The Giant Expedition was designed for Cross Country Touring, in which you wish to bring everything including the kitchen sink, but still engage in serious off-road trails. The frame has been re-designed since the 2001 model; extra welds have been added to the rear pannier attachment to prevent excessive load damage to the frame. It has an aluminium alloy 6061 rigid frame with full suspension. It also has 'fully suspended' pannier racks, for taking all your worldly belongings where ever you want to go. These can of course be removed (which considerably improves the weight of the bicycle) if not required for current trek. A 27-speed shimano gear set-up with rapid-fire shifters, gives you a wide degree of gear choice and ease of use. Hydraulic brakes give it incredible deceleration, especially when it's wet...
The suspension set-up is such, that unlike most full suspension bicycles which have a tendency of bobbing or 'resonating', this bike doesn't. This 'resonance' is due to both mass of the rider and forces exerted on the pedals while pedalling. This causes energy loss though the absorption of the energy into the suspension shock and thus makes accelerating that much harder, resulting in many bicycles simply 'bobbing' as they travel along. The problem occurs quite dramatically when the cyclist pedals at 90 revolutions per minute (the average rate), which is 1.5 revs per second. Since each revolution involves a left and a right, the suspension is pushed three times per second. Most suspension systems resonate three times per second, so the cyclist ends up bobbing like a kangaroo.
Giant's solution to this problem was a joint effort with Renault Sport; NRS (No Resonance System).
No Resonance System
Currently the only four-bar link rear suspension set-up to give 'Zero Sag'.1
Designed by Pascal Tribotte, a Formula 1 engine designer for Renault Sport. Pascal, a vibration specialist, learned that the natural resonance frequency of mountain bike suspension is very close to the frequency of a pedalling rider, around 3Hz, so he set out to build a full suspension mountain bike that didn't bob by using what he calls 'a near perfect virtual pivot position'2.
Incorporating a vertically-mounted Rockshox XC air suspension unit with three inches of travel, the mechanics of this system means that if you either sit-on, or pedal this bike. The suspension has 'no-sag', but instead, actually puts pressure downwards onto the tyre giving you grip for acceleration. However if you hit something like a rock, a log or a ditch, the suspension compresses and soaks up the impact.
Using the Bike for Touring
It is a fantastic bike; the only downside is it can be too complex. If you were taking it round the world, then you'd run into some problems with regard to the hydraulic brakes and spare parts. Also another factor would be that the frame is aluminium rather than steel. Which when you're in Outer Mongolia, is a little harder to find welding equipment for.
The load capacity on this thing is staggering. It's quoted as capable of 15kg front and 15kg rear. However tests have proven that it can handle more than that (such as carrying shopping back from the supermarket!). If it's equipped with decent Pannier Bags then you'll have no hassle carrying everything on the bike without loading your back - which is the important thing when touring.
Cross Country - Ride Quality
The bike is also capable of tackling hard cross-country routes, and it handles superbly (with the racks and extras removed). Being based on the Giant XtC model, it handles like a hard tail bike on hills and the flat, but when you start haring down steep long bumpy tracks it just soaks up everything you hit! Which gives you a lot more control because you're not fighting to stay on the bike.
- Derailleur - 27 speed Shimano Deore LX front/XT rear
- Shifters - Shimano LX Rapid-fire
- Frame - New oversized compact dual suspension AluxX SL (=6061) frame
- Head set - Integrated head set
- Cable routing - Internal cable routing
- Brakes - MPH II hydraulic disc brakes
- Rims - Rigida ZAC 2000 double wall rims
- Spokes - DT Swiss stainless steel spokes
- Tyres - Vredestein Spider tyres with reflective walls
- Cassette - Shimano Deore LX 9 speed cassette 11-30
- Fork - RST Macro AET suspension front fork with Tornado Air Technology. 3.0" travel.
Specially made for Giant
- Rear Shock - Rockshox XC
- Crank - Shimano Deore crank set
- Dropout - Replaceable
- Carrier - Unique suspended luggage carrier system, front & rear
- Colour - Oriental brown metallic / Walnut grey
As with a lot of bicycles, the manufacturers try and cut costs as far as possible to maximise profit, and this bike is no exception.
Pedals - The originals have a resin core with reasonable bearings and a metal footplate. A good replacement would be clipless pedals (like the Shimano PD-M515 or PD-M646). Or metal pedals, which would last longer.
Saddle - Gel, with sprung rear section. Ideal for long use, but doesn't have a cut away at the back. This being essential to stop excess pressure being applied to a nerve between the legs, which can lead to impotence! VRT makes a very nice titanium railed kevlar saddle that would work well.
Lights - The supplied lights include a front 2 C-Cell unit and a rear 4 AA-Cell unit attached to the rear rack. The rear unit is motion sensitive, and works very well. However the front light is hopeless. A good replacement would either be a single halogen unit from CatEye, or a Dual rechargeable unit.
Compass/Bell - Why!? Give it to an unsuspecting friend, and install a decent nav system, like a Garmin E-Trek. That way, you're guaranteed to get lost!
A very lightweight off-road touring bike at a reasonably price for its specification. With a high level of adaptability for multiple uses. Although complex (aluminium frame and hydraulic brakes) these systems make it more suited to go bouncing down a mountain with a tent, than world travel.