A lighter option for Giant MTB
By James Huang
Emmett prefers Shimano's
Dual Control levers
The burly chain stays make
sure that little power is wasted.
The top tube flows nicely
into the seat stay wishbone
There's plenty of tire
The replaceable rear derailleur
The front end is fitted
with Fox Racing Shox' latest F80 RL fork.
Full-carbon hardtails seem to be making a comeback on mountain bike
cross country circuits worldwide and Giant Bicycles is among the latest
sponsors to outfit its team riders with the ultimate in light weight
for when conditions allow. For many races this year, second-year Giant
MTB pro Kelli Emmett has traded in her trusty 1.9kg (4.2lb) Anthem Advanced
short-travel full-suspension platform for an XTC Advanced frame that
undercuts that already-light figure by nearly half; claimed weight for
her second-generation prototype is just under 1kg (2.2lb).
"It is just awesome!' said Emmett shortly before winning the cross
country event at this year's Sea
Otter Classic. "It feels so light and amazing on the climbs. It
is crazy how noticeable [the weight loss] is."
The new frame borrows a few design features from the road-going TCR
Advanced SL, notably the oversized rectangular-profile down tube and
beefier top tube for better front triangle rigidity. However, there's
no press-fit bottom bracket shell to be found here (at least for now)
and the head tube is designed around a conventional 1 1/8" steerer tube.
Unlike some other race-specific hardtails, though, Giant at least built
the XTC Advanced around a 100mm-travel fork for more predictable handling
on rougher terrain. As it turns out, Emmett used an 80mm-travel Fox
Racing Shox F80 RL at Sea Otter but the extra 20mm proved handy later
in the season.
"The frame is built around a 100mm fork so you know what that means:
more party on the downhills! Usually with most lightweight hardtails,
handling on the descents is compromised but this bike can climb and
remain stable on the descents. I have found myself choosing this bike
more this year than I expected because it feels so good climbing and
can descend. It is also a great bike for racing out west, where the
climbs are long and the descents are fast."
Virtually everything else on Emmett's bike bears the Shimano XTR logo,
including the complete component group (with Dual Control levers), SPD
pedals and even the wheelset. Race Face supplies its Deus XC aluminum
stem and Next SL carbon fiber seatpost and low-rise handlebar and WTB's
Shadow V SLT saddle provides a lightweight perch. When we caught up
with her earlier this season, the wheels were wrapped with Michelin's
XC Dry2 tires converted to tubeless with Stan's NoTubes sealant. Total
weight was a race-ready 9.6kg (21.2lb).
As is always the case, light weight and absolute stiffness aren't everything
and Emmett will continue to reach for full-suspension when its increased
traction and comfort will prove useful. Case in point: Emmett is currently
embarked on the seven-day BC7 stage race in British Columbia, Canada,
an event renowned for its rugged (and beautiful) terrain. "I am thinking
the extra suspension will keep me from getting too beat up by the day-to-day
Unfortunately, regular consumers won't be able to bring home an XTC
Advanced for themselves just yet as Giant is still in the testing phase.
According to Giant communications manager Andrew Juskaitis, "We have
no projected date for production delivery of this model but it's safe
to assume (once full testing is complete) that a version of this bike
will be available in the future."
Until then, the rest of the world will just have to wait.
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