Bike Setup: Stock but i will change brakes with Avid Elixir 9 because I ' m 209 pounds, 6'2 so brakes are not enough.
The XL frame has a beautiful design and color.
Date Reviewed: February 5, 2013
Strengths: agile quick and sturdy
Weaknesses: I have a large 2013 xtc and It came in at just over 28lbs. a little heavy, but not bad for the price of 1,600 is
This bike is comfortable, and handles well. I upgraded to some american classic 29er tubless race wheels which imediatly shed three lbs. 28lbs to 25lbs, also switched out my rockshock recon to a manitou shock which shed almost another lbs (this shock isn't as stiff, but I'm happy with the weight loss). The end result is a 24.14lb aluminum 29er hard tail. This is my first 29er and I could never go back to a 26, this bike is faster, more stable and contrary to what I thought, handles much better. I can't wait till race season!
Strengths: Great out of the box part spec, very light stiff frame
Weaknesses: stock wheelset is heavy but are good durable trainers, the stock seat post clamp does not hold the seat level no matter how hard it is tightened down, stock Juicy brakes calipers failed after 1 season of riding
This review is for the a 2010 version of the Aluminum XTC 29er1. The part spec has changed over the years but the frame and geometry has pretty much stayed the same. I purchased this bike as it was Giant's 1st offering in the 29er market. At the time I was deciding between a carbon Gary Fisher Superfly (now trek) and a Gary Fisher Paragon. My original decision to purchase it was based on the best value cost. part spec, and long haul durability. The Giant has been my trust go-to HT XC bike ever since. The bike handles great, its quick in the single track, is climbs well, descends easily. It's agility and performance has not let me down. Going from a 26 full suspension to a 29er was felt like I was cheating and had a motor on the bike with a tailwind. The 29er carried its speed and rolled over things with much less effort than the 26. I will argue contrary to the opinion that a 29er HT feels like a 26er FS bike. Rear suspension is rear suspension, if a 29 hard tail feels like it has more suspension than a FS 26er then the suspension is set up wrong. During my time owning the giant I've had the opportunity to demo and put enough time on other 29er HT with similar specs to make decision to see if I like one HT over another. The others (see similar products tried below) are also great bikes. Each has its own distinct or subtle handling difference. I still feel the Giant is an awesome value and a great platform for modifying if you want to go that way. Out of the box it's a great bike and race ready for your typical age grouper.
Similar Products Used: Trek Super Fly AL, Specialized Stumpjumper Comp, Trek Sawyer, Niner Air 9, Niner Sir 9
Bike Setup: 2010- stock
2011 - 1x9 drive train, 660mm carbon riser bar inverted stem to accomodate rise, Race face dues seat post, wtb pure saddle, Hayes stoker gram brakes, Truvativ Noir cranks, ceramic bottom bracket, no tubes conversion on stock wheels
2012 - all of the above plus Stans Arch EX wheelset,
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 17, 2012
Strengths: Fast, components, climbs awesome, handles great and did I say fast?
Weaknesses: Digging deep here but excessive chain slap and rear brake is a bit "spungy". Read some other reviews on alixer line up and seems like a reoccurring thing. My lbs is going to bleed them for me so ill see if that fixes it.
I don't normally write reviews but this bike deserves it. I'm a noob, only about a month in. I looked at many different brands and finally landed on this bike. I didn't want to get a bike that I would want to upgrade or replace later and this is it. I'm not going to be out riding this bike anytime soon. I ride local single track with some decent climbs and this thing shreds up the trails. Great bike for riders of all experience levels looking for a really nice hard tail. Extremely fast and seems to handle the climbs as good as my ability will let it. I'm finally starting to catch up with the bike. All in all a great bike with good components for the price. I think giant makes a great bike and will be looking to them when I'm ready for a road bike.
Strengths: Everything about this Giant is a strength. Its fast, seriously fast. It's stiff, agile, strong, nimble, humble, aggressive, comfortable, confident, light.
Rolls over obstacles the 26er couldn't.
Takes a beating and keeps coming back for more.
Dang, it is one sexy bike!
Weaknesses: Personally don't like the GXP BB, would have preferred an external BB so I could self service, but not a real issue. I was not happy with the Racing Ralph, found them less grippy than the Rocket Rons.
My first 29er and because of this Giant I will never go back to a 26er again. I replaced the front Racing Ralph with a Rocket Ron and have full confidence in the handling.
There is nothing my 26er could do on any trail that could beat this bike. This Giant has proven to be a race ready thoroughbred. I have done a number of races on it and improved my times dramatically.
I love everything about this bike. This Giant has removed all doubt about 29ers and I am fully converted.
This is a hard tail that makes you realise you don't need to waste time on a dual sus.
Strengths: light frame, savage front shocks and riding position.
Weaknesses: riding in muddy-ish conditions the chain seems to stick to the inner cog and ride up inbetween the chainstay and the cog, jamming my drive. WTF?. the front brake took a lot of adjustment and fiddling to get right. still needs the odd tweak to keep it good.
beats my old 26er hands down. i feel a little more confident on the trails riding this... bigger drop offs, bigger jumps. and easier on the rocky stuff too.
allows me to keep quite competitive with my mates on their full sus bikes.. still kick their asses on the ascents tho. :) great components.. even the juicy's, if you tune them right.
Weaknesses: plastick chain protector on rear ( a bike thats tuned right should not have this)
riding this master peice is cheating, to fast! crazy on steep single track climbs its like a steam roller it just goes it builds crazy quick momentum for uphill and with this reba fork it feels like a softail without losing power, what a awsome bike!!!!! its race ready!!
Date Reviewed: July 31, 2012
Strengths: HEEEEELLL yea ! Light, fast and absolutely awesome .
Runs the trails like an angry Boar , no stopping this guy!
Weaknesses: Would have liked more colour options .
Slight "click " under full power
Go get it now , while there are still stocks left.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 10, 2012
Strengths: Light. FAST. Nimble.
Weaknesses: None really
This bike is a rocket. plain and simple. Drive train and components are A1. Nothing to complain about. Came from riding a 26er...never again. I ride my bikes hard....on XC trails and this thing just blasts through everything. I spent a long time testing and researching bikes. This one was the best value by far. I was looking at trek's feul EX line for a long time....so glad I opted for the xtc....a true race machine. The reba up front is amazing. very tunable (although i dont tune much...set at desired PSI, open dampening to full and RIP it...thats all it needs). easily 10-15% faster than my previous 26in. I could complain about the flat bar, as its a tad uncomfortable for me...but thats nothing to b*tch about....easily swapable. Im not one to review anything online, but this ride deserves it. Every single ride, im amazed by this machine. get one
Similar Products Used: many 29ers in the same price range
Bike Setup: stock. what more do I need? thrash it till components brake, then upgrade.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 12, 2012
Strengths: No uprades needed, maybe new wheels to make the bike lighter but other than that comes fully equipped with great parts.
Weaknesses: The brakes tend to squeek, especially when dusty, after every ride recommend wiping down the disc.
This is my first 29er but not my first MTB, I am very impressed with this bike, the racing ralph tires are perfect for any trail and the bike, even though not a composite, is very light. When I purchase a bike I tend to ride it like I stole it and this bike has been through some test and past. Highly recommend to moderate and experienced riders, just based on the price, if I was a beginner I would start with a cheaper bike/used bike.
Weaknesses: -The stock seatpost is awful, expect it to shift skyward if you hit a hard bump while seated.
-Very uncomfortable saddle (IMO)
-The brakes that came on it were frustrating - the rear brake was incredibly noisy and did not work well. New rotor and pads only helped for a short while. Most owners seem to upgrade. I did as well.
I have the 2011 model - bought it used from a friend who didn't have time to ride it. The paint/graphics from this year are really nice and the bike looks super stealth. The 15mm ThruAxle and tapered headtube combination is great for stiffness. The stock wheels aren't the lightest but they have been tough as nails. Components are just fine with the exception of the brakes. I really love this bike and didn't feel like it urgently needed any big upgrades out of the box. It's a monster and rolls over all kind of terrain that would have bounced me all over the place on my old 26" rockhopper. I have done a few XC races on the bike this summer so far so good.
Strengths: Bike handles fast and I can do switchbacks no problem.
This bike encourages you to ride it fast.
Rear wheel doesn't slip when you stand out of the seat when climbing. You don't need to find the sweet spot.
It accelerates very easily with a lighter wheelset.
Stock Kenda Karma tires inspired confidence and were light at 550 grams each
Fox Fork is awesome!
Weaknesses: I didn't really like the in house parts.
The original Giant wheelset was the worst part. It was heavy at 2,200 grams and it dented very easily if the rim barely touched a rock. I didn't even pinch flat a tube once and I had a dent. I have never had a rim with such soft aluminum.
Giant seatpost - shifted several times on a ride until I had to overtighten it. Since then it has been solid.
The Giant brand is plastered everywhere on the bike. There is no mistaking which brand of bike you're riding.
Overall, I really like the Giant XTC. The handling is spot on. It is an excellent frame and fork worthy of some additional upgrades. If you live in a rocky area make sure to run high enough pressure to not cause a rim strike or there will be a dent. With some upgrades the XTC can be a very light and fast race bike. Even when the bike was stock it still rode great. The heavy stock wheelset made it feel a little sluggish, but if you change that the bike really comes alive. If you want a fast handling bike with the rear wheel tucked under you, a good solid platform for future upgrades, and a fast handling bike the XTC fits the bill.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2012
Strengths: Looks awesome, you feel the part, look the part and the bike helps you be the part. Most responsive bike Ive ever ridden. Fork is bomb proof, wheels are solid, frame is stiff, stiff, stiff and drive train is sweet and crisp. (I have the 2011 model with the Fox forks. not the 2012 model, which I think is lower spec, but cheaper too....)
Weaknesses: Get a chainstay protector - you'll be going ALOT faster on this bike so naturally you'll be bouncing around alot more, although im really struggling to think of a weakness.
If you want to ride trails and small jumps (3ft approx) fast, this bike is a rocket it will roll and roll and roll. Its so easy to ride - almost effortless and it almost encourages you to take on the challenge of climbing the hills you would previously have got off and walked, whilst nailing the descents you would have previoulsy avoided. I also use it for work - 16 miles perday - and its just a joy to do. I get home and then take my two kids out for a bike ride (im 6ft and 224lbs - not an athlete..!!)
Similar Products Used: 26 inch before now - Ill nevr go back.
Bike Setup: for the work commute I put on Bontrager 29-1 team issue as they roll much much faster. For the weekend trails - I swap the tyres to Maxxis Aspen (as spec'd on the bike anyway) on the back and MAxxis Ardent 29x2.4 on the front as I prefer the greater volume of air in that tyre // Swapped the brakes for Shimano Deore from the M445 - but this was just down to the previous brake lever getting damaged and I couldnt find an exact replacement - not too much difference in the deore to the standard issue...
a Cross Country Rider
from Weston, WI, USA
Date Reviewed: February 22, 2012
Strengths: Overall great weight, solid Fox fork.
Spot on geometry (Size Medium, I'm 5'10")
Weaknesses: Slight flex in the rear triangle under max power, wheels are weighty (though durable) and not easily upgradable to tubeless.
All around excellent bike, easily trimmed down for speed (18Ibs with aforementioned upgrades). Fast and fun to ride on road or off. Best for someone looking for an upgradable racer or overall solid performer straight out of the box.
Bike Setup: Stock except for upgrades:
Truvativ stylo 1.1 crankset with SRAM X.0 drivetrain (1 x 9 setup)
Avid Elixir 5 Brakes
Thompson Setback Seatpost
Specialized Phenom Saddle
a Cross Country Rider
from Kansas City
Date Reviewed: September 27, 2011
Strengths: First hard tail aluminum frame.... tight, great handling bike. Have taken this bike through paces on any/all types of terrain and trails... with great results. The 2011 was spec'd good for the price point. Loved the spec'd maxxis aspens tires. Usually tires are first thing to tweak but these are perfect for the bike characteristics. Don't mind the extra weight on the House Brand Giant wheels... they are bomb proof and stiff.
Weaknesses: Fork is not bad but is "average". This is not a weakness of bike but determined that Shimano is way behind Sram related to chain slap and shifting while under pressure "climbing". Was hating the clanking of chain with hardtail. Was going to switch back to Sram.. but Shimano read my mind and came out with XTR with stronger spring.
Killer frame and geometry... with all my upgrades.. will be riding this bike for along time. (unless of course, I fall in love again next summer)
Similar Products Used: Have S/S 29er... test rode several other hard tail 29er bikes... carbon, steal and aluminum. XTC won.
Bike Setup: Went crazy on upgrades... shaved a couple pounds without upgrading wheels. Went to a 1x10 with 34t in front. The only stock parts left? crank arms, brakes and wheels. (frame and fork too) XTR cassette, rear derailluer (better spring) and shifter made a huge difference.