For the normal, proportionally sized person, the Giant SCR is a great starter road bike.
I bought a Giant SCR last week to help me figure out if I want to become a roadie again. In short, yes, I want to be a roadie again, it’s faster.
Overall, the Giant SCR is a great value for a road bike. It’s somewhat lightweight at 9.4 kg, has a stiff rear triangle, has very smooth working Sora shifters and deraillers and rides comfortably on Taiwan county roads.
Gearing wise, I’m very surprised at how well I’m adapting to the compact double 50/34 in front with an 8-gear 12-26 in back. I’ve been used to spinning a 48/38/26 front and 10-31 back for the past year.
For now, I’d prefer a rear 11-27 and later, a 10-26 when back in shape. That rear cassette change would make going even faster and climbing easier.
In the flats, between the gearing changes and bike stiffness, my casual riding pace and in spite of not being in riding shape, is 4 kph faster. I’m finally realizing how much pedaling energy my Giant LTD shocks have soaked up. On hill climbs, the SCR is grinding up than spinning, but I’m at the same pace and more energetic at the top.
On the downsides, I think the bike is too twitchy and the Sora shifter thumbtack controls limit hand placement for me. I think the twitchiness is more due to the race inspired geometry and I’m not used to it yet. Still, I’m keeping my downhill corners 5-10 kph slower than normal.
On hand placement, my hands are big, but short fingered. As such, I have to pick either riding on the hoods or in dropped position and then set my saddle and handle to accommodate me.
As I’m a go fast kind of guy, my hand preference is in the drops. With being in the drops though, in order for me to safely stop at speed, I needed to turn the front brake left shifter outward and rotate the drop bar downward. This change barely allows my finger tips to pull the brake lever.
Due to the Sora thumbtack shifter, when in the drops, gear changes in both directions are nearly impossible. This isn’t a big issue for the front derailer, but a big one for the rear.
On the right shifter, I can barely change the gears. To do so, I have to loosen my hand position, twist my hand awkwardly inward and up in order to rotate my thumb forward enough to barely click the thumbtack controller.
I’ve mentioned that the bike is a comfortable ride. However, that’s if I ignore the aches and pains from my elbows to hands. I can’t figure out if…
At this point, my hand and arm positions are the real problem areas in finding a truly comfortable position that also lets me have solid control over the bike on flats, climbing and descending.
While in the drops, I’m quite comfortable. However, I can’t safely change gears with the Sora shifters in both directions and I surely wouldn’t mind having more of my fingers on the brake levers.
To counteract the hand position, brake and shifter issues, I’m seriously thinking about buying a used Rival gruppo with double-tab and installing it on the SCR. Then again, if I’m going to drop $ 1,000 USD for the gruppo, I might as well buy a better frame too.
As my goal built bike weight sans accessories is sub 8.0 kg., the SCR is 9.4 kg is a bit too heavy and could potentially be even stiffer when pedaling hard.
In the end, despite my grips above, the Giant SCR is a great entry level road bike. Even when I buy a third bike, I’ll keep this one around for friends, family and wet weather.
PS: Bike buyers, push your bike shop to let you ride for an hour before buying. If they don’t, find another bike shop or try out a friends like model. Personally, once a bike passes that first hour of riding and it’s a potential buy, I need a couple more days of trying it out on routes I’m used to.