Step back in time: Bike of the Year 2018
As our 2020 Bike of the Year test enters its final phase, we're looking back at the bikes that have taken the coveted crown in the past. In 2018, Giant's competitively priced TCR Advanced 2 took the prize… here's what we had to say back then…
Perhaps in this 10th anniversary of Bike Of The Year there’s some poetic justice to the TCR taking the top spot. The TCR, in its Advanced 3 guise, was our very first Bike Of The Year winner, and the 2 won in 2013. In the intervening years the model has undergone numerous revisions, but you can still see some ofthat decade-old DNA in the 2018 iteration.
The latest TCR is a process of evolution not revolution, Giant has tweaked the design with subtle improvements that add up to one of the most compelling, and well- priced, bikes today.
Giant should be applauded for its commitment to developing its own parts and wheelsets. Gone are the bland branded-up parts of old, replaced with highly competent, well-made and designed finishing kit.
The TCR Advanced 2 bucks the trend for inflation in bike prices, the 2018 model has the same equipment levels as that first Bike Of The Year winner, but that bike was £1600, this one undercuts that by £151.
Fiscal reasons aside, the TCR takes top honours because of its accomplished performance, the years of development have made a bike that’s wonderfully refined to ride – it blends speed and supple smoothness to levels we’d never expect from its modest price.
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Yes, it is a fraction of some of the bikes on test, and favours rim brakes over discs. While we believe that discs are the future and unrivalled in adverse weather conditions, they still come with a premium over rim brakes. Disc brake-equipped bikes are compromised elsewhere spec-wise to get in the latest technology, even if that will eventually change.
The TCR is that rare beast that will appeal to racier riders but won’t scare those who prefer more recreational riding. Any bike that makes every ride better, and makes you feel like a better rider is a very worthy winner, irrespective of its price or the components it carries.