We were genuinely surprised by the performance of the Yukon FX's simple single-pivot rear suspension design and generic air-sprung rear shock. Overall control is very good in most trail situations, the rear triangle is reasonably rigid, and even pedaling is very efficient, at least in the middle ring. Despite our initial concerns, the Yukon FX proved that even at this price point, rear suspension can be a real performance plus.
Adding that hardware does come at a price though, as the Yukon FX is one of only two bikes in this test to use an eight-speed rather than nine- or 10-speed cassette (the cluster of gear sprockets attached to the rear wheel), the suspension fork is wholly lacking in any sort of damping control, and the Giant is also the heaviest in this group. It uses the same Kenda Small Block 8 tyres as the Cannondale, which roll fast but lack grip.
- Standout features: Capable rear suspension offers more grip and comfort than any hardtail — the Yukon pedals and absorbs bumps as well as bikes costing much more
- Pros: Well thought out geometry and cockpit make for a bike that’s comfortable and fun to ride on the flats and downhills — caveat: see cons
- Cons: Front fork is borderline dangerous with virtually zero rebound damping; 24 (3x8) gears instead of 27 or 30; cable actuated brakes (though they work well); heavy, sketchy tires for beginners
- Weight: 15kg/33.09lb. Wheelset: 4.63kg/10.21lb