Taiwan is the home of the modern bike industry, including some of the biggest bike firms on the planet. And none comes any bigger than Giant.
Giant began life in the early 1970s producing lightweight chromoly bikes for other brands. However, so high was its manufacturing quality and attention to detail that in 1981 Giant decided to strike out with its own self-named range of models.
Since then Giant’s success has been phenomenal, combining incredible cycle engineering innovations with astute market awareness. With annual global sales of 6.3 million bikes, Giant’s output incorporates everything from the very highest-end road race and mountain bikes, to the most popular hybrid and city cycles. In fact, whatever type of bike you want, Giant will make it — and it’ll probably make it better than most of the competition.
Giant by name, and a true cycle manufacturing giant by nature.
Unquestionably Giant’s finest moment was introducing the first ‘Compact Road’ frame to the market. Until 1997, road bikes had always had level top tubes. However, Giant’s chief designer at the time, Mike Burrows — who had previously created Chris Boardman’s famous Lotus bike — hit upon the idea of making road bikes with a sloping to tube.
For Giant it was a sensible business decision. Unlike traditional road bike frames that have to be sized reasonably accurately to the rider, with compact frames Giant only had to produce three different frame sizes that could be fitted to around 90% of customers.
For Burrows and his engineering ideals, thought, a sloping top tube was perfect. The tighter rear triangle made power transfer more direct and the bike feel stiffer. The longer seatpost gave a little bit more vertical compliance — or comfort — than traditional frames. The combined effect of this longer seatpost and shorter seatstays made for a more aerodynamic design. And in total, the reduced amount of metal or carbon used to make a compact frame meant the finished product was lighter than a traditional bike frame.
The first Giant Compact Road frame made its debut appearance being ridden by the ONCE professional race team at the Tour de France, and since 1997 it’s been a constant sight in elite races. But perhaps a greater sign of its inherent genius is the fact that it’s also been copied by the entire road bike industry to the point where compact road frames now are the norm.
View The Giants Bikes Range