Giant’s pitch behind the Escape is an affordable bike for your commute that handles the rough with the smooth, getting you to work and back with a little sense of adventure in between. What you get for your pound shy of £700 is a mix of solid components wrapped around an impressive frame and fork.
The frame is built using Giant’s lightweight, butted ALUXX tubing, adorned with future-proofed flat mounts for the disc brakes into which a full-composite carbon fork is plugged – almost unheard of at this price. That makes the Escape pretty lightweight at 11.1kg in an XL, despite using impressive hardwearing components throughout.
The Escape’s drivetrain employs a well-thought-out mix of lower-level Shimano components from the Altus (shifters), Acera (front mech) and Alivio (rear mech) models, plus a non-series MT-210 chainset.
Perhaps surprisingly to some, this mix worked flawlessly. Yes, the shifts aren’t as super-slick and quiet as higher models, but they’re accurate and fast, and even with the chain fully crossed from big-to-big, there was no front-mech rub. Plus, it features a lighter and more efficient two-piece design chainset.
The 2 x 9 gear range with a bottom end of 30-36 makes for a bike that’s capable of any climb you’ll find on your commute. The top end of 46/11 offers a similar top end to modern gravel bikes – plenty for fast descents and big efforts on the flat.
The Escape scores well on ride position, striking the sweet-spot between ‘sit up and beg’ and ‘roadie fast’. It allows you to generate wattage and hunker down when you want to sprint but, more importantly, affords a natural, easy position to view traffic without having to crane your neck to see around you.
The cockpit combines a fairly upright 15-degree stem with a wide low-rise bar borrowed from Giant’s XC mountain bike component line. This bar is wide at 700mm but, when combined with the well-sculpted and forgiving ergonomically-shaped grips, simply adds to the bike’s cosseting comfort.
Giant Escape 1 Disc geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||73.5||73||73||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||70||71||71||71|
|Seat tube (cm)||43||48.5||53.5||58.5|
|Top tube (cm)||56.5||58||59.5||61|
|Head tube (cm)||11.5||13||16||19|
|Fork offset (cm)||5||5||5||5|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||6||6||6||6|
|Crank length (cm)||17||17||17.5||17.5|
At the back, a mix of an alloy D-shaped post and a padded but sportily shaped saddle nicely balances the bike between front and rear when it comes to compliant comfort.
It rolls on tubeless-ready alloy wheels with tough 38c urban tubeless tyres. The double-wall rims are well shaped and modern-wide, so they shape the big tyres well.
Giant has used quick-release skewers, so ideally arm yourself with a set of security skewers or, at the very least, a cable lock or two to secure the wheels.
The rolling stock proved itself more than up to commuting knocks. The Crosscut Metro tyres are tough, too, with no cuts, digs or punctures. The downside is that they’re somewhat sluggish when it comes to on-road performance, with the thick tread and stiff shoulders sapping acceleration. However, on towpaths and gravelly bike paths they’re easily up to the job.
Even with the tyres, the Escape’s handling is as balanced as the ride comfort, with stability at speed yet able to turn quickly at slower velocity.
The control is enhanced by impressive Tektro hydraulic HD-280 brakes. The three-finger levers possess a firm feel, but one that enables plenty of progressive pressure, slowing you both quickly and safely, even in the wet.
Leaving it locked up outside in the rain for a few days, and being somewhat leisurely with my maintenance routine, left few marks on the bike or its components. Yes, the chain looked a little dry, but it hadn’t turned brown.
The hardened black finish on the Altus cassette remained similarly unaffected, and with little in the way of exposed cables, and quality hardware used throughout, I was left impressed with the Escape’s hardy construction.
In this company, the Giant chassis shines. It may cost more than its rivals, but it’s worth it because the bike’s core quality is impressive, along with its sensible frugal componentry.
How we tested
We tested four bargain-priced flat-bar hybrid commuter bikes on typical commuter routes in towns and cities, up and down hills and along bike paths and towpaths.
We also locked them up outside in all weathers to see if any tell-tale browning occurred to fixtures and fittings with the onset of rust.
Also on test
- Marin Presidio 1
- Ridgeback Speed
- Orbea Carpe 40
|Price||GBP £699.00USD $800.00|
|Available sizes||S, M, L, XL|
|Tyres||Giant CrossCut Metro easy ride tubeless 38c|
|Stem||Giant Sport 15-degree|
|Seatpost||Giant D-Fuse alloy|
|Saddle||Giant Sport Comfort|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Alivio|
|Handlebar||Giant Sport XC|
|Bottom bracket||Shimano SM-BB52|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Acera|
|Cranks||Shimano MT-210 30/46|
|Cassette||Shimano CS-HG200 11-36|
|Wheels||Giant GX, 12mm thru-axle, tubeless ready|