With the largest fleet of show bikes on display at AusBike, Giant Bicycles were keen to highlight not just their top-end bikes, but also their mid and entry level models too. Champions of the trickle-down effect, Giant allows riders to experience the same frame and suspension technology on their cheaper models as what you’ll find on the flagship carbon XX-1 bikes. Although Giant had already displayed its new range at a dealer-only show back in August, they were keen to offer the same chance to touch and see the new bikes up close for the viewing public. Here we have a squiz at some of the bikes that grabbed our attention during the expo.
I take it that Giant is keen to push 27.5? You couldn’t walk into the Giant booth without seeing the huge block numerals denoting Giant’s recent dedication to the mid-sized wheel. Aside from bringing a strong range of 650B bikes for 2014, Giant have proclaimed that the 27.5″ wheel size will soon take over the mountain bike world, and they believe both the 26″ and 29″ wheels will soon go the way of the dodo. Big call indeed…
The bike that is really causing a stir amongst Giant dealers all around the country is the carbon fiber Trance Advanced, which features an all-new carbon frame for 2014 that is designed to make the most out of the old-but-new-again wheel size. The Trance uses 5.5″ of travel via the Maestro linkage and pairs it to a 2-position RockShox Revelation fork up front with 140-120mm of travel. Coming with an XX-1 drivetrain and Giant’s own internally-routed dropper post, the Trance Advanced is certainly a bike following all of the latest trends.
Last year Giant introduced a number of new Womens specific mountain bike models, including a ladies version of the popular Anthem XC race bike. For 2014, they’ve gone all-out with a dedicated dual suspension model that now receives its own name. The Lust is based off of the mens Anthem bike, but adds in a female-specific geometry and suspension tune for lighter riders to get the most out of it.
Spec differences compared to the mens version include the SRAM grip shift XX-1 drivetrain, a Fizik Donna female saddle and narrower Giant handlebars to suit the narrower shoulders of the female body.
You can get the new Lust bike in both alloy models and the carbon Advanced frameset. The move to 27.5″ wheels also means Giant have been able to offer the Lust down to an XS frame size which gets a tiny 14.5″ seat tube length, all without compromising the position on the bike that some 29ers have issues with.
Don’t like rear suspension? Giant have you covered there too with a womens-specific version of the XTC 29er carbon hardtail. Called the Obsess, this lightweight carbon race bike joins the growing offering of high-end female specific mountain bikes, which is an awesome thing to see. There’s only one model coming into Australia, and that’s the Obsess Advanced 27.5 1, which comes in just under the $4k mark.
Full carbon frameset with beautifully thin seat stays for ride comfort and a SRAM 20-speed drivetrain that like the Lust, also uses Grip shifters. The carbon XCR wheelset comes from Giant, and helps to bring rotational weight down over a comparable alloy wheelset.
Giant are also offering their lightweight XTC composite frameset in a 650B model for 2014, which will join the existing 29er. The XTC Advanced 27.5 0 will retail for $6799 and comes absolutely stacked with high-end parts including a murdered-out RockShox SID fork, carbon fiber rims and an XX-1 drivetrain. Giant have also specced the new Thunder Burt racing tyres from Schwalbe, leading to no illusions as to what this bike is designed for.
The 12mm thru-axle out back is becoming increasingly popular on race hardtails. Despite the additional time required to change a flat during race conditions, the added lateral rigidity is noticeable in stiffening up the back end. Do hardtails need it? That’s a good question, and while Giant thinks so, brands such as Orbea don’t.
The XTC Advanced frames utilise a very neat wedge system to clamp down on the seat post, which is not only super clean thanks to the hidden bolt, but also reduces the chance of over-tighening down on lightweight carbon posts. The design has been refined for 2014, after a recall on the 2013 XTC Advanced SL 29er 0 & 1 models.
With the global cyclocross scene continuing to grow and with local race series in Australia taking off, Giant have brought out an all-new TCX platform to cater to said growth, while also taking advantage of the UCI’s decision to legalise disc brakes. The top-end TCX Advanced uses a carbon fiber frameset with dedicated disc brake mounts that comes fitted with the SRAM Red 22 groupset.
The seatpost isn’t integrated on the TCX, but it is specific to the frame. With a rounded portion at the front, the seat post flattens out at the back, with the idea that it adds some compliance and further vibration damping.
The carbon fork up front is new too, as it uses a disc-only design and QR15 thru-axle lowers for the DT Swiss RWS skewer. The rear dropouts still use 135mm quick release dropouts, though given Giants penchant for offering future frame upgrades for each year model, we’d expect a 142x12mm setup to pop up soon enough.