Giant XtC NRS 3 2003 Full Suspension

4.45/5 (60 Reviews)
MSRP : $1200.00


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Reviews 1 - 15 (60 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by calinrs a Weekend Warrior from Los Angeles, CA, United States

Date Reviewed: April 13, 2009

Strengths:    Awesome frame, pretty rigid, fast, light weight, setup is pretty much awesome for beginners

Weaknesses:    pilot fork, python tires, brakes

Bottom Line:   
First off,this is my first full suspension bike and I never knew that one day I would actually take it out on single tracks, I really bought it for transportation around the city and some nature park paths on my way home from work. I was able to obtain the bike in 2003. but the bike model was the newer 2004. When I took it out to check out other bike shops, they all thought it was a neat bike and the setup was simple at that time for what I was using it for.

As of now, I ride single track and this thing is awesome! I havent touched the bike and never really upgraded anything besides the brakes! Its a simple bike, quick fly by and by looks, can easly be mistaken for a hardtail. Rides smooth up hill and all parts seem to work even though I have some that are on the near verg of failing. I like to ride till things break, not just upgrade right away because of what people say, you gotta ride the bike first and only you can find out what is needed for your own setup, wheels and brakes is what i would get some tips on as it all depends really on where you are riding and only those who ride on those trails would know. I ride really hard so I didnt want to add the cassette and chain in the weakness as this all went out by me over powering the drivetrain. I cracked the cassette's 9th gear and strecthed/replaced the chain twice until I moved on to the xtr chain. But for the real beginner, im sure they would need to build that muscle first before this can happen, me, I started on it with lots of torque power already gained in my legs.

The front fork went out pretty quick though might I say and this was during the period where I only road the bike in the street (about 1.5years). BUT! I still ride with this pilot fork on the single track, yeah, its hard to do some quick turns and some steep steps with out the bike fliping on you but hey, I at least know that this fork is deffinitly in need of an up grade, im looking into Fox racing as a replacement.

The wheels, hutchinson pythons, did ok on the street really grips on paved roads, we did a test on it coming down coral canyon road, was doing about 55 mph and hitting turns at which speed signs saying 35mph! We know this because my brother was following behind me in his car. But on the trails, I there was plenty of tread left, I was still slipping out on turns, very unstable at high speed on the dirt because these wheels simply do not grip enough. I am using some cheap kenda wheels off a kmart parts bike which have some nice teeth on the edges but still rather heavy but I can live with it as it grips like crazy! only which the rubber was softer and it would be more of a champ!

The brakes, i never really liked clamp brakes yet always had them so this was the first time using disk brakes.....GET EM! BB7 Mechanicals will do this bike just fine! yet is not a hassle to maintain and adjust, great for biggners but also good enough to flip you over the handle bars if you are not to careful (as a friend found out the hard way when he didnt beleave me that they stopped on a dime).

I would easily say, go for the nrs2 as it has better parts though all the nrs frames are the same except for the carbon series, but I like to upgrade my bike from the ground up, thats why I went for the NRS3, and I like the silver ;). As long as I got a good frame, thats all that really matters to me and the NRS frame is excellent! I still ride this bike on the same setup as when I first bought it (April 22, 2003) and its April 13, 2009! I will be upgrading the forks really soon but I think im going to keep tanking my way with the same drivetrain until I can afford it as the fork will eat up most of the bikes funding pot for now.

I recommend this bike for any entry level cross county XC biker intressted in learning the game. But ride your bike first and then see what is needed for your specs and your own liking.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   JPL

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Bikecology

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   Avid BB7's, 180mm front and 160 rear, shimano xtr chain

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by ran chen a Weekend Warrior from ramat gan

Date Reviewed: June 2, 2007

Strengths:    cheep, good rear suspention, good body

Weaknesses:    nrs 2 is the best for their pric.
had to up grade all the moving parts and the fork.


Bottom Line:   
do not buy them and go for the NRS 2 and up.
it's like buying a porsche body with lada parts.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $900.00

Similar Products Used:   1995 used the 970 atx of giant with full LX parts.


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Julius a Cross Country Rider from San Diego, CA, USA

Date Reviewed: January 24, 2007

Strengths:    Extremely light for a MTB, affordable entry, solid rear suspension setup (Rock Shox SID), feels like a hardtail on climbs!

Weaknesses:    Front suspension, Hutchinson Python tires, chain may skip from 2nd gear to 1st gear under heavy load.

Bottom Line:   
I felt like I stole this bike with the perfomance it could dish out for under $1,000. If you could find this bike thru dealers, friends, and anywhere else buy it! Even the NRS3 frame is the same as the 1 and 2. If you ride serious please please upgrade the tires and fork. The Pilot SL is terrible for riders +200lbs. Tires were terrible (can't corner and wore quickly). Uphill oh boy this bike can fly! Upgrade to disc brakes if possible. I added Avid BB7, Rock Shox Reba SL, Mavic CrossRides and turned it into a XC/Trail beast! Paying attention to the chain wear is key DO NOT ignore it or you will damage your drivetrain.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $850.00

Purchased At:   Performance Bike

Similar Products Used:   Giant Trance 2

Bike Setup:   Cross country and Trail.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by graham fergus a Cross Country Rider from uk

Date Reviewed: December 29, 2005

Strengths:    light weight and comes with pretty good components. Shimanio, race face crank set. Shram v brakes and average huchision xc tyres.

Weaknesses:    front forks are not very easy to adjust and the air system takes a while to get used to.

Bottom Line:   
The bike comes ready to go. this i found was a good upgrade from an old scrapper. The bike feels very light and difficult to get used to at the start but afet 5 or 6 rides i found the correct set up for myself and was very comfortable. £400.00 bought me this bike and i have found myself doing the same as many other XC riders with out difficulty. Due to the gearing and weight composition it is very easy to accelarate on inclines and goes like a bat out of hell on the downs. As i upgraded i have started to build a hard tail and used all the old parts to make it up . I love my bike and would recommend it for and new riders.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   hamsterley forest black run

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   uk shop

Similar Products Used:   scott

Bike Setup:   now up graded the forks and replaced the tyres to contintental explorers. Disc brakes where a must and i chose shram hydralic .

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Super Jason a Cross Country Rider from Leeds, UK

Date Reviewed: July 8, 2005

Strengths:    Price, full suspension, 31lb weight, looks, handling

Weaknesses:    Occasional gear slip under heavy pressure

Bottom Line:   
Having decided to upgrade from my 9 year old hardtail & hard nose mtb, I was wondering whether to spend my hard earned wedge on a hardtail with front sus or this full susser. I was concerned whether I would loose out on climbs with a full susser over a hardtail. My riding preference is xc.

I decided that I would regret not going for the full sus option, so I bought the Giant NRS 3. This is a SUPERB bike. It climbs virtually by itself thanks to it's light weight (compared to many other full sussers - 31lb). It is entremely well balanced, meaning it will take you up, round and down anything with confidence. The hydrailic discs stop me on a sixpence in any weather, even when covered in mud.

Giant are replacing this bike so it's possible to negotiate deals with retailers, making the attractive pricetag positively stunning.

My only annoyance is when powering down hard in 2nd gear, it slips into 3rd. This may be gear setup but I suspect it's more likely due to the tail flex others here have mentioned.

In conclusion, if you have £600 sheets burning a hole and are tempted by full sus (which you should be!), buy this. It looks hard, rides hard, climbs hard and loves being treated like a dawg!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Cyclesense, Tadcaster, UK

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   Standard off the shelf

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Eric a Cross Country Rider from Highlands Ranch, CO

Date Reviewed: June 29, 2005

Strengths:    All around great MTB, lightweight, excellent riding position and response for a 5'10 192 lb guy. Solid Full suspension, no bob on uphill. Solid Mavic x139 wheelset, i beat on em for 2 yrs b4 replacing. It was the right price for an mid grade entry level bike. I should be using it for years and wil definetly consider other Giant bikes in the future.

Weaknesses:    Should come with Pilot SL forks adjusted to 100 MM not 80 MM,Python tires were replaced in under 60 days,no shoulder for cornering. Replaced chain in first 6 - 9 months.

Bottom Line:   
This is one sweet bike. It does everything except extreme downhill. If you want downhill check out the 05 Giant bikes reign and faith. This NRS will treat you right, for a first time full suspension and beyond. Excellent riding position makes for a comfortable ride, better response and handling on technical trails. The center shock is a little weird with pressure because of the geometry of the bike. None of the shops told the same story, so I called Rock Shock and Giant to confirm. Almost no other bike requires your riding weight (clothes, Camel Back and all)in pressure PSI on top chamber (no more than 250 psi top), no more than 50 psi bottom. The bike is rigid, prevents compression loss, is perfect for climbing and knows when to absorb shock riding back down hill. One sweet bike. I have used this bike riding, colorado front range single tracks, Green and Blue single track trails at Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge, WinterPark and Copper mountain resorts in Colorado. And had a great ride everytime. You dont need a bike that costs twice as much to have a good time, but you need a better bike than WalMart sells to do these type of rides. GIANT NRS is the ride!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The one I am riding

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Performance Bike Colorado

Similar Products Used:   None, my first full suspension bike. Was on GT Hardtail b4.

Bike Setup:   New Mavic 717, Replaced Avid Single Digit 3 with digit 7 V Brakes (I wore the front pair out), New Easton EA70 seat post (got fat & or wrecked and bent old titec), running with Fire XC Pro Tires and swap with Specialized Enduro's for single track mountain.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Lucas a Cross Country Rider from Krakow, Poland

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2005

Strengths:    This bike sells on it's excellent rear suspension, go ahead and find me a better system... then again... dont bother - there is none

Weaknesses:    like people below said, accessories are crap and tires are hopeless, frame on my NRS was made from AluXX, not the AluXX SL

Bottom Line:   
Excellent XC bike, competition just doesn't seem to be able to catch up. It feels like a hardtail untill you get on bumpy surfaces - I noticed the difference (as compared to hardtails) especially on downhill singletracks full of tree roots and some loose stones (theres lots of those here). At the same time this bike climbs like mad with absolutely no loss of energy - speaking of which, it is a good idea to invest into front fork with lock out. then you can change your NRS into rigid bike when need be.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   GT i-drive, kelly's beast

Bike Setup:   put on XT deraileurs, SRAM Rocket shifters, Magura Julie, suntour E-LO up front

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ev a Cross Country Rider from Edm, AB, Canada

Date Reviewed: April 7, 2005

Strengths:    VALUE, VALUE, VALUE,
NRS rear suspension works great.
Pretty light for its price.


Weaknesses:    The front shock bobs lots, if you get serious, i would buy a fox shock with lockout.
Stock rims are heavy, try upgrading to crossmax.


Bottom Line:   
This is an awesome value bike, you can find it for around 1000$ on ebay, pink bike, ext. The rear shock is the best system without a lockout on the market. THis bike is best with 'Wildgripper' tires on it (by michelin). If you get more serious the upgrades you would want would be a new front shock, new wheels, and a new seat & post. If you are just getting into mountain biking this is the bike for you.
And dont worry about upgrades, they are easy to get, the frame will last a lifetime.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $450.00

Purchased At:   from a family member

Bike Setup:   Giant NRS 3, added disc brakes,

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Damián Lara a Cross Country Rider from Juarez Chihuahua/El Paso TX

Date Reviewed: January 18, 2005

Strengths:    Very light to be a full suspention, the same as NRS AIR and 5 grams lighter than the carbon fiber frame, very strong rims, true NRS system no one has it I had a Santa Cruz but this is much better in performance every thing is marketing this one is a very good and strong bike

Weaknesses:    Not the bike the python tires are very light but not durable the chain has broke in the first ride

Bottom Line:   
Just remeber this... everything in this hobbie is marketing first thing if you need less weight start with you then continue with the bike my handle bar is the CFX2 weyless and is a 175 gms 30.00 bucks if you want the CFX1 is 30 bucks too but is 125 gms new very good artifacts the titec titanium stem is 150 gms 50 bucks new, the sette titanium skewers 18 dlls, the seat post 50 dlls, my mavic cross ride rims are very light and durable you do not have to pay over 600 dlls to have a light weight rims i bought them for just 140 dlls new on ebay, theres not too much option on the derailleurs but buy the shimano XT they are the same as the XTR the only difference is the price so do not spend money the pilot fork is the child of the SID Fork just heavier now my bike works like a cadillac for me is the best I have money to buy a Santa Cruz Blur but it does not make any sense just to brag it Theres some better bikes but remember Lance Armstrong defeat you with a Wal-Mart bike improve your self comments dlara@telennia.net

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Chupacabras 100 KM

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $660.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Santa Cruz Heckler

Bike Setup:   For me the components are like jewels a few ones really make a difference but I put the Titec Titanium Stem, the Giant Carbon fiber seat post, Weyless Carbon fiber Hand bar, Sette titanium skewers, XT rear and front derailleur, Velociraptor tires and the Mavic Cross Ride Rims

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dwayne Weeks a Cross Country Rider from 617 Overbrook Road, Baltimore, USA

Date Reviewed: December 12, 2004

Strengths:    Good strong mountain bike for cross country, climbing, rock gardens, log jumping, mud skidding, single track, and having fun in the woods. Get the front and rear shock air pressure adjusted at the bike shop before you leave the shop, and make sure the bike fits your frame. The Perfomance Bike folks were great with bike set up and adjustments, and this needs to be done before you ride hard.

Weaknesses:    Replace the Hutchison python lite tires before you ride in the rain, mud, rocks, or anywhere other then dry-hardpack. If you ride on the east-coast, these tires are not for you. The original tire side-walls were ripped out in the rock gardens within 3 months, and I am glad they expired.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike for the guy (or girl) who likes to ride hard in a wide variety of conditions. The Rock Shox pilot SL fork works fine as long as it is adjusted for your wieght, and you set the re-bound for your riding conditions.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Blue Knob XC Expert race trail

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   Performance Bike

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Hard-rock, no-suspension (no comparision)

Bike Setup:   Stock except for upgrade to Richie seatpost and IRC Mythos 2.1 tires which were a massive improvement to bike.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Jake a Cross Country Rider from Pocatello, ID USA

Date Reviewed: September 12, 2004

Strengths:    I feel like I have a lot of control on this bike. I like to be able to feel what I'm riding on a little bit. The bike I had before this one was an older Marin hardtail, so maybe it's just a comfortable transition for me.
Avid V brakes bring me to a hault, and that's all I would ask of them. I've never ridden disk brakes, and I don't really have a desire to.
The dampening on the rear shock is very adjustable, and the shock is very efficient on the uphill battle. I was considering other bikes with more aggressive suspension, but it seemed like the uphill bob, and additional weight really dragged me down.


Weaknesses:    Tires are going to be an immediate replacement for any semi-serious rider. Not only do the "pythons" wear fast, the shoulders are not knobby enough for tight cornering.
There have been times where I wished I had more travel in the fork. I'm still deciding if I like the Pilot or not. I have had some little problems with chain suction.


Bottom Line:   
I'm more of a rider than a reader. I don't know a lot of technical stuff. Of course we all know that the three is the cheap version, and we're going to add our own little goodies as we can afford them. It's a good bike for those of us who are still willing to do the uphill to get the reward of the downhill.
I knew before I got this bike that giant cut corners on things like the fork and tires to make the bike more affordable. I planned for upgrades of parts. But for someone who just came off of an older hardtail, it's already a primo bike. (although they may as well be selling these things with no tires).

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bartlet wash, moab

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $825.00

Similar Products Used:   marin eldridge grade

Bike Setup:   Stock. Yeah I know, LAME. My wallet is still recovering from the initial purchase of the bike. I'm poe "will work for accessories"

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John a Cross Country Rider from Malden, Ma

Date Reviewed: September 11, 2004

Strengths:    Does not feel like you are losing any power on the uphills. Great riding position. Feels fast, and it is.

Weaknesses:    The tires are weak... work well on fast dirt.

Bottom Line:   
Great full suspension bike. I wanted the NRS2 for the disc brakes, but it was sold before I could snag it. I'll upgrade to disc soon. I've been riding about a year on the suggested setup, but I tried the new rear shock setup as suggested by another review. It is worth trying... body weight - 10PSI in the (+), then 100PSI in the (-). Now it's an even better ride.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Race course at Camden Snow Bowl - Camden, ME

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Maine Sport, Camden, ME

Similar Products Used:   Gary Fisher Sugar 3+DISC

Bike Setup:   Stock + pedals, chain rings(repair), and a rock ring.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jim Jimma a Cross Country Rider from London UK

Date Reviewed: August 23, 2004

Strengths:    Great first full suss bike. Good components for the price. Also good for road use.

Weaknesses:    Could do with better forks. Tires suck. Had to replace the raceface cranks due to unsolvable creaking issues

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike about a year and a half ago. Sadly its not seen as much xc as i'd like and a bit too much road but then I use it to get to work every day. With that in mind though, i'd have been hard pressed to find a better full suss for road use (for the price, obviously). There really is very little bob on hard climbs and yet the rear suss soaks up the bumpy stuff. Its so damn light, yet it dosen't feel flimsy and when I get the chance I can still chuck it about a bit on the trail. I've put some weedy 1 inch tires on it for road use and now can overtake roadies!
Not too keen on the forks though.. definately my next upgrade. Oh and stick some disks on if you have the chance... the v's aren't bad but don't compare to a good set of disks.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1400.00

Purchased At:   Some place in Twickenham

Bike Setup:   Factory spec with Hope mono minis, hope XC hubs, mavic x618 rims and Deore Hollowtech cranks.


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jake Wiggins a Weekend Warrior from Mobile

Date Reviewed: July 13, 2004

Strengths:    Great overall bike, love the no sag suspension, all the advantages of a softail without the disadvantages!!

Weaknesses:    The chain will rideup on the lower part of the swingarm if you shift the front derailer during hard cranking (makin you fall mostly)... the Hitchison Python tires belong on a road bike NOT a MOUNTAIN BIKE!!

Bottom Line:   
Great bike for someone who wants a great bike for a good price, performs VERY VERY well!!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bama Trails

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $850.00

Purchased At:   Cadence 120

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale Jekyll 400

Bike Setup:   Titec bar ends, IRC Mythose XC tires... otherwise stock

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Allen from montreal, canada

Date Reviewed: July 3, 2004

Strengths:    nice priced for an awsome bike. same frame as NRS2, NRS1.

Weaknesses:    craking/squeezing sounds at where you tighten your seatpost ('cause dirt gets in from there??).

Bottom Line:   
even stock, it's a very good XC bike. as i did the upgrade the front shocks, it performs much better (the pilot SL that came with was kinda crappy). Wide range of upgrading because the NRS 3 frame is the same as the NRS 2 and NRS 1 but different components. Just when you get to the level of wanting a high perf xc bike, change your components and you will have a NRS 1! :)

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   bromont

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Bike Setup:   upgraded to rock shox SID XL, hayes hydraulic disk brakes and disk rims. everything else stock

Reviews 1 - 15 (60 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


Giant XtC NRS 3 2002 - bad idea?

Is it a bad idea to buy an old FS bike for a first FS bike? I noticed a 2002 Giant NRS ($400/obo) & 2001 Giant XTC AC1 ($250). People are selling off their toys for extra $$ to buy gifts and there may be some good deals coming up. I recently got a 2007 Fisher Wahoo and don't need a FS. But ... Read More »

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Giant NRS 3 XTC 2003, Tail suspension

I currently have the 2003 Giant NRS 3 XTC, and am slowly converting it to more of an all mountain bike that i can take bigger hits with. I currenty putting new rims and tires as well as a new five inch front shock. The only problem is I weigh 190 and when i put enought air in the rear shock to tak ... Read More »

New rider ..Giant NRS-3 (03) or XTC-2 (04)??

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