimano, and here are the bikes that the riders will be racing on most: the Giant TCR Advanced SL and the Propel Advanced SL.

With Team Belkin switching from Giant to Bianchi for the 2014 season, ending a long-running partnership that extended back to the former Rabobank squad, many were  wondering if Giant would find a place in the WorldTour this year. The speculation ended yesterday when the company announced it would be taking over title sponsorship of the former Argos-Shimano team and replacing Felt in supplying the bikes.

The move makes the new Giant-Shimano squad the latest with bike manufacturer title sponsorship, joining BMC, Trek, Merida and Cannondale.

The team will have several road bikes at their disposal including the TCR Advanced SL, Propel and the Defy, with Shimano providing Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets. Shimano’s sub-brand PRO will supply wheels and finishing kit. Riders will race time trials on Giant’s Trinity.


Giant TCR Advanced SL

This is the Giant TCR Advanced SL belonging to Warren Barguil. The Frenchman has been with the team since 2011 and has two Vuelta stage wins to his name.

This is the bike that the team’s climbers and all-rounders usually go for. In top-end race bike terms it’s getting a bit long in the tooth now. It was introduced in 2011 for the 2012 model year, so while the bike still cuts it against the latest crop of WorldTour road bikes, perhaps it is due for an update this year. We’ll have to wait and see.

Unlike other major bike brands, Giant controls every stage of the carbon-fibre composite production process from the carbon thread right through to the completed bike. They use T800 carbon and weave it in their own composite factory. The top tube and seat tube are hand woven together, then remoulded under heat and high pressure in order to strengthen the junction.

Giant say that their Continuous Fiber Technology allows them to construct the front triangle of Advanced SL bikes with larger and fewer sections of composite material. They reckon this means they can lop up to 100g off the frame weight and add a significant amount of strength.

As usual, Giant build the TCR Advanced SL to their Compact Road geometry which means it has a sloping top tube and smaller frame triangles than a traditional horizontal top tube design. The idea is that the smaller triangles create a lighter, stiffer bike. 

The bike features Giant’s Overdrive 2 design up front meaning that both the upper and lower headset bearings are oversized: 1 1/4in at the top, 1 1/2in at the bottom. Giant say that this design adds up to 30 percent more torsional steering stiffness than a standard design.

As you can see, the TCR Advanced SL features an integrated seatpost (the seat tube extends well beyond its junction with the top tube). Giant say that this provides two benefits: it saves 45g of weight and it adds compliance for a greater degree of comfort.


Giant Propel Advanced SL

The Propel is Giant’s most recently introduced model. It’s the company’s first ever aero road bike having been launched at the Tour Down Under last year. Most teams now allow riders to choose between an ultra-light road bike and an aero road bike depending on the course and the tactics. Marcel Kittel and the rest of Team Giant-Shimano’s sprinters will rely on the Propel Advanced SL for finishing line speed and fast stages.

In designing the Propel, Giant set out to create an aero bike that offered similar levels of stiffness and weight to the TCR Advanced SL (above) but with an aero advantage that they claim is good for up to 36secs saving over 40km.

Key to the frame is the AeroSystem Shaping technology that is the result of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) research and wind-tunnel tests. Every tube has been carefully shaped to minimise drag. Interestingly, it’s clear the down tube has been shaped with a water bottle in mind. It’s flattened to a degree roughly where the water bottle normally protrudes from the sides of a conventional down tube.

Integration is key with aero road bikes. Keeping the airflow smooth over the frame and fork forces a rethink with components like the brake calipers. Giant’s SpeedControl SLR carbon composite mini-V brakes are located behind the fork legs and in the usual location on the seat stays (rather than being hidden away behind the bottom bracket).

As with most modern road bikes, the cables are all routed internally. The bike has been specifically designed with electric groupsets in mind. In this case the Shimano Di2 wiring pops through the top tube just behind the stem.


All of Team Giant-Shimano’s bikes will be equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic groupsets and Pro Bikegear components.

The team will use a wide range of tubular wheels with the Dura-Ace C50s on both of the bikes shown likely to be a popular option.

PRO will finish off the bikes with carbon fibre bars, stems, and seat posts. Those are Vibe stems on both the bikes shown above.

Power measuring will come courtesy of SRM.

Here’s a full list of the equipment and clothing providers:

Bike parts PRO Vibe
Bottle/bottle cage Elite
Saddles Pro
Tyres Vittoria
Spokes Sapim
Power diagnostics SRM
Heart rate Polar
Tools Park Tool
Lubricant Morgan Blue
Cycling clothing Giant
Under clothing Giant
Sunglasses Uvex
Helmets Uvex
Nutrition Born
Sport clothing Giant
Casual clothing Giant
Sport shoes Quick
Compression socks Giant
Cool vests IZI Body Cooling
Massage products Born
Communication Jacobs Breda Electronics
Bags & suitcases Giant
Skin protection ReSkin


David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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