High performance racing bicycle technology and technique
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Carbon Frame Stiffness – Giant Bicycles

 

7th November 2012

 

Directly focusing on carbon frame stiffness is nothing new, but this video from Giant Bicycles is an interesting marketing approach by one of the world’s largest bicycle brands which has probably come about because of the fierce competition at the very peak of the bike buying pyramid. With the emergence of more and more boutique bike brands eating away at the more established companies’ market share, everyone is having to up their game to appeal to the increasingly canny bike buying enthusiast. Giant are obviously out to secure their share with stats focusing on the all important road bicycle metrics that we all obsess about – weight and stiffness.

 

John Swanson, the Global Category Manager, On Road, makes the case for Giant and some bold claims for their top of the range TCR Advanced SL machine but given our own man, Hallett’s assessment of the Giant TCR Advanced SL here earlier this year, we are inclined to believe him. Richard was certainly impressed by the frame stiffness.

 

Jon highlights the omission of Giant bikes from other manufacturer’s stiffness marketing literature and makes some interesting observations on frame weights, claiming some manufacturers frames (inc fork and seatpost) are over 1kg heavier than the Giant’s! The UCI’s weight limit imposed on pro level machinery has definitely made this less important but people are still obsessed with bike weight – just look at the Weightweenies forum – so no doubt Giant will win a lot of fans with this brazen approach.

 

Here are Giant’s weight statistics, measured with forks and seatpost in each frame:

 

Giant TCR Advanced SL weight chart 1

 

Giant TCR Advanced SL weight chart 2

 

The methodology they use to determine carbon frame stiffness is a bit different to that employed elsewhere by other manufacturers and by the EFBe testing unit in Germany. For instance Giant use the fork in their torsional stiffness tests, not the steel bar employed by many (which marries with what we have seen regularly on YouTube). Giant look at torsional steering stiffness and bottom bracket pedaling stiffness.

 

This diagram shows how Giant test torsional stiffness:

 

Giant pedaling stiffness test 2

 

Whilst here we see the Giant test for pedaling stiffness:

 

Giant pedaling stiffness test 1

 

Here are Giant’s own in-house carbon frame stiffness test results garnered from the testing methods shown above:

 

Steering (Torsional) Stiffness

 

Giant Steering Stiffness Test Results 1

 

Giant Steering Stiffness Test Results 2

 

Pedaling (Bottom Bracket) Stiffness:

Giant Pedaling Stiffness Test Results 1

 

Giant Pedaling Stiffness Test Results 2

 

The video makes the point that as more and more companies rely on OEM specialists in China and Taiwan for the initial manufacture of their frames, Giant already wholly based in the Far East, are one of the few companies that actually produce their own products from start to finish and that as a result they enjoy more control over the finished product. Is this where the extra stiffness comes from?

 

There’s no doubting the pedigree of Giant’s top of the range product as its certainly race proven with many pro-race wins – we are certainly fans – but its also interesting that Giant have not gone down the route of aero road frames like many rival manufacturers. Instead, as this video shows, its all about weight and stiffness with Giant.

 

Take a look at the video here:

 

 

You can find more information and download the test data from here:

 

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