The Giant Manufacturing Company in Taiwan has not, as one might suspect, always produced Giant brand bikes, but it has always manufactured bicycles. King Liu founded his company in 1972 as a frame-manufacturing subcontractor for a variety of bicycle brands. It wasn’t until 1981 that the cycling brand Giant, as we know it today, came to exist. It was only then that Giant began engineering, manufacturing, and selling its own models, while still manufacturing frames for other brands.
Below, check out quick info on five of our favorite Giant bikes, then scroll deeper for more in-depth reviews of these bikes and other great options, as well as more background on the brand.
Since then, Giant has help popularize at least two significant technological advances that are now industry wide. First, in 1987, with the high-volume production of its CADEX carbon-framed bike, Giant was the first big bicycle company to mass-produce a carbon road bike. Second, in 1997, when it debuted a road bike with “compact geometry”– a sloping top tube and smaller rear triangle–that is now used across the industry. Giant’s technology wins are worth noting, but they aren’t the only thing that separate it from other brands, Giant’s Global Marketing and Communications Manager, Doug Barnett, said.
“What makes Giant different from our competitors is that from ideation, to raw material, to finished bicycle, Giant controls the entire process in-house,” Barnett said. “While many competitors either outsource their manufacturing or source raw materials before manufacturing, Giant owns the entire process from the creation of the actual raw build material, whether that be metal alloy or carbon composite material.”
In 2008 Giant formed Liv, a cycling brand dedicated on female riders and making bikes that are created with the female body in mind. Liv bikes, both mountain and road, are consistent winners of Bicycling’s Editors’ Choice awards.
Whether you’re a road racer, mountain bike lover, or Sunday spinner, Giant makes bike for you. Here are our 13 favorites from the brand.
―BEST VALUE ROAD BIKE―
TCR Advanced 1 Disc Pro Compact
Stiffness. Comfort. Speed. There’s a lot to love about the TCR Advanced 1 Disc Pro Compact, one of the more affordable models in Giant’s TCR range. The bike’s Shimano Ultegra drivetrain and wide-range 11-30 cassette give you all the gears you need to take on any terrain, even after a hard day. Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes offer great modulation and reliable stopping performance every time. Plus, this bike comes stock with Giant’s tubeless wheel system.
―BEST ELECTRIC ROAD BIKE―
Road–E + 1 Pro
Although e-bikes in America have grown in popularity, it’s still rather rare to see someone riding a performance road bike with a pedal-assist motor. Giant is one of the brands trying to change that, and the E+1 Pro is proof, with features that cater to the road rider who wants help riding longer (or faster). This capable road machine has an Aluxx-SL aluminum frame with a geometry much like Giant’s Contend endurance model, a Giant SyncDrive Pro motor, a rechargeable Giant EnergyPak lithium-ion battery, and a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain. Giant offers this bike in four sizes: S, M, L, XL.
―BEST VALUE ENDURANCE ROAD BIKE―
Defy Advanced 3
The carbon-fiber Defy Advanced 3 rides smooth, light, and fast, with a peppy responsiveness that’s ideal for fondos and hard training rides. With a Shimano Tiagra groupset, cable-to-hydraulic disc brakes, and an upright riding position, this bike offers value and performance, which is part of this reason it won a 2018 Editors’ Choice award. Confident handling on descents, tubeless rims and tires, and sweet paint complete this solid, affordable model.
―BEST AERO ROAD BIKE―
Propel Advanced SL 0 Disc
In its attempt to build the ultimate high-performance (UCI legal) road bike, Giant took just about every top-end feature and popular technology and crammed it into one bike: the Propel Advanced SL 0 Disc. This bike is remarkably unburdened for being decked out with so much goodness—an aerodynamic frame, disc brakes, a power meter (SRAM RED AXS crank), wireless shifting, deep-section tubeless wheels, and integration, including the seat mast and post, as well as the bar and stem. And it's remarkably stable in crosswinds.
―BEST CHEAP ROAD BIKE―
By combining an aluminum frame and fork with name- and house-brand components, Giant has built a dependable bike suitable for most types of road riding. An 8-speed cassette includes a 34t cog that’s smaller than what you’ll usually find on comparable bikes and is great for new or seasoned riders who like an extra gear when climbing. The 28mm tires help make the bike feel more stable and the ride smooth. Shimano Claris dual-action brake levers double as gear shifters, and the same design can be found on more expensive groupsets. They shift smoothly, and the shape of the hoods provide a comfortable position on the handlebar.
―BEST GRAVEL BIKE―
Revolt Advanced Pro Force
Of all the fast gravel bikes we’ve tested, this may be the easiest to slide into. There’s the price, to start. Giant delivers a ton of value across the six-bike Revolt line, which starts at $1,000 for a version with an aluminum frame and climbs up to this one, which comes with better parts than almost any bike at this price (hey there, carbon wheels and wireless shifting). The ride is incredibly accessible, too. It’s fast and stable when you sink low into the drops and hammer, yet cooperative when you’re cruising on rail trails and broken-up dirt roads. The Revolt comes with 40mm Maxxis Velocita tires, which are best on hard dirt and packed gravel, and feel better on the road than knobbier options. If you want something bigger, you can squeeze a 700c x 45mm tire in there. In a segmented world of gravel bikes built for niche purposes(long races, short races, touring or singletrack), the Revolt is one of the few that remains open to it all and ready for almost any adventure.
―BEST VALUE CYCLOCROSS BIKE―
TCX Advanced Pro 2
The Giant TCX Advanced Pro 2 uses stability-inducing geometry and vibration-damping technology to make even the roughest courses feel fast. A slightly shorter reach and long chainstays (relative to those of its competitors) help the bike feel planted in sloppy conditions, and Giant’s proprietary D-Fuse seatpost improves ride quality while you’re in the saddle. Shifts from the 11-speed SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain are immediate, and the flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes have 140mm rotors for race-level stopping power. At less than $3,000, the TCX Advanced Pro 2 is a great value for a smooth-handling ’cross bike.
―BEST TRAIL BIKE―
Trance Advanced Pro 29 1
The 2019 Trance Advance Pro 29 was, simply, one of the best bikes that we tested all year. Its suspension has only 115mm of rear travel, but thanks to a long reach and slack head angle, it can be ridden like it has 160mm—and you still get the snappiness of a cross-country bike. This isn’t groundbreaking in itself—several other brands make burly short-travel 29ers—but Giant did double down on its commitment to making this setup its new normal. The world’s largest bike maker adopted the geometry for its most popular bike and is making it available through its massive dealer network. As our Test Director, Lou Mazzante, wrote in Bicycling’s 2018 Gear of the Year article, “This isn’t a flicker of things to come; it’s a bonfire to convention.”
―BEST XC BIKE―
Anthem Advanced 29 1
A cross-country race bike made to rocket over singletrack. The Anthem Advanced 29 1 is a true cross-country race bike, which is quickly evident and appreciated when riding over proper singletrack. With a carbon frame, a 100mm Fox 32 Float SC Performance Elite fork, a Fox Float DPS Performance Elite shock and Maestro suspension with 90mm of rear wheel travel, and carbon XCR 1 29 wheels, this mountain bike is built to power over steep sections of trail, be quickly pedaled away from competitors, and be enjoyed even when time and distance aren’t being measured.
―BEST CHEAP HARDTAIL―
Talon 29 2
This hardtail is an excellent choice for both the dirt-curious wanting to explore singletrack and active riders game to try their hand at racing. The 100mm RockShox XC 30 fork is one of the best coil-sprung forks you’ll find—it does a remarkable job on rough, rugged trails. The Shimano 2x9 drivetrain comes with an 11-36 cassette and 22/36 chainrings up front, giving riders a wide range of gears that’s good for both hauling the mail on pavement and noodling up long, steep climbs. Like the Trek Marlin 7, this bike is equally well suited to entry-level racing as it is to recreational rides. It shares many of the same attributes as the Marlin, but a shorter reach and lower stack make it a good alternative for riders who want a more upright and comfortable riding position. Possibly the Talon’s best feature, and a big perk on a bike at this price, is the tubeless-ready aluminum rims (although you’ll need new tires, sealant, and valves).
―BEST CHEAP FULL SUSPENSION―
Stance 29 2
We’ve loved the Stance with 27.5-inch wheels, and we’re stoked to see that Giant is now offering the low-cost full-suspension bike with smoother-rolling 29-inch wheels. The updated geometry is optimized for the larger wheels, and the bike retains the Aluxx aluminum frame and FlexPoint rear-suspension system. The end result is a bike with a 120mm shock, a 130mm fork, 1x12 drivetrain, and tubeless-ready 2.35-inch tires that can roll quick and bite hard into the trail. It’s an excellent combination: The bike rides better than you’d expect out of any $1,550 full-suspension bike, let alone those that cost far more. The suspension is good enough to smooth out rocks and bumps, and the whole thing is damn light—30 pounds for a size small.
―BEST VALUE HARDTAIL―
XTC Advanced 29 2
With its composite frame and 29-inch wheels, Giant’s XTC Advanced is ready to rip your local cross-country track or help you win your next weekend ride. For 2020 the Advanced 2 gets a RockShox Recon RL Solo fork with 100mm of travel to smooth out the bumps. Shimano’s SLX 12-speed drivetrain offers reliable shifting for the 10-51t cassette. The XTC Advanced 2 also gets Maxxis Rekon Race tubeless tires, which save weight and allow for trail-gripping low tire pressures.
Escape 2 Disc City
The Escape 2 Disc City comes ready for adventure. Fenders are standard, as is the rear rack that’s ready to be loaded up with a commuter bag or camping essentials. The upright riding position helps you keep an eye on traffic or take in the surroundings, and the Escape’s dampened ride won’t beat you up on longer adventures. The triple-chainring drivetrain offers a wide range of gearing that can handle most situations and terrain. And since inner-city roads are fraught with potholes, glass, and other debris that can wreak havoc on tires, the Escape 2 has puncture-resistant rubber.
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