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Team Giant-Shimano Giant Propel Advance SL0 2014

Team Giant-Shimano Giant Propel Advance SL0 2014

Team Giant-Shimano Giant Propel Advance SL0 2014
Pieter Van Pietersen

Team Giant-Shimano is using a Giant TCR Advanced SL/ Propel frame, Shimano C50 Tubular wheels, Dura-Ace Di2 components. Some riders are using SRM Dura-Ace 9000 power meters and some race without them.

Some bikes are using the TRP CX8.4 brakes, but most are running on Fouriers DX005 as they feel more solid and are easier to work with mechanically.

Marcel Kittel has already been winning on these bikes - styled after killer whales?

The bike components used by Team Giant-Shimano are listed below.

Propel Advance SL0 2014

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Giant Propel Advance SL0 2014 Complete Bike

Another bike I'd be happy to buy and race. Not many frames are more aero than the Propel. It performs better in the wind tunnel than the Specialized Venge.

The frame is a little heavy compared to the competition at 1570g frame and forks. A few hundred grams isn't going to be noticeable.

I've owned Giant bikes from the early days, and can confirm that they are reliable and stable. (The early ones were a bit skittish on descents).

Propel Advanced SL0 with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 is $10,000

Weight: 6900g

RRP in USD: $12400 with Zipp 404 wheels and Dura-Ace Di2

Dura-Ace 9000

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SRM Dura-Ace 9000 Power meter

This is the first power meter brand, from around 1986. As a result, the design appears to be the most mature and reliable. Strain gauges in the crank measure the force, and this data is sent wirelessly to the head unit.

These power meters seem to work reliably for years. Worst case is to replace the electronics, which SRM service can do (cost about $600). SRM service also need to replace the batteries for you, which is expensive and inconvenient (about $100 + calibration). When the battery is replaced, the zero offset needs to be adjusted, but you will need an oscilloscope to get the correct settings. It's not as easy as pushing a button.

SRMs are high quality and robust, which is why people love them.

SRM adds the most weight to your bike compared to other power meters: 208g over a normal Dura-Ace crank.

Pros: reliable, accurate, easy to swap between bikes. The most bling power meter to have on your bike.

Cons: Expensive, heaviest power meter, doesn't auto-calibrate due to temperature, doesn't do L-R, unit has to be sent for expensive battery replacement, no GPS in the head unit (although this is coming with the PowerControl 8, summer 2014 or pair it with a Garmin). Software is free but adequate. Better to buy WKO+

Weight: 858g

RRP in USD: $3500

Dura-Ace SRM 9000(crank only, 172.5 compact) $3295

Dura-Ace C50 tubular WH-9000

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Shimano Dura-Ace C50 tubular WH-9000 Wheels

Another piece of advice you'll ignore: don't bother with tubs. They won't sing along like you've read. They won't make you go faster. They are a pain, as gluing is messy and time consuming. You need a stash of tubs in the garage, maturing like fine wines. At $100 a tub, punctures are expensive.

While the pros have a couple of guys with strong thumbs who can glue all the tubs for them, you are better off with clinchers.

At this point I could recommend the C50 clincher version, saving you $900. BUT the C50 clincher is closer to 1900g (claimed 1672g), which you will feel when racing. As you accelerate out of corners, your bike will feel like it is mounted on a couple of massive gyros.

Go with the Shimano C24, or if you want deep section carbon, fork out for the ENVEs and Zipps of this world. My article about aero wheels here.

If you must get deep carbon tubs, then set pair will serve you very well.

Weight: 1396 g claimed, 1,460g actual (pair)

RRP in USD: $2700

You can buy the C50 tubular wheels for $2500 here or for $2145 at Wiggle. Watch out for fakes, there seem to be a lot of them for sale.

The C50 clincher wheel has an aluminium rim and sells for $1450. However these wheels don't offer much aerodynamic advantage to the C24 and are heavier and cost more, so the C24 at $916 or $798 at Wiggle gets my recommendation for everyday use.

Propel Advanced SL

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Giant Propel Advanced SL Frame and forks

Giant bikes are not renowned for their lightness, but since we are talking about a few grams here and there, it makes no difference. The Cannondale SuperSix is touted as 700g, but do remember that the Giant frame includes a seatpost (Add 160g for the aluminium clamp). It will still be about 300g heavier than a Cannondale.

The ride quality and durability is excellent.

The Propel also scores well in the wind tunnel.

Weight: frame alone 1216g (Large), forks 412g (950g claimed for frame)

RRP in USD: $-

Dura-Ace Di2 ST-9070 - 11 Speed

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Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-9070 - 11 Speed Levers

I'm glad to report that the Dura-Ace and Ultegra Di2 levers are interchangable.
The Ultegra levers look just as good, and are 76g heavier for the pair, but you will save about $350 (half price).

Both levers use the E-tube wiring system. You need to ensure that all firmware is up-to-date to get everything to work together properly. To do this you will either need to:

1) Take it to your local bike shop to upgrade.

2) Buy an internal BCR2 seatpost Di2 battery. The charger doubles as a PC connector so you can use e-Tube software at home. The charger and battery costs about $250.

3) Buy a PCE1 PC Interface Device for about $250.
This plugs into a laptop USB port and a lever port.
You then update using e-Tube software.

Shimano did think one thing to push you to upgrade. Part SW-7972 are little buttons that are mounted on the inside of your bars under the hoods, and allow you to bang it into the 11 sprocket without coming off the drops. You can't fit these to the Ultegra levers.

Overall, Dura-Ace or Ultegra, these are beautiful shifters which feel superb in your hands and of course brake and shift perfectly.

Weight: 237g pair

RRP in USD: $861 pair

The Shifter set (left and right shifters) sells for $699. The Ultegra ST-6870 Di2 STI Lever Set is $349

Dura-Ace Di2 RD-9070 - 11 Speed

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Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-9070 - 11 Speed Rear Derailleur

Like the front derailleur, this is a slick bit of kit. Faultless shifting yet again.

If you go with the Ultegra version, you'll have an extra 43g of bulbous motor popping out at you. Ugly.
I recommend the Dura-Ace version, although preferably as part of an entire bike as buying individual parts is expensive.

Weight: 217g

RRP in USD: $830

The Dura-Ace Di2 RD-9070 sells for $534.
The Di2 Ultegra RD-6870-GS Rear Derailleur at $280 is cheaper, but bulkier.

Powercontrol VII

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SRM Powercontrol VII Computer

Very expensive compared to a Garmin and no GPS capability until Mid 2014 when the Powercontrol 8 is released.

If you are using an SRM then this does look good. I find it difficult to remember what the buttons do.

Weight: 65g

RRP in USD: $750

These cost $750 pretty much everywhere. Hard to find a new one on discount. Perhaps when the PC VIII comes out the price will drop (Except you'll want a PC VIII).

Dura-Ace FC-9000 HollowTech II Double

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Shimano Dura-Ace FC-9000 HollowTech II Double Cranks

Shifting is impeccable, looks are fantastic, chain ring wear is excellent, it is stiff (they all are though). Its one weakness is the weight. 53g heavier than Campagnolo Super Record and 61g heavier than SRAM 22 Red.

Having said that, firstly it won't make any difference, and secondly, most riders will be using power meters. The SRM cranks come in at 858g for Dura-Ace 9000, which is a whopping 282g heavier than SRAM.

Weight: 637g 172.5mm crank arms

RRP in USD: $650

The Dura-Ace 9000 cranks sell for $453.50

Dura-Ace Di2 FD-9070 - 11 Speed

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Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-9070 - 11 Speed Front Derailleur

Well it has to be said, this is a pretty sexy derailleur. Shifting with Di2 is faultless. I sometimes find myself shifting up and down gears just for the fun of it. I like the little electric motor sound. I feel like a cyborg.

The Ultegra version is 162g, so 48g heavier, and has added bulk. But it is about half the price.

Let's face it, the Ultegra version shifts perfectly, and makes total sense. But the Dura-Ace version is the one you should get.

Weight: 114g

RRP in USD: $559

You can buy a Dura-Ace Di2 front derailleur for $350 here. You will certainly get the best deal by buying a whole bike with Di2 fitted, or getting a groupset.

Consider the Ultegra Di2 option for $211.


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PRO Vibe Handlebars

As used by Sky, Giant-Shimano, Orica, FDJ UCI pro teams.

Internal cable routing is a nice touch. Nice and fat all the way across the top.

Some riders prefer the stiffer PRO Vibe 7S which is the same shape but aluminium, although 95g heavier. The aluminium bars are a third of the price.

Weight: 200g for 40cm

RRP in USD: $400

Dura-Ace CS-9000

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Shimano Dura-Ace CS-9000 Cassette

Available in 11-23, 11-28, 12-28, 11-25 and 12-25t

The largest 4 sprockets are made from titanium to reduce weight.

These sprockets are mounted on a carbon spider. There have been reports of these spiders collapsing due to rider power. This may well have been resolved by Mar 2014.

The CS-9000 11-23 version is 1g heavier than the CS-7900 version but you get the bonus 11th sprocket. Apparently an additional sprocket makes your ride that little bit smoother. I don't notice anything.

I've not noticed if wear is any better between Dura-Ace and Ultegra. I tend to keep my chains clean and change them 3-4 time per year, so I get good sprocket wear on both types.

Weight: 163g 11-23

RRP in USD: $360

You'll need a new one of these at least every year, even if you keep your chain clean. The price of cassettes has really rocketed over the last 10 years. The CS-9000 sells for $208 (12-25T) or $201.23 here, which is a decent saving over retail price.

Look to the 6800 Ultegra 11-Speed Cassette, 11-28T at $80 for your training wheels. I've found that the Ultegra wears just as well and shifts just as well but is a few grams heavier.

Dura-Ace PD-9000

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Shimano Dura-Ace PD-9000 Pedals

An optional 4mm longer axle is available for the bow-legged among us. Jens Voight and Mark Cavendish both use wider axles. The pedal body is almost identical to the Ultegra version, but the bearings are superior.

The Ultegra version retails at about half the price and only 6g per pedal heavier. Since pedals end up getting scraped on kerbs and corners, it is difficult to justify the Dura-Ace over Ultegra. The bearings probably last a bit longer, although I've not had trouble with either.

Weight: 248g pair

RRP in USD: $348

The Shimano Dura-Ace PD-9000 Carbon Road Pedal sells for $210 or for $219 at JensonUSA or $201.23 at Wiggle. The Ultegra pedals sell for $143 or $121 at Wiggle


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Fouriers BR-DX002 Brakes

The Giant Propel comes with TRP V-Brakes as stock, but the team is currently running (Mar 2014) Fouriers V-brakes DX002 and DX005.

The TRP are difficult to adjust and as a result, easily rub on the rim, which won't help a time trial performance. For $100 you can sort that problem out by buying Fouriers, but it is annoying to have to do that when you've just bought a new frame.

The weight is similar to Dura-Ace direct mount calipers (307g), which work well, but are difficult to get stock in Apr 2014.

Note: To use direct mount brakes, you need a frame that has direct mount forks and stays. There are pegs built into the frame that the brakes fit on to.

Weight: 300g bike

RRP in USD: $102

PLT Alloy

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PRO PLT Alloy Stem

This aluminium stem from PRO does the job nicely, without fuss, without being glam, and cheaply. In use by Bradley Wiggins and other riders at Team Sky (2014) and also by some riders at Giant-Shimano, although the graphics may be misleading. (Sky has custom colors, other riders have Pro Vibe graphics on this stem).

Recommended - light weight, stiff enough for professionals and cheap.

Weight: 125g (100mm)

RRP in USD: $100

The PLT can be purchased for $60 in black or $50 at Wiggle.

Dura-Ace CN-9000

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Shimano Dura-Ace CN-9000 Chain

This is an 11 speed chain. The old Shimano chains were the best wearing in tests. This 11 speed chain shouldn't wear any faster than the excellent 10 speed versions as the rivets are similar. I get about 5000 dry km per chain. Make sure you follow good chain maintenance procedures to maximize wear.

DA chains used to require being mounted in one direction, but this has now changed - they can be mounted any way. I imagine this is because so many muppets were not reading the very CLEAR instructions supplied by Shimano, then complaining about a noisy drive chain and poor shifting.

Shimano has also removed the slots that were drilled into the inner plates, yet the chain, being narrower, is 23g lighter. It isn't much, but it all adds up.

Weight: 243g for 114 links

RRP in USD: $58

The Dura-Ace 11 speed chain sells for $47 here or $41 here.

Ciussi Gel

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Elite Ciussi Gel Bottle Cage

This is a popular choice when racing on cobbles as the cage is quite robust. However this means it is quite heavy. Compare to the Elite Custom Race (Plastic) which is about 41g. The Ciussi is double the weight.

The least stable bottle is a half full 750ml (large) size. I found that the Ciussi did not hold this bottle in place, so lost a few over the bumps. It works fine with the small 500ml sized bottles. You can bend the cage to increase clamping force, but this makes insertion of the bottle more difficult.

Finally, the aluminium cage tends to mark bottles very badly. Your bottle will end up with grey marks all over them, which can't be easily washed off. The Elite Custom Race is a lighter and more secure choice.

Weight: 84g

RRP in USD: $22

The standard Ciussi in aluminium sells at $14.15 here or $11.50 here.
You can get the Inox version $31 here or $24.84 here which is lighter at 48g.


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