Giant XtC 29er 1 - Mountain Bikes: Reviews

Plush Hardtail

For years, carbon fiber and full suspension have been the driving forces in mountain-bike innovation. But the industry's recent embrace of big-wheeled rigs has breathed new life into aluminum frames and hardtail designs. "This bike reminded me that aluminum hardtails are incredible climbers," wrote one tester. "Extremely comfy for a hardtail," said another. Plus, cheaper materials and simpler designs mean more bang for the buck. Here, two grand buys a plush Fox RL fork to take a lot of the sting out of the trails, plus Shimano XT and SLX drivetrain components and Avid Juicy hydraulic brakes. 25.3 lbs (medium); giantbicycles.com
Climbing: 4.4
Descending: 3.8

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