The Giant TCX 2
Why'd I make the font red? Because it's blood, obviously. This bike is a fucking monster. It feeds on human sweat and blood. Believe me, I've experienced it first hand...this is my bicycle. And doesn't that shit look mean? That picture was taken in full sunlight and yet, there's a dark void around the TCX. SPELLS AND MAGIC, yo.
Giant TCX 2 Weight Stock
Bone stock, in a size small , this bike came in at 24 pounds. It sounds heavy but for how bomb proof this baby is, it's not. The first day I had it, I rammed a curb full speed with my wheel staying true and no flat tire. Whoever designed it at Giant sold their soul to the devil to put a protection spell on her...it's that tough. In the 10 months I've been lucky enough to ride her, I've only had one flat and that was due to user error. The user being me and the error being my irresponsibility to check my tire pressure on a ride to work. I'm sorry, mistress. I'm sorry.
Components and Features
I know what you're thinking. I really do. I can see it in your eyes.
"Rich, you work at a bike shop and you ride a bike with Sora and Tiagra components on it? Fore shame! You should be relinquished of your man penis!".
I can understand your skepticism but, believe me when I say that the Shimano base level shifters and derailleurs are the bee's knees. I've got nothing but positive things to say about them. They're smooth and reliable and really, that's all that matters. Sure, it's not 105. It's not Rival. But it's damn good stuff and keeps the price of the bike down. Plus, I really like my penis. Don't take it away from me.
And the crankset! My god, what a fantastic little dime piece she is! The FSA Omega has to be, bar none, the best bang for your bike in the cycling world. With a pressfit BB and super smooth rotations, I'd literally have relations this thing if I thought it would reproduce more little Omega's. It's my first experience with an FSA crank and i can tell you right now, it won't be my last.
As far as tires go, Giant opted (as they usually do) to throw the Kenda Small Block Eights on here. So far, I've got no complaints. They're a little wider than what I'm used to riding (Specialized Tracers 700x32) but only slightly. They make for a smooth ride and plenty of traction if and when it's needed. And this year they did away with plastering "Small Block Eight" in yellow all over the tire. It gives the bike a much more cohesive look. Everything is in its right place.
Damn it! I almost forgot about one of the most important upgrades to this bicycle from last year! The Overdrive headtube! This mother fucker is big and gives you confidence in any and all riding conditions. Climbing up a hill fast? No fucking problem, Overdrive has you covered. In some loose conditions? Bitch please, Overdrive has you covered! Propping a lady up on your handlebars for a better sexual angle? Well, while not designed for it, Overdrive still has you covered.
Necessary Upgrades (In my opinion)
God damn it, Giant. You know I love your company but why can't you come out with a sexier looking saddle? The stock one looks like it was made out of recycled dildos. I just hate it. It's the only thing on the bike I can't stand. I threw a Specialized Phenom on mine and have been feeling super sexy ever since...
Look at that fucking thing! All black, nice lines..a truly gorgeous saddle. It looks like something royalty would sit on! Or Dr. Alan Grant of the hit film "Jurassic Park". And even though its great looking its still very comfortable. This summer, after a 50 mile ride (my first) I experienced zero pain in my crotchular region. None! In fact, I wanna say that it may have even some how made me a better lover! I can't say for sure how but, its what I feel in my heart. I love you, Phenom. I really do. Thanks for the sex upgrade.
Optional Hotness Upgrades
Ok, to be fair, I had access to some gorgeous Euro X brakes from TRP. The Tektros that came stock probably worked just fine but I mean...look at the TRPs!
Why you so sexy, Euro X? I will say, they were initially a little hard to get the pads adjusted but I haven't touched them since. And that's rad because I'm not that great at brake adjustments. It's just not my strong suit. The Euro X are light, powerful and they've got plenty of mud clearance. All and all, a perfect cross brake. What more needs to be said?
You may have noticed the whole black and red thing going on with this bike. Well..
You know I had to get those Salsa Ti skewers! They look fucking rad! Not to mention they match the brakes 100%. It ties the whole thing together. Plus, titanium is cool. And light? Shit, I probably shaved 2 grams off the weight of the bike! Being completely honest, I didn't really give a fuck that they were Ti. I liked them because they were red and said "Salsa" on the side of them. I love salsa. It is the most tasty of all dips! Wait, what's that? There's a bike company called Salsa? Oh. I knew that...
This ones kind of a no brainer. You can't ride your bike fast and efficiently without a pair of clipless pedals. So, I did what I always do and opted for some Crank Bros.
I ended up deciding on the Candy 1. They're lightweight, strong and match the bike perfectly. Not to mention they give you a good amount of float if you're standing up and scrambling...like I so very often am. Plus, the added platform gives you a wider surface area and makes everything just seem more stable. And if all of that wasn't enough, they've got a 2 year standard warranty. Like, if they break in 2 years, send them shits back and they're replaced. So rad. Kudos, Crank Bros. You've obtained a special place in the empty pit that is my heart.
For the money, I struggle to think of a cross bike that offers so much for so little. Specialized has the Tricross but it just lacks style this year (something that, typically, Specialized products exude). The saddle might not be up to snuff but that's a relatively inexpensive upgrade. If you're looking for an all around commuter/dirt machine/adventure bike, the Giant TCX 2 is your bike. I'm just going to let my stem top cap wrap this up properly...
Now stop sitting at the computer and get your ass outside and ride your bike! Or bring me some beer and tacos and lets hang out. Either one works.