Think you're a hardman? A regular tough guy? More rugged than the average bear?
Well, after you read this, you'll probably be shamed into taking a sip of your Shirley Temple, sitting down and shutting yer piehole, Alice.
Giant has a funny rep. In a world where the latest & greatest bike is always Eye-Tie or Swiss, covered in gold leaf, fronting a twisty fork or sporting an ostentatious German engineering team taking time off from designing the Euro Joint Fighter, Giant just plugs along. They quietly make very good bikes that sell at one to two price points below the "domestic" U.S. competition, and roughly 5 or 6 price points below the Euro competition. A basic Giant TCR is comparable to a C-Dale System 6 or the Specialized Tarmac, and costs roughly $1000 and $500 less than comparably equipped models, respectively. Comparable mid-range Italian bikes often sell for around $5500. Meanwhile, the little factory that could in Taiwan actually makes tubing and frames for a lot of other carbon bike manufacturers, including making some mid range Colnagos. It actually isn't a little bike company, it's ubiquitous. Yep, the decals and the cosmetic layer of carbon on the top are Italian, but the rest of it? Straight up Giant. But can a brother get some recognition? Not really. Where's the love? Not here.
Apparently, Giant is aware of its reputation and looking to elbow its way into the front ranks of cycling's image elite. They are doing it in typical Giant fashion though, not with improved, bold new graphics and hype-y-er marketing but trying to offer a better bike than anybody else. Here's their new radical design (and apparently UCI-legal) TT bike that Rabobank and Team High Road are riding:
All Your TT Bike Are Belong to Us
I'm not sure how I feel about the bike's aesthetics. Obviously, performance (the noun, not the bike shop) is king, and everything on this bike is subordinated to it, with some horrid looking (but apparently very functional) design aspects on the front end.
There's a gap between the wheel and the fork crown because that proved more aero in testing (Kewl!), the brakes are behind the fork crown because that too is more aero (Wicked Kewl!!) and the stem... uh... somebody's Heathkit computer ate the stem.
I'm not too keen on the look, other than the slick brake setup, but it's good to see Giant dabbling in this kind of thing. Like Honda, another solid and quiet but unspectacular Asian manufacturing titan, Giant doesn't get a whole lot of props for just doing its job very well and very quietly. Like Honda, its high tech racing ventures may win it some love. Maybe this goofy looking (and apparently very fast) TT bike will get them a little bit of nice-feeling glamour.
Dude! Where's my Stem?
Then again, maybe it will just get them banned from UCI competitions or give Pat McQuaid a heart attack. Hard to say.
Check out the new Mavic R-Sys wheel. New and improved - with 50% less random mid-ride disintegration!
In fairness to Mavic, they recalled the earlier versions and are replacing them.
In fairness to the rest of us, they really, really shouldn't have sold the public a wheel that is subject to sudden catastrophic failure. You put out a new flagship product and the pictures start coming back from the ProTour of all these blown apart wheels... It's not like a 150 pound rider is the toughest use your flagship wheelset is going to get. Didn't they test these things before they went on the market? I mean, damn. The failure of the original version of the R-Sys is going to stick with Mavic for a long time. You can't unring a bell.
H/t to Velo News for the photos.
His superpowers are hitchhiking, photo bombing, and picking extra large boogers out of extra large noses.