Words, photos and video by: Kevin Rouse
Seen in person for the first time at Giant's Factory Off-Road team camp this past week, Giant's new XTC Composite was certainly eye-catching. Sporting absolutely massive tube sections, the bike's enormous downtube steals your attention right from the get-go. In fact, the bike's downtube is the largest Giant has ever produced. It also features an asymmetrical design to maximize stiffness.
Actually reaching its largest point in its middle, the downtube serves to connect, you guessed it, an oversized steer tube and bottom bracket. Giant claims this makes for one of the most sure-footed and nimble 29'ers they've produced. By tying the two areas together with such a massive downtube, Giant says they were able to seamlessly marry steering stiffness with drivetrain stiffness, creating an eminently well-rounded overall package.
Make no mistake however; Giant was quick to point out that the XTC Composite wasn't designed to break the bank. Aimed at the journeyman racer, the XTC Composite 0 tops out at $3,675, with the Composite 1 fetching a very attainable $2,500. Using T-600 carbon fiber allows them to drastically reduce production costs, while only adding a slight amount of additional weight to the frame. A size large still weighs in at a very respectable 3.02 pounds however, and the complete Composite 0 (size large) hits 22.3 pounds on the scales sans pedals without the help of an über-exotic parts kit.
Factory team racer Carl Decker offered his insights in the prototyping stage, see what he has to say about his experience with the bike here:
Journalists were able to feast their eyes on Giant's new XTC Composite for the first time at the official Giant Factory Off-Road team launch in Santa Barbara, California.
While still quite color-coordinated, Giant has dialed things down a notch or two on the XTC Composite--to positive effect (in our not-so-humble opinion).
A sense of scale is hard to achieve, but trust us, this downtube is friggin' huge.
Carl Decker's prototype bike illustrates the XTC Composite's asymmetric chainstays quite well.
Can you say massive? There's hardly any need for the downtube to flare out before it reaches the bottom bracket, in fact, it actually tapers down from its largest point, which is actually in the middle of the tube.
Following suit, the seatstay bridge looks positively beefy as well.
The rather radically bent seat tube allows for an extremely short wheelbase, shorter than a lot of 26-ers, in fact.
Why another downtube shot? Have we mentioned just how enormous the thing is?
The obligatory bottom bracket shot, which, as you can clearly see, is also quite oversized.