A decade ago in 2013, Giant unveiled a distinctively unique looking bike named the ‘Revolt’. At the time, few people knew of the cycling category of riding and racing gravel. Gravel riders in this era typically had to modify cyclocross bikes and road bikes to be able to handle the long hours in the saddle and be efficient in the mixed terrain they often played in.
Then, along came the Revolt, with a sloping top tube, dropped seatstays, disc brakes, and a skinny carbon seatpost allowing for a little flex – it was an evolutionary concept.
Today we have our hands on this outlandish looking bike - the 2023 Giant Revolt X Advanced Pro 2. We recently used this bike for a gravel tee shoot and decided to put it through it’s paces for a bike review.
Specs & Techs
This steed comes in a spectacular gloss misty forest colour along the top half of the frame, and transitions into a matte black on the rear triangle. Pretty cool paint job for a factory bike.
It stands out from its previous models. Featuring a Giant Contact Switch dropper, Fox 32 Float 40mm Performance fork, proper off-road geometry, and the brand-new Contact SL XR D-Fuse carbon handlebar. All these new standard bits make for a new breed of gravel beast.
It also has a cool party trick with its ‘flip chip’. Changing this chip at the rear axle moves it backwards, making the wheelbase longer and allows you to fit rubber up to 53mm wide. Really, this bike can handle most types of riding, whether it be overseas for the infamous Belgian Waffle Ride, or around your local fire roads and trails.
Running gear wise, it’s spec’d with SRAM Rival 1x12 Rival shifters, rear derailleur, and hydraulic brakes. It can handle the steep up hills with enough climbing ratios and steep down hills with plenty of braking power for any fast long gravel descents.
The Revolt also features the extremely strong yet lightweight Giant CXR X1 Carbon Disc wheelset. These look pretty cool, and feel light when de-wheeling the bike to sling into the back of the car.
Swinging a leg over this bike, it immediately feels comfortable. Riding on rough fire roads, it proved its worth and was a smooth performer thanks to a combination of the 45c tubeless tyres, dropper post and RockShox fork.
We were really surprised by the fork. Even through it’s 40mm super short travel it takes the harshness of the smaller bumps and square edge stones. It gives you a comfortable cushion between you and the ground. You won’t be doing any big hucks to flat but it does reduce the vibrational fatigue on those longer rides.
Down hills are more enjoyable with the soft fork, grippy tyres, long wheelbase, slacker fork angle, and dropper post. All these elements provide stability and confidence. If you have not used a dropper post yet, get with the program! The dropper assists on the descents, helping to get the saddle out of the way, giving you much more room for movement working around the seat area.
Just like any bike, it does come with a couple small issues. The first and most obvious is the limits to the types of trails the bike can ride. It won’t replace a mountain bike on wilder trails but for fire roads and groomed single track it’s spot on. The dropper post’s dual action remote lever, that's positioned on the left hand side of the bars, works well but it requires a lot of thumb pressure to operate. It’s bulky design can make it difficult to hold the hoods. The dropper post also makes a loud top-out 'clunk' every time it extends all the way. The fork also lacks some tunability, so you might find that you blow through the travel if you are heavy boned.
Overall, the bike gets a big thumbs up. If you don’t want to commit to a mountain bike and need a bike to handle a broad range of riding disciplines, this could be the bike for you.
Written and reviewed by Rory Larrson