I had the opportunity to build up a 2014 Giant TCR SLR frameset in early summer. It was especially exciting since this would be my first actual road bike. Previously I had been riding a 2009 Felt F1X ‘cross bike on the road (with a Mavic Ksyrium road wheelset). It was heavy, but overall a fine, capable bike. After 783 miles on this new TCR though, I realized what a lighter, stiffer road bike could do.
Frame: Giant TCR SLR with Vector Seatpost (size small – I’m 5’4”)
Groupset: Ultegra 6800 (11-speed)
Wheels: H+ Son TB14 rims (box-section) laced to Ultegra hubs
Tires: Challenge Strada 700×25
Stem and Bars: Cannondale
First thing that stood out to me was that the bike handled very well – snappy, stiff and a good climber. The whole build weighs in at a smidge over 18 pounds, but feels like it rides lighter than that. Giant’s compact geometry fits me well and their ALUXX SLR-grade aluminum feels very nice – good compliance for an aluminum frame. Out-of-the-saddle acceleration is sharp and responsive – great for chasing those QOMs on Strava. And it feels solid at speed and on descents, giving me the confidence to go faster.
The Vector seatpost is a bit stiff, but it just took some getting used to. I make every effort to be light on my saddle over size-able bumps anyway, and the stiffness of the seatpost makes it very important to keep that up. We built the wheels with comfort in mind, hence the box-section rim paired to a supple, wide tire. This combination leaves me with very nice ride quality overall.
Pedaling efficiency and stiffness at the bottom bracket make this bike feel very quick under a turn of the cranks. And the geometry definitely feels racy compared to the slightly more upright stance of my ‘cross bike. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the bike is really good looking in matte black with glossy back logos. Subtle and understated, it’s just my kind of bike, looks-wise.
Component-wise, I’m loving the 11-speed Ultegra 6800. The hoods, shifter and brake levers fit my hands very nicely and the performance is excellent. Shifts are fast (shorter lever throw in this iteration of the group certainly helps) and braking is powerful. The crankset feels nice and stiff.
At this point, I wouldn’t change anything on the build. The only bummer is that the frame doesn’t have internal routing for Di2, but Ultegra 6800 is so nice that I don’t feel the need for Di2.
Overall I’m looking forward to many years with this bike!