At A Glance
Giant have spent years refining their XTC range and this bike looks sorted and fast!Buy XC Bikes on
The angular white frameset finished off with bold black decals gives a simple, smooth, but purposeful look to what is a race breed beauty. Little touches such as the blue anodised lock on grip clamps, blue anodised mech hanger and blue trim on the saddle add a little colour and class.
To be fair to the other bikes it is important to mention early on in proceedings that this bike retails in the UK at £995 so it is some way up the ladder and that should be remembered.
The XTC has been around a while and the Giant AluxX SL aluminium Fluid Formed TM tubes are shaped and butted to give a lithe, strong frameset. Very straight square profiled seat stays and shortish straight chain stays point towards a fast accelerating direct ride. Weight is a reasonable….
Our 18’’ medium came with a rangy top tube length of 595mm and angles of a 70.5º head angle with a seat angle of 73º.
At the sharp end a Rock Shox Recon Solo Air with poplock remote gives 100mm of supple trail smoothing suspension.
A mixture of Shimano takes care of shifting with the highlight being the XT rear mech with SLX shifters and Deore rounding out the rest of the transmission.
Avid Juicy 3 brakes with 160 rotors provide stopping duties and Giant’s own brand flat bars, stem and seat tube all do a job with a very nice Fizik Tundra MG perch to park your rear on.
Shimano hubs laced to Mavic XM 117 rims ensure you have a dependable wheelset that is finished off with Kenda Small Block Eight 2.1 tyres. Weighing in at a very reasonable 27.2lbs the XTC is certainly not a bloater. Further upgrades will get it down to a very light build.
On The Trail
The XTC immediately feels lighter and more agile than the other bikes we have been riding for this issue and the desire to go faster was soon given into and the power put down. Hitting the lock out does not actually lock the fork, but it does firm it up enough to be effective and jumping on the pedals brings an impressive burst of speed that saw it scampering off up the trail ahead of the pack.
The tight back end means it climbs well and the ride was more forgiving than the straight boxy back end had suggested. The position was fairly attack minded and the flat bar and stretched cockpit gave a sense of urgency which had us pushing hard and enjoying the sensation of head down, legs pumping, how fast can I go speed.
Part of the reason for the pace of this bike is the astonishingly fast Kenda Small Block Eight tyres which offer surprising grip on dry fast trails, beware when the going gets wet though as you will find yourself skating around on slick surfaces.
Setting the fork up was a breeze though the rebound was a bit bouncy initially so we had to have it backed almost right off to start with, but the fork settled down and felt good as the miles mounted up.
The frame is the big bonus here, it’s angles are sweet for fast, tight riding and it’s light weight and good looks mean that hanging top end kit off it as bits wear out will only enhance and fulfil it’s potential.
This bike has a xc heritage and is ready to be raced, but there is a bit more to it than that, put a wide riser bar on the front end and it will make a fast riding capable trail bike that will tackle the less technical side of things.
The frame is the heart of this bike and you get a good one for your money, the only gripe with the XTC 2 is that for the money there are some very good bikes out in this price bracket whilst most of them offer similar components there are one or two that offer slightly better value for money at face value.
The XTC 2 is a cracking bike that you will want to blast around the woods and the frame is good enough to provide years of fast paced service at a reasonable price.
Striking good looks, lightweight and the potential to be upgraded make the Giant one to put on your wish list.
For more inforation go to http://www.giant-bicycles.com
UK RRP £995Buy XC Bikes on
This review was in Issue 2 of IMB.For more information visit Giant Bicycles
By Nigel GarroodNigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!