Updated: 23rd March 2018
Refined over the years, Giant’s Propel range of aero road bikes stands as some of the best and fastest bikes around. Used by professional road racers and even triathlon competitors, the Giant Propel is a versatile and capable bike that craves speed. Every model in the range has a carbon frame, using either Giant’s Advanced-Grade composite or their lighter Advanced SL-Grade composite for the construction. We review the Propel range, taking a look into the details that make it special.
For the best performance available, every Propel model gets an 11 speed Shimano drivetrain, ranging from 105 all the way to the flagship Dura Ace Di2 system. For the first time, the Giant Propel features disc brakes on certain models, diversifying the range. If you’re a criterium, road or triathlon racer, the Propel is an ideal bike to enhance your riding abilities. Even if you’re looking for a bike to beat your Strava times and show up your friends, the Propel is tough to beat.
For 2018, Giant developed an entirely new Propel frame, using their expertise in the wind tunnel to optimise the aerodynamic efficiency. Each tube has been shaped by Computational Fluid Dynamics to ensure the maximum performance was achieved. This technology is called AeroSystem Shaping and is used in conjunction with Giant’s excellent Advanced-Grade composite carbon fibre to get the exact shapes desired.
The Propel Advanced models, including the Advanced Pro use the Advanced-Grade composite for the frame construction, whereas the Advanced SL models get the Advanced SL-Grade carbon. This is lighter weight, yet just as strong. The SL models also have Vector Integrated Seatposts, which save weight and also improve the over aerodynamics of the bike. The Propel also has built-in compliance for a more comfortable ride. For increased stiffness, an OverDrive 2 headtube and steerer tube is used across the range.
The new Propel Disc shares no tube shapes with the previous generation Propel. Its truncated-airfoil design is similar to what is used on other aero-road bikes: a rounded leading edge with flat back. -
Shimano is known for their superb reliability and fantastic shifting performance. The Propel also comes with disc brakes for greater control over your speed.
On every Giant Propel model you will find a superb Shimano 11 speed road drivetrain. A Shimano 105 groupset is specced on the Advanced 2 and Advanced Pro 2, moving up to Ultegra on the Advanced 1, Advanced Pro 1 and Advanced Disc. The electronic Ultegra Di2 drivetrain offers lightning fast and accurate shifting. It’s available on the Advanced 0, Advanced Pro 0, Advanced Pro Disc and Advanced SL 2 Disc. Shimano’s flagship Dura Ace Di2 drivetrain is the only one to trump the Ultegra and is found on the Advanced SL 1 Disc.
On the non-disc Propel models, the Giant SpeedControl aero rim brakes take care of speed management. The positioning behind the fork helps to reduce wind resistance, and the direct mounting improves stiffness and braking performance. New to the 2018 range are the disc brake models. These offer even greater stopping power, and more control in the wet, allowing you to ride with more confidence, especially downhill.
Proper aerodynamics doesn’t just rely on the frame but on the entire package to efficiently defy the wind. Each Propel model gets deep rims, allowing the wheels to easily slip through the wind. Every Propel gets a Giant WheelSystems wheelset, benefitting from ability to get fantastic quality components without paying a premium for aftermarket name brands.
Both the Advanced 2 and 1 get Giant P-A2 alloy wheels. From there up carbon wheels are featured, with the Advanced Pro 2 all the way to the Advanced SL 2 Disc getting the 65mm deep SLR 1 Aero wheels, with the disc models getting the disc versions. The flagship Advanced SL 1 Disc gets the super lightweight SLR 0 Disc wheels, giving it that extra speed advantage. All the Propel models get Giant Gavia road tyres for fast rolling and excellent traction.
Giant have taken a strong stance when it comes to tubeless tyres. They setup every Propel with tubelss tyres from the factory, giving you the benefits of the system from the very start. They offer faster rolling from the reduced friction that tubes would normally cause. Tubeless tyres also reduce the risk of punctures dramatically, as the sealant inside the tyres closes up any holes almost as soon as they're made.
Consequently, part of the Propel Disc’s aerodynamic benefit comes from the frame-specific bar and stem with hidden derailleur and brake lines. Wheels are also part of the story, with a 65mm-deep rear wheel coming on all [disc] models. -
The Giant Propel is an accessible aero road bike. It’s great for amateur racers and professionals alike, giving the sort of performance that can’t be scoffed at. The Propel is even considered by some to be an ideal triathlon bike for those hillier races, which broadens its appeal.
The lightweight carbon frame doesn’t forgo stiffness in pursuit of its weight reduction, and proficiently directs your power through the bottom bracket to forward motion. From the base Advanced models, to the Advanced Pro, Disc and all the way to the Advanced SL options, there’s something from recreational criterium racers to professionals looking for that extra advantage to get the racing edge.