New Giant Talon is a good example of the impressive level of sophistication you get on affordable alloy hardtails nowadays
Giant Talon is an aluminium hardtail available as 29er or in 27.5, it comes with 100mm travel suspension fork (80mm on smaller 27.5in models).
There are lot more people getting into – or back into – mountain biking this year. And the vast majority of these people will be looking for a hardtail for significantly under £1000. Bikes like the Giant Talon in other words.
What does £400-£850 get you these days? Obviously the spec varies massively; the £399 Talon 4 isn’t going to have to same level of kit as the £849 Talon 0. Having said that, the frame is most important thing so let’s have a look at that first.
The frame is made from Giant’s 6061 Aluxx aluminium and is a good example of the impressive level of sophistication you get on affordable alloy hardtails nowadays.
Smooth, shaped tubes with neat welds and no add-on gussets. The seat stays join the seat tube a bit lower than in previous years, which Giant claim improves compliance. It’s even got internal cable routing running from the start of the down tube to an exit down in the bottom bracket area.
Areas that still mark the Talon frame out as entry-level are the modest tyre clearance (tyres bigger than 2.4in aren’t exactly rare these days) and the fact that you can run a front mech. Single-ring drivetrains with sufficient enough wide-range cassettes are still relatively expensive items to spec.
The most important thing on any mountain bike is the geometry. The Giant Talon is very much middle-of-the-road in this regard. 67.5° (27.5in) or 68.5° (29in) head angles aren’t lethally old fashioned but they’re still very trad. Similarly the reach figures are on the short side and the chainstays are on the long side. Thankfully the bottom bracket is decently low and there’s good amounts of standover, these are two things that really help newbies gain confidence.
Giant Talon spec sheet
Let’s finish with a quick breakdown of those size options. The 29er Talon comes in S-XXL sizes and all sports 100mm suspension forks. The 27.5 Talon comes in XS-L with the XS and S sizes having 80mm forks and M and L having 100mm forks.