Cross country bikes usually conjure up thoughts of featherweight frames and components, constructed from the latest composite materials and brandishing some not so light price tags. Our cross-country Field Test
has just commenced, with plenty of evidence of just that. Giant, however, wanted to open up that lightweight XC performance to more people, and so have launched their XTC SLR aluminium XC hardtail.
The XTC SLR is aimed at introducing XC riding and racing to anyone desiring a strong taste of the addictive speed of a full-on race bike without draining their bank account. Behind the scenes of many bikes out there are Giant, they are one of the largest manufacturers and countless brands use them for their expertise and experience. One particular area of expertise is their aluminium construction, which the XTC SLR showcases.
It's a full 29" hardtail with a frame weight of 1,429g for the size small that encroaches into the territory of some carbon fibre composite frames, just without the price tag. Giant claim this to be the lightest aluminium hardtail they have ever produced. The Taiwanese brand manipulate the grain structure of the aluminium, mainly a 6011 alloy, before mechanically shaping and hydroforming the tubes to achieve the desired volumes while having incredibly thin walls and being butted across their length. Put next to their aluminium SL framesets, this SLR frame is almost 20% lighter.
Geometry follows the contemporary XC hardtail route, with a 69.5° head angle for sizes S and M and then a 70° for sizes L and XL. Seat angle is 74° but given that the XTC is a hardtail based around a 100mm travel fork, it will actually steepen under sag and while riding. Dropped seat stays aren't just a fashion copy from the road scene, but hint at a bike with some built in flex in the seat tube to provide comfort along with the 30.9mm diameter seat post. The frame is dropper post compatible too.
Reaches span from 416mm to 477mm and stem lengths grow per size from 60mm for the S up to 90mm for the XL. The bottom bracket gets a drop of 58mm, putting it at around 312mm off the ground, depending on tyres, and the short head tubes for all sizes aid in getting the favourably low bar heights for XC riders. Chainstays are 440mm across all sizes.
All XTC SLRs comes specced with Giant's own Crest 34 fork and there are two build options with the XTC SLR 1 using a mix of Shimano XT, SLX and MT500 with the XTC SLR 2 using a mix of Shimano Deore, MT200 and Praxis components. Both bikes use Maxxis Recon Race tyres and Giant finishing kit for the cockpit and saddle areas with 780mm bars on all bikes, giving the availability to either run a wide setup or trim down to your prefered width.
Giant use Shimano hubs laced to their own rims and deliver the bikes tubeless ready, with only the included milk needed to be added to the tyres.
Full pricing and availability aren’t with us as we write. But the XTC SLR 2 retails at the bargain price of $1,200 and both should be available very soon.