Saturday, February 25, 2012

Journey to "The Darkside".

Nope, not the Force and no Darth Vader is not my father. It's a review about riding the Giant TCR Advanced 0 road bike. I was fortunate enough to be handed a big cardboard box with the shiny new bike in it a little over a month ago. I was excited to be able to finally be on a Giant road bike and even more so one with the new Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset. Setting up the bike was a snap. I watched a youtube video, read through the brief instructions and had the whole thing up and going in about 40 minutes. The automatic indexing of the Di2 made the job so simple even I could do it.
Anyway, I get the thing out on the road and take it for a spin. The first thing I noticed was how well it shifts under load. My chosen loop for the day was Winn Road and it has a couple of pinchy little climbs after long descents. You hit the paddle and it just does what it's supposed to. You can be cranking it up a hill and need to drop a gear or two and away you go. Punch it, bang, there's the gear. Very snappy.
Any comment I make about geometry probably won't mean that much. I am not an experienced road racer and really only a masher at best. The bike feels very comfortable on the 70km rides I have done so far and I really like the way it climbs. The acceleration when you stomp the pedals seems good with the power core bottom bracket nice and stiff and the massive down tube allowing you to grab the bars hard and give them a good wrench for leverage.
In an interesting move Giant is using an in house wheel system and tyres. Again any comment I could make on this is probably not really all that informed except that the wheels feel stiff and responsive and the tyres roll quite nicely. My only negative comment in fact is levelled at the tyres. We have had a lot of rain here lately and they are  quite slippery with moisture on the road. The wheels are branded all over with Giant but the literature that is cable tied to the the skewers is DT Swiss. Read into that what you like.
All in all the bike is a really tidy looking unit with the internal cable routing and the reduced amount of control cables from the cockpit. The battery for the Di2 sits under the non drive side chainstay and there is even the neat "Ride Sense" unit built into the chainstay too. Ride Sense is an ANT+ sensor unit that talks to any device that is enable with the technology. In my case it is my Garmin 705 and it sends cadence and speed data to the GPS unit. Very neat.
I have to give a big shout out to Matt and Brent from Giant for hooking me up with the Advanced 0. I'm a very lucky chap. I can't say my foray into the darkside is complete because I still love my mountain bike. Riding around on the TCR Advanced 0 has certainly made the choice of what bike I will ride as a matter of choice much more difficult now though.


  1. That "Ride Sense" feature sounds great. I wonder if you can get it on MTB's, because the Garmin Cadense Sensor often fails (I've bought 4 or 5 in the last couple of years).

  2. Hey Neil. The Ridesense system isn't available on any MTB's yet. It's a good point you make and with more carbon bikes coming on the market it makes a lot of sense. Pardon the pun.

  3. Who are you shagging to get free bikes....? Very nice mate.

  4. It's my natural charm and good looks Dave! It's still part of the ongoing support Matt and Brent have given me since the Terra a couple of years ago. Of course Cyc'd still help me out heaps with gear too. I don't ask why it happens in case it stops!