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Giant TCX 0

Review: Giant TCX 0

scottmares's picture

Right Out of the Box

4

First Impressions

When the UPS guy delivered the new Giant TCX 0, the box had a gaping ten inch hole in it. Never a good sign, but fortunately luck was on my side today! The hole was in a non-vital area of the box, free and clear from the frame and wheels. After breathing a sigh of relief, I pulled the TCX 0 out of the box and assembled it in no time at all. After taking a good long look at the Giant TCX 0, I was impressed with Giant's effort to make an eye-catching product. With it's sexy lines and decked out groupo, the bike screams style and performance.

Ease of Assembly

As mentioned above, the bike was very easy to put together. Like most bikes, the TCX 0 arrived about 90% pre-assembled. Cables and housing were precut to length, making total assembly time about 30 minutes.

Bling Factor

The main frame has a Euro feel, with a striking white paint job and black seat stays and chain stays. Accented with Giant's stylish black, white and blue graphics, you can't help but notice that a large portion of the TCX 0 graphics were done in Giant's signature Metallic Blue. But Giant didn't stop there, as the entire cable housing is blue as well. Add in a pair of custom DT Swiss wheels with custom blue and white graphics, matching blue alloy nipples, and white hubs and we have one sexy bike on our hands! But wait! There's MORE! The headset is anodized blue with matching anodized spacers. The handle bars, stem and saddle are also blue. The bike comes with 1 bottle cage mount and those bolts are, you guessed it, anodized metallic blue as well! The designers at Giant even incorporated anodized blue bolts on the TRP Euro X brakes! Combine a great looking white bike with little accents of shiny blue and you get a smokin' good looking bike! The Devil himself must work for Giant, because he got almost all of the details. I said almost because they overlooked the new DT skewers. The skewers that were shipped with the TCX 0 are twist lever instead of quick release. While that alone is not a deal breaker, the alloy cap on the side of the lever was red. There is nothing else on this bike that is red.

Road Test Ride

4

Climbing

The Giant TCX 0 is stiff, which makes it climb really well on the road. No worries when the road points up because this bike won't let you down. Giant's engineers developed this frame with several multi-shaped tubes and one rather large square-shaped down tube. Combine the down tube shape with the BB 30 bottom bracket and all the power that you throw down will go right into the drive train. All of the TCX 0 tubes have a specific shape to maximize the ride on this bike. Even the square top tube contributes to the bikes ability to climb. Very nice!

Corning

Nothing unusual about the way this bike goes into corners. The TCX 0 is VERY stable and was a real pleasure to ride. In fact, I liked the way this Giant cornered, just like my road bike. The TCX 0 made it really easy to forget that I was on a cyclocross bike and not a regular road bike. If I could only purchase one bike that had to pull double duty for both road and cross season, I would seriously consider the Giant TCX 0.

Handling

After evaluating this bike, I can now understand why many people are purchasing Giant bikes. The fork on the TCX 0 along with the geometry makes this bike handle like a dream on the road. Again, I had to keep reminding myself that this bike was a cyclocross bike.

Ride Feel

The first road ride with the TCX 0 was impressive. It took very little adjustment to get the fit just right. After just a few tweaks for the seat height, I was off and rolling. While there are a lot of adjectives that I could use to describe the ride, if I had to choose one word it would be smooth. We went out for a 50 miler with some LT intervals, and there was nothing but pure joy on the road with this bike. While pedaling, the wheels were dead quiet and smooth like butter. With repeat rides, I experienced more of the same. The TCX 0 is a great responsive and stable bike to ride. The funny thing is that it doesn't ride like a aluminum bike.

Dirt Test Ride

4

Climbing

We took the Giant TCX 0 down to our favorite spot in Powell Butte Park for some hot laps. Powell Butte has a lot of variety to it with power climbs, descents, an open area, and even single track with switch backs. We had a lot of fun with the Giant TCX 0 out there.   This bike shoots up hills like a rocket! The box-shaped down tube is attached to a BB30 bottom bracket. Unite that with Giant's own special ALUXX SL tubing and you have a combination that mandates all power to the rear wheel. Houston, we are GO for launch!

Cornering

As mentioned previously, Powell Butte has a lot of single track with a variety of corners to take the TCX 0 through. Everything from off camber sweepers to down hill 180 degree switchbacks. Through all of this, the bike never shuttered, became unmanageable or squirrelly.   We had the Vittoria Cross mud tires on, and even though it was dry as a bone for once here, they didn't have any problems washing out in the corners (front or rear) in the tight single track. If you are heading to a "turning course" race with these tires, have no fear, just quietly grin.

Handeling

The TCX 0 is pretty predictable in what it's going to do in just about any situation that you may encounter. This is very important because you grow tired during a race, and when that happens you get sloppy in everything that you do. Not having to fight the bike and feeling connected to it can be a great advantage over a bike that you have to fight with all of the time.

Ride feel

The Giant TCX 0 feels solid, positive and under control. This is most likely due to the super stiff multi-shaped ALUXX SL tubing,   geometry, and nice fork. This is the first time that I have seen a bike with this nomenclature of tube shapes before.   As I often say, there is always a trade off with the materials (stiffness, ride feel, comfort, etc.). And with the TCX 0 aluminum frame, I honestly expected a harsher ride. But I am happy to report that that is not the case with this bike.

Race Test Ride

4

Race Performance

The TCX 0 made it's debut at our local Monday Night criterium race. We love to show up to a road event on our cross bike and throw down. The bike was left stock with the exception of a water bottle cage, road pedals and road tires. What happened at the race? Well, we took 2nd in the field sprint which proves that this cross bike can hang on the road. As we mentioned before, if we were forced to have only one bike for both road and cyclocross, the TCX 0 would be a very safe bet. Just change out the tires and you are ready to rock.

We Liked

We liked just about everything on this bike. First of all, the bike looks cool. When you roll up to the line, the bike sends a serious message to the competition that you mean business. Even though we are mostly about the "go", we do like a little show in the mix. After close inspection of the frameset, the construction is excellent with clean welds. The shaped aluminum tubes are not only aesthetically pleasing, but have functionality as well. The top tube has a slight flattened curve that is very easy on the shoulder when you are scampering up the hill. The fork has sexy large tapered blades which are stiff and precise for carving up the muddy course or the competition. Finally, the designers made a good choice in component selection. The Giant TCX 0 is outfitted with a good crank, awesome brakes, tires, carbon seatpost, and the new Shimano Ultegra group. This ensemble will no doubt serve it's captain well in the most harshest conditions.

We Didn't Like

The main thing that I didn't like about the TCX 0 was readily apparent right out of the box. The rear brake cable hanger has a cool black aluminum design which attaches to the seat collar. But at the same time, it's so shallow that the cable housing bows out and repeatedly hits the inside of my thigh. No big deal, right? Not so, as this became an issue when the housing put a bruise on the inside of my leg. The solution is to cut the cable housing down or zip tie it. Giant needs to make the rear brake cable hanger just a little longer to eliminate this issue all together. The DT Swiss wheels are very nice. However, if they were a little lighter, that would have made a big difference in the overall weight of the bike. Weighing in at 1780 grams that translates to 3.75 lbs, making them a great set of training wheels. Personally, I would have a hard time having a high performance set of DT Swiss wheels just for training.

Upgrades

For the Giant TCX 0 to become a world cup contender, we recommend two upgrades: cockpit and wheelset. The handlebar and stem are Giant's house brand. Although they do not have any specs available for these online, house brands are typically heavy. While the bar and stem do look pretty robust, changing them out for a carbon bar and high end stem would no doubt shed some weight. The seatpost is carbon, but it too is Giant's house brand as well. All three are quick and easy upgrades. The second thing that needs to be upgraded for racing is the wheelset. Please don't get me wrong, as I love DT Swiss wheels. The DT Swill R1800 wheels are pretty trick, but they do weigh in at 1780g. While this is not considered very heavy, a lightweight dedicated racing wheelset would drop at least  200+ grams, or almost half a pound off the total weight alone.

The Final Say

The Giant TCX 0 is a great off-the-rack race bike that is as fast as it looks and has a great price tag to boot. With all the details, it looks cool, but it's not just for show. This bike is all go! The TCX 0 is .54 lbs lighter than the Fuji RC, $50.00 cheaper, and looks way better! If you install a light set of race wheels and swap out the cockpit, this bike will come in near 18 lbs easily.  With these modifications, the Giant TCX 0 can be easily upgraded to world cup. Get  a Giant TCX 0 and all you have to do is supply the motor. You will be tearing up the cyclocross races in no time.

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