Are we professional cyclists? No. Are we regular cyclists at least? No. Are we the casual, give it a go once a week type? Yes! But when we do give it a go, we still can average 19-20 kms in an hour-long session, which isn’t too bad at all. So when Giant Bicycles sent us their Escape RX 3, the fact that we could lift it just with our two fingers was enough for our feet to feel happy and feel excited about pedalling.
Needless to say, I was more than eager to try out how fast it could go with its thin, slick tyres, compared to my Made in Taiwan hybrid bicycle, which was eating dust elsewhere. Oh, for those of you still wondering, a hybrid bicycle is a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike, built to take on not so great city roads or mild trails. Generally, such kind of bicycles do have front suspension and thin tyres, but this Giant had composite forks.
The Giant Escape RX 3 sent to us retails for INR 45,500 and for that money, the kind of kit that you get is really good if you know your bicycles. For instance, you get a really lightweight ALUXX-grade, butted aluminium frame and the front forks are made from the same material. Even the stem for the handlebar and the handlebar itself is made out of aluminium and so are the pedals. Loaded to the brim with high-quality equipment, the bike’s 3×9-speed drivetrain includes Shimano Altus front and rear derailleurs, a 175 mm Shimano ( 26/36/48T/) crankset, a Shimano HG400 9S 11-32T cassette, Shimano Altus 9S Shifters and brake levers, and a Shimano-made bottom bracket too!
Available in Black, Green, Blue and White, the bike gets Formula hubs, Tektro brakes, Giant S-R3 700x28C puncture-resistant slick tyres, a 350mm Giant D-Fuse seatpost which requires an Allen key for adjustment and has no quick-release mechanism, a really comfortable Giant contact comfort neutral saddle, Giant SR-3 rims and stainless steel spokes (Both rims do get a quick release mechanism). Official weight hasn’t been disclosed, however, our guess is that it could be a smidgen over the 10-kilo mark.
In The Saddle
It had just begun raining in Bombay when the bike was delivered to us and I was a little apprehensive about riding with those slick tyres in the rain. Confirming with the guy who delivered the bike that it’s okay to ride when it’s wet, as long as you keep it steady in the corners, the next morning’s 5 am alarm was reserved for this bike’s fluorescence. With the seat set to my 6-foot frame, where the knees are fully extended at the pedal’s lowermost position with my feet on it and me in the saddle, it was time to push things forward.
With 27 different ratios to pick from, the Shimano Altus thumb and index shifters slot the chain into the desired sprocket with utmost ease and smoothness. Since the bike is lightweight and I am used to riding something which is perhaps 4-5 kilos heavier, post a little warm up, my cadence rate was already high for a casual cyclist, with the chain slotted in the medium-sized front and the 7th rear sprocket. Firing those Altus shifters again, I made the chain descend into the smallest front sprocket and it felt like now we were talking. A quick glance at the app I had installed to check progress, displayed that I was doing 28 km/h and I felt like I could do it all day. The last remaining two sprockets at the back are seriously tiny and if your legs will allow, they can make the Escape RX 3 hit serious speeds.
With five sessions of 20 kms+ every time, we clocked about 100+ kms in the RX3’s saddle before the rains in Bombay played spoilsport. During that time, the saddle was a comfortable place to be for the way it is cushioned and contoured, although if that is an issue, there are plenty of aftermarket gel-based options out there. The components are all of seriously high quality and we particularly like how the cable travels through the frame when it has to from front to back.
For our kind of city roads, one would think that some suspension setup up front would’ve made life easier, but those aluminium forks are sturdy too and all one has to do is loosen the forearms and the grip on the bars if there’s a bad patch to be dealt with. To enjoy this Giant properly though, you will need a smooth patch and then this bike will charm you. Having said that, the fact that the tyres are puncture-resistant do lend a lot of confidence and their slick pattern really takes away any rolling-resistance there could’ve been even for the tiniest of grooves.
For the casual cyclist who wishes to pedal regularly and will eventually become better and faster, the Giant RX3 is a great buy. For those who pedal to work these days, this one is stylish and effortless too. And for the money that this bike asks, it gets you top-notch kit and high-quality components which do add up to make your cycling experience thoroughly enjoyable. It’s the kind of bike which eggs you on to ride more and for the kind of living we do these days, that’s good encouragement.