The Giant 2016 launch was big, bright, and full of bikes. Wil Barrett went in with camera and note pad in hand.
Holding out until the last week of July, Giant Bicycles Australia have just pulled the covers off their 2016 lineup, which includes new bikes and components, along with a swathe of new apparel and accessories to round out their extensive product range. As with brands such as Specialized and Trek, Giant is making a concerted effort to grow it's parts & accessories line, and for the 2016 model year that range is bursting at the seams.
There's a bunch of new mountain bike shoes that will be hitting stores soon, with the high-end models utilising an intriguing Exo-Beam and Exo-Flex system for the sole. Flat pedals have been going gangbusters for Giant, and so a new $129.95 DH flat pedal steps up the quality to round out the range.
2016 marks the debut of Giant's entry into the saddle market, with 3 models for the guys, and 2 for the ladies. Each model is shaped according to the riders pressure points, which is determined by their pelvic rotation. The more aggressive the riding position (lower bars), the more pelvic rotation, and the narrower the saddle. The 3 male saddles are labelled as 'Upright', 'Neutral', and 'Forward'. Giant dealers will be equipped with a clever gel saddle that can be fitted to customers bikes to determine the pressure points, and therefore the correct saddles. This should be an interesting competitor to Specialized's Body Geometry fit system, and Trek's inForm saddle sizing system.
Giant continues to grow its apparel line for the upcoming riding season, with new downhill 'Clutch' and trail-riding 'Transfer' kit bringing their TransTextura fabric technology to a more relaxed and casual fit. Keep an eye out for the new issue of AMB for more details there. Otherwise the new $144.95 Rail helmet carries over for this season, but new colours join the range to offer some serious colour-matching with the new mountain bikes.
Speaking of, there are no radical changes to the off-road lineup for 2016, with the existing Reign, Trance and Anthem models carrying over. Bright colours are the order of the day, with plenty of bold paint jobs ensuring you'll never be missed on the trail. Spec updates see the debut of the new Shimano Deore XT 1x11 group set, and the dual suspension bikes have been kitted out with either the RockShox Debonair shocks or the new EVOL air spring models from Fox.
The Liv women's specific range continues to impress for 2016, with some amazing paint jobs that have taken graphics to the next level over their male counterparts. The new Intrigue SX is set to be a very popular trail bike, with its 160mm travel RockShox Pike fork up front giving a little more 'oomph' to the 140mm travel out back. As the women's specific version of the Trance, we reckon you'll be seeing a lot of the Intrigue SX on trails this summer.
The XTC race bike also carries over for 2016, but a new top-tier model combines electronically controlled suspension and gearing into the one electrifying package. With a Shimano XTR Di2 1x11 drivetrain and a Fox iCTD fork up front, the XTC Advanced SL 0 will leave you with very few excuses on the racetrack. And so it should for $8699.
Overall, the 2016 range offers the most complete lineup we've seen from the Taiwanese company. There may not be radical changes to the bike line, but subtle spec improvements and bolder colours help to rejuvenate things. The growing range of apparel and accessories is sure to please Giant retailers around the country too, as it means they can source more product from the one supplier, while providing their customers with product that matches the bikes they're selling. In typical Giant fashion, the product itself may not be super blingy or expensive, but then it does follow their "4P" ethos: Premium Product at a Popular Price.