Giant’s Boulder bikes have been a staple in the recreational off-road category for years, but their 2018 models bring even more to the table.
With the Boulder 1 and Boulder 2, Giant Bicycles delivers a high-value bike with a low initial investment. If you’re in the market for an entry-level recreational bike that paves the way for more serious riding, you can’t go wrong with the robust Boulder.
FRAME SIZE: Extra Small To Extra-Large
BRAKE TYPE: Boulder 2 Uses Alloy V-Brakes
SHIFTER: Shimano 3x7 Shifter EF500 (Boulder 1) , EF41 (Boulder 2)
RIMS: Giant Alloy Rims
TIRES: Kenda 26 X 2.10 (Boulder 1), 26 x 1.95 tires (Boulder 2)
Alloy rims, hubs, and stainless spokes: the bare bones are about all these two models have in common. They start out with the same ALUXX-grade aluminum frame, but beyond the basics, everything from the size and color options to the seat posts is different.
A smooth suspension fork and lightweight frame create the base of both the Boulder 1 and 2, and for recreational riders, that’s enough of a selling point to get them going. If you’re unsure whether you’ll be a short-term rider or if you’ll want to upgrade in the coming months or years, you can’t go wrong with one of Giant’s bikes.
The company’s focus is the ultimate cycling experience, and they don’t skimp on even entry-level bikes. The innovation and expertise that comes along with its higher-priced bikes is the same knowledge that results in a comfortable and interactive first riding experience on the mountain bike.
The Boulder 1 offers sizing from extra small to extra-large, while the Boulder 2 limits users to extra small through large sizing. That said, most riders will find a suitably sized Boulder to accommodate them whether they’re 5 feet or 6 feet tall.
However, Boulder doesn’t reveal specific weights for either of its bikes in this class, only noting that the range of adjustable and additional features can have a huge impact on the overall weight. Therefore, it’s best to visit a retailer where you can test this bike out a bit if the heft of it is a big concern.
Both Boulders use alloy brakes, but the Boulder 2 uses alloy V-brakes while the Boulder 1 has linear pull. In both cases, Shimano brake levers mean quick stopping time and optimal reliability.
Both models feature a Shimano 3x7 shifter, but one has the EF500 (Boulder 1), and the other has the . At this price point, the range of the bike is a welcome addition to the feature package.
The Boulder line features Giant alloy rims, and the Boulder 2 has single-wall alloys. Since double-walled rims are theoretically stronger, this may be an important consideration for some buyers.
Both come with Kenda tires, although slightly different sizes. The Boulder 1’s equipment includes Kenda 26 X 2.10 tires while the Boulder 2 deviates slightly with 26 x 1.95 tires.
There are plenty of notable differences between the two subsets of Boulders, but one thing that isn’t too different is the price. In fact, the range between the Boulder 1 and the Boulder 2 MSRP is typically less than $100, according to Giant Bicycles.
It’s refreshing to see the features list for bikes at this low price point, as both models offer room for expansion and upgrades, but there’s nothing wrong with the base package for leisure and recreational riding.
What We Like
Ultimately, you can’t beat this low price point, with a bike that has full, functional equipment out of the gate for under $500.
Still, the price is only the first perk of Giant’s entry-level leisure trail bike. A smooth ride combined with the responsiveness you need in a trail rider; the Boulder definitely delivers.
What We Don’t Like
Although the Boulder is a bargain for those taking the first foray into trail riding, experienced riders may pass on this bike in favor of a ride that offers more features.
For riders who plan to tackle more than just introductory trails, it might be prudent to look elsewhere for a bike with higher capabilities.
If you are in a hurry to get on the trail but don’t need to know much about the performance mechanics of a bike, then the Giant Boulder fits the bill. Both options present new riders with the basics they need for an adaptive and comfortable ride, without the higher price tag that comes with advanced features.
Also, add-ons won’t run up your budget too much, since you’re starting with a practical and basic bike. So, if you find that you would like a different seat or seat post later, or if you opt for a handlebar or pedal upgrade, you haven’t lost much with the Boulder as a starting point.
On both gravel and dirt, Boulder’s two new entry-level bikes prove serious contenders in terms of their weight and handling. As you get a feel for how the bike responds on your first few rides, you’ll appreciate the lack of bells and whistles and learn to enjoy the ride.
While you don’t want a Giant Boulder for leisurely rides on city streets, it’s the ideal cruiser for recreational mountain biking for people who are new to the sport. You won’t spend a whole lot, so you’re free to add or remove parts until you’re happy with the end result. Also, Giant gives you options within the Boulder class, with slight differences setting the 1 and 2 apart.
Over the years, Boulder bikes have held up to wear and tear while still delivering a comfortable ride. 2019’s offerings are no different, and buyers can expect a rewarding cycling experience whether they’re on dirt, gravel, or rough terrain.
If you’re hesitant to buy an expensive trail bike because of the hefty investment, Giant’s Boulder makes the dream of trail riding affordable.