Until 1995, men’s bikes had a horizontal crossbar and women’s bikes had parallel diagonal bars. 1995 was the year when Giant introduced the sloping top tube with a smaller rear triangle. The engineering benefits were (and are):
- A tighter chainstay and seatstay configuration makes the design stiffer and stronger than previous frames; and
- Less material is used, making the bike lighter than conventional models.
The advantage definitely does not end there, however. The moment they took their first corner on a sloping Giant, riders who had grown up with traditionally designed bicycles found that the cornering was much more responsive and that they felt in control of the bike as never before. Added to that, acceleration was better and the aerodynamics meant they could go faster for the same level of effort. The sloping bicycle design is now pretty well universal.
In 1998, after heavy lobbying, the Union Cycliste Internationale was persuaded to amend its regulations to allow bikes with a sloping top tube to be used in racing. Giant adapted their design for the needs of competitive cyclists and Giant is now one of the giants (pun intended) of on-road bike racing.
The original Giant bikes were made of 6061 aluminium alloy. Forks and seatposts were bladed to reduce air resistance. There were three sizes of frame: small, medium and large, and riders achieved the correct fit through stems and seatposts of different lengths. In 2003, buyers of the TCR frame were offered the option of carbon fibre which was sold as the TCR Composite range. Three years later, Giant produced the TCR Advanced frame with higher grade carbon fibre and an integrated seatpost. When the T-Mobile team used this design at the Tour de France, its popularity increased enormously. In 2016, the Giant Advanced Composite Range with high grade TC700 carbon took over.
Efficient rear suspension power transfer is delivered through a floating pivot point that reduces pedal bob and lets the rear wheel travel vertically.