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  1. #1
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    Stem/Bar/Steerer (?) Upgrade options on a Giant TCR advanced

    Trying to learn more about my TCR advanced disc 1. https://www.giant-bicycles.com/au/tcr-advanced-1-disc and possibly upgrades


    It appears that the fork itself is carbon, but the steerer is not. Essentially to change this, I'd have to buy a new fork. Is that worth doing? Just curious what the benefits would be there.

    The main upgrade I am thinking about is getting an integrated handelbar so I can clean up the front end a little. https://brandscycle.com/product/gian...0aAo89EALw_wcB

    Not an immediate decision, but I'd like to learn a little more about what I need to know if I purchased it. I need to be certain on stem length, I know that. Any other things to think about when changing stem and bars or is something I can do myself? I'd like to be able to hide the cables more and I am thinking that maybe my LBS would probably have to assist there.

  2. #2
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    The ONLY advantage to a fork w/ a carbon steerer is lower weight.

    If you get an integrated bar/stem just understand that you won't be able to adjust bar angle at all. It is what it is...if it works for you, great. You not only need to be certain of stem length you have to understand how bar reach will affect your decision. And yes...your shop will most likely have to help or at least show you how to do it. Bars w/ internal routing can be a total *****.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    The ONLY advantage to a fork w/ a carbon steerer is lower weight.

    If you get an integrated bar/stem just understand that you won't be able to adjust bar angle at all. It is what it is...if it works for you, great. You not only need to be certain of stem length you have to understand how bar reach will affect your decision. And yes...your shop will most likely have to help or at least show you how to do it. Bars w/ internal routing can be a total *****.
    Ok thanks. My plan is to get a fitting after riding this bike more. I currently have zero issues with the way the bike rides after logging 250 miles. I have the stem slammed and my seat height adjusted to the size from a prior fitting.

    When I get the fitting, I can tell the LBS my plans and we can sort it from there in terms of bar reach. I have the stock 90mm stem now and it feels fine, if not a little twitchy.

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    1. I'd find out how much the current fork weighs, so you can figure out what kid of weight savings you are really looking at. I shopped the TCR disc 1 and was surprised/disappointed that they chose an aluminum steerer, but what I don't know is how heavy that fork is (which is all that matters here).

    2. Just my opinion, but I would avoid the integreated stem/bars for reasons cxwrench mentions.

    3. If you really want to upgrade this bike, I think you are looking in the wrong place. It's a great bike, but it's biggest limitation from new is those boat anchor wheels. And wheel upgrades make a REAL difference that you feel on every ride; I'd upgrade there before messing with forks or stem/bars.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
    1. I'd find out how much the current fork weighs, so you can figure out what kid of weight savings you are really looking at. I shopped the TCR disc 1 and was surprised/disappointed that they chose an aluminum steerer, but what I don't know is how heavy that fork is (which is all that matters here).

    2. Just my opinion, but I would avoid the integreated stem/bars for reasons cxwrench mentions.

    3. If you really want to upgrade this bike, I think you are looking in the wrong place. It's a great bike, but it's biggest limitation from new is those boat anchor wheels. And wheel upgrades make a REAL difference that you feel on every ride; I'd upgrade there before messing with forks or stem/bars.
    Funny you say that. I just got a 1500 gram 50mm aero carbon wheel set coming. So I am there already in terms of wheels. I could tell immediately that they were much too heavy to do justice to the frame.

    Really, I'd just like to get a cleaner look to the bars and maybe something a little more aero. I am still searching to find what the weight of the fork is. It's not an easy number to find.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HammerIt View Post
    Ok thanks. My plan is to get a fitting after riding this bike more. I currently have zero issues with the way the bike rides after logging 250 miles. I have the stem slammed and my seat height adjusted to the size from a prior fitting.

    When I get the fitting, I can tell the LBS my plans and we can sort it from there in terms of bar reach. I have the stock 90mm stem now and it feels fine, if not a little twitchy.
    Sounds like you are a newish rider. I wouldn't expect the fit you get now to last forever (same goes for a rider of any experience but especially newer ones). You'll get more or less fit thus probably want more or less reach. It's not just reach but angling the bars to your preference. Also, if you crash you are out bars and a stem not just bars.

    Basically my point is that integrated bars/stems are kinda stupid.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Sounds like you are a newish rider. I wouldn't expect the fit you get now to last forever (same goes for a rider of any experience but especially newer ones). You'll get more or less fit thus probably want more or less reach. It's not just reach but angling the bars to your preference. Also, if you crash you are out bars and a stem not just bars.

    Basically my point is that integrated bars/stems are kinda stupid.
    I've done 1,500 miles since September, so yeah, I am sure things will evolve a little more.

    So basically, it may be smarter to just get a lighter stem and aero bars if I want to upgrade.

    I have not had my steerer tube cut yet, but it looks pretty terrible with the spacers stacked up on it above the stem..lol.

  8. #8
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    You're going to need to log at least 20,000 more miles before any of this is going to mean anything.

    Being so new, you're also slow and underdeveloped. I understand you're very concerned with your speed and the look of the bike, but you're not capable enough yet to be doing what you're doing.

    If you buy a stem/bar combo now it will not fit you in the future, I guarantee you that. Also your current fit as a whole will not work for you in the future.

    You will get stronger. You will want/need a different position.

    Buying wheels is one thing, those will be with you in the future. Your stem will not.

    Avoid buying any new fit items until you need to change your fit. Once your fit has been perfect for 10,000 miles, then you can upgrade your fit items to more permanent ones.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HammerIt View Post
    Funny you say that. I just got a 1500 gram 50mm aero carbon wheel set coming. So I am there already in terms of wheels.
    Not to sound like a jerk or anything, but why didn't you go for the TCR Advanced Pro Disc instead? It already comes with a 1500 g wheelset, has a full carbon fork, full Ultegra and some marginally better bits here and there.

    Please don't get me wrong. I was seriously considering the same bike as you got but then decided to wait for the 2018 model which I pre-ordered in late August (mainly because tubeless and new Ultegra) but ultimately I decided to stretch my budget to the max and changed that that to the Advanced Pro 1 Disc in early December. It just seems like too good a value to pass up, especially when I keep reading about all the people replacing wheels (mainly) and other bits on their relatively new bikes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HammerIt View Post
    I've done 1,500 miles since September, so yeah, I am sure things will evolve a little more.

    So basically, it may be smarter to just get a lighter stem and aero bars if I want to upgrade.

    I have not had my steerer tube cut yet, but it looks pretty terrible with the spacers stacked up on it above the stem..lol.
    um, no. The only "upgrade" to bars and stems that will help anything in a meaningful way is one that makes your fit and comfort better.

    Sounds like you just want to buy some stuff. Have at it. But other than items that improve your fit and comfort (which is totally subjective based on size and shape not being new and/or more expensive than what they replace) the only item that will be a real 'upgrade' in terms of improving speed and ride it tires. And that's only if your stock tires suck or are wrong for your weight and riding.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    You're going to need to log at least 20,000 more miles before any of this is going to mean anything.

    Being so new, you're also slow and underdeveloped. I understand you're very concerned with your speed and the look of the bike, but you're not capable enough yet to be doing what you're doing.

    If you buy a stem/bar combo now it will not fit you in the future, I guarantee you that. Also your current fit as a whole will not work for you in the future.

    You will get stronger. You will want/need a different position.

    Buying wheels is one thing, those will be with you in the future. Your stem will not.

    Avoid buying any new fit items until you need to change your fit. Once your fit has been perfect for 10,000 miles, then you can upgrade your fit items to more permanent ones.
    Well if I am slow now, that bodes well as I ride with guys who average 23-25 mph.

    I am not a complete noob to cycling. I rode fixed gear on a daily basis for 5 years and did MTB before that. The difference to me with road biking is that now I am in the saddle for 30 miles at minimum and sometimes 100. So things I never thought about before are now things that I want to learn about.

    My fit is basically just me knowing a good seat height and that I like my stem pretty slammed, and my cleats were aligned for me. Besides that, I have done nothing to do the bike at all or been fitted. Seat is still right in the middle...etc. I'll just keep it all as is and keep riding. I currently have no discomfort or anything alarming at all in terms of fit.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    um, no. The only "upgrade" to bars and stems that will help anything in a meaningful way is one that makes your fit and comfort better.

    Sounds like you just want to buy some stuff. Have at it. But other than items that improve your fit and comfort (which is totally subjective based on size and shape not being new and/or more expensive than what they replace) the only item that will be a real 'upgrade' in terms of improving speed and ride it tires. And that's only if your stock tires suck or are wrong for your weight and riding.
    Nah, I don't want to "just buy some stuff". I just wanted to learn about any differences in changing things out. If there is no difference at all, I'm good for now.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HammerIt View Post
    My fit is basically just me knowing a good seat height and that I like my stem pretty slammed, and my cleats were aligned for me. Besides that, I have done nothing to do the bike at all or been fitted. Seat is still right in the middle...etc. I'll just keep it all as is and keep riding. I currently have no discomfort or anything alarming at all in terms of fit.
    If this is the case, I would strongly advise you to stop throwing new parts at your bike and instead spend that $$ on a good fitting. You may have tweaked your adjustments to where you more or less fit, but a good bike shop fitter can see things you can't. A good shop fitter will put you and your bike on a trainer, watch you pedal and make fine adjustments to dial in your fit just right. If you didn't buy the bike there, they will probably charge you around $100-200, but it is $$ well spent.

    I would do this before obsessing with a "cleaner look" or minuscule weight savings.
    Last edited by Lombard; 01-02-2018 at 06:20 AM.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    If this is the case, I would strongly advise you to stop throwing new parts at your bike and instead spend that $$ on a good fitting. You may have tweaked your adjustments to where you more or less fit, but a good bike shop fitter can see things you can't. A good shop fitter will put you and your bike on a trainer, watch you pedal and make fine adjustments to dial in your fit just right. If you didn't buy the bike there, they will probably charge you around $100-200, but it is $$ well spent.

    I would do this before obsessing with a "cleaner look" or minuscule weight savings.
    I'm honestly not throwing new parts at the bike. I was just trying to learn about how these parts work.The only thing I have actually bought is carbon wheels.

    I know all about fitting. I have been fitted before on a trainer. It took 2 hours.

    Just took the basic measurements and applied them to the new bike. That is why my cleats are aligned. I definitely plan to get fitted again on this bike. I am just waiting to see if I experience any discomfort or issues I can tell the fitter about first. So far, I have none.

    Mainly was just trying to learn about integrated bars. I'm not obsessing about anything. I think I've posted here maybe 15 times max?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by K4m1k4z3 View Post
    Not to sound like a jerk or anything, but why didn't you go for the TCR Advanced Pro Disc instead? It already comes with a 1500 g wheelset, has a full carbon fork, full Ultegra and some marginally better bits here and there.

    Please don't get me wrong. I was seriously considering the same bike as you got but then decided to wait for the 2018 model which I pre-ordered in late August (mainly because tubeless and new Ultegra) but ultimately I decided to stretch my budget to the max and changed that that to the Advanced Pro 1 Disc in early December. It just seems like too good a value to pass up, especially when I keep reading about all the people replacing wheels (mainly) and other bits on their relatively new bikes.
    Well that 2017 model was not available anywhere in my area. Additionally, I got my bike on sale for $1,800 which was a steal for it. I love the look and how it rode as soon as I test rode it. I was comparing it to a BMC Team Machine for twice as much.

    I don't mind buying new wheels at all.I got 50mm 1500 gram Carbon clinchers for $600, so even with that, I am under $2,500. The rest of the bike is honestly fine. I am just interested in learning about parts and how/why people upgrade.

    The only weakness in this bike frame would be the fork not being full carbon. According to people in this thread that is not even a huge deal, so I probably saved over $1k in buying this model and just upgrading the wheels.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by HammerIt View Post
    I'm honestly not throwing new parts at the bike. I was just trying to learn about how these parts work.The only thing I have actually bought is carbon wheels.

    I know all about fitting. I have been fitted before on a trainer. It took 2 hours.

    Just took the basic measurements and applied them to the new bike. That is why my cleats are aligned. I definitely plan to get fitted again on this bike. I am just waiting to see if I experience any discomfort or issues I can tell the fitter about first. So far, I have none.

    Mainly was just trying to learn about integrated bars. I'm not obsessing about anything. I think I've posted here maybe 15 times max?
    Sorry if the word "obsessed" seemed heavy handed. It was your remark about carbon vs. alloy steerers that pushed me over. No, it won't make a difference other than your wallet will be lighter if you replace your fork. Some claim carbon bars dampen road buzz, some say they make no difference. As the saying goes, YMMV. The disadvantages of integrated bars are obvious as others in this thread have already chimed in on.

    Understood that you are learning. You're on the right track re: fitting.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
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    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Sorry if the word "obsessed" seemed heavy handed. It was your remark about carbon vs. alloy steerers that pushed me over. No, it won't make a difference other than your wallet will be lighter if you replace your fork. Some claim carbon bars dampen road buzz, some say they make no difference. As the saying goes, YMMV. The disadvantages of integrated bars are obvious as others in this thread have already chimed in on.

    Understood that you are learning. You're on the right track re: fitting.
    Thanks, no problem. The level of gear in road cycling is overwhelming at times, but real interesting to read about. For example - the steerer part. I was thinking to myself, how can this be a big deal? So I figured I'd make the thread.

    It has been a nice helpful read for me. I ride with a lot of guys with crazy expensive bikes and their aero bars look really cool, so I started trying to learn about them. Reality is, it's all about the rider. But I do think the wheels will help me just a little. These guys like to go fast and they all have them.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by HammerIt View Post
    I don't mind buying new wheels at all.I got 50mm 1500 gram Carbon clinchers for $600, so even with that, I am under $2,500.
    Whoa! Unless they were a close out reputable name brand and the vendor forgot to insert a (1) in front of that $600, I would be leery about riding those wheels. You should familiarize yourself with this thread:

    Bulges at spoke holes on carbon wheels (photos)

    Always remember this:

    1) Light
    2) Strong
    3) Cheap

    Pick two.

    Quote Originally Posted by HammerIt View Post
    The rest of the bike is honestly fine. I am just interested in learning about parts and how/why people upgrade.
    The truth is that many people upgrade parts with the illusion that lighter parts will make them go faster. And in some cases, they will, but usually not noticeable unless you are a pro racer where being 0.1 mph faster will make the difference between winning and losing.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Whoa! Unless they were a close out reputable name brand and the vendor forgot to insert a (1) in front of that $600, I would be leery about riding those wheels. You should familiarize yourself with this thread:

    Bulges at spoke holes on carbon wheels (photos)

    Always remember this:

    1) Light
    2) Strong
    3) Cheap

    Pick two.



    The truth is that many people upgrade parts with the illusion that lighter parts will make them go faster. And in some cases, they will, but usually not noticeable unless you are a pro racer where being 0.1 mph faster will make the difference between winning and losing.

    I know the view on chinese carbon wheels by some. But I also know guys who have been riding these wheels for thousands of miles with zero issues and they love them. I have disc brakes and it's flat here. The main goal here is to make life a little easier at 20mph and up. There are rides here that average 28-30 and that is what I am training for. Those guys all rode some sort of aero carbon rim, and some use the model I have coming.

    I'll definitely look for bulges every ride. That's crazy. I'm not riding wheels with bulges. But I don't share the same anti-chinese wheel sentiment that some do, so I don't want to get into that debate.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by HammerIt View Post
    I'll definitely look for bulges every ride. That's crazy. I'm not riding wheels with bulges. But I don't share the same anti-chinese wheel sentiment that some do, so I don't want to get into that debate.
    Just to put things in perspective, it's more anti-no name brand rather than anti-Chinese. Well respected brands have factories in China and Taiwan for the obvious reasons of cheaper labor. However, well respected reputable brands have strict standards regarding quality control and worker skill regardless of where their factories are located. That costs $$.

    So if you are dealing with a well known brand like Enve, Zipp, Reynolds, etc., you will be fine. If it's an inexpensive brand you have never heard of, that is where you need to watch out. Cheaper carbon is inconsistent and often has voids in the material. Not good. You may be lucky and never have an issue, but then maybe not.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Just to put things in perspective, it's more anti-no name brand rather than anti-Chinese. Well respected brands have factories in China and Taiwan for the obvious reasons of cheaper labor. However, well respected reputable brands have strict standards regarding quality control and worker skill regardless of where their factories are located. That costs $$.

    So if you are dealing with a well known brand like Enve, Zipp, Reynolds, etc., you will be fine. If it's an inexpensive brand you have never heard of, that is where you need to watch out. Cheaper carbon is inconsistent and often has voids in the material. Not good. You may be lucky and never have an issue, but then maybe not.
    Yep, understand and know about that. I know a few no name wheel builders that are good and I bought from one. A guy I ride with who does 450 miles a week has had all that stuff and told the only issue he every had with his no name wheels was the spoke assembly could have been better. He was riding them while we were discussing it.

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