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A versatile bike for sports enthusiasts and recreational riders, the Giant Talon 3/4 hardtail is sturdy and lightweight at the same time.
It can’t compete with full suspension models in terms of the smoothness of the ride, but if you’re shopping for a hardtail, it’s hard to overlook the Talon.
Over the years, Giant has improved upon the Talon formula, but no updates have arrived since 2016.
Still, the bike advertises a combination of tech specs and color options that will impress buyers at this low price point. For an initial investment toward the lifelong pursuit of trail riding, you can’t go wrong with a Talon 3 or 4. Alternatively, even as a replacement bike, the Talon strives to impress.
FRAME SIZE: 27.9 and 31.8 Inches
BRAKE TYPE: Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc Brakes
SHIFTER: Shimano Altus Shifter
RIMS: Giant’s Trademark Alloy Double Wall Rims
TIRES: Maxxis Ikon 27.5x2.2 Tires
An entry-level hardtail that’s ready for the trail out of the box, the Talon 3 may not have seen updates in a few years, but it obviously doesn’t need them.
Giant’s engineering is robust, so even this lower-priced option won’t disappoint. Its power-packed 100mm suspension fork and ALUXX aluminum frame keep you in control, and the 27.5x2.2 tires keep you going.
For sports-minded buyers, the Talon 3 is an easy pick.
It arrives with the Giant Sport stem and seat post plus the Giant Connect upright saddle. A set of MTB Caged pedals gets you going right out of the box. An 8-speed cassette offers trail adaptability, and the hardtail design ensures follow-through.
In Giant’s previous incarnations of the Talon (numbers 1 through 3), cassettes range from 9- to 10-speed, and prices hover between $500 and $1000. Some other models don’t include pedals, so those versions aren’t ready to ride out of the box.
Giant has gone back and forth on what it calls the Talon 3 and th Talon 4. Currently the Talon 3 2019 is the latest version. But in 2018 the Talon 4’s immediate predecessor, the 2016 Talon 3, has a 9-speed cassette and comes with MTB Caged pedals, so it’s closest to the 4 in terms of tech specs. However, a slightly different version of Suntour fork (the 3 has the SR Suntour XCM) separates the two bikes’ frames. It’s also at least $200 more than the Talon 3.
Sizes range from small to extra large with the Talon 4, with stand over heights between 27.9 and 31.8 inches. Frame weight isn’t specified, but all Talons use the ALUXX aluminum frame, which has a high strength-to-weight ratio and uses strong alloy. Their tubes are 20 percent thinner and lighter than previous ALUXX SL frames, too.
The Talon 4 has Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes that measure 160mm.
A Shimano Altus shifter puts the power in your hands.
Giant’s trademark alloy double wall rims and stainless steel spokes are a sleek pair.
Maxxis Ikon 27.5x2.2 tires mean you can set out for the trail immediately.
According to Giant’s website, the Talon 3 starts at an MSRP of $600, and online ordering with Affirm means you can select a payment plan that lasts as long as 12 months. Even without a payment plan, the price of the Talon 3 is manageable for most riders, even beginners.
Other versions of the Talon can cost up to $1000 depending on the features and technical specifications.
What We Like
Since this bike is a hardtail, you won’t find a cushy shock like on Giant’s other models.
However, the Talon 3 has 100mm of travel in its SR Suntour XCT fork, enough to make it competitive for trail riding and responsive elsewhere, too. You can expect its lightweight frame to respond with speed and agility.
Although looks aren’t always a priority on the trail, the color combination options (charcoal/yellow and dark blue/orange) are a pleasant departure from plain black frames.
What We Don’t Like
Like most of its other bikes, Giant doesn’t disclose a specific weight for the Talon 3 or 4’s aluminum frame, and this may prove a deal breaker for riders who want to know how hefty their ride will be.
Particularly when deciding between hardtail and full suspension bikes, it’s helpful to know what the precise specs are. Apart from that, our only real qualms are regarding the sizing of the bike.
For entry-level trail riders who prefer a hardtail model to a full suspension bike, Giant’s Talon line meets expectations.
The Talon 3, in particular, offers durability and stability in a lightweight frame that’s feature-filled enough to get you started riding immediately.
While you may not find the responsiveness that you’re used to from full suspension rides, the Talon 4 has enough sporty features so that you don’t feel every bump in the trail. The front fork accommodates a substantial amount of travel, so sport and recreational riders will appreciate how adeptly it handles.
Ultimately, at this low price point, Giant is maintaining its competitive edge not only when it comes to performance, but also as it relates to cost. For a fully loaded bike that can take on challenging trails with ease, you can’t beat the price of this ride. Even with the addition of aftermarket parts or other upgrades, you’re still well under the cost of similar bikes in this category.
That said, newcomers to trail riding may want to try out a few different bikes before deciding on hardtail versus full suspension. The type of terrain you’re covering will also influence any purchasing decision, so think it through if you’re not able to borrow or test ride another bike before ordering a Talon.
For a quick and in-control ride, Giant’s Talon is a decent choice for beginners and intermediate riders. If you’re unfamiliar with riding and are jumping in to trail riding for recreation, you won’t be disappointed.
Whether you’re looking for a quick foray into trail riding or you’re transitioning from a full suspension ride for a different kind of trail experience, you can’t beat the low cost of a Talon 3. Plus, it’s backed by Giant’s commitment to performance and thorough engineering, so you know it will last.