By James Huang
Full-carbon hardtails seem to be making a comeback on mountain bike cross country circuits worldwide and Giant Bicycles is among the latest sponsors to outfit its team riders with the ultimate in light weight for when conditions allow. For many races this year, second-year Giant MTB pro Kelli Emmett has traded in her trusty 1.9kg (4.2lb) Anthem Advanced short-travel full-suspension platform for an XTC Advanced frame that undercuts that already-light figure by nearly half; claimed weight for her second-generation prototype is just under 1kg (2.2lb).
"It is just awesome!' said Emmett shortly before winning the cross country event at this year's Sea Otter Classic. "It feels so light and amazing on the climbs. It is crazy how noticeable [the weight loss] is."
The new frame borrows a few design features from the road-going TCR Advanced SL, notably the oversized rectangular-profile down tube and beefier top tube for better front triangle rigidity. However, there's no press-fit bottom bracket shell to be found here (at least for now) and the head tube is designed around a conventional 1 1/8" steerer tube.
Unlike some other race-specific hardtails, though, Giant at least built the XTC Advanced around a 100mm-travel fork for more predictable handling on rougher terrain. As it turns out, Emmett used an 80mm-travel Fox Racing Shox F80 RL at Sea Otter but the extra 20mm proved handy later in the season.
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