Giant Yukon SE Reviews

Giant Yukon SE

2 ratings (2 Epinions reviews)
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Got wheels? (*)

Feb 1, 2002 (Updated May 15, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:It's a good bike for the money. Nice and light, works well.

Cons:Comes with no acessories and not much of a manual. Shocks sieze up when wet.

The Bottom Line: Good bike, good price, good buy. I'd buy another in a heartbeat.


Zero's Bike-o-Meter
Ain't updated this in a long while. This bike currently has
15,000 (!)
Miles on it, and still going strong. No sh*t. The usual compliment of replaced tires, chains, and brake pads, and the shocks need new elastomers. Let's see your Kmart bike go that far without disassocating into random ions and ferrous nuclei.

This bike has been involved in three (3) automobile related accidents so far. Survived with flying colors.

** Begin (Actual) Review **

I consider myself a kamikaze cyclist. It even says so on my business card. I make it a profession of sorts to break bikes, and with a track record like mine I was very pleased with the Yukon SE.

My nephew put down the cash for a top-of-the-line Trek 6500, all 700 dollars of it. I think that's a lot of change to drop for a bike, but I do have to admit it is a nice one. Nice, but not 700 dollars nice. Since he had a this pile of aircraft aluminum badassery at his disposal I was finding it a little difficult to keep up with him on my bridge girder steel Huffy Arlington. I was further persuaded to get a new bike when the Arlingron fell apart (bodily and literally, and while I was riding it). I got a Trek 820 (not a bad bike, either) and it was promptly stolen. D'oh.

The dealer was out of Trek 820's. Enter the Yukon.

I paid a little over 300 bucks for this bike. It was last year's model, so I got a good deal. The scary thing is, since it doesn't have the big bad Trek logo on it it's rather similar to the Trek my nephew paid 700 dollars for, just... well... 400 bucks cheaper. The one thing that struck me right away is how light this bike is compared to the others I tested. It's a good deal lighter than the Trek 820, and neck-in-neck with the Trek 6500. It's more than light enough to bunny hop, wheelie, burnout, and 180 skid to your heart's content.

The bike is a traditional mountain bike. It's a no frills piece of gear, with a standard shaped aluminum frame (no alien engineered flashy stuff here), front shocks (but no rear shocks), and one inch riser handlebars. The riser handlebars are a nice touch, and mean you don't have to hunch over quite so much when you ride. It's a 24 speed, with three gears on the front and eight on the back. Biker nerds: This bike has all Shimano components (shifters, brakes, &c). All of the components are aluminum, coated, or stainless except for the bolts that hold on the handlebars. It has trigger style index shifters, which I much prefer over the twist kind, and regular lever pull brakes. It has regular metal pedals, no toe clips, no straps. It comes in lots of frame sizes. I got an "M", which is about 18 inches if I recall correctly.

For your money you get the bike and a manual. And not much of a manual at that. You get no chain guard or saddlebag or complimentary lock or any of that sort of thing. The manual isn't much to write home about either- It's a standard one-size-fits-all affair that is supposed to cover all of Giant's bikes and while long on the paranoid safety stuff is short on actual details on the bike. If you want to know how to replace or adjust something, tough. You'll have to take it in to a service center or figure it out yourself.

Performancewise, this is a nice bike. The shifters and brakes on mine came pre-adjusted and worked perfectly with no fiddling and no fuss. Try that on your Kmart bike. The brakes stop the bike well enough with no goose honks or drag, and the shifters work very well. One click, one gear. The shocks are adjustable by twisting the little caps on top of the tubes (though the manual insists that you take the bike in for service to do this). They came preset to be extremely soft- Regular pedaling made the handlebars bob up and down, but I fixed that easily enough. The seat is not miracle of ergonomics, but what stock bike seat is? Gel covers are ten bucks at Kmart. I suggest you grab one. The stock tubes suck. Replace them with puncture resistant ones right off the bat. The stock tires are pretty good. They work well on dirt, well enough in mud, and surprisingly well on pavement. They show a good bit of wear resistance, too. The wheels and seat have quick release levers in case you need to break the bike down and stow it in a trunk someplace.

All of the decals on this bike come off except for the Giant logo on the body and the model number. This is good, because I hate being a billboard on wheels. All of the "Designed in the USA" and "wear a helmet or burn in hell" and the logos on the shocks peel right off.

I've put over one thousand miles on my Yukon SE (update: child's play - see the bike-o-meter above) and I haven't broken or mangled anything yet. Aside from a set of upgraded tubes (and a nice layer of road dust) my bike works just as well and is exactly the same as the day I bought it. This is a good sign, all the other bikes I've owned would be scrap at that mileage. Impressive, I say. I don't do any of that pansy track riding with this thing, either. If I did that I'd have a touring bike. I ride in the real world, and in the real world we have curbs, rocks, mud, gravel, and moron drivers. This is a bike that can take the abuse, let me tell you. My bike is my only mode of transportation (save those funny looking things on the ends of my legs), so my Yukon gets a lot of use and a lot of abuse. And a lot of miles, as previously noted. I take it offroading sometimes, but there's really not much space to do that around where I live so I don't do it often. It holds its own, though, and handles well in the dirt.

There's just one problem: As far as I can tell, the shocks on this bike are at least partially pneumatic. Unfortunately, if you manage to get water inside the shocks they'll seize up and become very stiff until the water dries out. The water makes a tighter seal than usual, and the shocks can't force the air out of themselves. I had this happen to me, and it took three days for the water to evaporate and the shocks to unstick. This is a minor quibble, and may or may not apply to many different bikes, but it's just something I took note of.

More updates: I got some information on the shocks on this bike (Rock Shox Jetts, not exactly top of the line). They're elastomer driven things which can theoretically be taken apart to be cleaned (easy) or have their elastomers/springs replaced (impossible). I don't know about the rest of you but the top cap on the business side of my shocks positively will not come off. I may need to replace the fork soon, as the elastomer is long overdue for a swapout and I can't get at the bloody thing. More updates as events unfold.

All in all, this is a good bike for anyone who hasn't got a fortune to spend but wants real bike instead of some of that junk you buy from Kmart. Recommended.

(As always, feel free to ask me anything about this product via email or the comments box on the right.)


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