Thursday, January 15, 2009

Giant Bicycles' SEEK Series


Giant's tag line for this series of bikes is:

Seek is the city-savvy bike styled for go-getters, to match your life on the go.
Well alright, let go! There are three bikes in the series. All feature an aluminum frame and a rigid (that is, non-suspension) steel fork. The top tube slopes in a mountain-bikey fashion, and the flat-ish handlebar and stem will put most riders in an athletic riding position: back/spine at 45-60 degree angle, off the ground, and a modest reach to the bars.
  • Seek 3 is a 24-speed derailer bike with disc brakes front and rear, for about $600.

  • Seek 2 has a 27-speed SRAM drivetrain and Avid Juicy 3 Hydraulic disc brakes - it's about $700.

  • Seek 1 is the bee's knees: it's got the 8-speed Shimano Alfine internal drivetrain in addition to hydraulic disc brakes. You get what you pay for, usually, and you'll pay about $1025 for this bike.
All three bikes come with sensible platform pedals, and have mounts for front and rear racks and fenders. You'll have to work the accessories around the disc brakes - a minor hassle and an the only obvious problem with these bikes, on spec. The aesthetics are clean, colors muted. I was going say these are "Just the facts, Ma'am," bikes, but that sounds a little stodgy - these are "no non-sense" bikes. And each one comes with a bell.


Thanks to the Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop in Denver, CO, for bringing these bikes to my attention. They were clearly impressed, evidenced by their use of the Seek 1 in their rental fleet.

15 comments:

David Hembrow said...

This machine looks nice, but no mudguards, an exposed chain and the stretched out position don't make for a really reliable, comfortable and clean town bike.

Giant is another of the companies which sells a proper town bike in the Dutch market, but not elsewhere.

Freewheel said...

Why??? Do they think there's no market for these bikes outside the Netherlands?

David Hembrow said...

The biggest single market for bikes in the world is probably Germany. They don't cycle as much as the Dutch but there are an awful lot more Germans.

The Dutch market is quite possibly the second largest. 16M Dutch make as many cycle journeys as the whole of the English speaking world put together.

Also, this is the country with probably the highest average price paid for a bike, and it's somewhere that utility cycling is mainstream.

I think that's why. However, it still seems rather silly not to sell these sensible bikes to people who would appreciate them wherever they are.

Perry said...

I've bought one in the last two weeks and so far - I like it! The 8-speeds does take a bit of getting used to (the range between gears is pretty wide, and sometimes you don't find a sweet spot), but it's simple, clean and seems rugged enough for commuting in Portland, OR.

Anonymous said...

Just so you guys know, im a Canadian living in Japan and these sweet hybrid Giants indeed exist outside of the Netherlands...I was surprised but they are here too. Im thinking of getting into the Seek R2....it has all i need in a bike w-out front shocks but tadaaaa you can do the change over in the future, so its all good...

JP said...

I live in Japan too, Fukuoka actually. I have a bike shop that's just a 5 minute walk from my house that has the Seek R2, and I am also seriously considering buying it. The price is 68,250 yen. I have some questions for anyone that has a Seek model. Are they comfortable? fast? reliable? Also, is the front end too stiff without a suspension or is it ok without one. I will be commuting about 5 days a week, approx 40 minutes each way to work. Any feedback is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I just baught a seek 3 the other day at my local bike shop and i really like it. The seat is pretty uncomfortable in long rides (maybe that's just because i just started riding again) but the overall feel of the bike is excellend. I kind of wish i went for the seek 2 but i was already pushing it on money. I really like the matte black color of the 3 and i like the white of the 1 ( dont know what the 2 is) i think giant got it right on these bikes, they are definitely on the fast end of the stick which was what i was looking for. regarding the suspension i would say it could use a little on the front.....bumps are really bumpy, so i guess it depends on your terrain, i personally would have preferred this had some kind of suspension. overall this is an awesome bike and i'm looking forward to using it for a long long time.

Anonymous said...

I got a seek 2. Be glad that you got the seek 3. The avid juicy 3 on the seek 2 are nothing short of garbage. Have to constantly bleed them, rear brake is noisy as heck and vibrates like a mother. Lever action was long when I got the bike and is longer a month in. I would say that you should avoid the seek 2... Seek 3's shimano brakes would be a better bet.

Perry said...

Seven months later...I still like the bike. I replaced the seat with a Brooks B17 ($65), mounted a Topeak Explorer rack ($50) and replaced the seat post with one with finer adjustment detents from Performance Bike ($20). I use some Ortlieb roll-up panniers I already owned (also white) and they work perfectly - no interference with my feet. The chain stretched out pretty quickly, and tightening the eccentric bottom bracket is a snap IF you have a pair of soft-jawed channel lock pliers. After the one adjustment, it seems that it's in it's "final" length now and no further adjustment was needed. I had the rear wheel off once to replace a punctured tube, and it takes some fiddling to get the shift ring back on properly. Also, one of my kids decided to give the rear brake a squeeze when the wheel was off (clamping the pads together), and I ended up having to bleed the brakes to get the wheel back on - not a big deal if you have a vacuum pump or a syringe and a piece of pvc tubing to suck the fluid through the bleed screw. I'm considering getting an 18T rear cog to get a little more bottom end to the shift range, as I end up in the granny gear on a couple hilly spots on the commute. With a bit more weight or a trailer, it would be a problem, but not really bad so far (gets my butt off the seat, which is a good thing). For me, the brakes are really nice, no noise or vibration at all. Its quick, but not ultra fast, and the gear spacing takes a bit of getting used to but the range is adequate. It handles the not-inconsiderable bumps on my commute just fine, it's a stout and solid ride.

Paul said...

I bought a seek 2 about 3 months ago, and I love this bike! Its pretty much stock, except for new pedals, which I bought at the bike shop before i had even ridden it, as the ones that came with it were cheesy plastic junk. The new ones are steel and came with toe clips for about 20 bucks.
I am a big guy, 6'3", 240 lbs, and the xl frame fits great. i feel nice and stretched out and i can ride all day in comfort.
Not so sure about the breaks, they work great, but make strange sounds and feel a bit wonky. i dont know why, as the disc breaks on my mountain bike are smooth as butter after 4 years with no real adjustments. Ill ask the bike shop about it when i get it tuned next week.
But minor quibbles aside, I love this thing. Its like a missile compared to my mountain bike, and i often am amazed to literally be passing passing cars with little effort. I almost never drive my car anymore!
You cant go wrong with this fine machine. almost bought a Kona Dew Plus, but my lbs talked me into the extra 100 bucks for this thing and im glad they did.

The Cadillackid said...

I have had my Seek 2 for a little over 3 months now... my typical ride is 25-30 miles at a time and this bike is very comfortable and nimble..

I had to invest in a Gel seat as the stock saddle was hard as a rock for my skinny buns...

the brakes are my only complaint they have great stopping power however squeal like a school bus.. and I have been careful never to touch the discs with my hands.. ive cleaned them with professional brake cleaning solution and they will be quiet for a couple rides then back to squeal..,

I also replaced my tires with some 28's.. at just 650 miles my front had a bulge and so I replaced both (with a good kevlar tire)

I definately recommend this bike for anyone who does a mix of street, city, and paved bike path riding.. its a bit on the bumpy side for even the mildest off-road.

the shifters work very well... i esp like the "hill downshift" feature in which you can push the downshift lever fully and it will shift 2 gears down.. thats great if you come to an unexpected slowdown or hill..

the gearing is great.. although my main reason for buying this instead of the seek 1 was for the 27 speeds, i find i run in the middle gear on the front most all the time.. the rear sprocket is a nice wide ratio unit...

I find this to be a very nice machine, and I didnt have to spend many thousands for it..

BJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BJ said...

http://bj-giant-seek2-review.blogspot.com/

bunjinjohn said...

After ten years of using whatever old bike I had available, this was my carefully considered choice for a dedicated daily commuter. I have two cars, but rarely drive during the week.

I got a Seek 0 (2010 model) and had no problems mounting Planet Bike fenders on it. I used thin stainless bolts through the dropout bolts to secure the fender stays at the hub. I re-routed the rear brake line inside the left chainstay and reorganized the "dashboard" a little.

The only other modifications I made were due to fit fine-tuning and personal preference, which were wider bars, much thinner grips, a layback seatpost and pedals with toe clips. I use NiteIze spoke lights so I didn't need those supposedly reflective ugly decals to be seen from the side. Their adhesive made removing them a pain, but the bike sports a much cleaner look.

As for performance, it is literally hard to hear or feel when the Alfine hub shifts. The gear range has worked well for my commute in hilly San Diego. The Giant ROOT brakes are powerful, probably more than most commuters need, and while not as refined as my mountain bike's Hopes (or nearly as expensive), I like that they use mineral oil instead of brake fluid. The brake levers bear a striking resemblance to Hopes, which is a plus.

Giant must have thought out the design for the Alfine-equipped bikes with commuters in mind because adjusting the chain tension with an eccentric bottom bracket instead of horizontal dropouts means that you don't need to re-do the tension after fixing a flat. Another plus.

I had to remove the wheels to install the fenders, of course, but I found pulling the rear wheel to be no big deal, especially with vertical dropouts. I just need to remember to carry two more tools, a 15 mm wrench and a piece of old spoke. I'd recommend trying this at home before having to do it out on the road in your work clothes.

As for sizing, I'm right at six feet tall, and the 20" (large) size fit best. Even so, with my long-legged proportions, I'm using a layback seatpost.

All things considered, I definitely recommend this bike.

Anonymous said...

this is the new type of bike..
It;s sporty/stylish commuter

...but I belive gold Cityspeed is more atractive,
you can check also Trek SOHO, SUB 10 Scoot..
every bike-maker is jumping into hybrids...

urban commuter debate
stanczyk :
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