So, you are in the market for a new bicycle and are wondering if a Giant brand bike is the right choice. You may also be considering whether a Giant bike is better than a Trek brand bicycle.
Are Giant bikes good, and are they better than Trek bikes? Yes, as the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles, Giant bikes are good. Whether they are better than Trek, depends on your budget, riding style and personal preference.
Giant Bicycles, as the biggest bike brand in the world, is also known as one of the best budget bike brands. It consistently gets high ratings in its mountain and hybrid bike categories. Giant is also known for giving a comfortable ride.
Trek Bicycles state that they are “the world’s best bikes” on their website. So, if they are the best bikes in the world, how does Giant compare to them? Both manufacturers are major brands and leaders in the industry, so the answer might not be so clear.
What Makes Giant Bicycles Good?
What makes Giant Bicycles good, if not great, rests in their location and their history as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Before they manufactured their own bikes, they were making them for other bicycle brands, which helped them rise as industry leaders.
Giant Bicycles History
Founded in 1972 in Taiwan, Giant manufactured and supplied bikes to brands like the U.S.-based Schwinn Bicycle Company. It quickly grew to manufacture bikes for other brands, such as Trek.
When Schwinn broke off to go with a cheaper manufacturer in China in 1987, Giant started creating its own brand of bikes.
It’s All About Location
Being based in Taiwan benefits Giant in several ways. The island contains a very close-knit supply chain that is rich in precision-machinery development expertise and mature in manufacturing technology.
With a small distance between suppliers and OEM companies, lead times in materials, design, and manufacturing can all be shortened. What makes them different from their competitors is that from ideation to raw materials to finished product, Giant is able to control the whole process in-house.
Giant is able to produce bikes in half the time that it would take in the United States and can bring them to market with much lower costs. But lower costs don’t mean lower quality. Giant prides itself on being rooted in both technology and quality. They are less concerned with marketing and more concerned with offering the best product at the lowest possible price.
Giant has always been at the forefront of significant technological advances. They have helped popularize at least two advances that are standard industry-wide.
In 1987, with the high-volume production of their CADEX carbon-frame bike, Giant was the first major bicycle company to mass-produce a carbon road bike.
In 1997, Giant introduced a road bike with “compact geometry,” which meant it had a sloping top tube and smaller rear triangle. This type of frame is now used throughout the industry.
How Giant Bicycles Compare to Trek Bikes
Comparing Giant Bicycles and Trek Bikes is a little like comparing Ford and Chevrolet vehicles. They are both respected brands with great reputations. But you will still have thousands of people voting for one brand over the other, and visa versa. There are some slight differences between the bikes that could help you decide whether you prefer a Giant bike over a Trek bike.
Overall, Giant is less expensive than Trek. Because of where they are manufactured, Giant is able to keep the costs of its bike lower. Trek bikes do offer budget-friendly rides, but their bikes, on average, are more expensive to purchase.
Because Giant started as an OEM, their frames are top quality. Some of Trek’s bike frames even come from Giant. However, it has been reported that Giant frames aren’t stiff enough, but, again, it comes down to personal preference.
Trek has developed a way to gain strength and stiffness to their frames and optimizes their frames for strength-to-weight ratio.
Both brands perform well. But depending on which style you are interested in, one may be slightly better than the other. If you are heavier or are a racer, you might prefer a Trek because of its suspension differences.
Performance is also affected by price. The higher-priced styles of both brands will offer better performance, but this is true for any bike brand.
Giant wins this comparison. You are more likely to get better, and sometimes more, components when purchasing a Giant Bicycle. Since Giant gets their parts cheaper, they can provide better quality parts.
This comes down to personal preference. Both brands manufacture great designs, but more people tend to prefer Trek bikes. Giant is less shiny or flashy with their designs, while Trek tends to be the opposite.
Giants focus is more on the quality of their parts while Trek is more into research and development, trying to innovate and make their bikes better looking and feeling.
Both companies have excellent reputations and have been manufacturing bikes since the 1970s. Trek might slightly edge out Giant, though, as their bikes won the Tour de France 6 times, and their company is and always has been in the United States (Waterloo, Wisconsin). Some people prefer American-made products over those made overseas in Taiwan.
Warranties for both brands are limited to defects in material and workmanship. Giant offers a lifetime warranty on all frames, except their downhill models, which is three years. They also offer a one-year warranty for paint finish and decals. Any non-Giant branded parts are covered by the original manufacturer.
Trek offers a lifetime warranty for most of their frames, a 5-year warranty for swing arms on full-suspension bikes, a three-year warranty on aluminum swing arms and frames, a two-year warranty on carbon swing arms and frames and rear suspension components, and a one-year warranty on paint and decals.
Both Giant and Trek have their own suspension technology, and neither is better than the other. Giant uses the Maestro System with their exclusive ABP, Re: Aktiv and Monolink systems. Their suspension technology focuses on isolating the pedal and drive motion from the suspension – meaning that when you climb a hill, for example, the climb is more efficient.
Giant Bicycles Bikes
As the world’s largest bike manufacturer, Giant actually has a giant selection of road bikes, mountain bikes, cyclocross, hybrids, and e-bikes. They also offer a separate brand of bikes for women called Liv.
Many of their new, top-tier bikes have new standard features, such as Giant’s own power meter called the Giant Power Pro. This crankset power meter uses a magnetic USB recharging system and promises +/- 2% accuracy. Below is a list of Giant’s most popular bikes:
The Contend is Giant’s entry-level aluminum-framed road bike. This is a great model if you are just starting out riding or you want a reliable commuter or winter-season bike. It is designed to feel fast and fun, and it has a tall frame with a short reach. The wheelbase is long for stability and comfort.
Giant uses its OverDrive steerer, which is their name – and invented concept – for a tapered steerer. The OverDrive steerer makes for better handling and more stiffness through the front end.
The Defy is Giant’s answer to an endurance road bike. They offer a comfortable ride that can be enjoyed for the entire day. It also offers fast handling and quick acceleration.
The basic model, which is actually called Defy Advanced, comes in three different build specs. All three feature their advanced-grade composite frame with an OverDrive steerer. Their Defy Advanced Pro uses the OverDrive 2 and their RideSense monitor, a wireless sensor that can send wheel speed and cadence information to a computer.
The women’s Liv brand Avail comes in aluminum and carbon versions and mirrors the qualities of the Defy.
It’s not a water drink, it’s Giant’s aero road bike. The Propel uses disc brakes with flat-mount technology. They state that during aerodynamic testing, their disc-brake integration produced less drag than traditional caliper brakes.
The disc models boast a new integrated Contact SLR/SL handlebar/stem unit with internal cable routing. The tubeless-ready Giant SLR wheel system also comes with aero spokes and a taller 65-millimeter rim depth at the rear.
The basic Giant Propel Advanced has an advanced-grade composite frame and the OverDrive steerer. The Propel Advanced 0 comes with Ultegra Di2 and the wind-cheating Giant SL1 aero wheel system. The Advanced Pro comes with deep-section wheels, more integrated cable routing and the RideSense sensor. The top models are made with SL-grade carbon frames.
The Liv Enviliv is Giant’s women’s version of the aero road bike and shares many of its technologies with the Propel.
This bike has been raced at the top. Dutch racer, Tom Dumoulin rode it to become the UCI time trial world champion in 2017. The Trinity Advanced has tube shaping for resistance and hidden brakes. The Advanced Pro has storage space that’s perfect for Ironman triathlons.
The Liv time trial bike, Avow, comes with the same storage and hydration facilities.
The AnyRoad offers a long endurance ride over mixed terrain. There is the AnyRoad with its aluminum frame and the AnyRoad CoMax with a carbon frame. It is an adventure road bike with mechanical disc brakes and larger tires that will roll over most anything. The top tube slopes dramatically, providing a low stand-over height and better maneuverability.
The Escape is one of Giant’s hybrid bikes. It combines the quick and nimble frame of a road bike with the rough and ready wide tires and a flat bar of a mountain bike. They work for commuters as well as fitness riders. It has a road-style frame, triple chainset, disc brakes, and plenty of gears.
The Liv Alight is a similar version to the men’s Escape.
Giant offers many more styles of bikes, including mountain bikes, cyclocross, leisure bikes, and even a folding bike and e-bike. They seem to have something for everyone.
As they prefer to go the traditional route, Giant sells their bikes in bike shops throughout the world. There are more than 12,000 retailers offering Giant bikes, so you are bound to find one close to you.
Is Giant Better Than Trek?
The best way to know if you think that Giant is better than Trek is to find out for yourself. Look at both, ride both and feel both. It will come down to personal preference, riding style and affordability.
They both offer a variety of quality bikes to choose from, and with Giant’s motto of “Ride it. Race it. Don’t worry about it,” as well as Trek’s motto of “Ride bikes. Have fun. Feel good,” you really can’t go wrong with either brand.