Hi. Greg Griffiths here from Ivanhoe Cycles.
This is the 2018 Giant TCX SLR 2. The “TCX” part of that name indicates that it’s
essentially a cyclocross bike, so cyclocross racing is a sport that’s
quite big in places like Germany, Belgium, Holland –
where road cyclists, and mountain bikers as well, race on bikes that look
like this in the winter time. So running across
fields, running as well as riding their bike, carrying them on some occasions. So,
it’s a bike that’s made for offroad racing. Cyclocross racing in Australia
has just taken off in the last four or five years and there’s now even a national
championship for cyclocross. So it’s a sport that’s developing and is
increasing in number in Australia but, having said that,
cyclocross bikes are so versatile that many people use them just as an
alternative to a hybrid, for instance. A road rider who’s used to having the
racer style handlebars feels more at home on this type of bike, and yet with
the tyres and brakes and things that the bike has, it still can be ridden most
places that a hybrid can be or even a mountain bike. So it’s a very versatile
sort of bike, but initially designed and made for cyclocross racing. A bike of
this level is certainly good enough to race on – if you wanted to do so. It has a
lightweight aluminium frame. It has the – now – regulation carbon fibre front fork.
Because it has disc brakes, this bike also has a – what’s called a Thru-axle.
So it’s quite a lightweight and stiff front-end in the bike, so it’s good for
handling, cornering and just overall strength. Also has a Thru-axle in the
rear so, in both cases, to remove the wheels you just undo the axle, slide it
out and the wheel drops out. So wheel removal is quite easy. Both front and
rear with disc brakes means that there’s massive clearance around the tyres, so if
you are riding it offroad and it’s muddy and mud collects on the tyres,
it’s unlikely that it will jam, whereas if you had a conventional
brake, or with less clearance above the tyre, there could be a blockage in
the tyre – the wheel would get jammed. So it’s a really well-designed bike.
Big clearance around the tyres in all cases and the tyres themselves are quite
large. There’s a Schwalbe Super Swan. So it’s quite a knobby tyre. They’re really
made for offroad riding, however, the rims are the conventional
700c rims. So if you wanted a bike that’s as robust as this but perhaps weren’t going to
ride offroad all the time, you could put a more conventional treaded tyre on, if
you wished, or have two sets of tyres – one for the Sunday cyclocross race once a
month, and the other tyres for the regular use through the week. So that could be
an option too as another set of tyres. This bike, as I mentioned, has an aluminum
frame. As with most Giants it has the DeFuse seat tube and seatpost, so a bit
of shock absorption comfort there. It has a Shimano 105 groupset, so the regulation
105 11-speed gear shifters in the STI style. Dual chainring STI 105 front
derailleur, 105 rear derailleur and the regulation cassette. So it’s not that far
removed from a road bike but in the essential elements of it, it’s very
very much different and more like a mountain bike or a hybrid. So big tyres,
big clearance, designed for off-road racing. So this bike has disc brakes, but
they’re operated by a mechanical lever, so that’s the regulation 105 brake lever.
Has a cable that runs into this mechanism where it converts the
mechanical pull to hydraulic and then therefore it’s a hydraulic actuation of
the brake. So you get all the advantages of a hydraulic brake in
strength lever pull, wheel removal, wheel buckling – all over – all the normal
advantages of a disc brake but without the additional cost of the hydraulic
brake lever. So it’s a good system designed by Giant, so if you see this
mechanism on the handlebar, that’s what that is. It’s a converter from mechanical
to hydraulic. Works really well. While I’m at this part of the bike, the
thru-axle front wheel – and it’s the same for the rear – wheel removal’s just
a matter of undoing the lever, while undoing the axle, undo it completely and
the wheel comes out. That’s the simplest thing known, so if you want to service
the bike, clean it, change disc pads, put it in the back of your car – whatever the
reason is that you need the wheel out, it’s very, very easy to put it back in.
Just guide the disc between the pads, slide the axle back in and do it back up.
So that’s as quick and as easy as that to remove the wheel. The back is similar,
except that you need to accommodate for the chain. So we always, whenever
removing a back wheel, you always change the gears until the chains on the
smallest sprocket, just to make life easier for yourself. Once again, undo
the lever on the back, slide the axle out and the wheel comes out. So it’s very
simple, very easy, takes a couple of seconds. Putting it back in is just the
reverse – place the chain over the small sprocket, guide the wheel up between the
forks and the brake pad, slide the axle back in and do it back up. So wheels in
and out in a matter of seconds – very easy. If the bike’s caked in mud and grease,
obviously get some hands dirty but not in this case, so a very clean operation.
So an off-road racing bike. All the usual features of internal cabling and stuff
like that, so that it’s very clean and neat to look at, but also maintenance is
kept to a minimum because of the internal cable routing. Has sealed bearing
in the bottom bracket, sealed bearing headset, sealed bearing in the hubs and the
wheels – so the general maintenance, cleanliness and some lube is the most
important things to worry about. Comes in a range of sizes. This is a large bike.
They come from extra small through to extra large, so there’s a bike
essentially similar but in various dimensions for riders of different
heights. So if you wanted to race a cyclocross, or just want to have a bike
that’s a racer style that you can ride offroad,
this is what what they’re made for. And, as I mentioned, if you did want to use it
as a bit of a combination – a second set of tyres and it would suit all situations.
So, if you’re interested in something like that or you’ve heard of cyclocross
or CX, you don’t really know what it is, drop it and have a look at the bike.
Maybe take one for a ride – see what you think.