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Bike shootouts often gather a group of similar bikes and sell for around the same price to compete for dominance. However, this gunfight is a bit different than the others. The only thing that separates the two Giants bikes is their price. In addition to having differing wheel sizes, they have taken a whole different approach to how those wheels link to the route as a whole.
The difference between the two bikes such as Giant talon is that one has dual suspension, and the other has a suspension fork and a rigid rear end. So what’s the point of comparing these two motorcycles that seem to be so dissimilar? It’s because this is precisely what every rider seeking a $1000 mountain bike will have to do to find one. This isn’t so much competition between bikes as it is a competition between the riding experiences you’ll have on each bike.
Whom Are They Designed To Serve?
It is designed for novices or people on a tight budget who want to get the most out of their riding experience. The dual-suspended, 26-inch-wheeled Giant Yukon FX and the hardtail Giant Talon 29er are excellent choices. Unlike $199 tanks with knobbies, these are not haphazardly put-together clappers meant to appear like mountain bikes. Both of these trail bikes are excellent entry-level options that will satisfy the demands of novices and then grow with them as their riding abilities improve. Although both bikes are engineered to handle the hardships of trail riding, they are not meant to be used to launch you off of large jumps and drops. If you’re seeking to start into the sport or replace a hardtail that’s been around for a decade, any of these bikes should be at the top of your list.
What Are They Made Of, Exactly?
Giant’s ALUXX aluminum alloy is used in the construction of both frames. In addition, the tube sets have been internally butted and hydroformed to provide the best possible strength and weight balance.
Its suspension travel is 4 inches longer than the Yukon FX, based on the common 26-inch-wheel standard. An in-house Giant air shock provides the spring for the Yukon FX, and it can be readily modified by adjusting the air pressure to fit a wide variety of rider body types. Aside from that, it has an external rebound adjustment. This fork is a great choice with 3.9 inches of travel, an external preload adjustment, and a lockout. The Yukon FX is equipped with a drivetrain that combines SRAM and Shimano components and has a total of 24 gears.
For those who like to ride huge wheels, the Talon 29er frame was built from the ground up to satisfy their desires. In addition to 3.9 inches of suspension travel, an external preload adjustment and a lockout are included with the fork. An additional 15-millimeter thru-axle connects the front wheel to the fork, providing more rigidity and improved handling (a nice feature for a bike at this price point). The Talon 29er, like the Yukon FX, is equipped with SRAM and Shimano drivetrain components. However, it has 27 gears as opposed to the Yukon FX’s 24.
What Is Their Performance Like?
Yukon FX: The suspension is simple to set up and take care of. We had roughly 20 to 25 percent sag on the shocks during testing. If you’re not familiar with sag, ask the business to set it up for you instead. You’d be better off purchasing a hardtail if you don’t have the right setting. The stem length seemed adequate, and it was simple to adjust the stem length to accommodate a variety of riding tastes. Although they were normal slip-on, they did migrate a little on lengthy descents.
Talon 29er: Because of the increased wheel size, the front end of the Talon 29er rides somewhat high. An expert rider would almost certainly prefer to ride with the stem inverted, but this arrangement is ideal for beginner riders since it puts the rider in a comfortable, upright riding posture. Although the handlebars were just a half-inch wider than those on the Yukon FX, the tiny change was obvious and eventually improved steadiness in the hands. Lock-on grips that were ergonomically constructed were a hit with us, and we never had an issue with their sliding. If you’ve never ridden before, the Talon’s seat will likely be a better fit for you since it has a little more cushioning.
Yukon FX: A dual-suspension bike at this price bracket is unavoidable, but it is also a disadvantage. Something needs to give in terms of the component specification. It was the eight-cog cassette that was used on the Yukon FX. As far as we were concerned, the system worked flawlessly, shifting smoothly and never jumping out of gear. The difference is far more evident when comparing an eight-cog cassette to a closer-spaced nine-cog tape. Sometimes it needed a little creativity to develop the perfect piece of equipment. The shifting is smooth and accurate, although it does not have the smoothness of a more costly powertrain.
Giant Talon 29er: The Talon 29er has been upgraded to the next level of shifting thanks to the efforts of the Giant team. When there were nine gears on the cassette, locating the proper gear for a specific terrain and ride style was much simpler. In addition, the shifting was far smoother than on the Yukon FX, and we had no issues with it all.
The Talon 29er outperformed the Yukon FX on the climbs by a mile. The wrecking team didn’t take this as a major surprise. The Yukon FX is a competent climber, especially considering its weight. Choose a low gear and maintain your position in the saddle, and you’ll reach the summit in good time. When climbing in the saddle, the Yukon FX was a little more comfortable, thanks to its rear suspension, which could absorb some of the little bumps on the road. Going upward, the Talon 29er performed well.
It is far lighter than the Yukon FX, and its tires provide excellent grip both in and out of the saddle. The wider-diameter wheels enable more rubber to remain in touch with the track due to their greater diameter. This translates into improved traction while climbing a slope. Although both bikes are equipped with fork lockouts, we seldom utilize them. Unless you’re riding on concrete, the Yukon FX’s lockout is quite harsh, and the bike climbs worse when the lockout is used. The lockout on the Talon 29er was a little more comfortable, but we didn’t use it very much on the trails.
The Yukon FX’s 26-inch wheels provide a zippy sensation in the bends because of their small diameter. It doesn’t take much effort on the part of the rider to make this bike shift in direction. However, cross-country racers utilize the Kenda Small Block Eight tires, which perform well in their respective classes. This implies that they have excellent traction on hardpack ground but soon lose traction on loose terrain. The larger bottom bracket of the Yukon FX is visible, and riders have reported that it has prevented them from leaning the bike over completely.
The large wheels on the Talon 29er provide for a considerably more calm and predictable sensation while riding around turns. Because the Talon 29er is somewhat wider and longer than the Talon 27er, it requires a little more work to steer through tight switchbacks. The Talon 29er’s 29-inch wheels hold up well in the turns, providing significantly more traction than the competition. When zooming along sinuous singletrack on the Talon 29er, the lower bottom bracket height gave the impression that the bike was on rails.
The dynamic rear suspension on the Yukon FX is rather outstanding. It is more effective than the Talon 29er in keeping the path free of background noise. The fork on the Yukon FX, on the other hand, is completely devoid of any damping control, resulting in a fork that springs back quickly and has a severe top-out. The Talon 29er’s fork feels much more controlled through the terrain and doesn’t have a harsh top-out like some other 29ers.
The 29-inch wheels have a stronger ability to roll over pebbles and sustain their velocity. Riders might get complacent when riding the Yukon FX since the suspension compensates for bad line choices. When riding the Talon 29er, the rider must be more aware of his surroundings and choose better lines to have a more comfortable ride. Even yet, after you get over the point of being a complete novice, you will feel more at ease riding the Talon 29er.
Even though the Talon 29er is equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, the performance benefit these brakes provide is negligible. On the other hand, the Yukon FX’s mechanical disc brakes provide excellent stopping power. The sole disadvantage of mechanical brakes is that they must be adjusted more often to maintain a constant lever feel over time. In addition, while both bikes have equal-sized brakes, the Talon has a biting edge because of its bigger wheels, provided that the rider is cautious in their line selection.
Tips, Techniques, & Upgrades
Yukon FX: The rim strips are poor, and they performed a bad job of protecting the inner tube when needed. If you don’t have your shop add higher-quality rim strips, you can expect to do many pinch flat repairs. Velox’s fabric rim strips are our preferred choice. It’s a ten-dollar update that is definitely worth the money. Additionally, the handlebar grips were slipping; thus, grip adhesive was used to resolve this issue. Finally, a simple fork modification, such as one with external rebound control, will do wonders for this bike after you’ve spent some time on it and developed your abilities. The RockShox Tora is an excellent example of this.
Talon 29er: We propose that you upgrade to clipless pedals since this bike is deserving of it. Converting the wheels from tubed to tubeless is a clever approach. Although not strictly necessary, it is a notable improvement.
Advice on Buying
Our recommendation for novices and those with a budget of fewer than one thousand dollars is the Talon 29er rather than the Yukon FX. Aside from climbing and shifting, the Talon 29er also exceeds the Yukon FX in turning, descending, and cornering performance. There is a tiny increase in roughness on the Talon 29er’s ride, but let’s face it, there is no such thing as a “comfort” mountain bike. For beginners, the Talon 29er is a superior choice since it will educate them on how to be better riders by driving them to seek out the smoothest and quickest paths on a trail, which will improve their riding skills. In addition, it will make you more alert since it will force you to plan out your next action ahead of time. The Talon 29er will ultimately serve as a reminder to stay on your game.