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Giant mountain bike buyer’s guide: From Full Hardtails to Enduro bikes

By Bruce Lin


Giant Reign The Giant Reign Advanced 29 in action.

Giant mountain bikes

Giant mountain bikes are a top choice if you’re looking for a strong ratio of performance to price. Giant’s entire manufacturing process is done in-house, from raw material sourcing to final assembly. State-of-the-art and high-capacity production facilities give Giant the flexibility to innovate, experiment, and create whatever it wants, while also offering more affordable prices to its customers. This approach to bike manufacturing is part of what made Giant Bicycles the biggest, most successful bike manufacturer in the world.

This overview features the most popular Giant mountain bike models, designed to help guide you toward the right bike for you, whether you’re into downhill shredding or racking up miles on singletrack.


Giant XTC

Giant XTC hardtailThe Giant XTC is a pure cross-country hardtail focused on climbing, acceleration, and speed. In fact, the XTC Advanced carbon frames are Giant’s lightest off-road frame offering. They are optimized for XC riders tackling fast courses who need maximum pedaling and climbing efficiency. Thanks to a 100mm fork, dropped seat stays, and clever carbon layup, the Giant XTC still provides a bit of compliance through rough roots and rocks.

Who it’s for: XC racers, riders looking for a lightweight mountain bike that maximizes efficiency.

Giant Fathom

With a lightweight aluminum frame and budget-friendly build options, the Giant Fathom will let riders shred singletrack and tackle technical terrain without breaking the bank. It blends the efficient ride quality of a classic hardtail with the playfulness of 27.5” wheels and tires. It’s equipped with wide rims and 2.6” tires that absorb bumps and provide more traction. The frame is designed with trail-friendly geometry that includes a slack 66-degree head angle and a 130mm suspension fork.

Who it’s for: Riders looking for a fun and budget-friendly trail hardtail.

Giant Anthem

Liv model: Liv Pique

Giant Anthem 29The Giant Anthem and Liv Pique are full-suspension XC race bikes designed for technical trails and riders who need more comfort and traction on rough terrain. The current Anthem is a 29er with 90mm of rear suspension travel and 100mm front. The Pique is also a 29er but has 100mm of travel front and rear and uses a women’s-specific tune for the suspension. Both bikes use Giant’s Maestro rear suspension system for efficient pedaling and predictable braking performance. The new Maestro linkage on the Anthem and Pique allows for shorter chainstays that improve climbing and overall agility.

Older generation Anthem models (pre-2018) were also available in a less race-focused 27.5” wheel option with 120mm of travel.

Who it’s for: XC racers, riders looking for efficiency, traction, and comfort over rough and technical terrain.

Giant Trance

Liv model: Liv Intrigue

Giant TranceThe Giant Trance and Liv Intrigue are Giant’s quiver-killer trail bikes. They aim to satisfy riders looking for a 50/50 split of uphill and downhill performance. The Trance 29 has 115mm of rear travel with a 130mm fork while the 27.5” version has 140mm of rear travel with and 150mm fork. The Intrigue 29 has 125mm of rear travel with a 140mm fork while the 27.5” version has 140mm of rear travel with a 150mm fork. Maestro suspension keeps these bikes efficient uphill, and progressive trail geometry featuring longer reach, slacker head tube, and steeper seat tube angles improve confidence when descending.

Giant Trance XThe Trance is also available in a more downhill-oriented Trance X model. It uses 29” wheels like the Trance 29 but increases the travel to 135mm in the rear and 150mm in the front to make it even more capable and confidence-inspiring on tough downhill terrain.

Who it’s for: Trail riders looking for a do-it-all trail bike that is equally capable uphill and downhill.

Giant Reign

Liv model: Liv Hail

Giant ReignThe Giant Reign and Liv Hail are downhill-focused, enduro race bikes. They're designed to go fast and stay composed on gnarly and steep terrain, send big features, while still being efficient enough to pedal back up the hill. The 29” version of the Reign (Hail is not available in 29") has 146mm of travel in the rear with a 170mm fork. The 27.5” version of the Reign and Hail have 160mm of travel with a 170mm fork. The enduro geometry  is the longest, lowest, and slackest that Giant and Liv offers (short of a full downhill bike), giving riders more confidence and control. The Maestro suspension is tuned to deliver a smooth and active suspension capable of absorbing bigger impacts.

Giant Reign SXThe Giant Reign SX.

The Giant Reign SX is a 27.5” aluminum-only version that increases downhill performance even more with the addition of a coil shock and a 180mm fork.

Who it’s for: Enduro racers, bike park riders, riders focused on shredding gnarly downhill terrain.

Giant Stance

Liv model: Liv Embolden

The Giant Stance and Liv Embolden are made to be the perfect entry-level full suspension trail bike for newer riders. 29” and 27.5” versions all use 120mm of travel with a 130mm fork. They use budget-concious component builds that keep cost down, but don’t skimp on quality so newer riders and confidently build their skills and progress.

Who it’s for: Riders looking for a budget-friendly full suspension trail bike


Giant, of course, makes a lot more bikes than those listed here. Whether you’re into road or gravel, triathlon bikes, e-bike and more, Giant has you covered. We did say they’re the largest bike manufacturer in the world, right? Refer to our Giant Road Bike Buyer's Guide and Giant Gravel Bike Buyer's Guide to learn more. 


Which Giant mountain bike is your favorite? What questions do you have? Let us know in the comments!

All photos courtesy of Giant Bicycles. 

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