2021.02 – Bike Feature

Giant TCX

2016 Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1

Back in 2015, I had decided to get a bit more serious about Cyclocross racing, which would require lot of traveling off the Island in order to participate in more competitive races. Despite the Long Island Cyclocross Series, the island does not offer a much in the way of Cyclocross.

In the spring of 2015 I had a positive experience with the purchase of my Giant 2015 Anthem Advanced SX 27.5 mountain that I returned to my local bike shop, Kreb Cycle, and hit them up for a new Cyclocross bike. I really was not keen on my my first CX bike, I believe it was a 2009 Specialized Tricross Expert. I really wanted something nicer, lighter, and more fun to ride and race with.

Admittedly, before going to the shop, I had already researched the bike I wanted, so I had the shop order the 2016 Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1. The only debate was the frame size needed. After some back and fourth I settled on the medium frame. Looking back I am wondering if I should have instead chosen the small frame. The reasoning for the medium frame was that I wanted to be sure I could get my shoulder and arm in the front triangle when I would need to shoulder the bike during a race. As of late, I have been finding myself riding smaller frames for the agility and snap it provides. I do prefer those qualities in racing conditions, opposed to it handling like a limousine.

I had a decent 2015 and 2016 season on the new bike. Unfortunately, in 2017, I got injured in a road race in April of that same year, and it knocked me out of riding a bike until the end of July. Due to the long recovery, I really did not feel ready for the high intensity of a full Cyclocross season, so I skipped the early season hoping to pick up a few races in November or December.

In November of 2017, while building the course for the LICX races, during an inspection lap, my pant caught my front chain keeper. This ripped it out and cracked the carbon frame at the mount points, I believe the same mount points are used for a possible front derailleur if I were using a 2x drivetrain.

After inspection by Kreb Cycle, the frame was deemed cracked, and the bike was disassembled and sent out in order to get it repaired. With that, my Cyclocross season had come to an abrupt abort.

In 2018, I hit the ground running and tried to race as much as possible, including registering for multiple fields on a single race day. I carpooled with my friend Lionel Senior from the Brands team in my new BRSV (Bicycle Racing Support Vehicle) aka, my 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite. That year proved to be a brutal, with constant wet and muddy conditions. After almost each race I had to pull out my crank and blow out the Bottom Bracket and re-pack grease before reassembly. After Supercross Cup I seized up the pedals and had to rebuild them. I must admit that was the year when I feel in love with my cyclocross tubular mud tires, and learned to race with about 20-23psi in them.

2019 was another decent season. This time I traveled with Anthony Ott, a team mate on my new Kissena team. Once again I tried to double up on races whenever I could. Sadly, disaster struck a few races before the end of my season. In early November, while out training, a car took me out, and I had to pack it up and recover for three weeks before being able to ride pain free.

As we all know 2020 was a complete wash. Despite Cyclocross racing, the bike is a lot of fun on many of the Long Island trails. Especially Manorville Hills and Rocky Point. I did survive Glacier Ridge on the bike, although I think I would prefer the mountain bike for that particular trail. As of today, the TCX is set up in the following manner:

  • Frame/Fork: Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1 Size Medium.
  • Handlebars: Giant Contact SL, 31.8mm 420mm wide.
  • Stem: Giant Contact SL, OverDrive 2, 90mm 8 degrees.
  • Seat Post: Giant D-Fuse SL, Composite.
  • Saddle: ISM Performance Narrow (PN) 3.0.
  • Wheels: Giant CRX 1 WheelSystem; 24mm wide, Tubeless compatible, alloy.
  • Hubs: Giant CRX 1 WheelSystem; precision-sealed cartridge bearings, 28h, [F] 15mm axle, [R] 142×12 axle.
  • Spokes: Giant CRX 1 WheelSystem; DT Swiss Competition stainless.
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Tires – X-One All-round, 33-622, Black/Beige Folding – 700 x 33.
  • Tyres: Specialized All Condition Armadillo Black 700 x 32.
  • Tubes: Standard Presta butyl – usually 48mm valve stems.
  • Tyres: Challenge Chicane clincher 700 x 33.
  • Tubes: Challenge latex tubes.
  • Wheels: Velocity Major Tom tubular.
  • Tyres: Challenge Fango Tubular 700 x 33 [F]. Challenge Linus Pro Tubular 700 x 33 [R] – Latex Tubes.
  • Bottom Bracket: Rotor PF4130 press fit, ceramic bearings.
  • Crank: Rotor 3D30 172.5mm.
  • Chain Ring: 38t SRAM X-Sync chainring.
  • Pedals: Shimano SPD M959.
  • Cassette: SRAM PG-1130 11 speed cassette, 11-32T.
  • Chain: SRAM PC-1130 11 speed.
  • Shifters: Shimano RS785 Di2, electronic.
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano RD-RX805-GS Di2, electronic.
  • Brake Levers: Shimano RS785, hydraulic disc.
  • Brake Calipers: Shimano RS785, hydraulic disc.
  • Rotors: Shimano 160mm [F], 140mm [R].
  • Brake Pads: Shimano G04S Metallic Disc Brake Pad.
  • Brake Hose: Shimano SM-BH59.
  • Bar Tape: Supacaz Super Sticky Kush Star Fade – Neon Blue.
  • Computer Mount: K-Edge Garmin Pro Combo Mount – Black.
  • Computer: Garmin Edge 810.

So what comes next for this bike? One of the issues I am having is that Shimano (my preferred components) does not support this bike with their current brake calipers. The bike has post mounts for brake calipers, and Shimano now offers only flat mount calipers. I tried looking for an adaptor to adapt flat mount calipers to post mounts, but what I have found will not fit the frame. I also want to change out the crank since I am trying to standardize my road/cyclocross bikes with 170mm, and track with 165mm.

Therefore, I am contemplating the purchase of a new Giant TCX bike frame, possibly a TCX Advanced Pro Frameset, to build up myself with Shimano GRX Di2 1×11. If I can try out a small sized frame from a teammate who has one, I can then get a better gauge of which size to order. But just as important, this will then enable me to fully build the bike to my specifications and preferred components. Fear not because I will still keep and ride my 2016 TCX as a pit and a training bike. Hopefully I will be able to pull that off this year or next year.

To conclude, the purchase of the 2016 Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1 has been well worth it because it has given me many fond memories over the past five or so years, not only of the suffering in races (yes that is fun!), but also the fostering of friendships and camaraderie with my fellow crazy ‘cross racers.

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