Adam Craig was racing aboard a prototype Giant TCX disc brake cyclocross bike sporting an exceptionally lightweight build, and test versions of 650B Trance and Anthem mountain bikes were hiding in the trailer, too.
The ‘cross bike’s frame was lithe, visually enhanced by the XX1 single chainring and lack of cantilevers. Being a prototype, we couldn’t weigh it, but it was very, very light. A couple tweaks to the frame suggest either a sub “Advanced SL” carbon model, or simply a changed layout for their top race rig. The seatmast was replaced with a very svelte, shaped post with hidden clamp, the seatstays get a subtle curve and the fork moves to a thru-axle design – handy when you’re running DT Swiss’s 1255g XCR 29 Tubular race wheels.
Hop the barrier for more pics and details and the two prototype 650B mountain bikes…
The clear coat made the outer layer layup very visible, and it looked good. All tubes on the bike seemed very thin, which we’re guessing will lend a comfy ride.
A hidden seat clamp sits flush with the top of the top tube. The seatpost has a rounded “D” shape, putting the flat face on the back to ease aft flex. The headtube could be hiding a slightly tapered fork (1.25″ to 1.375″ maybe), they weren’t giving up any details.
The fork itself was a straight legged affair and the first from a major brand to spec a thru axle. DT’s higher end wheels use CenterLock (for now, their new Spline 1 switch to 6-bolt), and fortunately SRAM offers that option for some of their rotors. That gives the bike a proper mix of road and mountain bike parts on the drivetrain.
While SRAM has said you can’t run the XX1 cassette with the new 11-speed road group, no said you can’t flip flop that equation. We’re guessing that’s an 11-speed chain since it’s running the new SRAM Red 22 group with hydraulic disc brakes.
The rear sticks with 135mm QR, in this case using DT’s RWS skewers.
Notice the slight bend in the seatstays, bowing outward. Craig’s tubular tire looks to be glued on with NASCAR circuits in mind.
The bottom bracket and chainstays maintain their pro-level girth for proper power transmission.
650B TRANCE & ANTHEM MOUNTAIN BIKES
Kelli Emmett’s prototype was on the small side, and a surprising test rig for the LIV/Giant women’s XC pro. Regardless, the alloy Trance was on display in the team pits.
Their Maestro suspension seems largely unchanged save for the requisite tweaks to pivot points and shock tune to accommodate the new wheel size.
Thru axle rear with external cable routing from the bottom bracket back. The adoption of XX1 on trail and enduro bikes at Sea Otter was impressive, and SRAM’s MTB drivetrain product manager said sales have blown far, far past expectations. Need proof? Try ordering an XD driver body for your favorite hubs…
DT Swiss routinely relabels wheels for OEM customers, so not sure which exact wheel model this is, but they currently offer four options on their website.
Short headtube meets dramatic slopes on the smallest frame sizes.
The Anthem is their shorter travel XC full suspension bike, and it uses a carbon front triangle with alloy rear end. This prototype is no different.
The headtube junction has some nice angles, and cable entry ports are moved further back from high stress areas.
Pretty good tire clearance on the sides, but it does get fairly close to the upright.
This one upgrades to internal routing through the chainstay.
We’d expect these will show up in production form at the fall trade shows in time for dealers to stock as 2014 models.