Last year I decided to make the jump from my 2008 Felt F1X to a bike full of all the most up-to-date technology a cyclocross bike could have – the 2016 Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1. It’s got a carbon fiber frame, hydraulic disc brakes, the Shimano Ultegra Di2 11-speed drivetrain, front and rear thru axles, plus internal cable routing. I rode the bike for the entirety of the 2015/16 cyclocross season in SE Wisconsin and couldn’t have been happier with it’s performance.
The combination of the geometry, the thru axles and the disc brakes really gives this bike excellent handling characteristics. Very solid, stable and confidence inspiring when you are handling it in tricky situations. The geometry was very comfortable for me – not too stretched out, not too upright. The front end feels really stable with the oversized 1¼-to-1½ inch OverDrive 2 tapered steerer combined with the 15mm thru axle.
For the price ($4500), this bike was spec’d out really well. The Di2 was a really great touch and it has spoiled me after riding the bike for a season – I’d never have a cyclocross bike without Di2 now. The Shimano RS785 hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power and their overall comfort and ergonomics are really nice. I have smaller hands, but the hoods don’t feel too big. Shifting responsiveness with the Di2 is lovely and consistent no matter the conditions, which was pretty amazing. The cockpit is comprised of all Giant components – the stem fits the beefy OverDrive 2 steerer, the handlebars have a pretty good bend to them and the ends seemed to stick out a good bit, but they didn’t bug me, so I kept them on the bike.
Out of the box it came with a 1x drivetrain and a clincher wheelset. I ditched the 1x in favor of an Ultegra Di2 front derailleur and an Ultegra crank paired with a WickWerkx 44/34 tooth chainrings. Plus, I added a Stages power meter. Personally, I wanted to ditch the 1x drivetrain after not really loving SRAM’s CX-1 on my Felt, but I think more of that had to do with not liking how SRAM shifts in general. Plus, I wanted this bike to do more than just race cyclocross – I wanted it to be the bike I trained most of the year on and wanted the flexibility to race other events like the Barry-Roubaix. Adding the Ultegra Di2 front derailleur really gave me the flexibility to make the bike relevant for most of the year. It’s the bike that goes on the trainer in the off-season, the bike that gets ridden on roads and gravel alike, and the bike I spend all my time on from August thru November.
I kept the clincher wheelset for training on the roads and built up a custom tubular wheelset for racing based on the recommendation of Nick from Belgianwerkx. He laced HED Belgium disc-specific rims (no brake track for maximum style points) to DT Swiss 350 hubs with a hub insert that increased the number of points of engagement. For tires, he glued up some FMB tubulars – SuperMud Pro in the front for maximum traction and the SSC Slalom in the rear. The wheels didn’t break the bank, but have all that I need to be competitive.
While the bike is really awesome, it’s not perfect. The front derailleur did not go low enough for the smaller WickWerkx chainrings, so Nick needed to do some custom work filing the derailleur bracket down so the chainrings would work. Also the brakes are not direct mount, but they are for 2017. And the front thru axle skewer it shipped with was pretty flimsy and needed to be replaced with a newer style one from Giant. All in, none of those items were enough of a negative to tarnish my opinion of the bike.
I can’t really speak highly enough of this bike. In fact, I’m buying another one. I really hated having to go back to my Felt for a pit bike, so I’ve got the 2017 TCX Advanced Pro 1 on order as we speak.
Check out all the glamour shots: