Boy, do I ever love to give my opinion on bikes! I have owned two Giant bikes. Of the major brands, Giant gives you the most bike for your money at lower price points. Giant bikes are solid and durable. The Giant Escape series are nice bikes. But as you noted, you have to ride the bike first.
The bike has to fit you. I have owned and tested a lot of bikes over the years. I have tested bikes that feel clumsy and awkward, even though the bike fits me, I cannot wait to get off. There are a lot of subtle variations in bike geometry that can add up to make a bike either comfy or torture!
I have tested bikes that just felt bleh. But there have been times when I have tested a bike and it felt like an extension of me. I "think" the bike around curves. The bike feels like it is on fire and responds perfectly to every input. I have found that bike brand does not matter, and you cannot tell by looking at a bike if it is right for you. You gotta ride before you buy.
Good Luck, Bruce
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Fitness Minutes: (85,729) Posts: 127 4/9/14 8:52 A
I have a Giant road bike (Defy 1). I'm 5'4" and my bike is a size small. It's not a woman's-specific bike, mostly because I don't like the shrink-it-and-pink-it concept, whether it's pink, teal, powder blue, or whatever pastel color they paint 'em. The main difference between women's and men's bike is not the frame (except the colors), it's in the width of the handlebars and the saddle, both of which can easily be switched out if the stock part doesn't work for you (at a cost, of course).
I wish I would have spent a little more time having the LBS fit me. The bike is a little big and I have to reach a little, which is fatiguing over a long ride (2+ hours). It didn't hit me until I already had the bike for almost a year and had gotten stronger and started group rides/triathlons. But I lucked into a used bike for a GREAT deal. It's not horribly large, but I'm really wanting a slightly smaller one. I can get a shorter stem to pull the handlebars closer if I want to, which I may try.
The Giant brand is used by many professionals, including Tour de France riders, so it's a reputable brand. But you can buy a top-of-the-line $12,000 bike and if the geometry of the bike doesn't match your individual geometry, it's not a good bike *FOR YOU*. Sometimes you can swap out a part or two to make it fit better. Fair warning...swapping parts isn't cheap, but there's quite an eBay market for the one you replaced -- or the one you want, if you know what you want. Better to spend some time up front to get the right fit so you get a bike you enjoy riding.
You might ask the bike shop if they can get an XS in to try, or if they can call around to locate one and get it in for you. I'm kind of surprised they don't have smalls, as men around 5'8" can wind up riding smalls.
I have a Trek hybrid, I got many years ago. It was sized by the bike shop for me. At 5'2 and a half inches tall, the main thing was my inseam, as my legs are short, my torso long. I believe it was the smallest size they had and a woman's specific. It worked great for me. When I moved on to a road bike Trek 43 centimeters (smallest size) woman's bike. Then I ride a mountain bike, which the frame is a little larger, but I get on it a certain way and it works for me (it was given to me). You will be happiest with a bike fitted for you, which may also mean adjustments with handlebars, etc. Happy Cycling :-)
A lot of test riding is about finding the right size and frame geometry for YOU, not so much the brand. Even a "top of the line" bike in terms of quality can feel like #$%^ if it is the wrong size for you.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with Giant as a brand.
But two people of the same height can have a difference experience on a bike the same size, because of different leg lengths versus torso length. Inseam length rather than total height is the more important factor in selecting height. People also have different preferences as to amount of vibration dampening versus "feel" of the road/track surface.
I'd encourage you to continue shopping around until you can test ride an appropriately sized bike for you. A helpful LBS should also be of significant assistance in adjusting the bike (especially seat height and travel) to fit YOUR body shape.
Edited by: MOTIVATED@LAST at: 4/6/2014 (23:57)
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
My son has a Giant hybrid which he has liked...forget the model. Also have seen some around our bike club...road bikes, though, not hybrid...and I know one fellow who spoke highly of his.
I think when it comes to brands the big name brands such as Giant, Specialized, Cannondale, Trek are pretty comparable. The more important consideration is your local bike shop (LBS) as having a good relationship with an LBS who can help you in making your choices and servicing your bike is worth far more than any savings one might get through online comparison shopping.
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Fitness Minutes: (74) Posts: 1 4/6/14 10:58 P
My husband & I have decided to get bikes to lose some weight and get healthier. He's ordered his, a Torker 3-spd trike (he has balance issues and can't ride a two-wheeler).
I'm looking at hybrids, specifically the Giant Escape W2 and W3. Problem is, I'm having trouble "test-driving" them, because the shops around here that carry the brand don't seem to stock anything smaller than a Medium. At barely 5'2", I'm going to need either a Small or XS.
Does anyone have a Giant? What is your overall opinion of the bike and the brand? The online reviews I've read seem to be pretty positive, but I'd like a bit more info before I order one. The 2 local bike shops I've been to so far are somewhat less than helpful, but I plan on trying a different location next week, to see if they are a little more helpful.
Any advice about Giant or bikes in general would be appreciated. TIA
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