The Giant TCR Race Bike History – A Consistent Favourite

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Giant 2021 TCR

When the first TCR arrived in the pro peloton more than 20 years ago, it was surrounded by controversy. It looked unlike anything else in professional road racing at the time, and rival teams were left wondering if the Giant-sponsored Team ONCE had an unfair advantage. Officials from cycling’s world governing body were called upon to determine if the bike was legal.

The questions and controversy had to do with frame geometry. The name of the bike clearly spelled out its main innovation: Total Compact Road. The brainchild of British bike designer Mike Burrows—who had already introduced some game-changing race bikes including Chris Boardman’s gold medal pursuit bike at the 1992 Olympics—the first TCR frame was a clear departure from the standard road bike design that had prevailed for decades. Its radical geometry was marked by a “compact” frameset featuring a top tube that sloped downward from the head tube to the seat tube.

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Compact Road was inspired by mountain bikes, which were sill relatively new in the early 1990s. Burrows worked with Giant to create the Compact Road frames, which offered several obvious advantages. The sloping toptube created a smaller main triangle, which was both lighter and stiffer than standard frames with horizontal toptubes. The rear triangle was also smaller, which in addition to saving more weight also improved power transfer and efficiency.

Giant 2021 TCR

The first TCR also ushered in a new era in production for high-performance road bikes. Its Compact Road geometry made it far easier to fine-tune the fit and position of the rider by simply adjusting seatpost and stem lengths.

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Those early ONCE team bikes were instantly recognizable by their longer seatposts, which gave them a profile that more resembled mountain bikes. The other advantage was that longer seatposts could be shaped for better aerodynamics or crafted from carbon fiber to add compliance and smooth out the bike’s ride quality.

Ultimately, UCI officials decided the TCR was legal. Team ONCE riders including Laurent Jalabert went on to win dozens of races on it, including grand tour stages and major one-day races. The early TCR was unique in its ability to excel in mountain stages and time trials. With its aerodynamic advantages, it was especially effective against the clock—Jalabert won several stage race time trials on it, and ONCE became a favourite at every team time trial it entered.

Continuing a tradition that began more than 20 years ago, the flagship model of the new range, the TCR Advanced SL, is the result of a team effort involving Giant engineers and product developers, leading aerodynamics experts, and some of today’s top professional racers including Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet along with other CCC Team riders and technical staff.

The project began with a nearly impossible goal: Make it even more efficient. That’s the story of the new TCR Advanced SL—squeezing more speed out of every pedal stroke. To accomplish that, our team analyzed every aspect of the bike, from raw materials to all-new manufacturing processes. Even the paint was created to minimize weight.

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Giant 2021 TCR

In the end, the major breakthrough with this TCR is that it is significantly more aerodynamic than the previous generation while retaining its best-in- class stiffness-to-weight ratio. Every tube shape has been modified to reduce drag without adding a single gram or compromising the qualities that have made TCR a leading pro-level race bike for two decades.

Like the original TCR, it took a complete re-think to accomplish this goal. The following pages present the details on the engineering, aerodynamic development and technical details that make this the fastest TCR ever.

Giant 2021 TCR

Since it debuted as a controversial aluminum-framed race bike with compact geometry and a radical new look compared to all other race bikes Sn the late 1990s, the TCR has continually pushed the limits of performance with every new generation. It has been a staple in the pro peloton since 1998, earning wins at major races around the world for more than two decades.

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TCR OVER THE YEARS

1997

The first production TCR makes its debut. It is available in three frame sizes (S, M, L) and has an angle-adjustable quill stem available in three different lengths (105mm, 120mm, 135mm).

1998

The Spanish Team ONCE debuts the new TCR at the Tour de France. Giant produces a complete Team ONCE replica bike for consumers with a Campagnolo Record gruppo.

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2000

Team ONCE replica bike features a 1-inch threadless headset.

2002

The first full-composite TCR makes its debut at the Tour de France.

2003

The first commercial TCR Composite bikes are available.

2004

The 3rd generation TCR debuts at the Tour de France with the T-Mobile squad, which goes on to win the team classification at the Tour for three straight years (2004-2006).

2005

The first TCR with an integrated seatpost (ISP) is commercially available in five sizes.

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2006

4th generation TCR makes its debut with the T-Mobile team, featuring a larger (stiffer) rear seatstay/brake yoke.

2020

The 9th generation TCR range is introduced to consumers.

2008

The 5th generation TCR Advanced SL is introduced to consumers. It features a number of breakthrough technologies including a PressFit bottom bracket and integrated cable routing. Team Columbia-Highroad rider Mark Cavendish wins four stages on it at the Tour de France.

2009

Team Rabobank rider Denis Menchov wins the Giro d’Italia on his TCR Advanced SL.

2012

The 6th generation TCR debuts at the Tour de France with Team Rabobank.

2015

The 7th generation TCR debuts at the Tour de France with Team Giant-Alpecin.

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2016

The 8th generation TCR, the rst with integrated disc brakes, is introduced to consumers.

2017

Team Sunweb rider Tom Dumoulin wins the Giro d’Italia general classi cation; the team also wins both the points classification and the mountains classification at the Tour de France.

2019

Prototype testing of the 9th generation TCR Advanced SL begins with CCC Team pro racers.

Make sure you check out the new 2020 Giant TCR range – though labelled 2021. The new bike has been an instant favourite among cycling fans and we thoroughly enjoyed riding it!

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