First look: Giant XtC 29ER

First wagon-wheeler from the world's biggest bike company

Giant have been making a lot of fuss about their 2010 full-suspension range, which means that their entry into the 29er market has crept in under the radar.

The newest addition to their top-end XtC hardtail line is this, the good-looking but rather unimaginatively named XtC 29ER.

According to Giant's Pierre-Henri Medas, the company have taken their time designing the bike from the ground up as a pure 29er rather than just using a mix of 29in and 26in parts.

“Giant is a bit late introducing a 29er but we had time to evaluate the competition," he says. "On most 29ers the geometry is wrong, there’s lots of flex from the fork and the wheels are just 26in ones made bigger.

"The XtC 29ER's geometry has been designed to be fast but stable, with a tapered head tube (1/5 – 1 1/8) and wide down tube to create a stiff front end.

"It has 29er-specific wheels with wide rims so the tyre sits better, and even the bar is 29er-specific: flat, with a five-degree rearward sweep and 690mm wide."

The bike is available in three sizes, starting at 15in. Two models are available, both with the same frame made from Giant's AluxX SL aluminium.

The XtC 29ER 2 comes in a stealthy grey colour with a Marzocchi Forty-Niner TST2 fork with 15mm axle, Shimano Deore shifters and Alivio hydraulic disc brakes, a Truvativ Isoflow chainset, plus own-brand wheels and cockpit kit. RRP is £1,100.

The 29ER 1 (pictured above) costs £300 more but for that you get a Fox 32 F29 RL-100 fork, Avid Elixir discs, Shimano SLX shifters, Deore crankset and XT rear mech.

If you're not sold on the whole big-wheel idea, Giant have made refinements across the rest of their hardtail range for 2010, with a new stiffer and lighter frame on the standard XtC (not XtC Advanced) models and plenty of colour-matched anodised parts. For more details see www.giant-bicycles.com.

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