REVIEW: 2014 Giant TCX SLR 2

I’m not a big fan of publishing content that’s already done the rounds unless it’s truly ground breaking so coming up with my own content isn’t always as easy as it sounds.  I’d much rather you read something moderately descent then regurgitated stuff.


I’d contemplated for a while delving into the world of Cycle Cross but getting rid of my commuter wasn’t the most practical plan given it was my most ‘used and abused’ bicycle. My original Kinesis Racelight TK3 served it’s purpose but with the frame being slightly too small and the braking not always reliable I decided it was wise to switching to a cross bike.

Mudguards were a difficult thing to decide on. The TCX SLR 2 has have eyelit holes for mudguards but the practicality of fitting these is almost none existent given there isn’t a rear brake bridge. The Kinesis have similar issues but given the frame has been out longer there were ways that had already been discovered – the TCX was a new model and thus didn’t have a great guide in how to fit them. In order mudguards to the TCX it would mean fitting a rear rack, using extension bolts in order to mount over the disc brakes – a pretty laborious difficult job, so I’d already decided that I could live without them. When it rains you get wet, no waterproofs or mudguards will prevent this, they might slow the process down but thats about it.

Group rides would be out of the question due to this none mudguard decision but again, in the winter I wasn’t 100% fussed about this.


I was split between the Kinesis Crosslight Pro6 and the new Giant TCX SLR 2. Having had a go on Tom Hill’s it was my first choice and boasted a slightly better spec with all the same offerings of the TCX.  My budget wasn’t great though, after selling my Racelight I’d made £600, the Giant at £999 and the Crosslight at £1399 I couldn’t stretch to the Kinesis given I still needed to find £400 at the least.

In the first instance this wasn’t a big deal, as mentioned the specs were more or less the same with a few ‘upgrades’ to split them apart.

I wanted this bike to race, to commute, to plod from A to B and generally be a reliable work horse under all conditions so the upgrades the Kinesis offered weren’t really necessary.

The ride

In terms of versatility this bike covers it all. The geometry is more focused from a race perspective but that’s not hindered long rides or commuting. It begs to be ridden hard and fast the majority of the time which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

Riding through winter conditions with disc brakes was a clear advantage – stopping was much more prompt and reliable then past calliper brakes. This wasn’t a complete advantage though unfortunately.
Disc brakes are incredibly difficult to align and just about every time I removed the wheel for cleaning the alignment would be different when putting the wheels back on the bike just because of where the skewer may clamp too. Amending this problem was frustrating and time consuming, something that’s put me off disc brakes.


The over all ride was great, the company marketing refers to “asymmetrical chainstays for pedalling stiffness…” which I’ve not noticed a whole load of benefit from but it looks neat and in fairness it is stiff and responsive as mentioned in the text.


The carbon seat post is a little more flexible then I’d like… Jumping on ‘cross style’ provides a slightly worrying concern in regards to the bend it gives, probably part of the design to soften the impact but it doesn’t leave me with an over whelming sense of trust especially when Giant send an extra seat clamp in case the other brakes. To date it hasn’t broken so maybe the flex is all part of the parcel and in fact I just need to loose some ass weight.

This bike loves to be raced, after only having the bike for 2 weeks I raced the Morvelo Citycross at the Halifax Piece Hall and had such a world of fun. I was nervous as I wasn’t overly confident with cornering  let alone dismounts/mounting so it was a bit of a learning curve. The bikes performance under race conditions was incredible, it felt comfortable and reliable when pushing speed into corners etc which given it was my first race was a huge confidence boost knowing I could trust the capabilities of the bike.


The setup

The bike came with a 105 group set, FSA cross cranks and generic low end Giant saddle, stem and bars – I’m a SRAM man so I ended up switching the group set with a friend.

Pretty good setup for a £999 bicycle however one of the major disappointment would be the wheel set, in particular the hubs.
I’m not exactly sure why Giant decided to add none sealed bearings on a CX bike? In my mind it’s completely ridiculous given the use of this bike would predominantly be in muddy wet conditions. My first road bike had ‘factory branded’ Cinelli wheels, sealed, and were ridden into the ground for 2 years without any issues!

Within 6 months I noticed resistance on the back wheel, the bearings were totally destroyed. understandably I knew I’d ridden it pretty solid through winter so maybe it wass just a one off? I got them replaced and went on my way.  10 months later and I’m faced with the same problem.
I can understand compromises may have to take place on a bike under £1000 but of all things why the wheels?!

The internal cabling is pretty good however replacing these isn’t as easy as first thought – I’m told it’s never a straight forward job with any kind of inter cable routing though so this is just one of those ‘pros and cons’.



Conclusive conclusion

For under £1000 you can’t really go wrong with this bike. It’s a great all rounder which will adapt to what ever ridding you choose to take on, gravel paths, forests, cross riding or commuting this thing will easily with stand anything thrown at it.

Brilliant all rounder, very versatile, stiff and responsive. Price is great given what you get.

The none sealed hubs are a real let down and will cause problems further down the line.

Check out Giant for further information and specs or better still, head to your local bike shop and get some advice from the folk that know best!