The Giant XTC I just picked up is a great bike. It handles the trails solid and it’s even pretty light for a completely stock mountain bike. We tipped it in at just over 26 lbs (about 11,800 g for the metric lovers) completely stock.
Handlebars: Easton EC90 Flat bars
The first step to getting the bike set up right was cutting down the boat tiller handlebars. After a particularly nasty run in with a narrow pair of trees, a quick trip to a friend’s house yielded bars that were a little more adept at passing through those tree gateways you see all too often at the last minute on the trail.
Still, these bars were quite heavy and stock, and finding a good deal via ebay on EASTON EC70 flat bars with Carbon nanotubes (and since they used a fancy word like nano it must be really high-tech and sciencey) really sealed the deal. The nanotubes thing is supposed to make you feel confident that these bars won’t snap like dried pasta when you huck and shred through some gnar descents. At the very least, they will look super cool cruising to the coffee shop where I can pretend to be a “real mountain biker” and “impress” the cute sleeve-tattooed rayban wayfarer wearing ladies?
TOTAL WEIGHT SAVINGS: 241g-131g= 111g
Stem: KCNC Bone 100mm Stem
The next thing to go was the stem. The factory stem is great, but I had two problems with it: It had the company name “GIANT” all over it (I think the name of the company appears over 20 times on the bike already) and it was big and heavy. I opted for a KCNC Bone stem (scandium with titanium bolts) in a similar size to adjust my position on the bike.
TOTAL WEIGHT SAVINGS: 160g-108g=52g
Grips: ESI Grips
The next step was the bars and grips. The GIANT grips are sweet lock on grips: They even got a great review in this month’s bicycling magazine. The problem I had was that they were made for someone whose hands must look like Chewbacca’s. I can’t hold on to the end of the handlebar and actually reach my shifters from the edges of these things. I opted for some really nice foam grips from ESLGRIPS. Minimal weight savings, but I’m a long time user of these grips and they absorb vibration and stay sticky whether wet or dry.
TOTAL WEIGHT SAVINGS: 102g-56g=46g
Shimano SLX Gear indicator removal:
This process was the easiest. Shimano’s new “SLX” group has nifty little gear indicators. This would be cool if you’ve never thrown a leg over a 2 wheeler since before you had locked lips with anyone other than your mother, however I think most people can at least make a quick glance back if they are confused provided they aren’t drunk, suffering from an ear infection, or coming down from a 3 day methamphetamine binge. Yeah. These dorky things had to go.
TOTAL WEIGHT SAVINGS: 20g
OVERALL WEIGHT SAVINGS: 229g or .505 lbs
That wasn’t a bad way to cut 1/2 lb off the front of the bike. More to come…
GIANT XTC 29er 1 Riding Update: The seatpost SUCKS!
Now, I have one gripe with the XTC 29’er: The seatpost sucks. It’s absolutely awful. I’m not the only one with this problem either. Giant, please take note, the seatpost has this great fancy looking mechanism by which you can angle the seat with all sorts of clever indicators, and the parts are even anodized a fancy blue.
The problem is that when you stick a post that pivots with only one bolt holding it in place, the moment you hit a nasty change in elevation (say, going down a drop and then back up again) the saddle angles straight up into taint pounding, anus puncturing attack position. I’m honestly lucky I somehow escaped this seatpost’s failure without feeling like I’d done a month in the state penitentiary. I’m still waiting to ride this thing hard until I can get either a different seatpost from GIANT, or a Thomson, which would fix the problem once and for all. GIANT: please stick to making frames. This foray into parts making almost left me with an anal prolapse.
(update: the Thomson is on and it is WONDERFUL to be able to ride this thing again. I can now remove the local colorectal surgeon from my speed dial.)
What’s next? A new set of brakes, as the juicy 3’s work fine, but they gobble like turkeys and are a bit squishy compared to my old, trusted, and solid HAYES 9 Carbon brakes on my SANTA CRUZ BLUR (which is for sale. Hey-o!)
And after that? A new set of tubeless wheels. Currently debating the benefits of Industry nine’s 3 degree engagement versus the very time entrusted and allegedly bulletproof Chris king hubs laced to some Stan’s rims, and hopefully utilizing what would be the absolute ugliest color combination I could put on my bike. Any suggestions?