Giant TCR year 1999

After I wrecked the Mongoose road bike I needed a new frame and fork to replace the wrecked one. I was able to get a Giant frame from Revolutions cycles in Georgetown for pretty cheap.
I didn't know if I should get the medium or the large. The Giant bikes were one of the first to use the compact geometry. I ended up getting the medium and found out that the bike was too small. I had a 140mm stem on it and it still didn't feel right. I had the components from the Mongoose, so the bike was full Dura-Ace 9speed, with a Thomson post. I had the bike for a month enough for me to have built it up with red cables and red bar tape. The bike ended up looking pretty sweet.
The interesting thing was that the frame I got was only offered in Europe as a complete bike, but in the state you could get the frame.


T. Blom said...

The TCR Team version (which I also owned) had even steeper geometry than earlier TCR models. With the wrong - cheap training - tyres the bike felt seriously unstable on descents. You could also feel movement around the head set. Seriously light (about 1100 grams) but too radical for casual riding

David said...

Yes, this was not a bike for piddling about, and it was radical – in the sense that the 1999 TCR was one of the few production bikes available in North America to offer the same geometry as pro race bikes – most notably with BB height, which for most bikes sold in the USA at the time, even high-end 'racing' bikes, was typically quite high. There was speculation that the high BBs on North American bikes were the manufacturers way of helping riders avoid pedal-road contact on corners and therefore avoiding potential crash liability lawsuits in the litigious USA.

Oft overlooked with this design innovation was the inclusion of an aero fork. Going back to his Lotus design, Burrows had claimed that the greatest aero improvement came from redesigning the fork. While not as radical as the Lotus' single-bladed fork, the front end of the Giant bike was obviously given some serious thought.

For the first model year, the chainstays on the TCR were very short, with the seat tube pressed in to provide absolutely minimal clearance for a 23 mm tire. By the second model year the chainstays were lengthened a bit – perhaps that aspect was a bit too radical for some people. I have a suspicion that the shortness of the chainstays caused some minor issues with the drivetrain. The other early, major design rethink was adding XL to the original size range of S, M, and L.

The Mike Burrows aero wheels (not available in the USA, I believe, but stock on the TCR in other countries) were very fast in the aero sense, but also the front wheel was very flexible and, apart from use in TTs, not a great pleasure to ride. Put a great set of wheels on this bike and it was a dream to ride.

Upon introduction of the new design, as a selling point, Giant and ONCE were vocal about the team bikes being the same design and build as consumer bikes. This predated by years the current UCI regulation that team bikes be commercially available.

Mike Burrows rewrote the book on road bike design with this machine. Giant and ONCE had the guts to embrace his ideas, and Giant (perhaps having a hunch about the upcoming UCI Articles 1.3.006 to 1.3.010) were far ahead of the pack in offering true racing bikes to the mass market.