What it does well: The TCX is fundamentally an affordable cyclocross bike that transitions nicely to dirt roads and rough doubletrack, perfect for rough sections of trail that are typically too dull to ride the mountain bike on, but are way too rugged for bikes like the BMC GF02 or the Moots Routt. In fact, for a few months this winter we ran it as a commuter on exactly that type of dusty coyote habitat. The Shimano 105 cyclocross gearing (46/36 up front) lets you climb steep gravel. And the full size 35mm tires float through washed out corners.
What it does poorly: If the classic groad bike is built to go from road to dirt, then the TCX is built to go from dirt road to blown out gravel-filled arroyo. Which isn’t a demerit depending on what you’re looking for. The weight also makes it vertically challenged on extended climbs.
So who’s it for? Dedicated cyclocross racers are dumping way more money on their bikes than this. But if a race or two is in your future, this affordable Giant is a good way in. Don’t discount how fun and utilitarian the TCX is. In the shoulder seasons when mountain bike trails aren’t rideable and the dirt roads will thrash your carbon road bike, you can always take out this sturdy bike. (frame/fork only) 4.82 pounds