Strengths: this is a solid bike for riders of all skill level. comfortable geometry that allows hours of riding. brakes and drivetrain are very nice along with the fork
Weaknesses: the seat is not the most comfortable seat ive ever ridden. also i believe that there are too many gears. i rarely use more than nine of them and the extra gears just mean there is more to break.
overall this is a wonderful bike. i would recommend the bike to anyone who enjoys riding cross country. this bike allows me to commute to the trails, and then ride for hours once i get there. i would change out the seat before taking longer rides but for now it is fine. this bike is great for the price and i would recommend it to riders of all skill levels
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 19, 2013
Strengths: - The Rockshox XC30 TK fork on the 2013 is awesome - very plush and adjustable.
- The Frame is very light and strong - Pretty much an XTC frame with slacker geometry (not as agressive, more relaxed). The matte paint job is nice too (makes scratching and dings from rocks less noticeable).
- The SRAM shifters are a bit harsh at times but do the job really well (X5 kit)
- The Drivetrain seems to work very well so far in winter conditions (they are basically filthy as hell at the moment because of Salt, Dirt, etc.)
- The Double Walled wheels are boss and very strong. No truing necessary yet either and I am a heavy rider.
- The geo of the bike along with the wide handlebars just feel right. If you are on the bigger side, you are going to love this bike.
- This goes without saying, but the 29er wheels really improve traction compared to my last 26er.
- Schwalbe Rapid Rob tires are really good compared to Kendas I have had. They are good cheap beginners tires.
- The Giant connect seat post and handlebars do the job well enough.
Weaknesses: - The pedals are pretty small on the bike, and I could see them not handling much rock bashing without being destroyed. I plan to upgrade them in the spring.
- The seat is really uncomfortable for what this bike is designed to do (i.e. ride for hours upon hours on end). Will be getting another more ergonomic seat this spring.
- 30 gear drivetrain just seems a little excessive. For me, 24 speed drivetrains do the job plenty well enough, since I only really use 16 of those really. This is more a matter of preference however.
- The fork i great for trail riding, single track, and some rough stuff if you tune it right, but is definitely too light duty if you are planning to do jumps, downhill bomb, or any of the more advanced stuff. You should upgrade this first if you really plan to push the bike is some serious ways.
Overall, the bike is an exceptional piece of machinery for the money. It also demonstrates that Giant understood the weaknesses of the 2012 Talon 29er 0 and sought to rectify them. If you have read the review for the 2012 Talon on 29eronline (if you have not check it out), you will know that the fork (RS XC28) on last years model along with the stock tires (Kenda SB8) were a weakness that held an exceptional bike back on the trails. Giant addressed this by adding a beefier, more durable, and less flexy Rockshox XC30 Fork along with a more grippy Schwalbe Rapid Rob tire. In addition, Giant managed to shave 100 dollars off of the MSRP from the 2012 model. The results are clear; I would not have bought the 2012 Talon, but I did buy the 2013 model because of these key upgrades and reasonable price. The value for money was simply much greater for me.
So far I have ridden the bike in nothing but conditions that terrain grip is hard to come by, including muddy terrain, icy terrain, wet terrain, and terrain with a layer or two of snow. In all conditions that bike has held up very well, and I have managed to maintain stability very well. Shifting has been crisp although not as smooth as on my previous Shimano set up. There is however, excellent power delivery from the drivetrain - this is a bike where you can really hammer out a sprint and go blisteringly fast without worry that the bike will fall out from underneath you. Its not a bona fide racer, but with a few small upgrades (like the fork), it sure as hell could be.
Another thing to note is that I am a larger fellow (5'11 245 lbs), and this bikes components seem to work very well for me. Add the fact that I can be very rough on my bikes (or downright abusive if I am confident enough), and any vote of confidence from me will carry weight. Parts that tend to let me know pretty quickly they dont like me are the forks and wheel sets (which fly out of true or flex respectively). However, Giant bikes have held up well for me in the past, and this is the most expensive one I have owned, so I doubt I will have any problems.
All in all, if you want a race 29er stock, you may want to consider the XTC 2 29er for 300 more. But if you are a weekend warrior looking to shred up the trails for exercise, or you simply like riding your bike a lot like me (average 3-4 hours per day, 4 days a week), the Talon 29er 0 is all you will really need. For me, the value for money was enough to turn me off of purchasing the XTC 2 29er, and I was pretty dead set on that bike before researching this one. Besides, as you get better at riding, the frame of the Talon offers ample room for upgrades. It is the kind of bike that is past the recreation range so you will get far more durable components, but does not break your budget completely.
Strengths: - Good components overall
- Hydraulic breaks are very responsive
- Gear shifting is very smooth
- Very very nice looking bike
- Frame is solid with a good geometry
- Fork has worked well (I'm 155lbs)
Weaknesses: - Stock pedals need to be replaced for greater bike control
- Seat may be uncomfortable for the first few rides. Optional replacement
- Kenda SB8 tires may not be optimal for some trails where greater traction is required
The Talon 29er 0 has been nothing but a pleasure to ride thus far. Great bike for beginners with a decent price tag. Good bike geometry. Very aesthetically appealing! Replacing pedals will greatly improve riding experience I'm 5ft 8" without shoes and a medium (17.5") frame was a solid fit. I'm 155lbs in weight, the RockShox fork responds well for me.
I would recommend this bike to beginners looking for a very reliable 29er. It is best used for XC, trail riding and general purpose riding (around parks). It can handle tougher challenges such as jumps, table-tops, drop-offs as well.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 27, 2012
Strengths: There's decent components all across the board. The tires grip really well, especially in dusty terrain, shifting is crisp and clean, and if you get a right frame size, it is super responsive and always feels underneath you. It really reacts well to tight, crappy, rocky trails and it's climbing ability is superb.
Weaknesses: The shop I bought it from jerked me around. The front shock was shot and had to get it replaced, and the Avid Elixers screamed like a banshee and had them replaced with Tektro Draco liquids which are a serious step up in my opinion. So I bought it and had to wait three weeks to ride. I don't hold that against the bike! On the other hand, she is a bit heavy but once she is up to speed she's gone. Seat hurts too. I do feel the whole setup of the ride is a bit passive. It seats you up high but with the right frame it's all gravy.
I really love this ride. My first Giant was a Rincon SE and I beat the livin' out of it. In between I bought a Trek so deciding to go back to this company was a no-brainer. For the price, it was the bike that felt most solid when I rode it, while with other companies bikes I test rode there was grinding, chain slap, crappy shifting, etcetera. I really like the components and feel the price for the bike was really spread out. It's easy to upgrade parts and although a bit on the heavy side, I'll be looking to swap some parts and maybe drop a few lb's. Not a huge deal. And I loooove climbing with this bike. I think it's a great deal and I got it for roughly $1000. Do it. Buy it. Ride it. Love it.
Bike Setup: Hylix carbon hdle Bar,160fr140rr KCNC rotors this upgrade reduce almost one pound in your bike avid elixir 1 (orig) c29smax super eight block tires (orig) Hylix 400mm seat post sette pro saddle sram hyperglide P980 cassette 11-34 305grams other comoponents remain original
a Weekend Warrior
from Dublin, Irelans
Date Reviewed: December 14, 2011
Strengths: 2012 model........
Giant have produced a great frame with quality components. The brakes are great (Avid Elixir 1). Forks on the 29er 0 have been improved over the 2011 model.
Weaknesses: None so far
Giant improved the weaknesses on the 2011 model: Brakes and Fork. Having been away from cycling for many years I took some time to figure out what was going to suit me, and the Talon has been an excellent choice.