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Giant XTC Advanced 29 2 (2017)

Editor's Review

Light, Fast, Cheap XC Hardtail: Pick Three


- Boost 29er wheelset accelerates like 26"s
- Consistently good kit
- Handles like it's psychic


- Schwalbe rubber wears pretty fast
- Eye-assaulting colors


Carbon fiber dual suspension XC mountain bikes have become so light, so agile and so awesome in recent years that there is really only one reason to buy an XC hardtail: it’s incredibly light and fast. So when Giant announced the specs for the 2017 XTC Advanced 29er we knew it would be good, and it really is. What took us by surprise, though, was just how versatile this bike is.

Even the name is a mystery. To call it a 29er is mostly right, but in fact this rig will transform instantly into a trail-slaying 27.5” fun machine with a simple wheel swap. Or, if you feel like there might be a bearded hippie somewhere deep within your DNA, take advantage of the sliding horizontal dropouts and convert it to a single speed!

Giant have never really taken the trouble to associate themselves with versatility, so in some sense this is new territory for them. They have carved a rather impressive niche with this bike, as it offers the aspiring trail rider the perfect blend of agility, efficiency and control while still being optimized for larger diameter wheels that emphasize speed and stability.

This multifaceted hardtail has a lightweight advanced-grade composite carbon frame that’s primed for off-road adventure. It features wider Boost hub spacing (110 front/148 rear) to improve wheel stiffness for better handling, as well as adding extra tire clearance and optimizing the chainline for flawless drivetrain performance. Giant’s own bulletproof XC-2 rims are shod with Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires, tubeless-compatible and built for speed. The Fox 32 Float Step-Cast Performance front fork with 100mm of travel ensures a stable front end with precise cornering and a forgiving ride.

As is often the case, Shimano have teamed up with Giant to outfit the entire bike, providing the bottom bracket, chain, rear derailleur and SLX hydraulic disc brakes. The Shimano SLX 11x42 11-speed shifter/groupset combination is as precise and reliable as anything out there, and the 30-tooth SLX crankset offers a good combination of flat-trail high-end speed and gut-busting uphill winching.

The handlebars, stem, seatpost and saddle are all courtesy of Giant. Incidentally, the Giant Contact SL Forward saddle is way more comfortable than it looks, so if you’re generally inclined to swap to your traditional favorite saddle when you get a new bike I would recommend waiting a while in this case – you’ll probably fall in love with the SL Forward.

Finally, the paint job. It’s not stealth and it’s definitely not understated, but the rabid blue and orange artwork is guaranteed to grab attention on any start line.

There are cheaper XC hardtails out there, but they’re not as good as this. And there are better XC hardtails out there, but not at this price. Go ride one and you’ll see what I mean.


The 2017 Giant XTC Advanced 29 2 is a mid-range cross-country hardtail. Its build is of a quality far beyond what one would expect from its modest price: to start, it's an all-carbon frame, Giant pairing it with a sensitive, progressive Fox suspension fork for a very smooth ride. Wheels are Giant's own, incorporating Sapim butted spokes and wrapped inside Schwalbe Racing Ralph treads, offering confident footing on all sorts of terrain with a low rolling weight. Remaining kit is Shimano's SLX group, providing quick, clean shifts and sure stopping power.
A very good cross-country bike.

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Name:XTC Advanced 29 2
Brand: Giant
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