The Giant TCX has been around for a few years, and has evolved with the times. It’s proven itself at the highest level of pro ’cross racing, and now offers all that trickle-down technology to club racers at a very reasonable price.
Giant’s broad-shouldered carbon fork looks purposeful, and has immense accuracy, thanks to the beefy OverDrive 2 steerer. Rocky trails, ploughed fields or dirt are all dispatched with disdain and control, the Contact bar and stem ensuring an ideal hand hold and enough stiffness to cope with burly riders.
Central to the TCX’s performance is its massive bottom bracket junction, the 86mm shell buried between the multi-faceted down tube, D-shaped seat-tube and asymmetric chainstays. The down tube’s underside is curved to minimise mud collection, the lower seat-tube curves away from the rear wheel, and there’s tons of tyre clearance between the chainstays, whose tops are angled to shed mud.
In contrast with the lower frame’s obvious strength, the slimming top tube and slender seatpost seem almost out of place, but the D-shaped post and dropped, triangular seatstays are tough, while providing lots of rider-induced flex that makes a difference to seated riding across rough terrain.
Being able to sit down for longer when it’s bumpy means more effective pedalling, and more speed.
Thru-axles keep Giant’s P-X2 Disc wheelset running true. The 25mm wide and tall aluminium rims are tubeless, spin on Giant’s own hubs, and come fitted with 33mm Maxxis All Terrane tyres. As is common with modern Giants, mine arrived set up tubeless, a service any Giant dealer will offer.
The tyres have a fairly aggressive open block pattern, which will cope pretty well in the very worst mud, but with the downside that they’re a little too grippy for hardpack, grass or soft ground, and do buzz on tarmac. They measure 33mm inflated, but being tubeless allows you to maximise grip with lower pressures.
The rotational weight saving from the tubeless setup, plus good overall system weight gives the TCX impressive acceleration. There’s no hint of flex from the front end when heaving on it to power out of corners, and maximal thrusts on the pedals result in excellent rear wheel reactions.
Running a little less pressure increases traction and grip too, with inevitably greater all-round speed. Climbing technical rocky and rooty tracks, the TCX makes picking a line and maintaining balance easy, and descending at speed holds no fear either. Great poise and weight distribution means rut hopping and obstacle jumping is almost telepathic.
SRAM’s Rival 1 groupset is fitted without deviation, and the 40-tooth chainring with 11-36 cassette is sufficient for any cyclocross course, or exploratory ride. There are 140mm rotors front and rear, something that’s less common, but they’re quite adequate for ’cross use, where speeds are slower, and heat is never an issue.
The TCX is a bike that you’ll just want to ride further. With no vices, enormously accessible performance, and a great specification, it’s hard to beat on the high street, or on a ’cross course.