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  1. #1
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    XtC advice please!

    I bought a Giant Rock 5000 (Think Giant Rincon in the US, entry level with Acera parts) about 8 months ago for both my wife and myself. The deal with my wife at that time was that if I actually rode the bike more weekend than not and actually used the bike at mountain bike trails, I could upgrade to a nicer bike when the 2006 models came out.

    The 2006 XtC models are out in Japan (and worldwide it seems), and I've certainly used my bike enough to justify an upgrade. (I'm thinking to keep the total cost under $500...I don't need anything too light or anything made for huge drops.)

    The 840 XtC is spec'ed with Shimano Alivio/SRAM X7 (front/rear derailleur) and SRAM X7 shifters. The fork is a Rockshox Judy J1 (80mm), and the wheels are disk brake compatible if I ever wanted to upgrade the brakes. (Spec'ed with Avid SD-5 V brakes, just like US XtC).

    It will run me Y49,900 (yen) with shipping and assembly and a kick stand. ($425 is what it'll cost me in US dollars at the current exchange rate) I know the US XtC has some better parts, but is there something I'm missing? Why is this bike so much cheaper (less than half) the US price of XtC?

    I know it's not a lot for a decent mountain bike, but it's more than I've ever spent on a bike...and I just wanted to get some second opinions before I place my order.

    (If anyone is interested in the Japanese web page for the bike, it's: http://giant.co.jp/2006/bikes/2006_bikes.html)

    (P.S. FWIW, my first Giant has kept me very happy, the Giant office in Japan took my advice to add 175mm cranks to the 530mm frames in the 2006 models, and the store I purchased from kept me very happy, so I'd really like to buy another Giant from the same guy, since both the store and company have done a great job so far.)

  2. #2
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    what sort of riding will you be doing? terrain?

    the Giant bikes below XtC are pretty much 'recreational'. they are marketed for those people that ride mostly on paths and firetrail - pretty flat terrain - and have no huge desire for speed and agility. you've probably discovered this.

    XtC are a big improvement overall, but 'how much' depends on the model:

    *weight: an important factor to most aggressive riders and racers: not only the frame, but also in the components; the 'better' XtC frames are Aluxx SL alloy or composite
    *durability and strength: higher quality components allround which are better suited to more aggressive riding and rougher terrain
    *quality of fork: an important aspect, especially for more aggressive riding and rougher terrain; 'better' should mean lighter and stronger, better damping and more adjustments to tailor the ride
    *quality of drivetrain: 3x9spd vs 3x8spd; lighter, better shifting, more durable
    *quality of other parts: wheels and 'finishing kit' (bars, stem, etc)

    obviously only you can determine what you need and how far up the ladder you look. but you can no doubt appreciate the added quality and lightness a better bike offers. between myself and my gf we have 3 HT MTBs: my gf has been riding a Giant Yukon ('05 Aus-spec) which is a model above the Rincon, but otherwise still a 'recreational' bike. it is relatively heavy, has a basic fork, and recreational quality components. it is fine for what it's marketed for, but no comparison to a better bike on singletrack and more technical rides. i have an '05 Aus-spec XtC2, which has the Aluxx SL frame and SRAM X.9 drivetrain; noticably lighter, superior shifting, and better fork. far more pleasant to ride and copes fine with tougher terrain. now i've built up a new HT around a Specialized S-Works frame (near-enough same geometry as XtC and only a smidge lighter) but using high-end X.0 drivetrain and similarly high-end finishing kit. this bike is awesome, although doesn't put the Xtc2 to total shame.

    the bike you describe sounds like it would a minimum spec for what i would take off the beaten track onto more aggressive XC riding on singletrack and technical runs. yet a significant improvement over the Rincon. the frame is still the heavier Aluxx T6061 aluminium rather than Aluxx SL; looks like you really need to step up to an HB2 to have the lighter frame (and better components). that's probably too big a step up looking at the prices on the website.

    if you're still mainly riding on flattish terrain, you'll still appreciate the better bike, esp going to 3x9spd (presumably the Rincon is 3x8), and SRAM trigger shifters/RD are excellent. but if you really want a big improvement and want to tackle tough terrain (not meaning big jumps; simply rougher tracks, steeper, twistier) then you may want to think hard about an HB2 or similar.

    Last edited by shiny_car; 11-09-2005 at 03:19 AM.

  3. #3
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    First, thank you very much for your detailed feedback. It really was very helpful.

    As you suggested, I have ridden enough to know I'll appreciate an upgrade. One big problem limiting my selection is size. I'm pretty tall by western standards, so here in Japan, I have to duck every time I enter/exit a train. My current bike is a 530mm frame, and I think it fits me well, but there aren't many bikes for sale in that size.

    Quote Originally Posted by shiny_car
    if you're still mainly riding on flattish terrain, you'll still appreciate the better bike, esp going to 3x9spd (presumably the Rincon is 3x8), and SRAM trigger shifters/RD are excellent. but if you really want a big improvement and want to tackle tough terrain (not meaning big jumps; simply rougher tracks, steeper, twistier) then you may want to think hard about an HB2 or similar.
    I hadn't actually noticed it until I read your post and decided to take a real look at the nicer XtCs, but Giant doesn't sell any mountain bikes above (more expensive than) the 840 XtC in any frame sizes larger than 470mm. (How's that for irony.) So if I decide to get another Giant, the XtC 840 is the top of the line for me.

    That's not to disparage Giant, here in Japan the majority of bikes manufactures don't sell any 530mm mountain bikes. And since I'm happy with the bike, the company and the bike store I bought it from, I would prefer to buy another Giant unless there's some superiorly spec'ed bike I haven't found yet.

    Another roadblock in finding a good bike here is that when I do find a 530mm frame size, the cranks are still 170mm. After getting my first bike, and wondering who thought my wife (360mm frame) and I (530mm frame) should use the same length crank (170mm), I wrote Giant to ask why they didn't put longer cranks on the 530mm frame bikes. They actually responded by saying they would put 175mm cranks on the 530mm 2006 models, which they did, so now it's both the frame and crank that are big selling points for the XtC 840...

    It seems like the 840 is a high up as I can easily go on the price ladder without spending extra to start customizing parts. I know the 840 XtC's not much to drop on a bike for most of the people who frequent these boards, but it's a lot for me, so I'm feeling very comfortable with the decision around now.

    Who knows...I might have to write Giant Japan another letter asking them to stock some of their high-end 2007 models in 530mm.

    Shiny_car, once again, thank you for your very helpful reply. I am going to order the XtC 840. (I wouldn't be surprised if you see it in the "Show us your Giant!" thread next week. )

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by peteer01
    Giant doesn't sell any mountain bikes above (more expensive than) the 840 XtC in any frame sizes larger than 470mm. (How's that for irony.) So if I decide to get another Giant, the XtC 840 is the top of the line for me.
    wow, that really does reflect the market over there. bummer.

    Another roadblock in finding a good bike here is that when I do find a 530mm frame size, the cranks are still 170mm. After getting my first bike, and wondering who thought my wife (360mm frame) and I (530mm frame) should use the same length crank (170mm), I wrote Giant to ask why they didn't put longer cranks on the 530mm frame bikes. They actually responded by saying they would put 175mm cranks on the 530mm 2006 models, which they did, so now it's both the frame and crank that are big selling points for the XtC 840...
    for MTBs you generally go a longer crankset, say than your roadbike. my 17"/430mm came standard with 175mm cranks. again, seems to reflect the unusual market in japan.

    good luck.


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiny_car
    for MTBs you generally go a longer crankset, say than your roadbike. my 17"/430mm came standard with 175mm cranks. again, seems to reflect the unusual market in japan.

    good luck.

    That would explain why I was recommended to upgrade to from 170mm to 180mm cranks...For something less drastic, I looked into buying a 175mm crank, but spending that much money to change the crank length on my $280 Giant seemed like a waste. That's what prompted me to write Giant in the first place...

    As you can probably already tell, I'm in favor of small, gradual changes, which is why I'm happy moving from 170mm to 175mm cranks and a relatively moderate upgrade of parts going from my Rock 5000 to my XtC 840. I supposed that's reflected in the way I slowly adjusted my seat up little by little over the first 3 months I owned current Giant, and then when I went to pack it into a bike bag, I noticed I'd probably moved the seat up about 7 cm over that time. (Ah, the awkward experience that is carrying your bike on the train.)

    One nice thing about buying a bike in Japan: I ordered my bike today, and since my total order was over Y50,000, the company is shipping it free. So they'll ship it tomorrow, fully assembed and ready to ride, and I'll receive it on Saturday. That's certainly an upgrade from any online shopping experiences I've had in the US. (The cost of rent for a LBS in the Tokyo area keeps them in very small stores and prevents them from carrying my size frame in stock, which I why I have to order from a store in western part of Japan.)

  6. #6
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    Bunny hops/stairs okay for the bike?

    The Rock 5000 has a SR SUNTOUR XCM 80mm front fork, and there's a park near my house that has really wide steps that are easy to ride down, but certainly show the fork's (lack of) quality. Was I damaging my bike by riding up/downstairs?

    I don't really bunny hop right now, I basically assume I can just run the back wheel over anything I can lift the front wheel over. (I've hit the bottom of the chain guard a few times with this riding tactic). Getting the XtC 840, I was thinking I might actually try to learn how to bunny hop properly, and I wasn't too concerned about riding downstairs.

    Am I setting myself up to give my bike more punishment than it's meant to take? What damage could I end up doing to the bike? (My current bike seems fine, so I wasn't really worrying about it...but it's also still relatively new...)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by peteer01
    The Rock 5000 has a SR SUNTOUR XCM 80mm front fork, and there's a park near my house that has really wide steps that are easy to ride down, but certainly show the fork's (lack of) quality. Was I damaging my bike by riding up/downstairs?
    i think the same fork as on my gf's Yukon. nothing flash.

    the main potential damage is to the wheels - buckling them. but MTB wheels are fairly hardy, but simply depends on how hard they're hit, your weight, and angle of force (straight through, from the side, etc).

    Getting the XtC 840, I was thinking I might actually try to learn how to bunny hop properly, and I wasn't too concerned about riding downstairs.
    if you haven't used clipless pedals/shoes before, then this would be the time to invest. provides far greater control and pedalling power once you become accustomed to them. and much easier to bunny hop.

    Am I setting myself up to give my bike more punishment than it's meant to take? What damage could I end up doing to the bike? (My current bike seems fine, so I wasn't really worrying about it...but it's also still relatively new...)
    should be fine. again, the wheels are most prone to damage. but the rest of the bike - unless hit directly - will withstand a fair amount of punishment.


  8. #8
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    Shiny_car,

    Thank you so much for your help. I'm very excited about the new bike showing up tomorrow!

    As for why the XtC 840 was the best spec'ed XtC in my frame size, even though the XtC 850 was the same frame with upgraded components, I just received the following reply from one of Giant Japan's employees after asking why:

    Dear Mr.Eric

    Thank you for your mail.

    Regarding the your question of frame size issue for high-end models of
    our line up.
    Honesty saying, that sales qty of high-end models are pretty small. And
    almost of Japanese people tall are under 180cm.
    So especially for high-end models, it is very small qty which we can
    sale. Even if 480mm.
    So currently, we can't handle these large size for high-end models.

    I say very sorry to you for this point.


    So, not only is it true that mountain biking woefully underrepresented in a country where the majority of land is considered uninhabitable because of mountains, but the high-end bikes aren't even sold in larger frame sizes at all!

    How I ironic that a country filled with bicycles (albeit the shopping housewife variety) and mountains is lacking in their mountain bike availability...

    Well, hopefully buying a second from one of the few manufacturers offering anything in my size will help improve my selection in the years to come.

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