These are polarizing times. Seems like everybody’s either on one end of the spectrum or the other. I speak, of course, of hardtails. There are more and more aggressive, boundary-pushing rigs out there, and the ever-present XC hardtail holdouts. But the latter are usually aimed at the gram-counting racers that clearly are a bit too serious about getting wattage to the rear tire. What about those of us who just want to catch the Tuesday night local circuit and simply aren’t into shreddy trail-oriented hardtails? Do we all have to spend $4,000 on a featherweight Euro-mobile? Nope, we do not. Giant just updated the XTC, now introducing the XTC SLR.
The completely new bike uses Giant’s most advanced aluminum, never before seen on a hardtail 29er like the XTC SLR. Yes, aluminum can be advanced too, in this case having undergone what Giant calls “microscopic grain manipulation.” It’s just Giant’s way of getting an aluminum bike to be as light and strong as possible, making for a claimed 1,429-gram frame, though Giant made the cheeky move of weighing the small, not the medium.
The geo is appropriately XC-focused, with a 69.5-degree head angle and 74-degree seat angle and a 435-millimeter reach on a medium. There’s room for a 2.4-inch tire and internal cable routing, including accommodations for a dropper post, though none are specced with one. They are all specced with Giang’s own Crest 34 forks and tubeless-ready wheels and tires. The XTC SLR 2 gets 12-speed Deore for an impressive $1,200.