2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

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Defy The Odds
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2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Defy The Odds » Tue May 08, 2018 4:54 pm

So in my previous post I considered maybe a Propel Advanced 2 but given the issues I had read on the brakes I didnt want to spend another few hundred on a Fouriers upgrade.

So I came across a 2018 TCR Advanced 3 :

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/au/tcr-advanced-3

Now I have found a few shops have them in stock for $1,599 which seems like a great price to me.

For reference, I currently ride a 2013 Defy Comp 2 with 10 speed SRAM Apex, Vittoria Corsa's and Fulcrum Racing Quattro's:

Image

Now, the Defy in my size in those years were not too different to a TCR. I've had the stem slammed, seat raised and pushed all the way forward and stem on a negative. Rides quite good and is compliant but I am thinking the new frame TCR is nice and this price seems good.

Is it a good price for the TCR, but also, is it worth me buying considering my bike which also has 10 speed?

I was thinking of buying as the frame gets great reviews and is a good base for upgrading later on with a better groupset and wheels.

Or do I spend the money on my bike (upgrade wheels, maybe groupset and cabling, maybe a respray)??

Would love to hear thoughts.

Thank you in advance!


Edit: forgot to mention I would be upgrading cassette, RD and chain to suit 32T cassette as I like climbs

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Tue May 08, 2018 7:10 pm

I think the only way you'll be able to make a valid decision is to ride a TCR in the spec that you're considering. I'm a big fan of the Defy series though, I think they can be lots of things to lots of riders from training bike to super-speedy commuter to entry-level racer (with some mods).
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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby nickdos » Tue May 08, 2018 8:43 pm

I think the TCR Advanced 3 is a great bike for the price but I'm not sure its much of an upgrade from your current bike. You mentioned climbing and weight does make a difference there, but I'd guess the TCR is within 500g of you current bike's weight - weigh them side by side if you can. The Giant wheels are probably not as good as the Fulcrums (but you can swap them over) and you're only getting 10 speed drive train, which leaves the frame. I'd upgrade if your current bike is holding you back due to geometry or fit. If you had a bike fit the fitter said you need a longer/bigger frame then that would justify it. But if you just got the equivalent sized frame TCR to your current bike I think you'd find that after a few rides the new bike would be no faster or better than your old bike. If you just want a new bike, then go ahead but don't expect a wow improvement in your cycling as a result.

As for upgrading your current bike, I'd only do this for worn-out components, not for any performance benefit. Just ride your bike more and think about your equipment less. Save your money for a decent mid-level bike that will drop >1kg of weight off.

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Duck! » Tue May 08, 2018 9:16 pm

The biggest geometric difference - as noted elsewhere - is that the TCR has a shorter rear end (and correspondingly shorter overall wheelbase) than the Defy, which will translate to sharper, more nimble handling. (In larger sizes there are differences in top tube and head tube lengths, with the TCR being longer & lower, but at the smallest end of the range the cockpits are virtually identical).

The other differences are more subtle. Anything labelled "Advanced" uses a different grade of carbon in the layup, which is stronger and stiffer than the carbon used in "Composite" level frames (all "carbon fibre" frames & components are by technical definition composites, various terms are used to distinguish between different fibres used in the composites), so they can use less of it to achieve the same, or even greater overall strength, for less weight for a given sized frame. In addition to the higher-grade fibre, the layup and tube profiles are different, which are designed to make the TCR frame stiffer under power, so it's more responsive, but you'll feel a bit more road feedback.

On a component level, the Tiagra stuff is pretty well equivalent to the Apex gear on your current bike, so basically a sideways step, neither an upgrade nor a downgrade. It WILL fit a 32T cassette out of the box, no ifs, buts or maybes 'cos it's designed from the start to fit a 34 and a triple. Plus the derailleurs are 11-sp.-compatible, so if down the track you want to upgrade, you can just throw new shifters, chain & cassette at it & away you go, the stock wheels are 11-sp. compatible (you can also do the same with your Apex gear on the Defy).
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Defy The Odds » Tue May 08, 2018 10:54 pm

Duck! wrote:The biggest geometric difference - as noted elsewhere - is that the TCR has a shorter rear end (and correspondingly shorter overall wheelbase) than the Defy, which will translate to sharper, more nimble handling. (In larger sizes there are differences in top tube and head tube lengths, with the TCR being longer & lower, but at the smallest end of the range the cockpits are virtually identical).

The other differences are more subtle. Anything labelled "Advanced" uses a different grade of carbon in the layup, which is stronger and stiffer than the carbon used in "Composite" level frames (all "carbon fibre" frames & components are by technical definition composites, various terms are used to distinguish between different fibres used in the composites), so they can use less of it to achieve the same, or even greater overall strength, for less weight for a given sized frame. In addition to the higher-grade fibre, the layup and tube profiles are different, which are designed to make the TCR frame stiffer under power, so it's more responsive, but you'll feel a bit more road feedback.

On a component level, the Tiagra stuff is pretty well equivalent to the Apex gear on your current bike, so basically a sideways step, neither an upgrade nor a downgrade. It WILL fit a 32T cassette out of the box, no ifs, buts or maybes 'cos it's designed from the start to fit a 34 and a triple. Plus the derailleurs are 11-sp.-compatible, so if down the track you want to upgrade, you can just throw new shifters, chain & cassette at it & away you go, the stock wheels are 11-sp. compatible (you can also do the same with your Apex gear on the Defy).


Duck, thanks for that info mate.

What you said about the frame is spot on. And my thinking was the TCR Advanced frame is a better frame to upgrade down the track hence considering the TCR.

I spoke to the shop regarding a 32 cassette and they said it can be done but I'd need a new cassette, RD and chain which is fine.

Just want something upgrade worthy, and not sure if ita worth spending money on my current Defy.

It's very compliant but heavy for what it is.

Will give the TCR a ride on the weekend and see whether or not it gives me enough of a reason to purcbase it.

$1500 on a sideways step is not cool but then again the only difference between the Advanced and Advanced Pro are carbon steerer and wheels.... the frame is identical until the SL models


Edit: forgot to mention the TCR comes tubeless out of the box so the lower pressures should relieve some of the road buzz and make it more comfortable being able to run lower pressures

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Defy The Odds » Tue May 08, 2018 11:07 pm

For some reason I didnt see the responses from 10speedsemiracer and nickdos. Thanks for the feedback!

The frame is the main reason I am considering the change. My Defy is a good bike and recently completed the Great Ocean and Otway Classic on it. I've had a pro fit done it so it fits like a glove but I always thought a newer TCR would be great as a base that I could upgrade over time and enjoy with better componentry and wheels down the track.

I know the bike wont make me faster much if any at all, but it was the lure of a stiffer and lighter frame that got me.

I will be taking my bike in to ride them back to back to get a feel for the differences and weigh them. It will be interesting but I know one thing for sure, I DO NOT want to have buyers remorse

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Duck! » Wed May 09, 2018 8:57 am

Defy The Odds wrote:
Duck! wrote: Tiagra stuff .... WILL fit a 32T cassette out of the box, no ifs, buts or maybes 'cos it's designed from the start to fit a 34 and a triple. .



I spoke to the shop regarding a 32 cassette and they said it can be done but I'd need a new cassette, RD and chain which is fine.

Added emphasis. You DO NOT need to change the derailleur unles you want to fit a triple as well. :-)
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Defy The Odds » Wed May 09, 2018 9:49 am

Duck! wrote:
Defy The Odds wrote:
Duck! wrote: Tiagra stuff .... WILL fit a 32T cassette out of the box, no ifs, buts or maybes 'cos it's designed from the start to fit a 34 and a triple. .



I spoke to the shop regarding a 32 cassette and they said it can be done but I'd need a new cassette, RD and chain which is fine.

Added emphasis. You DO NOT need to change the derailleur unles you want to fit a triple as well. :-)



Ahuh ! Ok got it.

When I spoke with the shop (A decent size Giant retailer) they told me the derailleur, cassette and chain needed to be changed.

Might have to have a word with them

With my SRAM Apex I believe I need the mid cage (wifli) derailleur to accept a 32t cassette .. ?

Thanks for your help Duck !

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Duck! » Wed May 09, 2018 10:14 am

The official specs (which do have a bit of fudge factor tolerance) fot 4700 Tiagra state max sprocket for the shortie is 32T with double, and for the long version 34T with double or 32T with triple. The derailleur body geometry meand the shortie will also fit the 34T, but chainring selection will push its chain length limits.

Sram at any level needs a longer WiFli derailleur to fit larger than 28T, because it's not just the cage length, the main body is longer to give the necessary clearance.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Mububban » Wed May 09, 2018 1:29 pm

Defy The Odds wrote:So I came across a 2018 TCR Advanced 3 :

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/au/tcr-advanced-3

Now I have found a few shops have them in stock for $1,599 which seems like a great price to me.

For reference, I currently ride a 2013 Defy Comp 2 with 10 speed SRAM Apex, Vittoria Corsa's and Fulcrum Racing Quattro's:

Image



I may have missed it - are you going to put your Fulcrum wheels on the TCR if you get it? I saw it has the SR-2 wheels (sport) rather than the better PR-2 (performance) wheels.
It'd be a shame to buy the upgraded frame but be let down by inferior wheels than what you're already on. I only mention it because of my recent revelatory wheel upgrade experience, going from PR-2 disc to the Prime wheels :)
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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Defy The Odds » Wed May 09, 2018 8:13 pm

Mububban wrote:
Defy The Odds wrote:So I came across a 2018 TCR Advanced 3 :

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/au/tcr-advanced-3

Now I have found a few shops have them in stock for $1,599 which seems like a great price to me.

For reference, I currently ride a 2013 Defy Comp 2 with 10 speed SRAM Apex, Vittoria Corsa's and Fulcrum Racing Quattro's:

Image



I may have missed it - are you going to put your Fulcrum wheels on the TCR if you get it? I saw it has the SR-2 wheels (sport) rather than the better PR-2 (performance) wheels.
It'd be a shame to buy the upgraded frame but be let down by inferior wheels than what you're already on. I only mention it because of my recent revelatory wheel upgrade experience, going from PR-2 disc to the Prime wheels :)


Hey mate !
I was actually looking to either buy a 2nd hand set of the Giant carbon wheels (as per the Advanced Pro) or the same Prime wheels as yours.

I was either going to trade in the Defy or keep it as a winter bike and build up the TCR for group rides/fair weather rides so I was going to leave the wheels on the Defy

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby lone rider » Wed May 09, 2018 9:36 pm

If there is nothing wrong with your current frame this seems like a waste of money to me. There isnt enough difference between these frames that you will notice a difference. You will certainly notice a better groupset, I'd just keep riding what you have and buy something that is a significant upgrade without swapping out parts, especially if you are paying a shop to do the work.

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Defy The Odds » Wed May 09, 2018 11:00 pm

lone rider wrote:If there is nothing wrong with your current frame this seems like a waste of money to me. There isnt enough difference between these frames that you will notice a difference. You will certainly notice a better groupset, I'd just keep riding what you have and buy something that is a significant upgrade without swapping out parts, especially if you are paying a shop to do the work.


This seems to be the general consensus here.

In all honesty I'll probably never buy a Defy SL or similar because I cant see myself spending $5k+ on a bike anytime in the near future.

However upgrading a bike bit by bit over time is more feasible even if it is more expensive in my circumstances. This is the reason I was looking at a current model Defy/TCR frame and upgrading componentry over time.

The price seemed really good at $1,600 but I am now thinking a set of carbon clinchers, latex tubes for my Vittoria Corsa's and new shifter/brake cables may make the bike feel (and look) crisp again.

The frame itself is fine. The Composite models of the Defy/TCR definately tuned more for compliance than stiffness but I'm not a racer.

Might give the TCR a miss and upgrade above parts for now

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Wed May 09, 2018 11:40 pm

Defy The Odds wrote:.....

Might give the TCR a miss and upgrade above parts for now


With the $s previously allocated for the upgrade, you could go nuts on the Defy, maybe even upgrade the wheelset even further with some customs while doing the drivetrain.

Plus, it saves you having to change your username...
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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Defy The Odds » Thu May 10, 2018 8:10 pm

10speedsemiracer wrote:
Defy The Odds wrote:.....

Might give the TCR a miss and upgrade above parts for now


With the $s previously allocated for the upgrade, you could go nuts on the Defy, maybe even upgrade the wheelset even further with some customs while doing the drivetrain.

Plus, it saves you having to change your username...


To be honest the 10 speed SRAM groupset is actually decent just want to put new cables on, gives the bakes a good clean and lube the pivots and that's it for the drivetrain.

Now I'm wondering if I bother going carbon Prime wheels from wiggle or just keep the Fulcrum Quattro's

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Belly68 » Fri May 11, 2018 8:52 am

I have a 14 defy advanced and had bike envy up to the 18 tcr advanced disc. The $$$$ involved stopped me and now I am keeping the defy and just going to ride it till it drops. Yes, I will do little upgrades here and there but nothing major. I am no racer, just an old bloke that rides so the upgrade besides from being very nice, in reality is a waste of $$$$. You have a nice bike, enjoy and just do little upgrades as time goes on!! See u on Beach Rd some time!

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Jmuzz » Fri May 11, 2018 4:54 pm

Just be aware that Advanced is now just the base carbon in the roadbike line, despite Advanced making it sound special it's just marketing.
They also have an alloy tube in the fork steerer.

Next is Advanced Pro. Which is full carbon fork (apparently not interchangeable so can't upgrade a base Advanceds fork) which is where its weight savings come from.
Also some pointless gimmick cadence sensor which is only $13 value or useless if you have powermeter.

And then Advanced SL. Which is best mass produced carbon tech all round and the integrated seatpost.
It's a class (and price) far above the other two, really a whole different bike.

And of course the wheels and groupset improve with price and the numeric versions in each frameset.

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Re: 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 3 - Upgrade or Not ?

Postby Duck! » Fri May 11, 2018 7:44 pm

Jmuzz wrote:Just be aware that Advanced is now just the base carbon in the roadbike line, despite Advanced making it sound special it's just marketing.
They also have an alloy tube in the fork steerer.
It's still the same mid-level grade of carbon fibre that has been used in all "Advanced" (including Pro) labelled models since 2009, and "Composite" up to '08 (they shuffled the tags around with the '09 model update for some unknown reason). Post-'09 "Composite" models are a slightly lower grade of carbon fibre, which drops in & out of the product range from time to time. Prior to '09 the Advanced tag was used on the top frames, which actually had a higher-grade carbon than the Advanced SL frames that replaced them.

Next is Advanced Pro. Which is full carbon fork (apparently not interchangeable so can't upgrade a base Advanceds fork) which is where its weight savings come from.
The Pro models use exactly the same frames as the Advanced. The forks differ, but ARE interchangeable, but require a new headset, spacers & stem to suit the larger-diameter steerer tube (although many of Giant's stems are two-way compatible, with a sleeve to take them down to 1 1/8").
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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