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Giant 2018 road bikes: your definitive guide

Everything you need to know about the 2018 road bike line-up from the Taiwanese giants

Taiwanese bike brand Giant is quite literally a giant of the bike industry, with a long history of producing bike frames for road, mountain bike and cyclo-cross. You can go back further, but in the late 1990s Giant produced the first TCR frame, which set the standard for the compact road bike geometry that we all take for granted today.

That race machine remains in the brand’s portfolio for 2018, filling the lightweight all-round race bike category, with the Aero Propel machine topping the bill for wind-cheating ability, and the Defy filling the role of an endurance road bike that packs combines responsive performance with a more conservative geometry and more compliance.

Giant’s 2018 range includes the long-standing TCR, the endurace-focused Defy and the aero Propel

New to the range is the alloy Contend road bike – designed for the first road bike or winter market, and coming in as the most affordable model in the Giant range. There’s also the distinctive Trinity time trial bike, which has proven itself in the WorldTour this year, underpinning Team Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin’s Giro d’Italia pink jersey and UCI World Championships ITT win.

It’s quite a road bike range and if your appetite had been whetted for a new Giant machine this year, have a browse of our comprehensive breakdown of the 2018 offerings, complete with listings of every bike.

Giant Propel and Propel Disc

The Giant Propel aero race bike is available in two guises: rim and disc brake. Given disc brakes are the way the industry is inexorably shifting, it’s unsurprising a brand such as Giant should have both bases covered, with the Propel Advanced Disc unveiled at the Tour de France earlier this year. You can see Michael Matthews’ bike here.

In launching the Propel Disc, Giant also took the opportunity to redesign the frame’s tube profiles. It’s a more up-to-date take on an aero road bike, with beefier, truncated tube profiles replacing the previous aerofoil designs, and most noticeable on the downtube, seatstays and fork. Apparently that makes the Propel Disc more aerodynamic at a wider range of wind angles and, on top of that, the flagship frame is impressively light for an aero machine – a claimed 982g.

The all-singing Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 Disc tops the 2018 aero road range

The disc brake machine tops the range with the all-singing Shimano Dura-Ace Di2-equipped SL 0 model at a shade under nine grand. That’s the ‘superlight’ frame (demarcated by the SL), which uses T-800 high modulus carbon fibres to keep the weight down. It also has an integrated seatpost, said to drop a little further weight and improve comfort, whereas the lower-grade frames swap in a conventional, adjustable post. All Propel Disc bikes use Giant’s new integrated cockpit, however.

Of course, the spec sheet downsizes slightly as you move down the range. There are three tiers to both the disc and rim brake ranges, based around the SL, Advanced Pro and standard Advanced frames. If you want a disc-equipped bike, there are options from £2,999 with Shimano Ultegra, up to that £8,999 flagship machine with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2. Rim brakes options, meanwhile, span from £1,599 with Shimano 105 to £3,999 with Shimano Ultegra Di2.

The Giant Propel Advanced Pro Disc is dressed in Shimano Ultegra Di2, dropping the price by half from the top-spec model

Giant Propel and Propel Disc 2018 bikes

Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 Disc (Shimano Dura-Ace Di2) – £8,999
Giant Propel Advanced SL 1 Disc (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £5,499
Giant Propel Advanced Pro Disc (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £4,499
Giant Propel Advanced Disc (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,999

The Giant Propel Advanced Pro 0 is top of the rim-equipped models, with Shimano Ultegra Di2

Giant Propel Advanced Pro 0 (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £3,999
Giant Propel Advanced Pro 1 (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,999
Giant Propel Advanced 0 (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £2,999
Giant Propel Advanced Pro 2 (Shimano 105) – £2,699
Giant Propel Advanced 1 (Shimano Ultegra) – £1,899
Giant Propel Advanced 2 (Shimano 105) – £1,599

Giant Propel Advanced SL frameset – £2,599
Giant Propel Advanced Pro frameset – £1,549

Giant TCR and TCR Disc

The TCR is the most famous of all of Giant’s offerings thanks to its trend-setting pedigree that dates back to the late 1990s. As the lightweight race machine of the line-up, it’s designed to be at home in the mountains and the top-end Advanced SL rim brake frame comes with a claimed weight of 856g.

While that means the TCR Advanced SL isn’t the lightest on the market, it is the lightest Giant has ever produced and the brand says it’s focussed specifically on stiffness-to-weight ratio to ensure the frame packs a punch despite its relatively lean tube profiles.

The Giant TCR is the brand’s most famous model, and the sleek TCR Advanced SL 0 Dura-Ace shares top-billing for 2018

That’s helped by the rectangular ‘Megadrive’ downtube and oversized ‘PowerCore’ bottom bracket, while you also get Giant’s oversized ‘Overdrive 2’ steerer profile to sharpen the handling alongside the well-proven compact geometry. Like with the Propel, the flagship TCR gets an integrated seatpost, apparently to boost comfort.

If you can’t afford the SL-grade frameset, as with the Propel you can also opt for the second-tier Pro or third-tier Advanced layups, all of which boast the genes of the flagship design with a weight penalty. The range starts at £1,299 for the TCR Advanced 3 with Shimano Tiagra, all the way up to £7,899 for the TCR Advanced SL0 with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2. There’s also a SRAM Red eTap model for £200 less.

The TCR Advanced SL 0 also comes with a SRAM Red eTap option for 2018

Disc brake models of course make an appearance, with five bikes that take in all three of the frameset grades. You’ll find options from £1,749 with Shimano 105 to £5,299 with Shimano Ultegra Di2.

Giant TCR and TCR Disc 2018 bikes

Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 (Shimano Dura-Ace Di2) – £7,899
Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 (SRAM Red eTap) – £7,699
Giant TCR Advanced SL 1 (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £4,599
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 (Shimano Dura-Ace) – £3,999
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 (Shimano Ultegra) – £3,999
Giant TCR Advanced SL 2 (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £2,799
Giant TCR Advanced Pro Team (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,799
Giant TCR Advanced 0 (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £2,699
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 2 (Shimano 105) – £2,399
Giant TCR Advanced 1 (Shimano Ultegra) – £1,799
Giant TCR Advanced 2 (Shimano 105) – £1,449
Giant TCR Advanced 3 (Shimano Tiagra) – £1,299

The TCR also boasts five disc-equipped models

Giant TCR Advanced SL frameset – £2,099
Giant TCR Advanced Pro frameset – £1,349

Giant Advanced SL 1 Disc (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £5,299
Giant Advanced Pro 0 Disc (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £3,999
Giant Advanced Pro 1 Disc (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,999
Giant Advanced 1 Disc (Shimano Ultegra) – £1,999
Giant Advanced 2 Disc (Shimano 105) – £1,749

Giant Defy

The Defy fills the endurance-bike-shaped hole in Giant’s range, and takes an impressive number of elements of the proven TCR race bike, and shapes them into a geometry that’s more forgiving for long days in the saddle. We were really impressed when we tested the Defy earlier this year and the 2018 range is based around the same frame design.

Once again there are three grades of frames: Advanced SL, Advanced Pro and Advanced. Integration is key in the SL-grade frame, with the ‘D-Fuse’ seatpost designed to further improve compliance on a frame where long-distance comfort is key. If there was a Giant bike to take to the cobbles of the Spring Classics, this would be it.

The Defy lends a lot of elements from the TCR, but moulds them into a more forgiving, endurance-based set-up

The top-of-the-range SL 0 bike features Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 for £7,499, while the Pro and Advanced frame layups let you choose from eight bikes in total, depending on budget. All bikes are disc-equipped, which naturally allows for greater tyre clearance, which has the potential to increase ride compliance further.

Don’t think it’s a toothless animal, however. Our review of the Shimano Ultegra-equipped Defy Advanced Pro 0 concluded: “It manages to be supple while retaining a crisp responsiveness that leaves other sportive bikes feeling soggy by comparison.”

Giant Defy Advanced 2018 bikes

Giant Defy Advanced SL 0 (Shimano Dura-Ace Di2) – £7,499
Giant Defy Advanced SL 1 (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £5,249
Giant Defy Advanced Pro 0 (Shimano Ultegra Di2) – £3,999
Giant Defy Advanced Pro 1 (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,999
Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 (Shimano Ultegra/105) – £2,699
Giant Defy Advanced 1 (Shimano Ultegra/105) – £1,849
Giant Defy Advanced 2 (Shimano 105) – £1,699
Giant Defy Advanced 2 (Shimano Tiagra) – £1,499

Giant Contend and Contend Disc

The Contend is the alloy road bike of the range and allows a cost-effective entry to Giant’s machines. The Contend comes in ALUXX SL and standard ALUXX constructions, with bikes ranging from £575 with Shimano Claris and rim brakes, to £1,199 with a Shimano 105 drivetrain, disc brakes and Giant’s own hydraulic brakes.

The standard ALUXX frame is made from a 6061 alloy, while the ALUXX SL chassis gets upgraded to double-butted 6011 alloy, improving the stiffness-to-weight ratio.

The alloy Giant Contend could be the ideal entry-level bike if you want to get to grips with the Taiwanese firm’s offerings

Giant’s compact road geometry is a feature here, too, with a setup which largely mirrors that of the endurance-focussed Defy – this is a bike designed for racking up the miles in relative comfort. The presence of Giant’s carbon D-Fuse seatpost on the SL models is further evidence of that.

As with all of Giant’s road bikes, the Contend comes with a disc brake option – this is the top-spec (Shimano 105) Giant Contend SL 1 Disc

Giant Contend and Contend Disc 2018 bikes

Giant Contend SL 1 Disc (Shimano 105/Giant) – £1,199
Giant Contend SL 2 Disc (Shimano Tiagra/Giant) – £999

Giant Contend SL 1 (Shimano 105/Tektro) – £999
Giant Contend SL 2 (Shimano Tiagra – £899

Giant Contend 1 (Shimano Sora) – £749
Giant Contend 2 (Shimano Claris) – £575

Giant Trinity

For time trials, you will need to look towards the Giant Trinity. It’s been ridden to World Championship glory this year under Giro d’Italia champion Tom Dumoulin. Need we say more?

There are two frame levels here, with the standard Advanced and upscale Advanced Pro. The frame itself features deep profiles to help slice through the wind and fully internal cable routing to keep the silhouette as svelte as possible. Giant has also gone to the trouble of fully shrouding the rear wheel, installing hidden proprietary ‘SpeedControl’ caliper brakes.

Looking for a relatively affordable TT bike? The Shimano 105-equipped Giant Trinity Advanced costs £1,799

Three bikes make up the Trinity range in total, with the entry-level Trinity Advanced pictured above coming with Shimano 105 for £1,799. You’ll then find two bikes based around the Advanced Pro frame: a SRAM Red eTap model which offers the smoothest lines and lightest weight possible (£6,249), and a Shimano Ultegra version (£2,799).

Giant Trinity Advanced 2018 bikes

Giant Trinity Advanced Pro 0 (SRAM Red eTap) – £6,249
Giant Trinity Advanced Pro 2 (Shimano Ultegra) – £2,799
Giant Trinity Advanced (Shimano 105) – £1,799

Giant Trinity Advanced Pro frameset – £2,599


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