One of the most popular hardtail mountain bikes in recent years has been the Giant Talon. In 2022, Giant has released three models of Talon bike. In this Giant Talon review I’ll cover all three models, as well as comparing the Talon to other popular hardtail mountain bike options.
2022 Giant Talon 4
The 2022 Giant Talon 4 is the entry level model, and has a $600 price tag. The front fork is an SR Suntour XCE, which is the same fork many entry level hardtail mountain bikes come with. It’s a decent fork for a beginner mountain biker. Durability of the fork is questionable. I’ve yet to have one last more than one riding season for an every weekend mountain biker.
Talon 4 owners have the option of 27.5 or 29er wheels. If you opt for the S or XS frame size you get 27.5 inch wheels with 80mm of travel in the front fork. Bikes equipped with 29 inch wheels have 100mm of travel.
The groupset that comes on Talon 4 is one of the most underrated in mountain biking. The microSHIFT components provide fast and reliable shifting out of the box. If your Talon starts jumping gears and acting up while riding, a quick and easy fix is to add a chain tensioner or chain guide. It is easy to install, and simply put, chain tensioners work great.
2022 Giant Talon 2
The 2022 Giant Talon 2 is the mid-range offering. It has a $750 price tag. Upgrades over the Talon 4 include an upgrade to the groupset. It still a microSHIFT group, but it’s an upgrade to their Advent series. That gets you even faster shifting, added reliability and lighter weight.
Unfortunately, the Talon 2 is still equipped with the SR Suntour XCE front fork. SR Suntour has an upgrade program on their forks. It’s something worth looking into in the future. The XCE is a great fork to get started on but as your skills improve, and you ride more aggressively, the fork wears down quickly.
2022 Giant Talon 1
The 2022 Giant Talon 1 is a solid valid. The price tag is $980, which is $130 more than the comparably equipped Trek Marlin 6. The key features on this bike are it’s Shimano Deore groupset, 100mm travel SXC32-2 RL air spring fork, and a progressive geometry that fits both 27.5 and 29 inch wheels. Frame sizes small and extra small have 80mm of travel in the fork.
Shimano Deore is a mid-range groupset. The built-in clutch that comes on the Deore rear derailleur keeps tension on the chain so you can shift when needed, even if you are riding through the chunky stuff. The 2022 Talon 1 comes with a 1×10 drivetrain offering plenty of range from top to bottom.
Trek Marlin vs Talon
Much like the Marlin, the Talon is made for XC riding, but it makes a great hardtail trail bike too. The front fork on the Talon is an upgrade over the Trek Marlin’s SR Suntour, but it is still the weak point on this bike. For the extra $130 it would make more sense to buy the Marlin and use your money saved to upgrade the fork to a Rockshox Recon RL.
In conclusion, the Giant Talon is a great hardtail mountain bike. It is a great value for a mountain bike with a 1X drivetrain and built-in clutch in the rear derailleur. Both the Marlin and Talon, as well as the Specialized Rockhopper, are great hardtail bikes with options at or under $1,000. For the money, Trek Marlin is the best value in the bunch, but Giant is not far behind.
If you enjoyed this Giant Talon review, consider reading this Trek Marlin review.