New TCR Composite 1, FCR Composite – New Strategy from Giant

by Sabinna on May 23, 2010

Around two weeks ago the buzz came around about a limited edition bike from Giant that will retail for NT39,800–at today’s exchange rate that is US1,237. The May/June (Vol.30) edition of  Bikeman magazine covers this new offering in some detail.

Last weekend on my Sunday ride a guy pulled up at the lights next to me on one. It looks pretty nice. A decisive strike on the local market as the bicycling season powers ahead? Or is there something else going on here?

Here’s a few details from Bikeman’s liftout spread.  The offering comes in the form of one roadbike frame, three roadbike options. The first one, and the target of this strategy is the TCR Composite 1. Sizes are XS/S/M. Shimano 105 Groupset. Weight 8.5kg for the small size without the pedals.

The second offering is, same frame, same sizes.

Giant TCR Composite 2 2010

This comes, however, with SRAM’s new APEX  groupset. Weight 8.3 kg small size. NT42,800 or US1,331 at today’s exchange rate.

The third is the FCR Composite. Same as the TCR Composite 1, but in a flatbar offering.

Giant FCR Composite Flatbar

This comes in at the same retail price as the first.

The question being asked is how can a carbon bike (T600 carbon) be delivered up so cheaply? The official word is that the frame is produced in Taiwan, even more remarkable. However, on this one, an extremely reliable source informs me that it is in fact produced in China, there being probably no way that such a Taiwan-produced frame could be offered at this price. Perhaps.

The wheelset is an important element in the equation. It looks to be very basic. An upgrade to a (considerably?) better quality wheelset would put the price up in the range of, and in excess of, light-weight triple butted alloy frame bikes.

Anyhow, what might be the strategy behind this? It seems that this is a testing of the water temperature. If the reaction to this in the local market is favorable then it can be extended to other markets. The economics would be one of tight margins on high volumes to make it profitable–entry level high-end with a middle-end price tag.

It’s very early days yet, but reaction online and the “whisperings” elsewhere are generally quite positive. Like everything else, time will tell. Hardly ever a dull moment in this industry these days!

Follow-up article recently posted.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew May 23, 2010 at 2:31 PM

A low margin, high volume approach. It sounds like the growing Walmarticization of bicycles. What does this mean to the industry as a whole? What does this mean to the retailer and to the customer?

sabinnaden May 23, 2010 at 8:24 PM

Good questions that this new development raises. I hear that Merida will reply to this initiative with an offering at around NT 38k or something like that. Fuji have responded, it seems, with ACR 2.0 roadbike and, for an extra NT111, you get a Fuji mountain bike.

Impact? A lot depends on how permanent this is. It’s too early to tell, but any impact on the industry will depend on consumer reaction, although Merida and Fuji have already reacted, maybe prematurely.

I guess you could say at the moment entry-level customers get a carbon bike, and if they are just looking for a commodity, then it will suit their needs. But more informed customers who know more about components and that there are many grades and quality of carbon etc., will be have a more reserved view on the level of value to be found in this offering. Interesting times ahead as we see this unfold.

Loving the Bike May 23, 2010 at 10:22 PM

Thanks for the insight on this. Yeah, it will be interesting to see where things go from here.

Darryl

Andrew May 23, 2010 at 11:37 PM

I would hate to see this development eat up the little builders who can not afford to drop prices or increase volume.

GRC June 2, 2010 at 10:37 PM

Hello Sabina,

I am very interested in purchasing a road bike and slapping on some triathlon bars. I plan to do the olympic standard triathlons and if all goes well, the half ironman next year.

I have a yukon mountain bike for messing about on. The road bike is all about speed.

I am 184cm and weigh in at 90kg.

One day into the search and the three front runners are:

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/zh-TW/bikes/model/tcr.composite.1/7123/43440/

http://www2.merida-bikes.com/en_INT/Bikes.Detail.190

http://www.fujibikes.com.tw/goods-ins.php?ckid=51&cpid=97&cid=1

My budget is NT$45,000 (including clips and shoes – entry level)

I would also consider going to a custom bike builder, but NT45k is the limit.

So far I am leaning toward the fuji bike. Any advice on my future purchase will be greatly appreciated.

sabinnaden June 3, 2010 at 8:19 AM

You have focused your choice on the 3 main players and any one of them would do. It depends on what a dealer can offer you. At the moment it is probably a buyer’s market, so it probably depends more on which dealer you are going through and how good a deal they can offer you no matter Giant, Merida, or Fuji. I think continuing on the Fuji track is the right move.

You probably don’t have to consider a custom build for the level you are talking about. For your height a 55-55cm frame (measured from top of the seat-tube to the center of the BB shell) is what they should be offering you. A good dealer will fit you out right with the right advice on h-bars and stem.

For your price range if you want carbon, then the only choice would be the new Giant TCR. But it’s heavy and the wheeset is low quality. I saw a few riders struggling up He Huan Shan on these last weekend. For the same price, you can get a triple-butted alloy framed bike that comes in around 1 kg lighter, with an option of carbon seat stays. There are these deals around at the moment. And you may well get SRAM Rival groupset which I think is snappier and less ‘clunky’ than S 105.

GRC June 3, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Sabina,

Thanks for the quick and in-depth reply.

I will continue to shop around. No rush to buy a bike at the moment.

Is there a TT bike/triathlon bike that falls into my NT$45k budget. I don’t mind waiting a month or two if I need to order it. Not too fussed about carbon. At my level, I am looking for a good quality bike for NT$45k with lots of freebies 😉

I am 184cm. Not sure how to measure up the best/most comfortable tri-bar set up. More than likely, I will purchase a simple set of add-on tri-bars. (without control knobs)

Youtube.com has been helpful. The merida dealer unpacked a really nice bike, but it was an M size. I think the last time I was an M size was when I was 12 years old.

Do you know of any good/well informed dealers in Hualien?

Thanks once again for the advice

GRC (Hualien)

sabinnaden June 3, 2010 at 5:29 PM

No probs. Given that you are in Hualien, that changes things a bit. It’s probably best to just deal with Giant. They will have the range and be able to put what you want together. Plus you will have the service factor. Hopefully the dealer will come through on that. As for recommending anyone specific, sorry, I don’t know that area all that well.

Jimmy June 5, 2010 at 7:55 AM

Saw these bikes on the Giant Taiwan website and I’m curious, other than the component differences, how are these actually different from a Standard TCR Advanced? Quality of the Carbon?

sabinnaden June 5, 2010 at 10:22 AM

More or less. “Quality” of the carbon relates to “modulus” a word with a lot of meanings depending on the manufacturer or who is in charge of the marketing. It also relates to the layup. I think the Advanced is at least T700 or maybe 800. You’d probably be getting a lighter and stiffer frame with the Advanced.

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