The news is in for the ’10 model year for road bikes from Taiwanese bicycling manufacturer Giant. There are significant rebates to be had if you buy these directly in Taiwan. This is even more valid for the top end specced TCR Advanced SL 1 and SL2¹, which will have lower prices than last year. All in all, there aren’t too many changes. Apparently Giant operates on a three-year product cycle, so there should be new frames in 2011. Giant will feature new components, new paint jobs and higher specs for some models.
The TCR Advanced SL range stays pretty much the same. There are some name changes. The top of the line SL 0 is the one that comes equipped with Di2, Shimano’s electronic Dura Ace component. This is what has been reported in the British press, though I see a different nomenclature on the Taiwanese website. I expect it to retail for $13,000. If bought in Taiwan, you can get about 35% off. This is true for most models above $3,000.
There are new paint schemes and new components, including Giant’s own Connect and Contact handlebars and stems. There is more attention to detail and decals, which is nice. The models also come with color-matched components, which is kind of neat. SL 3 comes with the new Ultegra 6700. This means that the SL1 should be SRAM Red. While looking through the press shots, I find the handlebars a bit ugly. They are shaped strangely or not well adjusted. Anyway, you’re better off putting on your favorite handlebars than sticking to stock stuff.
The SRAM Red equipped bike weighs 6.5kg (14.3 lbs). The Taiwan website has been updated with the new models. If ’09 SL 0s drop to about $3,000 in Taiwan, that would be sweet. For the past year, you could get it for about $4,800. Between the model years, there is a $600 difference. This is due to the fact that the Advanced SL frame have dropped in price for the ’10 model year. The SRAM Red and Dura Ace equipped SLs should be about $1,000 lower. This in turn, makes sure that the ’09 $4,800 SL 0 will have to be significantly lower to be sold. Bike shops will be looking to get rid of their older stock to make place for the ’10 machines, which are slowly trickling into the shops as we speak. Still, a second-hand Kuota KOM with 105 or Ultegra at $2,000 is hard to beat. That would let me look at a Pinarello Prince or another premium frame as my race bike.
Giant will include the Omnium track frameset in their line of bikes. The aim was to create the stiffest and most aerodynamic frame possible. They weren’t too worried about weight as they had to stick to UCI limits. It’s an all-aluminum machine with no internal cable routing and thin walls, including an elongated downtube. It will retail for about $900.
As announced previously, the Trinity is the new time trial bike from Giant. It comes in a few different varieties, including Advanced SL carbon models. There is also an aluminum model that’s quite affordable for about $2,300. Top of the line Trinity Advanced SL 0 comes equipped with Di2 and costs $14,500.
Giant has announced the Rapid, which is a flat barred road bike. It looks like a re-badged FCR. The FCR is also available in carbon fiber and is known as the FCR Advanced, though it’s not sold in all market sectors. I’ve read that the Rapid will replace the FCR models.² There’s also a women specific model of this bike called the Dash.
To me, the Giant FCR Advanced is a good contender as an ultimate commuting bike. Extremely light and agile, with road slicks and a relaxed position so that you can see oncoming traffic. I’ve seen the FCR Advanced models retailing up to $1,800 for the top model. With rebates, this would cost around $1,500 locally. It weighs about 7.8kg (17 lbs). Personally, if I would build myself a bike like this, I’d integrate top of the line mountain bike components, like disc brakes and SRAM XX shifters. That would make it a bit more of a hybrid bike. Then again, Giant does make the City Speed, which has some of those features as well as integrated lights. That being said, it’s just easier to slap on a flat bar onto a road bike and get something similar.
I do agree that flat bars are safer in city traffic. Road bars are more comfortable on long rides where you can put your head down and just pedal.
Giant will also produce 3 fixed gear models. The Bowery ’72, the FMX, and the women’s Chixie. It was predictable that Giant would do something like this. The FMX is for doing tricks while the Chixie is made specifically for women. Personally, I like the Omnium frame. It would be pretty cool to mount that one up as an outdoor fixed gear bike. The MSRP for the Omnium frame is about $900, so I’d expect to pay something like $7-800 for the frame here.
[¹] The ’10 SL 1 and SL2 are the ’09 SL 0 and Team issue. It looks like the top spot goes to the Shimano Dura Ace Di2 ultra-bike as the new SL 0, followed by the SRAM Red Sl 1 and a Dura Ace SL 2. SL 3 comes equipped with Shimano Ultegra.
[²] The Rapid is the name for the FCR, which has been sold for a few years in Asian and UK markets.
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