Giant Escape Disc

Giant Escape Disc

It's a bit of a weird name for a bike. I've just bought (ordered) one from a local bike shop. The Giant Escape Disc is a 'tackle anything' hybrid bicycle built on a lightweight AluxX SL Aluminium frame, with Shimano transmission and disc brakes, and mine will be fitted with a short-travel suspension fork for cycling off-road. Total weight is about 25lbs.

I'd been thinking of a hardtail mountain bike but this should suit me better as I want it for forest trails and bridleways, not cycling on rocky mountain tracks. I also wanted a bicycle suitable for roads, with mudguards on in winter. The Giant Escape Disc can take tyres up to 700x40c, but not with mudguards fitted, so I'll put smaller ones on then. Chainrings: 48/36/26 (the same as my Ridgeback), cassette: 11-28 (a slightly higher bottom gear).

It took me two days last March to clean my steel framed tourer properly. This new bike's aluminium frame will be less of a worry in terms of rust and its silver colour means chips in the paint won't be as obvious. Other plusses are minimal decals – almost non-existent – and cable powered (mechanical) disk brakes, not hydraulic. The bike is being supplied by MK Cycles in Bolton, and they're happy to swap components for different ones if required – such as saddle, pedals, tyres, stem, etc.

Components:

  • Shifters: Shimano Deore 27 speed
  • Front derailleur: Shimano Alivio (I changed to Deore)
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano LX
  • Brakes: Shimano BRM 416 mechanical discs with 160mm rotors
  • Brake levers: Shimano M421
  • Cassette: SRAM PG950 11-28
  • Chain: Shimano HG73
  • Crankset: Shimano M431 26/36/48
  • Bottom bracket: Shimano UN26
  • Rims: Giant CR40 Lite
  • Hubs: Shimano M475
  • Spokes: black stainless steel
  • Tyres: Maxxis Columbiere 700 x 32mm

I think I made a good choice. My touring bike can now be saved for loaded tours instead of wasting it on day-rides and getting salt on it in winter. I've enjoyed cycling off-road for over 25 years but haven't done as much since my old ATB became unsuitable a couple of years ago. I should have the Giant within a few days and will then post a photo of the actual bike. More info about the Escape Disc on Giant's website.

28 comments on “Giant Escape Disc”

  1. Mary wrote:

    That is a good bike choice Patrick. I think it is a lot of bicycle for the money. It is very similar to the Specialized Sirrus hybrid bicycles we have (the girls have one each, one is my old one, and Rosie got one for her birthday a year ago). Except the fact you can replace those wheels with 40mm ones! Wow that has some wheel choices!

    There is no such thing as a bicycle to do all cycling jobs in my opinion.

    And yes, this machine will help to ensure your touring bike can be cared for and kept good for touring, which I suppose is more of a summer pursuit. I now have three bicycles. My mountain bike – a hard tail with hydraulic brakes and I do take him out and about over rocks and very rough terrain and what not. My tourer (who is now my training and commuting bike with a tough frame suitable for salted roads in winter time, and my road bike who is basically used for all Audax runs. (Road bike lightweight and more suitable for speedy moments).

    This Giant will be able to take you off road, on some of the tracks and trails more suitable for a mountain bike, but giving you the freedom of a bit of speed and the ablilty to lug about your 'gear' as on a tourer if you so wished. I bet the Transpennine Way, will not be a problem ever for you... (I hated it on my road bike).

    Looking forward to a real photo of your new bike.

    Mary

  2. Patrick wrote:

    Thanks Mary. This brings the number of bikes in the household to ten. Only three are mine, though. I'm looking forward to doing things like servicing the hubs and headset on my touring bike without worrying about the time it takes. I might also restore my old Peugeot ATB, which has a gorgeous 531 frame suffering with rust.

    I agree: more bikes = more options.

    I'm still thinking Giant Escape Disc doesn't sound like a bicycle.

  3. Hilary wrote:

    I've often thought of getting something similar to this but am constrained by lack of space. I'll be interested to hear how it performs. Why do you prefer cable to hydraulic discs? I have to admit the very word 'hydraulic' puts me off – it conjures up visions of complex engineering that I don't understand!
    Given the chance I'd collect bikes but I just don't have the space to store them sensibly. Perhaps thats just as well... I know a guy who has 47!!

  4. Patrick wrote:

    I don't know much about disc brakes on bikes but from what I've read and been told, hydraulics are a little more powerful and have better modulation than cable (less of a tendency to be either on or off). But they are more expensive and fiddlier to maintain, and possibly boil the oil on long descents.

    One of my local bike shops – not the one supplying the Giant – sells mountain bikes only with mechanical disc brakes. He's mostly a road bike dealer and doesn't want to mess with maintaining hydraulics. So I'm going along with this. The Escape Disc seems to have a pretty good frame. That's the main thing, I think. It will be nice to have a bike that doesn't wear out the rims when it gets dirty and which I can hose down (when the hosepipe ban is lifted). I've never used a hose on a steel bike.

    I will certainly let you know how it performs. I'm not sure where to keep it. Already we have three bikes in the house and the garage is full with six others!

  5. Patrick wrote:

    Update. The concept seems to work: disc brakes, road wheels, 700x40c tyres not too knobbly, suspension (on-off switch on the bars), wash down non-rusting frame, ergonomic gear shifting. I had to remove all the spacer rings and reverse the stem to bring the bars down to saddle height, because the suspension fork raises the steerer tube. The bottom bracket is lifted about an inch higher than with the road fork but is still lower than on a true MTB. This extra inch of ground clearance gives suspension room and bumpability, and bigger wheels float better on stony tracks. The 'head angle' (fork rake) is now 70° – ideal for trail riding.

    Giant Escape Disc

    View larger version on Flickr

    I'm very pleased with it. It's nice to be able to include country tracks into what would otherwise be road-only rides. It appears the bike is possibly a 29er.

  6. Chris wrote:

    Looks like a good buy, Patrick. Interesting that the outer gear cables extend all the way to the derailleur and expose very little bare inner cable. The worry about rust was one of the reasons why my most recent road bike has an aluminum frame. With hindsight, this is the sort of bike I should have bought instead of my heavy Ridgeback MX5. Are the tyres a bit fat for road riding though?

  7. Patrick wrote:

    True, there's no inner cable exposed, except right at the brakes and front mech – none at all on the rear mech. On my other bikes I've never liked how bare cables pass through the cable guide under the bottom bracket. My brother once bought an Indurain road bike and that didn't even have a cable guide – the cables were right on the metal.

    The fatter tyres go with the suspension idea – to be able to ride off-road as long as it's not too rough. The bike is all compromise, which I suppose is the principle of a hybrid. I've tested it on some bumpy tracks and muddy bridleways and it's fine. I was thinking of putting mudguards on but now I'm not sure. With the smoother tyres, the amount of muck and water that gets thrown up is less than I expected.

    track

    [image added later – click to enlarge on Flickr]

  8. Chris wrote:

    The Giant Escape Disc 2011 is currently advertised on Wiggle with a 33% discount off the RRP. £499.99 and available in all sizes. Bargain.

  9. Patrick wrote:

    I agree Chris – bargain. For the record, the suspension fork on mine is SR Suntour NRX-S-RL 700c (1695g or 1600g depending on where you read). Quite a light fork.

  10. Howard wrote:

    This is very very tempting especially given the price it is on wiggle at the moment, It's now 40% off.

    One question, you say that the bike can take up to 700x40c tyres. Where did you find this info? I'm looking for what size tyres I can take then down to. I'm hoping for 26s in the summer and 32s in the winter type setup.

  11. Chris wrote:

    Hi, Howard. The photograph above shows Patrick's own bikes with Schwalbe Marathon 42-622 tyres. Perhaps you could Google the make and model of the wheels to see the narrowest tyres that can be fitted. Oh, Patrick had a different fork fitted – not that I imagine it would make a difference. Bargain price.

  12. Howard wrote:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the quick response. The rims are giant CR40 lite and I can't find anything on them by googling (other than a ton of sites advertising the giant bikes with them on). The giant website had nothing either.

    I'm actually guessing that the 40 bit in CR40 is the max size tyre that can go on them. The only thing I've found on sizing is this http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html but from that I need to know the inner rim width of the CR40s. From the table at the end I'm guessing the rim width is 17-18 mm but I'd prefer to know than guess :)

    Anyway, the mouse is hovering over the buy button. I have to go now :)

  13. Glenn wrote:

    Hi Patrick,

    Great article. I am thinking along the same lines as you, I have a road bike and a hard tail and would really like a hybrid for getting out on dry tracks and rural roads... Can I ask which forks you fitted?

  14. Patrick wrote:

    Hi Glenn. The front suspension fork is an SR Suntour NRX-S-RL: 700c 1695g 63mm travel. I hope that helps.

  15. Jack wrote:

    Hi Patrick,

    I bought the bike from Wiggle at the end of the season (Nov) and then promptly had a crash. Both tyres lost grip while I was going down a blind left hand bend. I slid into an on coming car! Luckily, it wasn't a 4×4 and when I slid into the bumper me and the bike were bounced around the car, rather than disappearing under it and getting mushed – it was pretty damn scary for a moment!! I had tapped the brakes just before entering the corner and wham, I was down slidding on my forearm to the looming car.

    Afterwards I saw the tyres still had releasing agent on them from the factory – I normally scrub my motorbike tyres to get rid of it but I hadn't noticed it on the Giant's wheels. I'd also pumped up the tyres too high. There were a lot of factors a play but ultimatley it was my fault, not the bikes.

    I walked away with a large bump on my shin and some other bumps / skin damage. I always feared I'd have an accident on my road bike with the club, not on a hybrid, but there you go.

    Anyhow, my front fork was shattered by the impact but the rest of the bicycle is still good including the wheels which are true. Do you still have your old forks and would you be interested in selling them? If so, let me know, as I don't plan on going off road so don't need suspension.

    Many thanks

    Jack

    P.S. I'll be getting the shop that services my road bike to fit the fork and give the Giant a once over check!

  16. Patrick wrote:

    Sorry to hear about your spill. I'm pleased to hear you weren't too badly hurt.

    I do have the original fork but on reflection will probably keep it just in case.

  17. Jack wrote:

    OK Patrick, I understand that. I'm going to order some of those Suntour forks you've got.

    Hope this serves as a word of warning to others out there!

    Happy biking

  18. Patrick wrote:

    Jack, when fitting the suspension fork I turned the reversible stem the other way up and removed most of the spacers to bring the bars down because this fork raises the head tube higher than the original. Might be worth doing when you have yours fitted, depending on your preferred riding position. The steerer tube can be cut short to avoid a stack of spacers on top of the stem (must be done carefully). I like my bars at saddle height but if you cycle more upright you can leave the stem, spacers, and steerer tube as is, or maybe just reverse the stem.

    Incidentally, I see the Giant Escape Disc is advertised with a carbon composite fork. I thought the original fork on mine was steel but I must be wrong.

  19. Geoff wrote:

    Hi Patrick.

    I've been reading all this with interest as I'm about to buy this bike from Wiggle. I'm quite likely to follow your lead and fit the Suntour forks. How are the tyres you fitted on roads?

    Also I'm trying to decide what size frame might suit best. If you don't mind, could you tell me what size you bought, based on your height/inside leg measurement? I'm 5'11" with 32.5" inside leg and a longish reach. Medium spec looks a little small although it's apparently a 19" frame which is what my Marin MTB is.

    Many thanks,

    Geoff

  20. Patrick wrote:

    Hello Geoff. If anything the medium size is a little big for me. I'm 5'10" and normal build. I've slid the saddle forward a little bit to compensate. A shorter stem would have done the same thing, but if you have a longish reach it will probably be fine.

    I've used various tyres from the originals to 32c knobblies and now 32c file tread (quite smooth). It is not as fast as a proper road bike but fast enough for me, and more versatile (which is what I wanted). Still very pleased with it.

  21. Geoff wrote:

    Hi Patrick. I appreciate your swift response, very hard to decide between M or L from the specs. From the pics, the saddle seems quite high – or does it just look that way because of the frame geometry? Does the top tube drop quite low? Thanks for the tyre info. Really looking forward to getting this bike.

  22. Patrick wrote:

    As mentioned above, the head tube is raised higher by the taller suspension fork and that makes the top tube slope down more but I think the seat post length is pretty normal for a hybrid bike. I turned the (reversible) stem upside down to bring the bars down to saddle height.

    Here's my Escape Disc in it's present incarnation (yesterday in fact):

    monsal-trail-start

    I've changed a few things: wheels, crankset, BB, pedals, front mech, saddle, disc brakes converted to hydraulic. I think the AluxX SL frame is good. The only thing I really disliked on the original bike was the Alivio front mech, which I soon changed to Deore. The other changes above were upgrades, nothing much wrong with the originals.

    £450 for the 2011 model does seem good value. I've not seen a 2012 model so assume the Escape Disc is now replaced with something in the RX range – same AluxX SL frame but none seem to have disc brakes.

  23. Geoff wrote:

    The changes you've made look great. I'll be interested to see how the brakes perform – I have Juicy hydraulics on my Marin MTB.

    Tried a 2012 RX for size today whilst in a local bike shop, as they are virtually the same frame geometry as the 2011 model, so I could decide on the best size. Going for L rather than M as I found the head tube very low compared to my seat height and the L seemed a better fit generally.

    Actually there's only 1 or 2 cm difference here and there between the two. Didn't seem a problem though, probably as I have a longish reach.

    So L has been ordered – fingers crossed!

    Oh, and you're right, same AluxX SL frame but no current models have disc brakes. RX are noticeably lighter than standard range.

    Cheers,

    Geoff

  24. Patrick wrote:

    Excellent Geoff. Do let us know what you think of it.

  25. Greg wrote:

    Hi Patrick

    I'm going to place an order for this bike and similarly don't want the Alivio front derailleur that it comes with. Can you tell me which Deore front derailleur you are using? I see that Shimano has several variants of it.

    Cheers,

    Greg

  26. Patrick wrote:

    Hi Greg. Just bog standard Deore, one down from Deore LX I think. I went to a bike shop and asked for a better mech and they said this Deore will be fine. Not very helpful, sorry. I'll look at the bike tomorrow and see if there's a part number on it.

  27. Jim wrote:

    I bought this exact same bike from wiggle back in April 2012 ... bargain ... down from £750.00 to £450.00 I think it was. I've since covered just over 5000 miles on it in 26 months (to July 2014) — 80-90% road, 10-20% light off road/farm tracks. Stock, it's a great bike for that kind of usage and nothing has gone wrong with it. Only just changed the chain and sprockets and its only been through 2 sets of tyres. :-)

  28. Howard wrote:

    Hi,
    FWIW, I did buy the bike, and still have it. In the summer I run with 26mm tyres and put the 32mm ones back on it for the winter. I love the thing, it's a brilliant commuter bike. I only go on road with it, hence the tyres are lasting forever.
    BUT:
    http://road.cc/content/news/166309-15-million-bikes-recalled-due-quick-release-issues

    From my quick testing, the skewers that came with it don't touch the front disk as per test but they are certainly closer than the width of a pencil. According to the giant website:
    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/_upload_us/Giant_%202004%20VT%203%20Front%20Quick%20Release%20Recall_Notice.pdf
    the escape disc isn't mentioned as being affected. There is a simple solution, which is to do what I did from the start and have the QR lever on the opposite side to the disc.

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