This is the review of the Giant 2013 TCR Advanced SL1 Bike from Giant with Dura-Ace 11 speed mechanical gears. Find out how good this bike is.

Video Transcript:

Hi, welcome to Cycling Inform’s review of the Giant TCR Advanced SL 1.

Now this is the bike that they introduced last year, but it has got the upgrade to the new Dura-Ace 11 speed.  Now this bike comes out in two versions [in Dura-Ace].  One, this version here, which is a mechanical version and it is a TCR Advanced SL1 and a TCR Advanced SL0 has the Dura-Ace electronic 11 speed (DI2). I am going to be covering some of the features of this particular bike and why I think it is a great bike to ride.

The first thing about this bike is obviously the new Dura-Ace 11 speed. One thing that is really noticeable about this bike is the cranks and it has got the 4-spider ring.  The great thing about these cranks is that you can convert them from standard 53-39, to compact 50-34 chain ring, so that is really good.  Obviously it is running the new Dura-Ace 11 speed, fantastic deraillurs.

The other noticeable thing around this bike is the new Dura-Ace brakes.  Now one of the things that I noticed about Dura-Ace brakes was when I upgraded to them from Campagnolo Record was that the Dura-Ace breaks are generally a lot more powerful or they have more braking power than the Campagnolo Record.  Now with the Dura-Ace 7900 brakes, you will find that they will be a little bit more powerful then the previous version.

The Dura-Ace, the levers have changed slightly and they fit really well on the hands.

Now these bikes come with a carbon fibre stem.  Now I have gone for an aluminium stem, and I usually go for a bit of a longer one.  So I have gone for this stem, but Jody’s bike has got the carbon fibre stem, which is very nice as well.

Now obviously all the cables are internally routed on this frame and that is a fantastic feature.

The seat pillar has two locations, so you can sit either a little bit further back or you can sit a little bit further forward. So in this particular case, there is a setting here and then another one a little bit further along where you can set it up to have a little bit more forward.  Now this is not the seat that comes with the bike.  This is a Selle Italia SLR seat that I prefer to ride on.  The bike comes with a Fizik seat and I just a personal preference [to ride the Selle Italia SLR seat].  I have been riding on the Selle Italia for years, so I have put that seat back on and it is just one of those little personal things.

Now the other great feature about this bike is that they have gone to the new oversize head set.  Now this is has little bit larger diameter then the previous bike and it has really made a big difference around the stiffness of the front end.  This one, goes around corners like an absolute dream.  So it corners jut fantastically.  Builds a lot of confidence.  I feel a lot more confident riding this bike because of its cornering ability and I feel more confident riding in bunches and obviously going down hills.

So this bike has a built-in speed and cadence sensor and that just makes it really nice and tidy.  So it means that you do not have to cable tie on a speed and cadence sensor, so it just keeps it really nice and tidy and neat.

Now the Giant comes with these stock standard Giant P-SLR wheels.  They are actually quite a nice set of wheels, and they have this fancy little quick-release system that is quite tidy. So instead of having a lever that just moves in and out, it actually has a lever that goes around in circles.

This particular frame comes with an integrated seat pillar, and a lot of people have issues with integrated seat pillars.  One of the issues is of course, obviously, you cannot take the seat out to put it into a small bag, but I do not have any problems with that.  I have got a bike bag that I can fit this bike in with integrated seat pillars, so I do not have any problems with that.  The other issue is that people think that the resale value is going to be less, because obviously they have cut the seat pillar and it is custom to their size.

The great thing about these seat pillars is that they do have a lot of adjustment range on them, and the other thing is that obviously these bikes are going to be set up for your size. So if you are a particular size you are going to fit onto a particular bike size.  Here you will find that a seat pillar is going to be cut off in around the normal set of seat height.  So unless you have got incredibly short or incredibly long legs for your height, it is not going to be an issue.  Most people who are going to fit on this frame will have a seat position roughly around that same height. Obviously, if they need to adjust that fairly drastically, they may need to find a bike that is either slightly smaller or slightly bigger rather then worrying about the seat pillar length.

I have also gone for the Dura-Ace pedals [these don’t come with the bike].  I really like these new carbon fiber Dura-Ace pedals.  I was riding previously on their [Dura-Ace pedals] aluminium version, released a few years ago, and the great thing about Shimano pedals is that the bearings do not actually wear out in the pedal and they do not become quite sloppy.  My knees are very sensitive to sloppy pedals and so I like to be bolted really securely in.  These have got a great wide platform and the bearings in them are very, very steady so there is no play in those bearings, and what that enables you to do is get a really good solid platform that you put your shoe into. I am really, absolutely loving these new Dura-Ace pedals.

The other thing about these Dura-Ace pedals is that they are very positive when you click into them, and you can obviously adjust that. I have got them wound up pretty tight, so I am locked in pretty sturdy, but I do have to apply a little bit of pressure, more than normal, to get my feet into it.

The other great feature about these Giant bikes is the handlebars.  I am very particular around the sort of handlebars that I like to ride on, and I do not like changing them too often.  So I was a little bit nervous about going to the new Giant handlebars.  They have got a few different tweaks to their shape. One. they have got this aerodynamic foil sort of thing happening on the top of them, so that is fantastic.  Now they have got a really nice smooth transition through here and these are sort of styled more on the 3T bars and they have a really nice smooth transition through here and it is actually a really, really nice fit.

So there you have it.  That is my review of the Giant TCR Advanced SL 1.

The two things that really stand out for me is one, this bike is stiffer than my last Giant, so I find that when I am accelerating in bunches and climbing up hills and going down hills that I just feel a lot more comfortable and the bike feels a lot more responsive.

The other great thing about this bike, is that it just corners like magic and I just felt a lot more relieved when I was going around corners, a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident going around corners.  It just seems to just flow around them nice and easy, and you do not have to put too much eneregy in to it, you just point your bike and go around then.  So, I do not know what Giant has done in this model of bike, but they have just got the cornering and handling of this bike and the balance fantastic.

The other interesting thing about that is that when I take my hands off the handlebars, the bike does not want to wildly swerve left or right, it just tracks nice and straight along the road.  Even if it is a little bit windy.  Now that is something that I could not do on my previous Giant.  I do not know what they have done with the bike handling, but they have just improved it to something that I think is probably the best bike that I have ridden so far in my cycling career.

So there you have it.  That is Giant TCR Advanced SL 1 review.  I hope you have enjoyed it, and look, if you do get the opportunity to go for a test ride on one of these bikes, do do that and see what you think about it.