The Giant Talon 27.5 0 has a great frame and fork but the old school geometry holds it back in the £1,000 category of our Hardtail of the Year test

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 6

Giant Talon 27.5 0

Pros:

  • Frame is a class act

Cons:

  • Geometry and cockpit are stuck in the dark ages

Product:

Giant Talon 27.5 0 (2015) review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£999.00

The Giant Talon 27.5 0 is a rare breed. Not only is it available with 650b wheels (as tested here), there’s also a 29er model costing £100 less. Having said that, with a more basic fork on the 29er, the specifications are far from identical. And it’s no secret that Giant sees 650b as the future, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the 29er version disappear altogether in 2016.

>>> Click here for the full Hardtail of the Year test

Giant Talon riding

Another area where the Talon stands out, albeit for all the wrong reasons, is the cockpit. With the longest stem on test (100mm), the joint-narrowest bar (690mm) and the fattest grips, we never felt completely in control of the steering.

Fitting a 50mm stem improved the responsiveness, but the steep head angle continued to pull too much of our weight over the front wheel, making it a handful on steep descents. To keep the 100mm travel Fox 32 fork from diving under all this pressure, we added more air, but this also served to reduce the sensitivity.

Fitted with a lesser fork, like the RockShox 30, we have a feeling the problem would be far worse.

>>> Four tips to tune up your riding position

What made the steep head angle and ungainly cockpit both disappointing and frustrating, is that the Giant has one of the finest frames on test.

The quality of the homespun Aluxx aluminium tubing is beyond question. It’s light, it’s lively, it’s relatively comfortable, and if it had a leash it would be straining at it all day long.

A contemporary makeover of the geometry, and a cockpit that helps rather than hinders, are all that’s needed to give the Talon some real claws.

Giant Talon packshot

 

Details

Frame :Aluxx aluminium
Fork :Fox 32 Float Evo CTD, 100mm travel
Wheels :Giant Tracker Sport hubs, S-XC2 rims, Schwalbe Rapid Rob 27.5 x 2.25in tyres
Drivetrain :Shimano Deore chainset, shifters, f-mech and r-mech
Brakes :Shimano Deore
Weight :12.28kg (27.07lb)
Sizes :S, M, L, XL
Size tested :L
  • Charles

    What I find confusing is other bikes that rank as “Of the year” have the same Geo? Trek Marlin and Vitus for instance. Within millimeters in angles and lengths on every measurement. How is this as different or “old school” Geo?
    Marlin 7 HTA = 69.6 deg. Talon 3 = 70 Deg
    Marlin Chain Stay = 17.51 Talon 3 = 17.3″
    Marlins Top Tube is 1″ longer @ 24.4 vs 23.4
    As a newb Green single track XC rider… Would I even know?
    New school = 1″ longer top Tube? Would I even feel it as a beginner transitioning to intermediate? I hope someone can clarify.
    Now… The new Vitus 275 VS that just won HTOTY is slacker. 1 Deg slacker on Head and Seat angle but same top tube length. This is revolutionary?

  • Steven

    I have a 2014 Talon 27.5 2 (rockshox XC30 fork). First think I did was flip the stem and this seemed to sort everything out. I’m 6ft 4in on an XL frame.

  • jammy

    Loving my talon 0,agreed the stem is to long (swapped for 70mm stem and 720 bars seem to make everything fine).

    Can’t really fault anything else,the old skool frame suits my taste & a day out XC is effortless…very light and agile.

    Would and have recommended this bike to others.