Giant USA released its 2014 bike lineup to the press and it comes as no surprise that mid-sized wheels play a large role in the brand’s upper level mountain bike range. We were surprised, however, to discover that Giant will up-size all of its most important 26 inch all-mountain and dual-suspension trailbikes to 27.5 inch wheels, as well as down-size its 29er XC-racing hardtails and short-travel dual-suspension bikes to 27.5 as well. Giant will still offer its key 29er XC racing bikes next season and the Reign-X and Glory will be 26-inch only – for now – but the writing is definitely on the wall at Giant USA.
Many mid-size-wheel naysayers insist that 27.5-inch wheels are an industry-driven fad being pushed upon customers who never asked for it. After two years in the mainstream, though, the growth of 650B points at an entirely different scenario. While there is significant push-back from existing mountain bike owners, new-bike customers seem perfectly happy to buy in to 650B. Traditionally, cyclists readily accept significant, but incremental improvements in drivetrains and frame design. Rather than inciting a revolution, apparently, the 650B wheel is being accepted similarly – as a worthwhile performance enhancement to the basic mountain bike. I believe that Giant USA has done its homework on this one and could be poised to take a leadership role among North America’s ‘Big Three’ brands. – RC
Does This Spell the End of 26-inch Wheels For Giant?
Pinkbike asked Giant USA’s Global Product Marketing Manager Andrew Juskaitis a few questions about the switch to 27.5-inch wheels:
Is Giant USA eliminating 29 and 26-inch wheels from its XC, Trail and AM models for 2104?
No, not entirely for 2014. Reign X and Glory remain 26 inch for 2014 and Anthem X and Trance X will still be offered in 29-inch. But that story will change in the future….
So, there are no 29er XC racing bikes for 2014?
Anthem X 29er, XtC Advanced 29er and XtC Composite 29er will still be offered.
Will Giant follow this path throughout its DH range next year?
Can’t answer that question directly, but you can imagine that if we believe so strongly in 27.5 for the majority of our range in 2014, you can guess what might happen in our future…
Can we expect to see 29 and 26-inch wheels eventually disappear in Giant’s consumer-priced bikes in the near future?
26-inch for sure, but 29-inch will be dependent on market feedback. That said, if the market progresses the way we believe it will, 29-inch will be phased out in approximately two years….again, totally dependent on market feedback.