Often we here at AeroGeeks have lamented Giant’s offerings as being rather, well, behind the curve when it comes to technology. Their road frame in particular has been left in the dust by the offerings from Specialized, Cervelo, Trek and the rest of the “aero road bike” category contenders. This has always been with a tinge of sadness – we like Giant and think they make great bikes at wonderful price points. So when we heard about the Propel (and it’s womens specific version the Envie Advanced), we got excited.
Here was the bike Giant was supposed to have all along – light (1675g for a complete frameset in medium), hidden brakes front and rear, integrated seatpost for comfort and rigidity, excellent cable management and a brand-new aero cockpit to help you slice the wind and vanquish all comers. The bike itself is somewhat more middling in the aero pack than all that, but Giant has built a solid performer, here, and that isn’t anything at all to sneeze at.
Yes, Giant does caveat the new aero cockpit, saying that it doesn’t really properly reduce drag between -5 and 5 degrees of yaw. And yes, the brakes on both front and rear are v-brakes. Sure, stiffness isn’t the top of the range – Giant claims that it falls second in the front section only to the Foil, and is trading blows with the Venge at the bottom bracket – but that isn’t the point, here.
Price wise the Propel is an expensive proposition in only that it is only being offered with Red and Dura-Ace (mechanical and electronic) group sets. Meaning that the lowest you can get this frame for is for $7,000. Fortunately on the women’s side Giant is offering the Envie Advanced at a more reasonable offering of groupsets (105, Ultegra, and Red) with the 105 version at an easy to swallow $2,550. The Ultegra Envie comes in at $3,500 which is in the lower range of price points for aero frames.
If you’re looking for the best in a particular category, no, the new Propel, and the Envie Advanced, are not going to change your mind from whichever bike has your eye. And it isn’t supposed to. What the Giant does, however, is come in second in a whole laundry list of categories. This is an all-round aero performer that is plenty capable of hanging with whatsoever company it finds itself in and while it might not take top honours where data analysis is concerned, this is a case where the sum of it’s metrics is far outstripped by the whole. If you’re looking for an aero road bike (and have the cost of admission), this is a contender that demands to be looked at.