The first bike we will be profiling for our $1,000 mountain bike review is the Giant Talon 0. The Talon 0 is listed by Giant as "Men’s Off-road sport". Giant’s website tells us it is:

"Engineered to give you more control and increased comfort on the trail, Talon 29 lets you sit back and enjoy the ride. The lightweight, responsive AluxX aluminium frame is designed with geometry that's optimized for it's 29-inch wheels. These larger diameter hoops roll over obstacles with greater ease, improve your traction and help you keep your momentum."

AluxX is the lower end of two aluminium technologies Giant uses. It is manufactured in-house at Giant’s own factory. Essentially, it is 6061 aluminium that Giant processes in their special way, which includes hydroforming.

6061 Aluminium is an excellent alloy and is easy to work with, strong, and reasonably light. Add hydro-forming, and this should be a frame you can keep for a long time.


The Giant Talon 0 is a very well equipped bike for the money. It has a Sram X5 drive train, except for the front derailleur. The front derailleur is a Shimano Deore top pull, bottom swing with a 34.9mm clamp, should you ever decide to upgrade. Another interesting note is that the cassette is a Sram 950 series. This is more in line with Sram X7 in terms of quality. Overall, this is a smartly spec'ed bike, as it spreads your money out through the entire bike and does not compromise any one part in favor of a rear derailleur.

Handlebar, stem, seat post, and saddle are all Giant branded components. The seat post is a 30.9mm, so it is possible to get a large selection of dropping seat posts, which I highly recommend. Handlebars are 31.8mm diameter with a rise. Again, this is a common size, if for some reason, down the road, you want to upgrade. In truth, I don't see a reason to upgrade, unless for a dropper post or for fit reasons.

The fork is a coil sprung Rock Shox tk28. This is branded as a beginner model fork. The "28" stands for 28mm uppers on the fork. You can wind down a preload adjuster to make for a firmer feeling fork in addition to a rebound adjuster. The rebound adjuster makes dramatic changes in the return rate of the compressed suspension and time should be taken to dial this in. I don't want a fork that does not have rebound adjustment, so this is a notable feature of this fork.

The Giant Talon 0 is equipped with Avid Elixer 1 brakes. This is a hydraulic brake as opposed to a cable actuated, disc brake. There is a huge difference in performance between the two systems. For newer readers, this means there is actually fluid in the brake lines. Hydraulic brakes offer much more controllable power then any other brake system out there for bicycles. This is a must for a truly trail worthy mountain bike. There are good cable actuated brakes, but really, hydraulics are the way to go, if given a choice. Fortunately, Giant gives you that choice.

The wheels are also Giant branded. The hubs are 32 hole laced 3 cross. Maintaining these wheels should be easy, as this is the most common method of building wheels and parts are, typically, readily available.
The Talon 0 comes with Kenda Small Block Eight tires. These are a fast rolling tire with closely spaced knobs. From the Kenda Tires website; ”ultimate XC racing tire with lots of speed and grip. Well suited for a variety of riding conditions”. Underneath this description it continues to say that this is a fast rolling, dry condition XC tire. For some, this may be perfect for your applications. Try them out and find out. They really do roll very fast. Unfortunately, for our winter riding conditions, we will probably have to switch these as the first tester, Jamie, is having problems due to the leaf and pine straw that litters our trails. This is not a knock on the bike as tires are such an area specific spec and as a manufacturer you have to start somewhere. Being that it really is a race tire, I have to wonder what and who the bike was targeted at or if this was motivated by the sales floor. Fast rolling bikes sell better when most test rides are on relatively smooth surfaces.

Overall then, the Gaint Talon 0 looks to be a worthy entry in our test group. We’ve just started to get some miles on it and will report back soon with our individual riders reviews as we get them..


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat P August 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I just bought a Talon 0. The review on the website convinced me about the homogeneous good quality of the bike unless more expensive ones with most of the value in rear derailleur. And as the ’12 collection will be soon replaced, I got 20% discount. I am casual rider, 1.78 m tall for 75 kg. Sorry about metric, I live in continental Europe. Here 29er are not as popular as 26″, but their share are increasing year after year. I choosed a size M, the bike shop told me it would be more dynamic as regard my height, if I decide for more hardtrailing.

FatBob August 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Hi Dave what did you decide on ? Its hard to say what size you should get. I would rely on a good bike shop that you trust. ultimately it is about you being comfortable not a strict numbers game.

Dave M July 28, 2012 at 10:08 am

I’ve been looking at the 2012 Talon 29er 0 and found a new one for $880 (20% off). Seems like a great deal on a great bike. I’m a casual rider who wants to get into riding for exercise. I oen a Trek hybrid and don’t like the skinny tires. My main question is on size. They only have a large, which seems better on me than a medium. I’m only 5′ 8″ but have short legs and a long torso. My torso is at a slight angle when reaching handlebars but with a medium it seems small and cramped in the reach to the handlebars. Bike shop is good but this is last 29er in black. They have a medium in white. I don’t want white but it gave me a med to try for comparison. My main question (finally) is posture and fit when riding. I like this bike!

Brian July 6, 2012 at 2:20 am

Hello the Topcap tracker fits 1 1/8
Regards Brian

FatBob June 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Anders, It Looks like it would work fine. as long as it works on a 1 1/8 steer tube. that is what is on the Talon 0. Standard issue, straight 1 1/8 .

Anders June 26, 2012 at 3:11 am


I’ve put in a deposit on another after getting my almost new Talon stolen for the 2nd time.
It was even locked up pretty good, last time. The thief literally sawed off a sturdy 2-by-4 in several places in order to get to it. I’ve had it with those god damned thieves – now, it gets secured behind bars and I’ll put on a GPS tracking unit as well.

I found this one: (it’s in danish and costs around 150$), but do you know if it will fit? It has a diametre of 23,5 millimeters and is mounted as you can see on the pictures.

William June 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

With gear on I am about 195lbs.

FatBob June 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Hey William, thanks for the update. How much do you weigh with your gear on ? Our lighter riders complained of the forks compliance. There is a spring kit you can purchase for the fork from extra soft to extra firm. The spring should cost $25 plus labor on the install. If you are 160-180 LBS I would see if it breaks in. If you are under you may be a candidate for a lighter spring.

William June 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Just spoke with a Giant representative and they told me it is AluxX SL, The one that is printed on it! So we do have the best aluminum that giant offers on the frame. This is awesome. BTW Just got my talon 29er 0 and it is great! One thing I noticed is the rockshox fork currently only travels 70mm with me jumping around and riding through small bumps. Will this increase with wear or do i have a defective fork?

Michael June 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm


Thanks for the confirmation! It’s in my possession and I’m flat out…SATISFIED! Good money spent! WOW!

Sergio June 7, 2012 at 7:43 am

I bought the Talon 0 29er and is a great bike!. Sweet ride.. smooth. and the avid brakes are great they would leave marks on the road.

I live in Santiago so it’s a mix of road and trails..

The only problem so far that I got was that going uphill in a hill… It suddenly get more vertical and I lower to the small plate.. get trap in some loose scree so a push to hard that I bent the small one… very rare.. to much power!!.. well the guys in Giant Santiago are great and they are going to replace it. I tell them that probably how it was something wrong with it to send it to Giant US and see if it’s ok.. But anyway is a great bike and worth the usd 1.050 that I paid for it.

My bike before was a schiwnn mesa… so it’s a big difference.. and probably cause I’m older…

Un abrazo weones!

FatBob June 4, 2012 at 4:44 am

Hi Michael. Your talon 0 will have no problems riding flat roads. It is not nearly as efficient as a road bike but if you want to ride trail at all a road bike wont fit your intended use. While not ideal for road, it will be just fine as long you are riding for fitness and fun.

FatBob June 4, 2012 at 4:39 am

Hi William, good question about the AluxX. On the USA site it just says AluxX. On the Australian site it says AluxX SL sport. International says AluxX. So I would say strait AluxX. In the Intro article we talk about it being a variety of 6061 T6 alloy that is hydro formed. Giants website says “AluxX SL is the highest strength to weight ratio with state of the art construction techniques” and says AluxX is “effective strength to weight ratio. Tried and true construction”. So while I am sure there is a difference we have not ridden a XTC 29er as the starting price is $1499. I would say with a level of confidence it is lighter with a racier feel tuned into the ride. Best I can do without getting a xtc 29er for testing.

I can say the geometry numbers between the two are very different. The Talon 0 looks to be built much more relaxed then the XTC. Even if Giant used the exact same AluxX these bikes are clearly different bikes.

William June 3, 2012 at 3:33 am

I noticed it says it uses regular AluxX but the picture in says AluxX SL. Which one does it really use? and if it is SL then how is it different from the XTC 29er frame?

Michael June 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I’m just put down a deposit on the T29er-0 and will have it next week. My question is this:

Can I cruise on flat road surfaces just the same or is this strictly for the trails? I bought it because I was sold on the fact that I would be riding 75% Flat Road / 25% Trail. I really like everything about it but I want to be certain this is good money spent.

Thanks for your review!


FatBob December 27, 2011 at 8:59 am

Hi Phil, we have been discussing weather or not we want to start a list or not. The Industry has been very supportive as a whole. So far presently being ridden are the Giant Talon 0. The Specialized RockHopper29, and the Marin Palisades Trail 29er. We are presently speaking with Kona Bikes, GT/Cannondale, Rocky Mountain Bikes, Norco bikes and Trek Bicycles. A couple of others have been co-operative but complications arose and will have to be revisited. All these companies are willing to work with us we just are establishing ship times and availability.

The only companies we have contacted who have not responded are Raleigh/Diamondback, and a complete blow off by Jamis Bikes. The latter just came short of giving us the finger. I hate when a company responds then completely blows you off after words. I will not promote Jamis Bikes. I sold them at a dealership that I worked at as well and we quit carrying them because thy were such a pain to work with. End Finger Back.

As we get confirmation of ship dates we will post updates. Until a bike ships we have no guarantees.Being the holiday season and much of the industry’s product coming in later then anticipated we have been forced to adapt and push dates back.

Phil December 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm

New reader here who found your website via a “best 29er for $1000” inquiry on Google.

Looking forward to your reports! It would be neat to see a list of the other bikes that you will be testing.

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