Confirming the rumors that had been circulating over the past few months, Giant has stepped forward to become the largest bicycle manufacturer to enter the world of the in-between wheel size. At a recent event held outside of Giant's US headquarters in Newbury Park, California, two different prototype models were on display in both carbon and aluminum versions. While they are still technically in the prototype stage, the bikes looked refined enough that there is little doubt these will become full production models in the near future. We were given full reign to examine the bikes, but Giant would not answer any specific questions or confirm any concrete details.
This prototype was decked out with a SRAM XX1 drivetrain, RockShox Reverb stealth dropper post, and a modified pair of Schwalbe's Hans Dampf tires.
• Carbon front triangle / aluminum rear and full aluminum frame options
• ISCG tabs
• Press-fit BB
• Maestro suspension design
• Routing for stealth dropper post
• Two different frame designs, likely between 110-120mm and 140-150mm of travel.
• 12x142 rear thru axle
• Internal cable routing
• Weight: NA
• Availability: NA
A tapered headtube and internal routing gives the front end a sleek, clean look. It wasn't possible to tell whether the headtube uses Giant's OverDrive 2 headset standard, or the more common 1 1/8" to 1.5" tapered style. The bike had a press-fit bottom bracket, likely utilizing the BB92 standard. Giant's Maestro suspension design is found on nearly all of their full suspension offerings, and the prototype models were no exception. The Maestro design is a twin link, four bar design intended to allow for active suspension movement even during heavy braking, while at the same time being resistant to pedal induced bobbing.
The longer travel model had a 140mm RockShox Revelation fork with a 15mm thru-axle. Take a look at the cut knobs on the Schwalbe Hans Dampf - it supposedly makes for a faster rolling tire while still maintaining good traction and cornering stability. The rear end on all models was aluminum, and featured a 12x142 thru-axle along with a post mount rear brake.
Giant Factory Off-Road rider Josh Carlson was looking comfortable aboard his prototype. Team riders will be be racing the bikes at numerous enduro and Super-D events this season. Kelli Emmett was also riding a prototype 27.5" bike - it wouldn't be surprising to see Giant offer a women's specific model as part of their Liv/giant collection.Pinkbike's Take:
|While the designs of the prototype bikes themselves may not be groundbreaking, as they look quite similar to Giant's current Trance and Anthem models, the fact that a company as large as Giant has entered into the 27.5" market is worthy of attention. As the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world, the actions of Giant are used by many as a kind of barometer to predict shifts in the global bicycle market. It will be interesting to see if large manufacturers like Trek and Specialized decide to respond with 27.5" offerings of their own, and to see how extensive Giant's adoption of the 27.5" wheel size turns out to be. - Mike Kazimer|