Giant Mountain Bikes: Top 7 Great Picks (2022)

(Last updated on November 11th, 2022)

Man in black riding Giant mountain bike on red clay
Man in black riding Giant mountain bike on red clay

On the hunt for a new mountain bike or looking to upgrade your current setup? The world’s largest bike manufacturer, Giant Bicycles, has a wide range of options available at different price points. With so many models to choose from, I’ve selected the best Giant mountain bikes for sale in 2022 to help narrow your search. This comprehensive guide details the specs of each MTB and includes tips on finding your perfect trail machine.

How I Selected the Best Models

Giant stands out from the pack as the largest brand in the industry and consistently makes some of the highest-quality bikes for pros and recreational riders alike. The brand’s huge scale and in-house production of parts help Giant offer many of its models at competitive prices appropriate for even the tightest of budgets. To aid your browsing, I’ve picked out 7 Giant mountain bikes with exceptional value for the money.

I finalized my selection and gave ratings to each model according to the following criteria:

Performance: The best MTBs have name-brand suspension systems, 1x drivetrains, hydraulic brakes, and aggressive geometry to increase speed and control out on the trails.

Durability: High-quality frames and components have to stand up to the bumps and bruises that are all-so-common in mountain biking.

Price: There are great bikes available for every budget, it’s only a question of which package has the most bang for the buck.

Compare the Best Giant Mountain Bikes at a Glance

ModelTakeawayStyleFrameTravelRatingPrice
Talon 1Best Entry-Level Mountain BikeEntry-level/XCAluminum100mm front9.5/10$980
Trance Advanced Pro 1Best Trail BikeTrailCarbon130mm front, 120mm rear9/10$6,999  
XTC Advanced 29 3Best Value XC BikeXCCarbon100mm front9/10$2,349
Stance 29 2Best Value Full-Suspension MTBTrailAluminum130mm front, 120mm rear9/10$1,799
Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1Best Full-Suspension XC BikeXCCarbon110mm front, 100mm rear8/10$7,499
Reign 29Best Enduro MTBEnduroAluminum170mm front, 146mm rear9.5/10$3,599
Liv Embolden 2 27.5Best Liv 27.5” MTBTrail130mm front, 120mm rearYes9/10$1,849

Best Giant Mountain Bikes

Best Entry-Level Mountain Bike

1. Talon 1

Giant Talon 1 cross country mountain bike 1
Giant Talon 1 cross-country mountain bike

Our Rating

9.5/10

$980

PROS

Fantastic value
1x drivetrain
Hydraulic brakes
Text here

CONS

A bit heavy

One of Giant’s most popular hardtails, the Talon 1 is an entry-level mountain bike that’s great for XC and trail riding. Depending on the frame size, there are large-diameter 29” wheels or 27.5” rims to achieve a balanced fit. The XC-inspired front fork has 100mm of travel to soak up the bumps and bruises along your route.

If you are just starting out, the Talon and its Shimano Deore 1x drivetrain are an excellent value. There aren’t any luxury touches on this straightforward model and there’s no need really— just get out and ride on this dependable machine.

KEY INFO

StyleEntry-level/XC
FrameAluminum
Travel100mm front
Wheel size 29” or 27.5”
Max. tire clearance2.4”

Best Trail Bike

2. H2 Trance Advanced Pro 1

Trance Advanced Pro 1 Giant mountain bike
Trance Advanced Pro 1 Giant mountain bike

Our Rating

9/10

$6,999

PROS

Do-it-all-well trail bike
Adjustable geometry
29” wheels

CONS

Expensive
Only available in carbon

The Trance Advanced Pro 1 is an unbeatable 29er trail bike with adjustable geometry and an updated progressive design. The 130mm/120mm full suspension setup traverses the entire mountain and stays efficient on climbing sections. The large 29er hoops and aggressive carbon frame allow riders to attack rougher terrain than you’d expect from a trail bike.

If you’ve got a soft spot for the steep stuff, this trail bike has some serious performance up its sleeve. The flip chip allows you to alter the head tube and seat tube angles on the fly whether it’s single track, big climbs, or rough-and-tumble descents. Despite all the top-notch tech, I think the $6,999 price tag is a bit high— but prices of bikes are rising across the board so it’s hard to restrict this complaint to just this model.

And for riders who prefer the nimble handling of a 27.5” wheelset, check out the Trance X for a playful trail bike that performs better in technical spots.

KEY INFO

StyleTrail
FrameCarbon
Travel130mm front, 120mm rear
Wheel size 29”
Max. tire clearance2.5”

Check out this cool footage of the Trance 29 in action!

Best Value XC Bike

3. XTC Advanced 29 3

XTC Advanced 29 3Giant mountain bike
XTC Advanced 29 3Giant mountain bike

Our Rating

9/10

$2,349

PROS

Carbon Frame
Excellent value
Shimano Deore 12-speed

CONS

Fork nothing to write home about

The XTC Advanced 29 3 is your (well-priced) ticket to the world of carbon XC mountain bikes. A big step up from the entry-level Talon 1, the XTC features an ultra-lightweight frame and upgrades the Shimano Deore drivetrain to 12 speeds. Designed with XC racers in mind, this is a podium-worthy machine that still goes easy on the wallet. I would love to see a higher-quality fork, but overall, the XTC is an impressively efficient cross-country bike that has my support.

KEY INFO

StyleXC
FrameCarbon
Travel100mm front
Wheel size 29”
Max. tire clearance2.25”

Best Value Full-Suspension MTB

4. Stance 29 2

XTC Advanced 29 3Giant mountain bike
XTC Advanced 29 3Giant mountain bike

Our Rating

9/10

$1799

PROS

Great value
Smooth rear suspension
29” wheels

CONS

10-speed shifting

The Giant Stance 29 2 is a full-suspension trail bike that punches far above its weight class, delivering some serious bang for your buck. This model shares the same amount of travel as the higher-end Trance Advanced Pro 1 on this list but comes with a more modest componentry package.

The ALUXX aluminum frame is lightweight and fits a Giant Suntour Raidon R 120mm rear shock to soak up any obstacles out there on the trail. There are fast-rolling 29” wheels to increase your speed and confidence on descents. The Shimano Deore 1x drivetrain is reliable, but clocks in at only 10 speeds— I would have liked to see 11 or 12 gears so I have to drop my rating by a point.

KEY INFO

StyleTrail
FrameAluminum
Travel130mm front, 120mm rear
Wheel size29”
Max. tire clearance2.4”

Best Full-Suspension XC Bike

5. Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1

Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1 Giant mountain bike
Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1 Giant mountain bike

Our Rating

8/10

$7,499

PROS

Giant XCR carbon wheels
Shimano XT 12-speed
Aggressive geometry 

CONS

Only one water bottle mount

The Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1 is a full-suspension XC machine built for racers who require additional trail capabilities. The short travel on the front and rear lets you float over harder-hitting terrain while preserving pedaling efficiency.

The ultra-stiff carbon frame saves weight and the Giant XCR 1 29” carbon wheels are a luxury part that will satisfy your inner speed demon. The Shimano Deore XT 12-speed drivetrain is a pro-level part for precision shifting lap after lap. The only fault is that there’s no room for a second water bottle during extended training sessions.

KEY INFO

StyleXC
FrameCarbon
Travel110mm front, 100mm rear
Wheel size29”
Max. tire clearance2.4”

Enjoy this bike check on the Anthem Advanced mountain bike!

Best Enduro MTB

6. Reign 29

Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1 Giant mountain bike
Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1 Giant mountain bike

Our Rating

9.5/10

$3,599

PROS

Dropper post
Shimano SLX drivetrain
Race-ready geometry

CONS

A bit heavy

Send it over bigger jumps and smash steeper descents than ever before with the Giant Reign 29. This enduro mountain bike comes equipped with a 170mm fork and 146mm rear suspension specially tuned for Giant— because yes, the world’s largest bike manufacturer can do that.

Whether you are an enduro racer or an adrenaline junkie, the Reign has enough travel to quench your thirst for the steep-and-chunky. This model stays within budget because of the updated ALUXX SL aluminum frame while the rest of the parts— including the Shimano SLX drivetrain— are top-notch.

KEY INFO

StyleEnduro
FrameAluminum
Travel170mm front, 146mm rear
Wheel size29”
Max. tire clearance2.5”

Best Enduro MTB

7. Best Liv 27.5” MTB

Liv Embolden 2 27 5 Giant mountain bike
Liv Embolden 2 27 5 Giant mountain bike

Our Rating

9/10

$1,849

PROS

Included dropper post
Playful 27.5” wheels
Can accommodate 29ers

CONS

10-speed drivetrain

Apart from being an absolute beast on the trails, I’ve included the Liv Embolden 2 27.5 for a couple of reasons. I wanted to include a great example of Giant’s 27.5” MTBs as well as its women-specific bikes.

Liv is the women-specific sub-brand of Giant that offers bikes and accessories designed especially for female riders. Also, this trail bike rocks 27.5” wheels for a more playful ride experience on the mountain. To be sure, the frame can accommodate 29” wheels if you want to swap them out.

The Embolden 2 can conquer trails all across the mountain with its 130mm/120mm suspension combination and smaller-diameter wheels for the technical spots. For the price, I want to see a 12-speed rear derailleur rather than a 10-speed, so I have to dock a point here.

KEY INFO

StyleTrail
FrameAluminum
Travel130mm front, 120mm rear
Wheel size27.5”
Max. tire clearance2.6”

Buyers’ Guide

Two riders on Giant mountain bikes on trail
Two riders on Giant mountain bikes on trail

Giant is the high-volume bike manufacturer in the world so it makes sense that there’s an extensive range of mountain bikes to choose from. Unlike smaller, high-end brands like Santa Cruz or Kona, Giant typically offers a couple of models per category with different specs or price points. This variety is great for the consumer but can make the search feel overwhelming.

This Giant mountain bike buyers’ guide shares tips for narrowing down the selection of bikes that are perfect for you. Keep reading to find out how to choose the right bike, frame size, and components to send your ride into the stratosphere.

Riding Style

Mountain bikes are classified according to the discipline they are best suited for. The most popular categories include cross-country (XC), trail, enduro, and downhill. Depending on where you ride the most frequently, you can browse bikes that match your riding style. This automatically limits your search to models that have appropriate specs for your preferred terrain, albeit there are many other factors to consider.

Suspension

Now it’s time to settle that age-old debate that’s been around as long as… well, full-suspension bikes: hardtail vs. full-suspension. Hardtail mountain bikes have a rigid rear end and are more efficient on climbs and over light terrain. They come equipped with front suspension forks that typically offer around 100-130mm of travel to soak up the bumps and bruises you’ll find on the trail. If you ride fast XC circuits or alternate between lighter conditions such as dirt, singletrack, and gravel, a hardtail is for you.

Full-suspension bikes can handle hard-hitter terrain thanks to their rear shock. Rear shocks vary in travel length from a minuscule 60mm for cross-country racers up to 200mm+ on downhill machines. Trail, enduro, and downhill bikes come equipped with both a front suspension fork and rear shock— either an air spring or coil. If you want to be able to ride the entire mountain and smash steep descents, a full-suspension setup is the right choice.

Wheel Size

While it’s old news for most, some veteran riders getting back into mountain biking may be surprised at the extensive wheel options available on modern MTBs. Long gone are 26” wheels on adult models— the most popular wheel sizes are 27.5” and 29”.

27.5” wheels offer more nimble steering and maneuverability in technical spots, resulting in a playful ride experience. The smaller diameter than 29” means the rear wheel can whip around a bit easier and take tighter corners. More capable than 26” rims and snappier than 29” hoops, many trail riders consider 27.5” wheels to be the all-rounder option.

A large 29” wheel diameter has a shallower angle of attack which means they can roll over obstacles better. 29” wheels are popular choices in XC racing where speed is key as well as enduro and downhill disciplines. If you seek out the steepest and chunkiest zones of your local trails, 29” rims provide unparalleled stability and pace.

Carbon vs. Alloy

Many Giant mountain frames are available in both carbon fiber and alloy versions. It seems as if every year the cycling industry swings its vote on which material is the best value. However, if one thing is true, it’s that modern manufacturing has made high-quality frames more accessible than ever, regardless of the material.

The heir to heavier steel tubing, aluminum alloy frames are durable and a great value for the money. They can be repaired in the case of a deep scratch or dent and are increasingly lightweight. Alloy frames outfit tons of Giant bikes from budget models all the way up to upper-mid-range MTBs. For riders wanting the most bang for their buck, alloy frames never disappoint.

Carbon fiber technology continues to reach new heights and achieve shocking levels of low weight, compliance, and stiffness. All this tech, however, comes at a premium and carbon frames will cost significantly more than their aluminum counterparts. That said, there are some moderately priced models available. If you are a dedicated racer or gram-saving cyclist, carbon fiber is a no-brainer if you can spare the cash.

Drivetrain Choices

Each of the models selected for this roundup has a 1x drivetrain and I highly recommend going front-derailleur-free on your next mountain bike. Drivetrain quality is reflected in the overall price of the bike, so if you want to squeeze in 11 or 12 gears on your rear cassette, expect to pay a bit more. That said, this modern tech is for everyone— even the affordable Giant Talon 1 comes with an excellent 1×10-speed drivetrain.

The highest-end mountain bikes arrive with electronic shifting, meaning there are no mechanical cables connecting the handlebar shifter and rear derailleur. The drivetrain is controlled by a Bluetooth controller and delivers precise shifting each and every time. While not a mountain bike, I recently tested the Canyon Grail with SRAM Rival eTap electronic shifting. Needless to say, I was blown away and it was hard to return to mechanical shifting on my road bike.

Accessories: Add-Ons or Dealbreakers?

When it comes down to the final decision, you may be swayed by certain accessories included on some models that aren’t installed on other MTBs. Keep in mind some accessories look amazing but won’t affect your ride so much. I’ll eat my own words, though— things like dropper posts, adjustable geometry and suspension, or tire clearance can make a huge difference to riders who will take advantage of them.

Reflect on the riding you already do and the type of riding you’d like to do more of in the future to see if the smaller details are worth it. Remember you can always purchase upgrades and additional accessories later— the most important is selecting a bike that you love the feel of and one that’s capable of matching your abilities and beyond!

Pick the Right Size for You

Riding the correct mountain bike frame size is key to getting the most out of your chosen bike and your own abilities. Frames that are too small can feel inefficient and twitchy whereas bikes that are too large can stretch the rider in an uncomfortable position. Everyone has different bodies and preferences, so it’s a great idea to hop on a few bikes and test them out.

I’ve included a mountain bike size chart so you can get a good idea of where to start. The chart below is specially designed for Giant mountain bikes and their own sizing system. For an even more accurate suggestion for a bike you are interested in, you can view Giant’s model-specific size charts on their website.

Giant Mountain Bike Size Chart
Frame SizeHeight (ft/in)Height (cm)
XS5’1 – 5’5″155-165cm
S5’4 “- 5’8”163 – 172cm
M5’7″ – 5’11″171 – 180cm
L5’10” – 6’2″179 – 188cm
XL6’2″ – 6’6″187 – 198cm

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Giant mountain bike is best?

The best entry-level Giant mountain bike is the Talon 1 and, for riders looking for a full-suspension setup, I recommend the Stance 29 2 that’s a great value for the money. More experienced trail riders can smash terrain on the higher-end Trance Advanced Pro 1.

Does Giant make a good mountain bike?

Giant manufacturers some of the best mountain bikes for sale in 2022. The brand makes pro-level models as well as affordable MTBs for recreational riders. The in-house fabrication of parts ensures high quality and impressive value.

Why is Giant the best bike brand?

Giant is the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world and produces its frames and components in-house, often fabricating parts for other big brands! The brand’s enormous scale allows them to develop components in tandem with specialized brands to fine-tune them to their own models and cut a better deal, too.

Are Trek road bikes better than Giant?

Both major brands are great choices when purchasing a mountain bike. US-based brand Trek has a reputation for being more innovative and including the latest technology. Giant is known for offering high-quality parts at great value because of its in-house production.

Where are Giant bikes made?

Like many of the other brands, Giant manufactures most of its bikes in Taiwan. There are additional factories and facilities located in the Netherlands, China, and Hungary.

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