On the Giant Talon 27.5 1 2014, changing gears is taken care of using the Shimano XT Shadow rear derailleur. Instead of having a full SLX set-up on the Talon 1, there is an SLX Shifter, with an XT Rear mech. This certainly means that there won’t be any need for upgrades in the near future.

Giant have hired the Shimano M395 Hydraulic Disc Brakes for the job in hand, with 160mm rotors; more than enough for trail centre use.

To keep the Giant Talon 1 27.5 rolling fast, Giant have used the Schwalbe Rapid Rob tyres. They are extremely good in the dry and the summer, but for those muddy, wet trails, it may be an area that could do with an upgrade.

The Giant Talon frame is constructed from Giant’s reputable lightweight Aluxx grade Aluminium, and has been built especially for the 27.5 outbreak. 27.5 or 650b is already taking over 26” wheels as the norm, mainly because there are more benefits, such as: it offers many of the benefits of a 29er, while retaining the sharper handling of a 26” wheeled bike.

You won’t find a very flexible aluminium frame, but you still get the impression that the Giant Talon is taking the sting out of some hard hits. The stiff frame means the power transfer is exceptional under acceleration, and the 100mm RockShox forks do a great job at keeping the front wheel planted in the dirt.

Giant have produced their own wheel sets, which have had input from DT Swiss, and they really are on par with other branded options.

Giant often use their own branded parts, and the Giant Talon 1 is no exception. The bars, stem, seat post and clamp are no shoddier than any parts you’ll find on similar priced bikes. In our exercise, the Giant parts are actually quite hard wearing.