Mountain bike racers who are mindful of costs will take a keen interest in Giant’s latest addition to the XTC range. The Taiwanese brand has launched an SLR version of its XTC, which offers an entirely raceable 29er XC hardtail at a more affordable price point than Giant’s composite bikes.
Unlike entry-level 29er hardtails, this new aluminium XTC SLR is designed as a proper XC lightweight mountain bike, instead of being a mere all-terrain fitness frame.
Giant’s engineers have applied themselves to achieve an impressive baseline weight rating for the new SLR. The size small frame is classified at 1429g.
Structurally the 6011 alloy material tubes are shaped and constructed in a manner not too dissimilar from Giant’s premium road bike metal frames. This results in these new SLR framesets being nearly 20% lighter than Giant’s equivalent SL-series aluminium bikes.
By having thinner wall thickness tubing there are also benefits to ride quality, reducing some of the ‘dead’ feel that can be a debit when riding alloy rear triangle hardtails over rough terrain.
Usable instead of progressive geo
The SLR’s angles are quite conservative, in relation to many of the latest XC hardtails. It steers around quite a steep head angle, which is 69.5 degrees on the small and medium sizes. On the large and extra-large frames, Giant’s SLR is even steeper, at 70 degrees, whereas most of the latest XC hardtails sit around a 68.5-degree head angle.
Mountain bike climbing performance is often a function of seat tube angle and here the SLR’s is exactly on trend with most rivals, at 74 degrees. The seat tube diameter is 30.9mm, which should offer an array of dropper post options for those who wish to make their XTC SLR more comfortable on the descents.
Both the size medium and large XTC SLRs curiously have the same reach number of 435mm. Giant has equipped all sizes of its new aluminium hardtail with rather wide 780mm handlebars, enabling plenty of steering leverage when required.
Regarding drivetrain and brakes, Giant offers two variants of its new XTC SLR. At $1,200 there is the SLR 2, featuring Shimano Deore bits driven by a Praxis crankset and Shimano MT200 stoppers.
The SLR 1 upgrades to a blend of Shimano XT and SLX drivetrain components, with MT500 specification Shimano brakes. It also runs a slightly larger 32T chainring, compared to the SLR 2’s 30T.