Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by our SoCal friend, Grannygear.

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If you follow the buzz and rumor parade regarding who is and is not jumping on the 29er train, often the big players like Giant and Trek are mentioned as non-players since they have yet to introduce a 29er into the marketplace.

For Giant, at least, all that has changed for 2010. In an exclusive test, we will be putting the brand new and innovative XTC 29er 1 aluminum framed hardtail through a long term thrashing. Giant waited a bit and many say they were late to the dance. Was that apprehension? Was it doubt? Or did they just want to do it right the first time? Did they get it right?
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Stay tuned. But first, lets take a look at some details on this handsome fella.

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It is an XL (22″) sized bike we are riding. This is the largest size in the line-up and it has a 25″ C-C effective top tube length. It is set up with a Fox 32 F29 RL-100 fork w/15QR thru-axle and a tapered steerer.

Many of the bits and pieces such as stem, bars, seatpost, etc are Giant house brand items. So are the very nicely anodized blue pieces like spoke nipples and headset spacers. Did I say it was a good looking bike? It is.

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The wheels are a mix of Giant and Shimano with the rims being an interesting item. They are the new Giant P29 ALUXX double wall alloy, tubeless ready (they accept a Stan’s set-up but come off the showroom with tubes installed in the Kenda Karma tires). Speaking with Giant Bikes North America marketing guy, Andrew Juskaitis, Giant spent a lot of time getting the right balance of stiffness and weight in the P29 rim and it has a pretty deep V section shape.

I don’t have rim weight numbers yet…stay tuned. The front hub is a Giant brand and the rear is Shimano.

The heart of the bike is the ALUXX 6061 T6 frame. Beautifully hydroformed, there are all kinds of shapes going on here. Square to round to tapered to flattened to round. Mercy! The head tube accepts the tapered 1 1/8″ to 1.5″ steerer of the Fox fork.

Another notable item is the use of a 12-36 9 speed cassette. One of the jabs at 29ers is the loss of effective low gearing from the bigger wheels. The 36 tooth top gear of that cassette speaks to that albeit at a weight hit due to the Deore-level of the cassette. No nifty and lighter alloy spider here. Maybe someday.

I tossed it on the scale and it rung up at 27lbs 7oz. Not bad really for an XL bike at the $2000.00 price point.

We will be getting it dirty, letting some other riders try it, some who are 29er riders, some who are not, and we will see if this bike is all that and more. Just another 29 aluminum hardtail? We shall see.