Giant and Trek are among today’s biggest and most popular mountain bike brands within the mountain bike industry.
Both Trek and Giant are heavily used by mountain bikers at all skill levels, and both are considered the best bikes to have. Similarly, both brands offer an impressive selection of mountain bikes, accessories, and options enabling riders to customize their experience and capabilities.
Arguably, the most important difference between these two leading mountain bike manufacturers is their focus. Giant mountain bikes are significantly more affordable and their focus is mainly on producing reliable mountain bikes, while Trek caters to more niche needs and delivers the best mountain bikes to a more exclusive buying demographic.
Surviving an Auto Collision on My Giant Mountain Bike
Recently, I was hit by a Honda Civic that was turning left as I was traversing the crosswalk on my Giant mountain bike. The guy wasn’t looking where he was going, he was just watching for cars coming from the oncoming merge lane.
I plopped onto the hood of his car, rolled onto the pavement, and instantly knew I was fine. The question was, what about my bike?
The front wheel was bent like a clock in a Salvador Dali painting. I carried it home, looked it over from rim to rim and found that only the wheel was damaged after being banged into the ground at high speed.
This, in my view, shows Giant mountain bikes are durable. But are they the best mountain bike brand? Well, that depends.
Giant and Trek – a Breakdown
Trek: This company has enjoyed massive growth in recent years. Trek makes mountain bikes that cater to a wide range of needs, styles, sports, and price points.
Trek is well known as a source for high-end, quality mountain bikes. They have mountain bikes priced all over the spectrum—some great, some bad, and some absolutely incredible.
Giant: Giant Bicycles was started in 1972 by a group of Tour de France racers. This company is far more focused on mountain bikes alone. Its selection is more limited, especially since Trek won over much of its market shares.
However, Giant Bicycles has more affordable mountain bikes. Also, they manufacture bikes for other brands, including Trek; in fact, many Trek bikes use a Giant bike frame.
That means you might be able to start with a basic product from Giant and upgrade it over time to reach Trek-level quality.
Whichever brand of mountain bike you go with, chances are you’ll be able to find products to match your needs. In the worst-case scenario, you might end up with an imperfect rig that can be improved upon as you gain experience.
Unless your budget is very tight, the difference in price points between Trek and Giant won’t be a huge issue.
Giant Mountain Bikes Versus Trek Mountain Bikes: Which is Best for You?
When it comes to buying the perfect mountain bike for you, the best choice is going to be something that suits your body type, your riding style, the terrain and weather you tend to ride in, your budget, and your personal preference. No matter what brand you buy, the best way to find the right mountain bike is to shop in person, and try out any bike you are considering for purchase.
If you absolutely have to buy online, it’s best to look for reviews. Better still, look the model up on YouTube and see if there are any videos showing the bike in question being subjected to hard use.
Forums are also a good resource, and you should be able to get info on just about any bike or bike product if you find the right mountain biking forum.
Trek vs. Giant – a Comparison
Both of these brands have high-end, premium options to choose from. Both brands deliver capable products able to handle tough terrain and challenging conditions.
One important attribute both brands share is the use of proprietary technology rendering integrated designs that make them highly customizable.
This means you might have trouble fitting Trek parts to Giant frames. But then again, many Trek mountain bikes include Giant-designed frames. So, experiences will vary.
All of the tech used in the production of products from both brands is meant to add performance and support for riders at all levels of capability. So what does all this mean?
It means that if you’re new to the sport, or if your needs aren’t particularly demanding or specific, either brand will serve you well. It also means that if you have particular needs, you’re going to have to do your own research.
But have no fear, this review is not going to leave you confused. We’re going to break down the differences between these two brands in detail.
Biggest Differences Between Giant Mountain Bikes and Trek Bikes
If there’s a difference that will bring your decision making process to a close, it’s most likely to be one of these:
- Trek’s prices are set in accordance with the types of feature integration they offer.
- Giant bikes, by contrast, are less expensive.
- Giant is a primary producer of bike frames and makes its own bikes while Trek uses Giant-engineered frames on many of its bikes.
- Giant bikes are considered to be more oriented toward comfort and better geared toward hobby-level riders, but they still build performance-capable machines.
- Trek bikes are widely considered to be more capable and more performance oriented, but with less focus on comfort.
- Trek is known for its reliable, racing-level bikes.
- Giant is more interested in making products with a wide range of options.
What Makes Trek Great?
Out of the two bike brands, Trek is all about performance. If you’re an experienced, competitive, or demanding rider, a Trek mountain bike is more likely to offer the capabilities you need out of the two mountain bike options.
If you are a high-level rider, anything less than Trek simply won’t do.
What Makes Giant Great?
The Giant brand is all about serving a wider audience. Their bikes are less expensive, but they are still top quality.
They don’t need a lot of advanced engineering, since they excel in producing quality entry- to mid-level bikes. These bikes can traverse rough terrain and handle sharp corners thanks to the aluminum Giant uses in the frames.
Again, if you’re a new or casual rider, you’ll find everything you’re looking for under the Giant banner. Advanced riders may find a Giant option that suits their needs, but would likely be better served by Trek.
You can get bikes from both brands in the same price range; however, in general, you’ll need a few extra bucks for a Trek as they are more expensive. Giant offers more variety in the lower price range, largely because they purchase in bulk to get the parts cheaper.
The cheaper the bike, the less capability it will have. And just because a bicycle has disc brakes, it doesn’t mean that it’s suitable for mountain biking and doing drops and jumps.
Trek vs. Giant – Final Feature Breakdown
To the untrained eye, when comparing bikes, products under both brands are going to be very similar and hard to tell apart. But both Giant and Trek employ different technological systems, such as suspension technology, in the manufacturing process that work to deliver specific performance perimeters.
Trek and Giant also have a hybrid option that combines the features of a road bike with certain characteristics of a mountain bike.
Trek: Core Features
- Alpha Aluminum: Trek uses advanced aluminum which can be stretched to its maximum absorption point. This enables the company to make aluminum components that are even lighter than a standard aluminum frame.
- OCLV Carbon: First brought to market in 1992, OCLV Carbon fiber is used to create a startlingly lightweight carbon frame while retaining a strength rating comparable to high-carbon, hardened spring steel.
- Active Braking Pivot: Trek’s proprietary braking pivot is a rear suspension technology system that adds power during braking, enabling the rider to remain steady. This is done through isolation of the pedal and drive motion from the suspension.
Giant: Core Features
- Carrier Energypak: Giant’s Carrier Energypak gives riders a compact and convenient system for hauling tools and equipment during a ride. It delivers an added 400wh of electric power, adding to your hauling ability even when carrying lots of gear.
- Compact Road: This innovative stability solution uses a downward sloping top tube beneath the seat, making riding easier for people of size who might otherwise find riding uncomfortable.
- Advanced Composite Tech: Giant’s answer to Trek’s OCLV Carbon, Giant uses ACT integrated high-end raw carbon in the frame of the bike, making it more stable and providing an excellent strength to weight ratio. The front fork is secured by an innovative triangle design, molded into a single, continuous piece.
Trek offers a lifetime warranty on most bikes’ frames and different warranties on the different swing arms. Full-suspension bike swing arms get a five-year warranty, carbon swing arms and carbon frames get a two-year warranty, and aluminum swing arms and frames get a three-year warranty.
Giant offers a lifetime warranty on all their frames, except for their downhill models. Non-Giant branded parts are protected by the original manufacturer.
As you can see, when it comes to design, Trek is about performance, speed, and competition. Conversely, Giant is more about catering to buyers who are less focused on riding and more interested in using the bike for commuting and recreational purposes.
So the choice you make depends on your personal preference. But whichever brand you choose to get your bike from, it’s important that you gain maximum performance efficiency from it.
These are two very different companies that make great bikes! At the end of the day, a Giant mountain bike is a lot more like a personal vehicle, whereas a Trek bike is a performance machine for cycling enthusiasts, athletes, and thrill seekers.
While Giant does come out cheaper in the standard bike market, their high-end offerings can turn an ordinary road bike into a regular pack mule. On the other hand, if charging down the trail in a blaze of glory is more your style, Trek has got you covered.
Either way, always look for better quality components when purchasing a bike.