Cyclocross is one of the coolest sports, letting you race over all kinds of terrain – from gravel to smooth pavement to rough dirt trails. You can even handle some decent singletrack on a good CX bike; while you may not be cutting up any real Black Diamond trails, they can take a bit of punishment. (Though keep in mind you are more likely to ruin your tires and rims before ruining the bike itself). And then when you just want to cover some long distances at quick speeds, your cyclocross bike will adapt perfectly to the road. And so what do you reach for when you’d like a sweet CX bike without the high price tag? The TCX SLR 2 from Giant Bikes.
The TCX SLR 2 features an ALUXX SLR aluminum frame, made from Giant’s own proprietary alloy. The frame also features 20% thinner butted tubing to cut down on weight even more. In fact, all of the tubing is cyclocross-specific, with a flattened and smoothed toptube for easy shouldering. They’ve combined this with a D-shaped composite seatpost that dampens and absorbs vibrations – which are plenty on a CX bike. The fork is “advanced-grade composite” with an alloy/composite OverDrive steerer, with oversized headset bearings and a tapered steerer tube.
The drivetrain is a Shimano 11-speed, and the disc brakes are Giant Conduct Hydraulics. Pair that with Giant SX-2 Disc wheelsets and Schwalbe Super Swan tires, and you’ve got a bike equal parts speed-demon and off-road ready.
Seeing as how MSRP is just over $1400, this is a quite-affordable option for a CX bike. The gear range is a bit limited on both the top and bottom, but that shouldn’t be a major problem for beginners, or those on a budget. Like a lot of Giant bikes, the overall value and bang for your buck you get with this bike is unbeatable, and it will last you years to come. A great option for a beginner who is new to cyclocross, or someone who wants a road bike that can handle some off-road riding without wrecking, as well.