Giant is a huge player in the mountain bike world, with a rich history and huge range bike, from their top-level enduro racing Reign to highly affordable hardtails such as the Talon. If you’re wondering which Giant MTB would suit you best, read on for our complete guide to their 2021 range.
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Understanding Giant’s naming system
Giants’ naming system is a little bit more complicated than other brands but the brand offers each bike with a wheel size option, a choice of suspension travel, and aluminium or carbon frames, so they’re plenty to choose from and it doesn’t take too much to decipher what each name means.
If we use the brand’s budget full susser, the Stance, as an example we can wrap our heads around Giants naming style. So, the Stance is the base model with an aluminium frame and no fancy extras but it does come with 650b wheels. Up the price and then there’s the Stance 29 1, the ’29’ denoting the bikes’ wheel size (any names lacking the ’29’ means that the bike is on 650b hoops) and the ‘1’ tells us that it’s the spendier model. A ‘2’ or higher at the end of a bikes’ name means that it’s a more budget-friendly option. On other bikes in the range, you’ll find ‘advanced’ and ‘pro’ as a suffix. That means that the bike will come with a carbon frame and ‘pro’ hints at top-end componentry.
Prices for Giant’s mountain bikes start £400 and go up to £8,000 – they also have a complete gravel bike range too (see our guide on that here), plus women’s specific Liv branded models.
There’s a lot to get through here, so let’s get started with the Reign. A large Reign gets a 488mm reach with all sizes benefitting from 439mm chainstays, a 76.5° seat angle, and a 64.6° head angle. As for the suspension, it comes with 170mm at the front and 146mm at the back. The Reign is the only bike that has a coil shock option, this can easily be identified by an ‘SX’ at the end of a bikes’ name.
Reign Advanced Pro 29 1
The Reign Advanced Pro 29 1 tops the range. As such, it gets Giants Advanced-Grade Composite frame. Its suspension comes from Fox and the new 38 Performance Elite with a GRIP2 damper. At the rear, it gets the famed Fox X2 Performance. Shifting comes from SRAM and the Eagle GX 12-speed drivetrain paired with Shimano SLX brakes. The cranks come from TruVative with the Descendant 6k which comes with a 32t chainring fitted and an MRP AMG V2 chain guide. The bike rolls on own-brand TR-1 29 wheels and they’re wrapped in a Maxxis Assegai 29×2.5″ WT, 3C Maxx Terra EXO+ with a Minion DHR II at the rear with the very same specs. As for the finishing kit, that’s all giant own brand coming with a Giant Contact Switch dropper, Contact SL TR35 800mm bar with a 35mm diameter, and the new Romero SL saddle.
Reign Advanced Pro 29 2
The Reign Advanced Pro 2 is slightly cheaper and comes with a RockShox ZEB fork paired with a RockShox Deluxe Select+. Reflecting the price, this bike comes kitted with a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain and brakes from Shimano in the form of the MT501 levers matched to MT520 callipers. It gets the same cranks and chain guide as its pricier brethren along with the very same tyres and finishing kit. However, it comes with Giant AM 29 wheels laced to Giant Tracker Performance Boost hubs.
Reign 29 1
At this price point, there’s a split between a carbon frame and an alloy with arguably nicer kit. Built around Giants’ ALUXX SL-Grade aluminium frame the Reign 29 1 comes with a Fox 38 Performance fork and an X2 shock, much like the top of the range bike. The drivetrain gets a bit interesting here, it’s a mish-mash of Shimano bits with a Deore XT shifter and mech but an SLX 10-51 drivetrain and Deore XT crankset. The brakes are Shimano MT501 levers paired with MT520 callipers. As with the other bikes, it also gets a 32t chainring and MRP AMG V2 chain guide. It sees in the Giant TR-1 29 WheelSystem wheels wrapped in the same rubber as the other models above. It also comes with the exact same finishing kit.
Reign 29 SX
Now that we’re sub 4k, carbon frame options go out of the window however, you can pick up a Reign with a coil shock. The Reign 29 SX comes with a Fox 38 Performance Elite with the GRIP2 damper paired with a Fox DHX2 Performance Elite coil shock, something that’s not seen on the spendier models. As for the drivetrain it benefits from a SRAM NX Eagle set-up with a TruVativ Descendant 6k crankset with an MRP alloy chain guide. The Reign 29 SX gets Shimano SLX stoppers and rolls on Giant AM 29 rims laced to Giant Tracker Performance Boost hubs. It gets the very same tyres as the other bikes, along with most of the drivetrain, although it gets the Romero saddle.
Reign 29 2
The built on the Reign 29 2 is very predictable and it’s happily in line with its price point. Gone is the Rockshox ZEB or Fox 38 but instead there’s a RockShox Yari RC fork with a RockShox Deluxe+ shock. The bike gets a Shimano SLX shifter and mech with a Deore 10-51 cassette. It also gets Shimano MT501 brake levers with MT520 callipers. The crank on the Reign 29 2 is a Shimano SLX unit with a 32t chainring and an MRP AMG V2 chain guide. It gets Giant AM 29 wheels laced to Giant Tracker Performance Boost hubs wrapped in the same rubber, like the rest of the line-up and that’s the same with the finishing kit.
Not only is the Reign SX the cheapest rig in the range but it’s also the only Reign that comes with 650b wheels. The differences don’t stop there, the RockShox Yari RC Debonair offers 180mm of travel and the RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Select allows for 160mm of travel. The Reign SX gets a full Shimano Deore drivetrain with MT501 levers hosed up to MT520 callipers. The crankset changes too, this time there’s a Praxis Cadet with a 34t chainring with a Giant custom design MRP CS chain guide. This bike comes with Giant DH 27.5 rims on Giant Tracker Performance Boost hubs with a Maxxis DHF 27.5×2.5 WT, EXO at the front and a Maxxis DHR II 27.5×2.4″ WT EXO. The only similarity comes in the finishing kit, everything here is the same as the rest of the range.
The Trance is Giants’ do-it-all trail bike. It comes in two main guises, simply the Trance and then the Trance X which offers a boost in travel and a bit of a geometry tweak. The standard Trance models get a 130mm fork with 115mm of travel at the back, again, provided by the Maestro suspension platform. Trance X’s get a 150mm travel fork with 135mm at the back. Those ones also get a geometry adjusting flip-chip. On the subject of geometry, in the Low setting, a Trance X comes with a 65.5° head angle, 438mm chainstays and a 77.2° seat tube angle. A large frame will have a 486mm reach. The standard Trance has a 66.5° head angle, a 74.5° seat tube angle, 435mm chainstays and a large frame has a 462mm reach. Both Trance bikes come with only 29″ hoops.
Trance geometry chart
Trance X geometry chart
Trance X Advanced Pro 29 0
The Trance X Advanced Pro 29 0 tops out the range. It’s built around Giant’s Advanced-Grade Composite frame and has a Fox 36 Factory with a FIT4 damper up front and a DPX2 Factory both with Fox’s fancy Live Valve tech. It comes with a drivetrain from Shimano which is a mostly XT but with an XTR shifter. The crankset also comes from Shimano and the Deore XT crank with a 30t chainring and carbon MRP AMG V2 chain guide. This bike gets Giant TRX-1 29 WheelSystem hoops shod with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5″ 3C Maxx Terra EXO pair with a Maxxis Dissector 29×2.5″ with the same specs. The whole finishing kit comes from Giant with a 780mm wide handlebar and the Romero SL saddle. The dropper post on this bike is a Fox Transfer Factory with a Shimano remote.
Trance X Advanced Pro 29 1
The Trance X Advanced Pro 29 1 knocks £3k off the price of the range-topper but it’s missing a few of the ultra snazzy components. It too gets a full carbon frame but comes with a Fox 36 Performance Elite with a GRIP2 damper and a DPX2 performance out the back. This bike benefits from 12-speed shifting in the form of SRAMs GX Eagle drivetrain paired with SRAM G2 R brakes. The crank is a TruVativ Descendent 6k and it comes with a 30t chainring. Note that there’s no chain guide here. It gets the same wheels as the spendier bike and comes with Giants own finishing kit, including the dropper this time.
Trance Advanced Pro 29 1
At just short of five grand, you can get the top of the range Trance. It gets a carbon frame with a Fox 34 Performance Elite FIT 4 fork with a DPX2 Performance Elite handling the rear suspension. This bike gets a full Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes with a Shimano XT crank and 30t chainring. It too gets the Giant TRX-1 WheelSystem wheels which are wrapped with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.3″ 3C EXO on the front with a Maxxis Aggressor 29×2.3″ with the same specs at the rear. The finishing kit comes from Giant all round.
Trance X 29 2
We’re now at the price point where the carbon frames stop coming. The Trance X 29 2 is built around Giants’ ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminium with a Fox 36 Float Rhythm fork with a GRIP damper and a Fox Float DPS Performance shock. The bike comes with a full Shimano SLX drivetrain with a Shimano MT510 crank with a 30t chainring. It’s slowed down by a pair of Shimano MT501 levers hosed up to MT520 callipers. As for the wheels, they’re Giant AM 29’s rolling on Shimano sealed bearing hubs. The tyres that come on the bike are a Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5″ 3C, EXO on the front wheel and the rear is a Maxxis Dissector 29×2.4″ to the same spec. This bike gets the very same Giant finishing kit.
Trance 29 2
The Trance 29 2 gets an aluminium frame with a Fox 34 Float Rhythm fork with a GRIP damper matched with a Fox Float DPS Performance shock. It gets a full Shimano SLX drivetrain including the cranks which come with a 30t chainring. The brakes fitted are Shimano MT501 levers with MT520 callipers. This bike rolls on Giant AM 29 rims with Shimano hubs with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.3″ 3C, EXO tyre on the front and a Maxxis Aggressor 29×2.3″ to the same spec as the front tyre. The handlebars, stem, saddle and dropper post come from Giant.
Trance X 29 3
At this price point, we start to see RockShox suspension creeping in. At the front is a RockShox 35 Gold RL and the rear suspension is still handled by a Fox DPS Performance. SRAM is in charge of the drivetrain here with the Eagle SX groupset, including the cranks with the same 30t chainring. It gets Giant AM 29 wheels on Giant hubs with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5″ EXO on the front and a Maxxis Dissector 29×2.4″ EXO on the rear. The brakes are Shimano MT401 levers with MT420 callipers.
Trance 29 3
Last but not least is the most budget-friendly option, the Trance 29 3. It’s built around an aluminium frame with a Marzocchi Z2 fork with a GRIP damper. Handling the rear suspension is a Fox Float DPS Performance. This bike sees a full Shimano Deore drivetrain with MT401 brake levers with an MT420 and MT410 calliper at either end of the bike. There’s a Praxis Cadet crank with a 30t chainring and it all rolls on Giant XCT 29″ rims with Giant hubs. As for tyres, there’s a Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.3″ 3C EXO on the front and a Maxxis Aggressor 29×2.3″ 3C EXO on the rear. Then the bike is finished off with Giants’ own brand bits.
Next in the line up is the Giant Stance. It’s the brands’ entry-level trail full susser. With only three bikes in the 2021 range, they each are built around an aluminium frame with 130mm of suspension at the front and 120mm at the rear. In terms of geometry, the bike gets a 67.5° head tube angle, a 75° seat tube angle 438mm chainstays and a large frame comes with a 454 reach. The Stance comes with 29″ wheels but the cheapest rig gets 650b ones. The Stance’s suspension platform is a little different too, rather than the Maestro platform that’s common on Giant bikes, it gets a FlexPoint platform which (no surprises here) uses a flexible point in the seat stays and chainstays.
Stance 29 1
The Stance 29 1 comes with a RockShox Recon Silver RL with a Monarch R shock from the same brand. The bike is graced with a SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain and crank with Shimano MT201 brake levers and MT200 callipers. The wheels come from Giant in the form of the AM 29 wheels and they’re wrapped with Maxxis Forecaster 29×2.35″ EXO tyres both front and rear. The dropper, handlebars and stem come from Giant, as does the Romero saddle.
Stance 29 2
The Stance 29 2 sees quite a change in spec in order to keep the price low. It gets Giants own Crest 34 RCL fork with a Suntour Raidon R shock. There’s a full Shimano Deore drivetrain with a Praxis Cadet crankset and 30t chainring. It keeps the same brakes it the Stance 29 1 as with the wheels and tyres. The finishing kit comes from Giant too but take note, there’s no dropper post on this one.
This is the base model Stance and it gets the exact same kit as the Stance 29 2, but it’s got 650b wheels with a Maxxis Rekon 27.5×2.6″ WT, EXO tyre on the front and a Maxxis Ardent Race 27.5×2.6″ WT, EXO at the rear.
The Anthem is Giants full suspension cross country ring. Not many of these have had an update for 2021 (yet) so we’ll go over the 2020 offering too. It gets 100mm of squish at the front with just 90mm at the rear aided by the Maestro suspension platform. As it’s an XC thoroughbred, there’s no 650b option for the Anthem. On the Anthem, you’ll find a 69° head angle, 73.5° seat tube angle, 438mm chainstays and a large frame will have a 454mm reach.
Anthem Advanced Pro 29 0
The Anthem Advanced Pro 29 0 is Giant’s most expensive bike and it has the looks and componentry to match. It’s built around an Advanced Composite carbon frame with a Fox 32 Float SC Factory Live Valve with a FIT4 damper and a Fox Float DPS Factory shock also with Live Valve. This bike gets a SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain including the crank which comes fitted with a 34t chainring. Stopping the bike is a pair of SRAM Level Ultimate brakes. This one rolls on a pair of Giant XCR-0 29 carbon wheels with Maxxis Recon Race 29×2.25″ TLR, EXO tyres. As with the rest of Giant’s range, the finishing kit is in house stuff but it’s all carbon parts on this bike and the handlebar measure in at 750mm wide.
Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1
The Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1 is one of two bikes that have seen an update for 2021. It’s built around a carbon frame with a Fox 32 Float SC Performance Elite fork with a remote and a FIT4 damper. The shock is also provided by Fox in the form of the Float DPS Performance Elite which comes with a remote too. There’s a Shimano Deore XT Drivetrain and crank with a 32t chainring. This one rolls on Giant XCR-1 29 WheelSystem wheels which have Maxxis Recon Race 29×2.25″ TLR, EXO tyres. Stopping the bike is a pair of Shimano XT brakes. Again, the finishing kit comes from Giant with a 750mm wide bar but the only carbon here comes from the seat post.
Anthem 29 1
This one is the second bike in the line up to receive a refresh for 2021. Gone are the carbon frames and in is an alloy frame. The fork comes from Fox and is a 32 Float SC Performance with a GRIP damper. Handling the rear suspension is a Fox Float DPS Performance shock. The Anthem 29 1 gets a full Shimano SLX drivetrain and cranks with a 32t chainring. Brakes also come from Shimano in the form of the MT501 levers and MT500 callipers. As for wheels, this bike gets Giant XCT 29s and there are Maxxis Recon Race tyres with a 2.35″ width on the front and a 2.25″ on the rear and they come with Maxxis’ TLR, EXO compounds and casing. The finishing kit comes from Giant.
Anthem 29 2
Last up is the Anthem 29 2. It’s the cheapest in the range but still comes with some pretty decent kit. It’s built around an alloy frame with a Fox Float SC Performance fork and Fox Float DPS Performance shock. It gets a full Shimano SLX drivetrain and crankset with a 32t chainring. The wheels on this one are a pair of Giant XCT 29’s and they’re wrapped in a pair of Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.25 TLR, EXO tyres. The rest of the bike is finished off with Giants own kit and matches the spec of the rest of the range.
The XTC is Giants’ xc hardtail and is another which hasn’t seen much of an update for 2021 so we’ll include the 2020 offering again. There are three models in the range, two receiving carbon frames and one an alloy. The two carbon frames only come in three sizes (M to XL), but the budget alloy one comes in four (S to XL). The XTCs get a 70° head tube angle, 73.5° seat tube angle and 425mm chainstays. A large frame will see a 435mm reach and all bikes here rolls on 29er wheels with a 100mm fork.
XTC Advanced SL 29 0
The most expensive XTC is the Advanced SL 29 0, it’s built around a carbon frame and has a RockShox SID Ultimate Debon Air with a carbon steerer. Wireless shifting comes from a SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS and it gets the matching cranks to go with it, along with a 34t chainring. The wheels are Giant’s XCR-0 29 carbon wheels and they’re wrapped in Maxxis Recon Race 29×2.25″ TLR EXO tyres. The finishing kit comes from Giant and the Contact SLR carbon range. This one gets a 750mm handlebar and the brakes are SRAM Level Ultimates.
XTC Advanced 29 1
This bike also uses a carbon frame but gets a Fox 32 Float SC Performance with a GRIP damper and lockout. As for the drivetrain, it’s covered by Shimano and the Deore XT groupset. Deore XT also handles the crankset (with a 32t chainring) and brakes. This bike gets the same carbon wheels as its much pricier sibling and uses the same tyres. As usual Giant has the finishing kit covered with a 780mm handlebar.
XTC SLR 29 1
This is the only bike in the XTC range that’s new for 2021. This one has an alloy frame with a Giant Crest 34 RRL fork with a remote lockout. The drivetrain is a mix of Shimano SLX and Deore XT and the bike uses Shimano BR-MT501 brake levers with BR-MT500 callipers. The wheels come from Giant and the XCT 29 rims on Shimano MT410 hubs. AS with the rest of the range, the tyres are Maxxis Recon Race 29×2.25 TLR EXOs.
The Fathom is Giants’ trail hardtail with 130mm of travel. There are four bikes in the range all of which have aluminium frames with each model coming with a choice of wheel size. As for geometry, the Fathom gets a 66° head angle, a 75° seat tube angle and 435mm chainstays. A large frame sees a respectable 470mm reach. The geometry doesn’t change with wheel sizes.
With that alloy frame, the Fathom one gets a Giant Crest 34 RCL fork. It’s driven by a mix of SRAM Eagle SX and NX, and get Shimano MT401 brake levers paired to MT420 callipers. There’s also a SRAM SX Eagle crankset with a 30t chainring. There are Giant AM wheels in either 29 or 27.5 versions and they’re wrapped with a Maxxis DHF 29×2.5″ and a Maxxis Agressor 29×2.5″ both with EXO casings. The 650b bike gets a pair of Maxxis Ardent Race 27.5×2.6″ tyres. It’s finished with own brand Giant kit with
The Fathom 2 comes with a Suntour Raidon 34 LOR DS air fork and a Shimano Deore drivetrain with a Praxis Cadet Boost crankset. There’s a 34t chainring and Tektro TKD143 brakes. As with the finishing kit, the wheels are Giants’ own AM 27.5 or 29’s and they come with Maxxis Ardent Race 27.5×2.6″ or a Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5″ WT EXO and Maxxis Aggressor 29×2.5″ WT EXO.
Rounding off the whole of Giants mountain bike line up is the entry-level Talon. It’s reasonably priced and comes with five models for 2021. All 2021 models come with a choice of wheel size and an alloy frame. Between the two, there’s not an awful lot of difference in the geometry. The 650b bike gets a 67.5° head angle, a 440mm chainstay and 440mm reach (on a large). The 29er sees a 68.5° head angle, 455mm chainstays and a 439mm reach (also on a large). Both bikes benefit from a 74° seat tube angle. Suspension travel changes though, the 650b bike gets 100mm of travel and the 29er gets 80mm.
at £850, the Talon 0 tops out the range and it comes with some pretty respectable kit. There’s an SXC32-2 air-sprung fork with a Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain. As for brakes, this bike comes with Tektro TKD hydraulic stoppers and it rolls on Giant GX03V 29 or 27.5 wheels. It gets Maxxis Rekon 27.5 or 29×2.4″ tyres with a wire bead. The wholly Giant finishing kit includes a 780mm handlebar.
The Talon 1 comes with most of the kit that you’ll find on the Talon 0, but the savings sacrifice the 12-speed drivetrain and instead, the Talon 1 gets an 11×42 10-speed cassette.
At the Talon 2s price point, the price really starts to change the componentry. This bike gets an SR Suntour XCT30 HLO coil-sprung fork with a Shimano 2×10 drivetrain with an Acera derailleur. Here we get the same wheels, tyres and finishing kit as the rest of the range.
The Talon 3 comes with an SR Suntour XCE coil-sprung fork and it’s worth mentioning that the XS frame comes with 80mm of travel. On this one there’s a Shimano 3×9 drivetrain with a Tourney derailleur and Tektro TKD 143 hydraulic brakes. Everything else including the finishing kit and wheels stays the same apart from the tyres. Tyres on the Talon 3 are Maxxis Ikons with a wire bead.
The Talon 4 is the cheapest of all of Giants’ bikes and it gets all of the same gubbins as the Talon 3 but it trades the brakes in for a pair of Tektro TKD 172 mechanical brakes.