The Giant TCR Composite line has won numerous awards in cycling magazines with its performance characteristics and smooth ride quality. The T-600 carbon fiber composite frame is lightweight and stiff, yet compliant. The stiff frame ensures that every pedal stroke is translated into power. Therefore, you’ll go further, faster. The compliant nature of the frame material helps to keep you comfortable during long days on the saddle. Giant’s PowerCore bottom bracket area and asymmetrical chainstays produce maximum pedaling efficiency. The OverDrive steerer tube provides a stiff front end for precise steering. Though the Giant TCR Composite 1 frame is a work of art, Giant did not stop there. The Giant TCR Composite 1 features Shimano Ultegra drivetrain components mixed with Giant Bicycle components. Shimano Ultegra shifters communicate with the Shimano Ultegra front and rear derailleur to provide smooth, accurate shifting. Going too fast? No problem, Shimano Ultegra brakes will bring you to a halt. Giant wheels were built strong and light.
Strengths: *Light, Stiff Frame
*Agile in the turns
*Great platform for all sorts of road conditions
Weaknesses: *Seat adjustment requires tools -- this can make transport more difficult if you're not using a rack.
*The stock tires are OK.
I've been wanting to get a carbon road bike for some years now, and finally committed to buy one -- I was fairly familiar with the current technology available for road bikes and pretty much knew what I wantea carbon bike with either 105 or Ultrega components -- or a mix of the two. d. I have been a long time fan of all things Shimano for a number of years now, but the rest was open for negotiations.
After some shopping around, I found a shop that was had a Giant TCR Composite built with Tiagra components. While Tiagra isn't a bad group, I was wanting something with 105 or Ultrega on it. Giant TCR Composite frames are the same for all of the TCR Composite bikes, so I had the shop equip it through and through with Shimano 105 components with no extra charge other than the price difference on the components-- derailleurs, standard crankest, cassettes, shifts, and brakes, but leave the proprietary Giant components on the bike. Most of the Giant components are exceptional -- the fork, stem, and frame are all carbon, and exceptionally compact and stiff with an aerodynamic design. The bike came stock with a Giant PR2 wheel set, which aren't the best wheels in the world, but not something to frown upon either. The headset and handlebars are adequate too, but can be easily be upgrade without much expense. When it was said and done, this setup is probably more inline the 2013 TCR Composite 2 with some variations.
Now having ridden the bike for a while, I'm glad I got it and have no buyer's remorse --but it took some getting used to.
Right off the bat I found this bike is comfortable and smooth on long rides on flats and rolling hills. On long, gradual climbs it is quite comfortable as well.
The bike seemed to perform OK in steep climbs. My experience in steep sections of hills, the bikes geometry seemed to shift too much weight to the rear wheel making the front end too light, sometimes even making it even leave the ground when cranking exceptionally hard. I felt that I having to compensating by leaning a bit too far forward to make the weight distribution more even. I'm still tweaking the bike to find the optimal balance for steep climbs...
The braking feels really punchy on this bike too -- this can probably be attributed to the bikes stiffness. I had to retrain myself on braking with this bike to prevent loss of control, but once I used to the abruptness and how to control it, it was actually quite nice.
Acceleration on this bike is a lot like the braking too: punchy. This took some getting used to as well, because I was used to something that wasn't nearly as stiff as this frame.
In descents, the bike is smooth and precise -- it took some time to get used to the bike's precision and agility in turns because my old bike was more sluggish. What used to be dangerous seems pretty normal for this bike. Once I got the feel for it though, I felt like a pro whipping through hairpins and coming out without lots of loss of speed.
So overall, I would say that the selling point of this bike is definitely it's stiffness, light weight, and precision -- three things you probably want in a road bike.
Strengths: Comfortable ride, attractive color scheme
Weaknesses: It's fast, but it's not quick
Just to clear some things out of the way:
1. This review is for the 2012 model
2. The bike was not perfectly tuned when I test rode it
3. I had a mediocre experience with the LBS
4. The saddle was set much lower than what I'm used to
5. I really wanted to test the TCR Advanced, but this is what they had
Overall, this is a very good bike. In fact, it's probably a great bike. I absolutely would have been entirely happy with this bike for my purposes. It's relatively light. It has high-end components, full Ultegra. It's a great value. And it's comfortable.
This last quality is probably its most outstanding attribute. For such an aggressive frame geometry, (it's essentially the same geometry as the TCR advanced) it's a smooth ride. It really sucks up the road vibration. Unfortunately, this is a double-edge sword. That also makes it feel a bit "softer" in acceleration and turns. I'm not sure that it actually accelerates any slower than similar bikes, but that's the ride feel.
Strengths: Very light, high end components, sturdy frame but soft when when riding on harder road. Ultegra and Dura Ace equipped. I have the large and ride it 6 miles a day and it works great. No issues at all.
Great bike for a great price especially if you can find it used for under $1300. The MSRP on here says 2325, but that is incorrect. It was a $3000 bike when new in 2006. Great bike, get it if your into biking.
Strengths: I have the large and it weighed in at 18.5 lbs. It takes off quick and changes gears like a dream. The colors look beautiful. White, Red and black.
I have been a recreation rider for years on a KONA hybrid. I decided to purchase a road bike this year as I have been doing more riding in recent years and love it. I test drove several bikes and decided on the 2011 Giant TCR Composite 1. What a rocketship. This bike is fast. I realize I am new to road bikes but WOW. Of the bikes I test drove this bike kicks $#@.
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Synapse, Cannondale Supersix, Specialized, Trek and two other Giant models.
Bike Setup: Ultegra all around except the brakes and chain are 105's.
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: March 21, 2011
Strengths: Stiff and responsive, yet cushy enough for long haul centuries over chip-seal.
Ksyrium Elite wheelset when every other bike in the range came stock with equipes.
Weaknesses: none... unless you want to count the saddle, which everyone replaces with their own anyway.
The Giant TCR1 is the best value on the market. A light and stiff frame with minimal flex even with this clydesdale hammering up the hills on it. It's whippy in corners and cruises like a caddilac on long flat stretches. The Shimano Ultegra/Dura-Ace groupo will serve any rider up with long and flawless centuries, and the Race Face Cadence crankset has so far (7,000 miles) performed without a hitch. This is my favorite road bike of all time.
Favorite Ride: Anything that gets my head straight
Purchased At: LBS
Similar Products Used: Tried the Specialized Tarmac and various Treks (Burn in Hell, Bontrager!) There is no comparison. The Giant provides a better, more responsive, stiffer ride at $400 or more less.