XtC 29er combines the best of both worlds. With highly engineered ALUXX SL aluminum tubing and performance XC geometry, it delivers both predictable stability and a surprisingly stable trail feel. Featuring Giant’s OverDrive headtube for steering precision and a 100-millimeter suspension fork, it’s a fast way to elevate your trail-riding skills.
Strengths: Smooth and agile, frame geometry, good components for the money, quick/precise shifting, brakes, relatively light weight
Weaknesses: Occasional chain slap, tires are so-so, marginal seat
I'm really happy with this bike. I've owned it for two months now and have given it a thorough shakedown -- from moderately technical singletrack to a six-day ride on the Continental Divide towing a BOB Trailer to around-town commuting. It hasn't disappointed me yet and I love the feel of the ride. Full disclosure, this is the first mountain bike I've bought and I was looking for a good price/value ratio, but not a bike that felt cheap. I was looking for a bike I could be happy with now, as a relative beginner, and still be happy with a few years later. I can confidently say this bike fit that bill. The shifting is crisp, the handling is very responsive (noticeably better than other similarly-priced 29ers I tested), and the hydraulic brakes are smooth. The XT rear derailleur is great to have and the Deore shifters/front derailleur are almost flawless -- surprising as Deore is a notch below XT and I figured I'd notice a performance penalty. Not so. The wide handlebars are comfortable (some riders may opt for skinnier ones) and the shock is fine for what I need. Altogether it feels durable and as a beginner-intermediate rider, I feel like it will serve me well for a long time to come.
As far as the cons, I have experienced some limited chain slap, though it's not a huge deal. As other reviewers have mentioned, the seat seems a bit on the unforgiving side -- six days and 250 miles of continuous riding off-road is going to make any butt sore, and it's easy to blame the seat. It's fair to say it's a little uncomfortable and it will probably be among my first upgrades. Lastly, I was a little disappointed with the tires. I swear by Schwalbe, and roll their tires on my 'cross and touring setups. These just didn't perform that well, particularly on gravel and loose dirt. They're an easy upgrade and I can put up with them for now.
I think Giant has put together a nice package here that offers great value -- probably at or near the top of this class of bike. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for an all-around solid hardtail.
Bike Setup: Stock, except towed a BOB trailer while on the trail. Worked great with the 29er trailer fork.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 10, 2013
Strengths: Agile, climbs very well, geometry fits my frame well
Weaknesses: Grips, Racing Ralphs suck, crazy chain slap, front deraileur issues, saddle
Let me start by saying this bike was a demo. It's in great shape, but it definitely had been ridden.
I was a devout Yeti 575 lover. After a long, beautiful relationship she cracked a weld on me and left me stranded. Due to life change issues I was searching for a bike to hold me over until I could get another high end bike. I was looking for a rebound relationship. Found this one at the local bike shop on sale as a demo. I had ridden a buddy's Niner and knew that one day I would have to have one. Find something cheap and easy, use it hard and dump it at the first opportunity. Hit it and quit it.
After riding my XTC for a month I've found intimacy again. Climbs extremely well. Doesnt have any of the "boat" issues I was worried about with the wheel base being long. Rolls smooth and loves to be opened up and ripped down the trail. Swapping out the stock saddle, tires, pedals and I'm a happy camper. Definitely going to upgrade the wheelset. I miss my Kings and NoTubes rims.
I'm having issues with front deraileur shifting. I was dialed in perfectly when I got it, but when I was doing a tough climb in the granny/granny gear I was rubbing the wheel with the deraileur. Had it adjusted, but now I'm not real happy in any chainring. I'll be taking it back for adjustment. I heard a flaw in the design was not having enough clearance for the deraileur.
This was a solid first bike purchase. As a relatively new rider, I wasn't looking for top of the line, but I wanted something that was considered a good bike. That is what I got. I got the bike for $1250 at a reduced price. The avid hydraulic discs grab like no other. The crank and derailleurs are great. The air fork is cutting edge allowing you to adjust the stiffness and return on it, or you can lock it out all together. It is a very comfortable bike to ride. I feel very confident when I ride. As far as the weaknesses I've listed, the grips are bad. If you sweat when you ride, then they will do nothing for you. Spend $80 like I did and upgrade. I added Oury lock-on grips ($30) with Garneau full-finger gloves ($50). Mine came with basic platform pedals, but I upgraded to Shimano PD-M785 clipless for $70 on Ebay. As far as the chain, the mechanic said it was a bit stretched after only owning the bike for 6 months. I suspect the employees at the shop rode the bike too much before they sold it to me. The chain will probably have to be replaced before the year is up. All in all, I paid about $1400 (suggested retail) for a bike that has superior components to other bikes in the market for the same price. Definitely buy this one of you have the chance.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 18, 2013
Strengths: I did not want to do a review a few days after I bought the bike; I was too excited to get back to cycling after a bad injury that took months before I could even considering riding a bike again, and second I Obviously bought a new bike (to excited) …
So after two months of ridding the bike here it goes.
• Bike feels like it has a motor hidden inside.
• Turns really fast. Even if though it has the widest handle bars I have ever seen.
• It a sports car going up hills. Feels like you’re cheating.
• Feel and looks much more expensive
• Breaks are better in every way than my 2010 SLX.
• Can’t say anything about the shifters. I guess that’s a good thing.
• Saddle takes breaking in. After that is Golden.
• I used to take my bike to the shop for maintenance every week or two but I still haven’t taken this one.
Weaknesses: • Wheelset could be lighter.
• Tires: Personally don’t like the Racing Ralf’s on the front, they don’t inspire any confidence. However it’s perfect as a back wheel. Changing the front one to Nobby nick’s for better grip. 45 US fix.
• Handlebars are really really wide. It’s easy to cut then to better suite your style of riding.
• Not a fan of Giant’s grip. 12 usd fix.
• Rear derailleur is loud while going fast downhill.
• Shadow rear derailleur
You will get to the top of the hill first than anyone so you can take your time going downhill. My last bike was a Giant Trance and I not regretting selling it for this. The trance was faster downhill but the XTC is faster everywhere else.
After only 2 months of being back I am only 7 minutes slower from my fastest 1 hour trail ride and 20 minutes from my 2 ½ hour trail ride. The XTC has a lot to do with that.
Did I say it feels like you’re constantly cheating ?
Strengths: Quick, agility and solid build and geo.
Weaknesses: raer derailleur was ghost shifting over bumps and the chain slap was insane
the brakes work ok just find them weak for my 210 lbs frame.
I have had this bike since the spring and other than the rear derailleur issue it has not let me down once. For the price the bike is sweet and you know that a sub 1500 bike will have some junky parts, no way around that. I myself love this bike and the frame geo is spot on. I am purchasing a bunch of new gear for the bike, my whole thought process in getting a cheaper bike was to upgrade with parts I want. In the spring this baby will be sporting stans rims, Hope hubs and brakes and carbon bars and seatpost, that should drop her weight as well.The bike climbs like a goat and decends great, I have nothing bad to say, this bike has shaved off at least 10 minutes off my current lap times for my local trails. The day I got this I jumped on and took right off on a lap, bike felt like I had ridden this one for years, not easy finding a bike that feels just "so right" .
Strengths: Feels tight and solid under my 105kg, nice balance of strength and weight, looks great. Apparently excellent build quality for the price. Fun!
Weaknesses: Drive components feel a little light, will have to wait and see how durable they are.
Pushing 50 and 110kg, under Dr's orders to lose a little weight, so decided to lash out and buy a bit more performance than I'm used to.
Couldn't be happier with my choice. Instantly climbing further up steeper slopes than before, love the geometry, handles great, gaining more confidence every day, especially downhill. Comfortable and fast on road rides too.
I'm hooked, riding about 80km/week lately, just what the Dr ordered....
Can highly recommend as balance of budget and performance.
Strengths: Super agile, solid and composed. Shocks are plush and precise, brakes work a treat and have plenty of feel. Schwalbe Racing Ralph are fantastic.
Weaknesses: Tubeless ready rims would be nice, as would a better shifter (who really needs an indicator - which you can't see anyway! - Cheap to upgrade anyway).
After having crossover weekend and commuting bikes for years I've finally got a dedicated and great value XC only bike. Most of my trail buddies have gone full sus but honestly I think this ticks all the boxes at a fraction of the cost. Save the money and upgrade the standard bits when they're worn out!
Moving to one finger braking is a must - even the entry level Avid Elixr 1 brakes stop hard and I'm pushing 100kg. Do it.
Weaknesses: Grips kinda. Mostly cause there white tho!! Gets dirty too easy!!!
This bike is DA BOMB!!!!! If u can get ahold of this 29er grab it up! Price point is exellent! I had a budget of $1000 and I waited 2weeks for a few extra bucks and it was well worth it! Bike rolls like there's a motor in it! Super fast! Forks work sooooooo smooth!! Bomber 44 tst2 are awesome!!! All I did was drop the seat 1" and it hasn't stopped rollin' yet!!! Long live the 29er revolution!!!!!
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: August 12, 2012
Strengths: I have shopped around trying to find the best hardtail for under $1500 and have cross shopped XTC 29er 2 with models from Cannondale, Scott, Trak and Kona but in the end decided Giant offered the best overall package. Great frame (bike only weights 27lbs) with lifetime warranty, very nice fork [for the $$] good tires and solid, albeit entry level by mtb standards, components sealed the deal.
Weaknesses: Crankset gave out on me after about dozen of rides; arms must have become loose and I ended up "shaving off" splines upon lending after a small drop-off. Shop replaced the crankset with Deore and so far it's been great. Stock Avid elixir1 brakes squeak every now and then regardless of maintenance, including sending down the rotors/pads and installing new rotors (shop put them in during first free adjustment) applying rubbing alcohol does seem to help but only for a short while. Anyway...brakes grab great, but the noise gets annoying.
Overall I'm very happy with my purchase. Bike rides great, climbs like like a beast and looks real sharp (got many complements out on trial). I'll probably invest in remote seatpost and lighter wheels/tubeless setup next to make my rig even lighter and faster.
Similar Products Used: Trek X-cal, Cannondale Flash Alloy 3
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 27, 2012
Strengths: Geometry, speed, agility, weight, gear combo, overall rideability for the price
Weaknesses: For the price, none that I can find. Everything works as it should for this level bike, maybe even a little better. Still learning the bike.
This is my first 29er. What a difference over my hardtail 26" with mid-2000's tech. Loved it right out of the gate. Rolls over everything smoothly, and so much faster than I'm used to. Again, very reasonable components for this level of bike. If you want perfection, spend more money. If you want to get out and ride, buy this bike. I threw my saddle and pedals on, tweaked the saddle height and that was it, went riding. Enjoy!
Strengths: Very stable, shock is good. Turns great, climbs great too. Good geometry
Weaknesses: Components are just ok. Gets the job done, but thats it.
My first 29er, but have many bikes. Really a joy to ride. I did upgrade to XTR derailers and install teflon coated cables. Changed bars and did some minor tweaks to fit me. For the money, I'm really happy and have since parked my suspension bike for a while.
Strengths: Great frame and shock. Wheels just roll over stuff and once moving keep great speed. Bike handles great. This thing is fast!!! This is just a great looking, well built bike.
Weaknesses: Components are ok but I will upgrade when the time comes. Saddle & Grips are nothing to write home about. Those will be upgraded too.
This is a really great bike for the price. The frame is well built and solid. The shock works great. The components are really on the weak side for a bike of this caliber but they need to shave some cost somewhere. Components are the reason for 4 chilli's overall.
This is my first 29er and so far no complaints. It weighs in right around 28 pounds.
Similar Products Used: Scott Scale 29er, Trek X-Cal, Specialized Hard Rock
Bike Setup: All stock for now
a Cross Country Rider
from Bentonville AR
Date Reviewed: February 20, 2012
Strengths: Solid, well built, fast and fun. Great geometry for riding fast, flies over obstacles. Recomend the bike to anyone looking for a lower priced 29er that will do everything the more expensive will do but heavier
Weaknesses: Marzzochi for has been rebuilt twice. Tall big bike that struggles in very technical terrain and is quite heavy.
Perfect bike for someone who is looking for a fast 29er with solid build but trying to keep the price low. I have ridden FS thta have climber better but for terrain that you can carry momentum and speed this bike excels.
Bike Setup: Mostly Stock, upgraded seat, tires and running spd's
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: December 20, 2011
Strengths: Its a Giant, the over sized headtube is worth its weight in gold. The frame is awesome, and i have found it super easy to customize to fit me perfectly.
Weaknesses: shifter triggers (see below)
The Marzocchi shocks lockout is a silly alignment(easy to change), Didnt come with a QR for the seat post, the shifter indicator windows got in the way of proper break handle alignment (had to up grade to get one without that pesky indicator).
I love this bike and recommend it highly, its a great starting point if you think you want to do some races. As things wear out im going to upgrade them and get the weight a little further down, but i have had no major problems with this bike. The price didnt deter me at all i think its an amazing amount of bike for the price, i found for the price i would rather wait and upgrade the XTC2 components as they wear out rather then shelling for the XTC1.
I'm very pleased with the price considering i could not even find this bike used anywhere even in a '10 or '11 model... not in a small frame anyway.. mediums yes.. but no smalls.
Since its Christmas i didnt want to drop the full 1199 right now on a new bike for myself...they let me put a d ... Read More »
I'm from New Zealand and I'm really keen to get into Mountain biking after having a play around on some of my friends bikes for the last few years. I have narrowed my choice down to the xtc-2 and the x-cal. What bike would you choose and why? I've read the comparisons of last years model ... Read More »