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The Giant Gavia Course 1 Tubeless Tyre has proven to be a durable tyre – and one that was pleasingly simple to fit. But it does have quite a firm carcass, which impacts on comfort and delivers a firm ride and a reduced feel. But if you value puncture protection over speed and comfort, it's certainly a tyre worth considering.
And if you are looking to upgrade your rubber for summer, check our best road bike tyres buyer's guide, which covers tyres from around £30 to over £80.
The Gavia Course 1 in this tubeless form is one of the cheaper options in Giant's tyre range – in fact, if you buy a set of the Giant SLR 2 50 wheels that I reviewed recently, Giant throws these in for free. And with its claims of 'ultimate low rolling resistance' ands 'a high level of puncture resistance', Giant is making some bold claims for these tyres.
The tyre is tubeless compatible, features a 60 TPI (threads per inch) casing, and is made from what Giant calls the RR-S compound. It also has the R-Shield puncture protection layer, which is only on the central strip of the tyre that's in contact with the ground, and not around the sidewalls.
The 700x25mm tyres tested weighed 357g and 373g, slightly under the 375g claimed weight. The SLR 2 50 wheels have a hookless rim and fitting the tyres and adding sealant proved very easy.
I inflated the tyres using a track pump, with no air leaking, and when fully inflated they measured 28mm, with the extra width almost certainly down to the wheels' 22.4mm inner rim width, which is reasonably ride. This rim width and tyre size pairing is close to the limit that ETRTO provide.
The tyre sidewalls recommends a pressure of 85-125 PSI, though I used the tyre pressure guide on Giant's UK website, which gives a lower recommendation of 73 PSI.
That pressure was probably about right, as this pressure is virtually the same as I run on other tubeless tyre and wheel combinations – but despite a similar pressure and tyre size, there was a noticeable difference in the feel and comfort. This is probably because of the carcass, which has a quite modest 60 TPI construction.
A lower TPI can mean a firmer sidewall that is less able to absorb road imperfections, which gives a harsher feel than a tyre with a higher thread count. Larger bumps and small holes felt okay, which is probably down to their largish volume and wider rim width having some effect. It was on smaller bumps and over rougher roads where the differences were most noticeable and they felt harsher.
Another area that can reduce your comfort is the addition of puncture protection layers, which do of course come with an obvious benefit. I've put in over 1,000km so far without suffering any punctures, and they're also unmarked with no noticeable signs of wear.
Speed or rolling resistance is something that is difficult to test accurately without a lab or specialised equipment (come on, guys, where's our lab?) – but the Course 1 tyres didn't feel too slow or draggy at any point.
Another area where these tyres surpassed expectations was the level of grip they provide on the green backroads that are plentiful in winter. On several steep climbs where I was anticipating wheel slip, they kept going without slipping whether I was riding in or out of the saddle.
When purchased with some Giant wheels, the Gavia Course 1 is provided free as an extra – but if you are buying them, you'll be stumping up £44.99 each.
This prices them competitively against other tubeless tyre options that aren't all-out performance tyres. This includes the £54.99 Vittoria Rubino Pro IV that Stu found to be a fast and grippy all-rounder.
If performance is more important for you than durability, then Giant also makes the Gavia Course 0. This has a more supple 170 TPI casing, a lower claimed weight of 315g for a 25mm tyre and at £54.99 they're a tenner more expensive.
The Giant Gavia Course 1 tyres have proven to be durable and capable of taking on the worst winter weather and roads despite their at least nominally quite narrow size. While puncture resistance seems great, this does seem to come at the compromise of comfort and weight compared to some of the competition.
But if you're looking for a for a tough and dependable tubeless road tyre for long rides through winter and beyond, they're worth considering. There are other tyres around that will offer you more comfort and feel and equal levels of puncture protection, but you're likely to have to spend a bit more for them.
A well-priced tyre for those of us who value durability over other factors
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giant Gavia Course 1 Tubeless Tyre
Size tested: 700x25
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Premium road race tyre offering the ultimate combination of speed, traction and puncture resistance. The Giant Carbon/Kevlar Composite bead, through greater strength, does not stretch and provides a safer interface with the tyre and rim. It can also withstand the higher pressures needed for road tubeless tyres and reduces air loss, making it the best choice for any tubeless set up.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* RR-S compound provides ultimate low rolling resistance and excellent all-round grip
* Optimised compound profile provides better tyre shoulder grip for outstanding cornering capability
* Fast all-round tread pattern for maximum speed on the road
* R-Shield Puncture Protection ensures a high level of puncture protection
* Carbon/Kevlar Composite Bead keeps the tyre secured to the rim and provides greater strength to withstand the higher pressures needed for road tyres
The quite TPI (threads per inch) construction is possibly a factor in the harsher ride.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The tyre proved to be easy to fit onto Giant rims and proved to be durable throughout the testing, covering over 1,000km without punctures or noticeable marking. But it isn't the most supple or responsive tyre I've ever ridden, which did impact comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It was easy to fit and I suffered no punctures.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The harsh ride quality.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Other tubeless tyres include the Vittoria Rubino Pro IV TLR (£54.99), Bontrager 3 Hard-Case Lite TLR (£54.99), and Panaracer Agilest TLR (£59.99). Giant also has the £54.99 Gavia Course 0 version, with a 170 TPI casing and a lower claimed weight of 315g for the same 700x25mm size.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes – but I'd have preferred a more supple and comfortable tyre for some of the riding.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly – as a winter or year-round tyre.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – if they were looking for a reliable and puncture-resistant tubeless tyre.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Gavia Course 1 tyre doesn't have the most comfortable ride, but it was easy to fit to a pair of Giant SLR 2 50 wheels and proved pleasingly durable, shrugging off punctures and looking unmarked after 1,000km of riding.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding
Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.