outdoor gear Trek vs Specialized vs Giant What To Know (2023)
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Trek vs Specialized vs Giant: What To Know (2023)

Regardless of whether you are looking for an entry-level bike, ready to up your game as a weekend warrior, or looking for a competitive bike, comparing Trek vs Specialized vs Giant is the perfect place to start.

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Our Take:
Trek Logo
Trek Product Image



  • check Largest range of options
  • close Expensive top-end prices
  • check Innovation leader
  • check Popular with race die-hards
  • check American company
The Bottom Line:Trek has the widest range of bike options of any brand on the market, and while they have great choices for entry-level bikes and weekend warriors looking to improve their game, they also have high-performance bikes used by professionals worldwide. This might be our favorite all-around brand for the commoners (like us).
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Specialized Logo
Specialized Product Image



  • check Advanced technology
  • close Expensive top-end prices
  • check Frequent race winner
  • check Broad portfolio
  • check American company
The Bottom Line: If you are serious about racing, you would be wise to consider a specialized bike, as they have more riders winning races with their bike than nearly any other brand. They might be slightly more expensive in some cases, but buyers invest in premium performance.
Jump to: Full Review

Giant Logo
Giant Product Image



  • check Some less expensive prices
  • close Fewer options
  • check Trade Up program
  • close Taiwanese Company
The Bottom Line: One thing that is interesting about Giant is that their team has premium bike manufacturing facilities around the world, and in some instances, may manufacture the bikes designed by competitor brands. Still, their own line-up is somewhat limited in comparison, but if you find a Giant bike you like, it might be slightly more affordable than its competitors.
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Full Review:
Trek vs Specialized vs Giant

There are bikes, and then there are bikes. You can go to your local box store to pick up wheels to ride around the neighborhood with your family, but if you are serious about your adventure, the local box store won't be good enough. Still, the local bike shops might be intimidating, and we get that. Sure, they have a wide range of bikes, but no one likes to be pressured by a salesman, even a well-intentioned one.

Trek vs. Specialized vs. Giant Comparison

Well, in our opinion, you've picked a good place to start. Trek, Specialized, and Giant are some of the most reputable companies in the industry, but picking the right bike is a big investment, so we are happy to help guide some light along the bike path. Riders come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes it makes sense to go with a competitive bike that prioritizes comfort over our performance. Still, as a place to start, it is interesting to consider what the professionals ride.

Fortunately for us,

Pro Cycling Stats keeps track of which bike race winners were sporting for each of their wins. While these stats are focused on pro cycling, and may not take into account other forms of competitive bike racing, the results are still very telling.

Trek vs Specialized vs Giant
Pro Cycling Wins
Battle of the Bikes
Trek Logo
Specialized Logo
Giant Logo

Before we go any further, it's worth mentioning that some of the specialty bikes, like the performance road bikes and mountain trail bikes, can get very expensive. If you are looking for high-end performance, then keep on reading! On the other hand, we understand some of you may be more interested in a comfortable, neighborhood cruiser. If that is the case, here are our favorite bicycles.

The bikes listed above are all great entry-level bikes. Of course, we have a hunch that if you are looking to compare Trek vs. Specialized vs. Giant that you are actually more interested in their high-performance bikes, but hoping to learn more without the pressure of walking into a bike shop. The bottom line is that Trek, Specialized, and Giant are some of the most popular bike brands among professionals and amateur competitors alike for a reason.

Trek, Specialized, and Giant all make performance bicycles that are designed at a high-quality level and in an above-average price range. Still, these high-end bikes exist for a good reason. Whether you are serious about road cycling, mountain biking, or performance commuting, these are the bikes for you. If you are looking for a bike for a lazy Sunday afternoon ride around your neighborhood, you might check out our Retrospec bike review, but for all other serious purposes, Trek, Specialized, and Giant will be much more reliable and provide more technically advanced performance.

Road Bike Comparisons

If you are still a little new to this world, you might start by wondering what exactly makes a road bike a road bike. After all, aren't all bikes fit for the road? Yes and no. Sure, you can ride almost any bike on the road, but remember that Trek, Specialized, and Giant all make performance bikes built for endurance and speed.

The first thing that makes road bikes different is the handlebars called drop bars. There is a good chance you know exactly what drop bars are, even if you don't know what they are for. Long rides can be grueling, but drop bars allow for a variety of grip positions. The downward sloping design allows for several different body positions, including a low and leveraged position when you need a little extra speed.

Some road bikes also feature ultra-skinny tires, which reduce friction on smooth services. These work well for racing, but they aren't very versatile or durable. With this in mind, many of the newer road bikes feature tires that are slightly wider and feature more traction.

Trek Road Bikes

While you might expect that most road bikes are created equal, you would be wrong. There are as many different road bikes as there are types of road riders. With that in mind, the Trek team developed four families of road bikes, so you can find the perfect bike for you.

Trek vs Specialized vs Giant Comparison

Trek Checkpoint

We are big fans of versatility, so naturally, we are big fans of Trek's do-everything road bike called the Trek Checkpoint. In terms of road bikes, the Trek Checkpoint is as durable and rugged as they come. It is built for gravel backroads, but you backroad bike-packing or traditional road biking. It's available in a carbon frame or in an alloy frame. If you're not so sure about the concept of bike-packing, the Trek Checkpoint has integrated frame bags and fender mounts that make it convenient to carry everything you might need.

Trek Madone

At the other end of the spectrum, the Trek Madone is built for those that feel the need for speed. It's the type of bike you might expect to see crossing the finish line before the rest. In fact, some might even call the Trek Madone a superbike. The frame is aerodynamically designed for maximum speed, and the advanced suspension system enables you to traverse any road comfortably. And by the way, when we say that the Trek Madone is aerodynamically designed, we literally mean it was tested in wind tunnels to maximize the bike's aerodynamics. That said, our favorite part of Madone's design is that it features invisible cable routing and integrated brakes.

Trek Emonda

If climbing is your thing, then the Emonda is the Trek bike for you. What makes a great climbing bike? Aerodynamics and lightweight designs go a long way, and while the Trek Emonda is available in a budget-friendly alloy frame, the most competitive racers will choose the carbon frame. here is the kicker: most aerodynamic-focused designs are uncomfortable to ride, but the Trek team invested in industry-leading engineering to develop a lightweight frame that is aerodynamic, yet still offers uncompromising ride quality. There is a reason that the Trek Emonda is one of the most popular racing bikes. There are cheaper bikes available, but few race bikes that rival Emonda's performance.

Trek Domane

Lastly, the Trek Domane is the bike for those that are serious about cycling but place a priority on comfortable riding. After all, what's the point of doing something you love if you are constantly uncomfortable? This comfort-focused versatility earned the Domane Bicycling Magazine's Bike of the Year award, and that pretty much tells you everything you might want to know about the Trek Domane. The IsoSpeed package cushions up rough riding by working with the road, rather than applying stiffness against it.

Specialized Road Bikes

While Trek bikes have their competitive biking lore, Specialized bikes may be just as revered. One thing worth noting is that Specialized's most advanced bikes use the S-Works nomenclature. Many of the bikes are available in two classes, both of which are great performance bikes; however, the S-Works name is reserved for best-in-class, competitive racing bikes.

Specialized vs Trek vs Giant

Specialized Tarmac

The Specialized Tarmac may be the brand's most popular road bike, and for good reason. The shape of the frame is straightforward, but Specialized invests in only the best technology. The Tarmac is available both under the S-Works name and the Specialized name, with the most advanced technology and design reserved for the S-Works name.

For something in the middle, you might consider the Tarmac SL7 Pro, which features the perfect balance of aerodynamics and ride quality, all packaged in an incredibly lightweight frame. The brand reached for the FreeFoil Shape Library to develop the best tube shapes, which they then tested in the wind tunnel for confirmation. The result is pure racing genius, and one of the fast road bikes that the Specialized team has ever built.

Specialized Roubaix

For the most die-hard racers, you might take a look at the Specialized Roubaix, which is lighter than the Specialized Venge, and more aero than the Specialized Tarmac. The new Roubaix is the most technically advanced bike that the brand has ever designed. Over the course of a 16-year span, the rider winning the Paris-Roubaix race was riding a Specialized Roubaix, and in fact, there have been years in which 70% of the top-10 finishers were riding the same.

The Roubaix sets out to develop the smoothest ride possible that doesn't compromise on compliance. The Future Shock system provides better suspension and stability but can be locked when you are ready to grind smoother roads. Simply put, if you are interested in the best, the Specialized Roubaix is a good place to start.

Giant Road Bikes

Last, but not least, Giant offers a compelling line-up, generally at a lower price point than many of the high-end bikes offered by the competition. One thing we appreciate about Giant is that they offer a Trade Up program in conjunction with The Pro's Closet. Simply submit your bike details to The Pro's Closet, accept your offer, use your voucher on your new Giant Bike, and take your old bike to a designated local bike store. Pretty cool.

Giant vs Trek vs Specialized Comparison

Giant Propel Adanced

The Giant Propel Advanced features all of the technology and testing you might expect from an aero racer. The AeroSystem Shaping reduces drag and is the result of detailed research and analysis, and wind-tunnel testing. The Propel Advanced is also one of the lightest bikes in the segment since it is made from an Advanced-grade composite material.

The Giant Propel Advanced Dis features flat-mount disc brakes, also designed to reduce drag, that provide strong stopping power. To give you additional control and further enhance the aerodynamic design, the integrated WheelSystem features a more shallow front rim and a deeper rear rim.

This bike also features Giant Hookless Technology, which allows for a rounder tire shape when cornering that gives you better road grip and support. Not only does the Hookless Technology allow for better performance when cornering, but the tires are also lighter, resulting in a lighter overall bike. When you are talking about advanced aero racers used for race day, every ounce matters.

Giant TCR Advanced

Giant's other road race day bike is the TCR Advanced, which has been around for more than three decades and redesigned through the years to stay at the leading forefront of race day bikes. Every component of the bike is researched, designed, and tested to maximize performance.

The Giant team has their own compost factory in which they utilize their own Continuous Fiber Technology to add strength and stiffness to the frame, all while minimizing the frame's weight as much as possible. And if you are curious about how this works, as many as 150 small composite swatches are laser cut, and then placed together via a robotic assembly, which maximizes precision.

Like most competitive race bikes, the Giant TCR Advanced is designed to maximize frame stiffness, which in turn provides the cyclist more control. It's not a bike built for rough roads, but if you are into competitive racing, it's a bike worthy of consideration.

Mountain Bike Comparisons

Do you know the difference between hardtail mountain bikes and full suspension bikes? If not, that's probably where we should start. Both types of bikes have their benefits and downsides. Full suspension mountain bikes feature both front and rear shocks. The benefit is a smoother, and less jarring ride. The rear shocks help the tires to maintain traction with the ground, even as the bike's natural response is to bounce against uneven terrain. The downsides to the full suspension system are that it makes the bike heavier, and there are more parts requiring maintenance.

Hardtail bikes generally have suspension systems on the front-end, but not on the rear-end. The benefit to riding on a hardtail bike is that it is lighter and more efficient, and usually faster on sprints and smooth climbs because the natural torque you are creating as you pedal isn't absorbed by the rear shocks. Naturally, with fewer moving pieces, hardtail bikes can also be easier to maintain. The downside to hardtail mountain bikes is that they are more difficult to control over difficult terrain, because the back tire may slip or pop off from the ground. Many hardtail bikes will feature tires with better grip for this reason.

Regarding which is better, it is really a matter of intended use and personal preferences. In comparing Trek vs. Specialized vs. Giant, just know that all three companies make high-quality bikes, so sometimes you may have to choose based on preference, and that is quite alright.

Trek Mountain Bikes

The various options go well beyond deciding between a hardtail and full suspension, and indeed, Trek makes more than

fifteen different models of mountain bikes, so we will share our favorites.

Trek vs Giant vs Specialized Comparison

Trek Top Fuel Mountain Bike

We appreciate the Trek Top Fuel because it combines the benefits of a full suspension trail bike with the quickness of a cross country bike. For those looking to enjoy this top technological combination of efficiency and technical capabilities on a budget, the Trek Top Fuel is available in an aluminum frame. Of course, if you are serious about pulling out all of the stops, the Trek Top Fuel is also available as a full suspension carbon mountain bike.

The highest-end version of the Top Fuel has fully wireless components like the SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrain and the RockShox Reverb AXS dropper. The Trek Top Fuel is simply the best mountain bike you can get.

Trek Fuel EX Mountain Bike

While the Trek Top Fuel is the latest and greatest in technology, the Trek Fuel EX is the brand's most popular trail bike. The Trek Fuel EX offers plenty of response for any trails, provided by its full suspension system, but is designed to be fast down the straightaways.

The Fuel EX is available with carbon base models such as the Fuel EX 9.7 that features more affordable parts but provides the most advanced frame. The benefit to going this route is that you can upgrade the components later, without sacrificing on the frame now.

The trail-ready carbon frame is light when you are climbing or going fast, but durable when you hit the rugged downhill.

Trek Farley Fat Mountain Bike

I am not sure I can even explain what, but I am a sucker for a well-built fat tire bike, and the Farley is one of the best. Of course, fat tire bikes aren't merely for good looks. The oversized tires provide better traction, which can be especially important on sandy trails, on muddy terrain, and even in the snow. A fat bike won't move as quickly or agilely as, say, the Trek Top Fuel, but that doesn't mean the Farley is slow.

The Trek Farley Fat Bike is available with a performance carbon frame, just like Trek's other performance bikes, so this isn't an ugly step-sister of a bike. The Farley Fat Bike is built to go fast and responsively on the toughest of terrain. Some even race fat bikes, if that tells you anything about their performance.

The added stability and better gripping traction will make you more confident, and ready to take on any adventure. Veteran mountain bikers that racked up their bikes during the winter especially love the Farley because it extends mountain biking season to all four seasons.

Specialized Mountain Bikes

If you are new to the world of competitive bikes, you might be surprised regarding just how many different bikes there are. Even among mountain bikes, there are cross country bikes, trail bikes, downhill bikes, and BMX bikes. Most people researching mountain bikes are thinking of trail bikes, yet, still, other options persist for the most competitive and, well, specialized riders.

Specialized vs Giant vs Trek Comparison

Specialized Stumpjumper

The Specialized Stumpjumper is so advanced that you switch the FlipChip at the rear shock to change the performance style the bike rides with. The lower setting is 7mm lower, and the head tube angle is reduced by one-half degree. The result is a more stable and controlled ride, compared to the higher setting which provides a more nimble ride.

The Specialized Stumpjumper is built with the strongest carbon the company has ever used in a bike frame, and the result is the lightest possible design (like literally, they shaved away at the frame's shape until they found the lightest possible shape that preserved durability and strength) while preserving the stiffness that promotes ultimate pedaling efficiency, climbing speed, and responsive handling.

Specialized Rockhopper

If the Stumpjumper sounds impressive, but you aren't quite ready to break the bank in a quest for technical trail performance, the Specialized Rockhopper. The entire Rockhopper line-up features mechanical disc brakes and Shimano parts, while the more advanced models also feature RockShox forks and tubeless-ready rims.

The Rockhopper is sold at an exceedingly affordable price and is perfect for beginners that don't want to compromise on quality. After all, our experience has always been the buying quality is the better long-term decision than searching for rock-bottom pricing, but the Specialized Rockhopper is affordable enough that you won't need to compromise quality for the price, or vice-versa.

Giant Mountain Bikes

If dealing with city traffic while training isn't your thing, we totally get it, but Giant's MTB collection is ready to hit the trails far away from the city lights. Whether you are looking for a fast hardtail or technically advanced full suspension, featuring advanced rear suspension, a Giant Mountain Bike will get the job done.

Giant vs Specialized vs Trek Comparison

Giant Anthem

The mid-level Giant Anthem features an aluminum frameset engineer to be as light as possible, and with an aggressive geometric shape that helps tackle hills and speeds downhill. The Giant Anthem is optimized for cross-country (XC terrain), but will also get the job done on technical terrain. The advanced suspension system has been improved to include a forged composite rocker arm and trunnion-mount shock.

The Giant Anthem Advanced Pro is a more expensive version of the same bike, and as you might imagine, features a full composite carbon fiber material, rather than the more affordable aluminum frame. If you are interested in a complete bike with podium potential, this XC racing machine represents an awesome bike that will get the job done.

Giant Trance

Of course, if you are looking for a bike to take on the toughest trails, then we recommend you consider the Giant Trance. While the Giant Anthem features 29-inch wheels to maximize speed, the Giant Trance features 27.5-inch wheels that will enhance agility and control. The smaller wheels will help traverse rugged terrain, and more easily flick the bike even at progressive speeds.

The chassis has been trail-tuned to provide support and confident handling on the wildest terrain, which results in more efficient climbing, and more agility around the trails. Combined with a progressive suspension with four strategically positioned pivot points, this trail bike can tackle any trail.

Electric Bike Comparisons

In urban areas, electric bikes have already gained popularity as an alternative to dealing with car commuter traffic. In the Big Apple, you might see commuters, food delivery services, families getting around their neighborhood, and more. Electric bikes add power to your pedaling but like the other specialty bikes above, there are quite a few varieties. Many of the bikes have a controller which allows you to manage the level of pedal assist.

You may also hear electric bikes referred to as e-bikes or electric-assist bikes, but the various names all refer to the same type of bike.

Trek Electric Bikes

Trek carries electric bikes with several different purposes including commuters, road bikes, and mountain bikes. At first glance, it might read funnily that Trek offers competitive road bikes and mountain bikes with battery assist, but keep in mind that most people ride bikes recreationally. Up in the mountains or on long hills, the battery assist might be helpful for those that aren't competing professionally, but that still love to ride.

Trek vs Specialized vs Giant Review

Allant+ Electric Commuter Bike

Our favorite electric commuter bike is the Allant+, all of which feature a beautiful paint job. The top Allant+ models feature a powerful motor that will go as fast as 28 mph. One thing we like about the Trek Allant+ Electric Bike is that your smartphone docks to the handlebars and doubles as your controller for the bike. This is particularly useful for commuters that might need directions, or want to change up their music as they stop for red lights.

Notably, the Allant+ features fenders that will keep the rider splatter-free and can be purchased with a rear rack for stowing important luggage. Trek's Removable Integrated Battery (RIB) system makes it super easy to remove the battery without tools, and the bike is available with Range Boost, which is an additional battery you can add to double your range.

The Allant+ features hydraulic disc brakes, both as front brakes and rear brakes.

Domane+ Electric Road Bike

If you are looking for a high-performance electric bike, we recommend that you consider the Domane+. It features the same, popular frame that the non-battery version of the bike features, but with the benefit of batter assist when it's needed. For those that aren't turned away by expensive bikes, the Domane+ with a high-end carbon frame for peak performance.

For those looking to save a few grand, the Trek Domane+ is also available with an aluminum frame. The Domane+ makes sense for those of you that are avid road riders interested in the new world of electric bikes, but that want an e-bike that looks and rides like a traditional road bike.

Powerfly Equipped Electric Mountain Bike

If you can't tell by now, we give added points for versatility. Few of us are one-trick ponies. For this reason, we are big fans of the Powerfly Equipped Electric Mountain Bike, which has all of the advanced technology you need for a true trail bike, but the refinement of a city bike. This is a durable electric mountain bike with an aluminum frame material, that can double as your commuter bike if you aren't ready to throw down cash for two separate electric bikes.

The Powerfly Equipped model comes with a highly-functional accessory package that includes a rear rack, fenders, lights, and a kickstand. This level of versatility enables you to go bike-camping on Saturday, before you wash up your wheels, and ride to work on Monday. There is a wide range of mountain bikes available from Trek and the other competitors, but we do love this Trek Powerfly Equipped model.

Specialized Electric Bikes

Of course, what kind of bike company would Specialized be if they didn't offer some practical fun to match the seriousness of their various racing models? And that is where the Specialized e-bike series really shines.

Specialized vs Trek vs Giant Review

Specialized Turbo Como

The new Specialized Turbo Como is the brand's do-everything e-bike, perfect for city dwellers and gravel-road traversers alike. The smooth pedal engagement is designed to feel very much like natural pedaling, but the pedal-assist will provide faster acceleration and speed for every turn of the pedal.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Turbo Como's design is that is built as the carry-everything electric bike. This means you can mount everything from baskets to child carriers on the rear rack. Interestingly, if you hop off your bike to walk, your added cargo won't weigh you down there either. The Turbo Como's advanced walk mode helps to balance the bike and provides an ever so gentle, yet still noticeable assist to make heavy loads and inclines more manageable.

Since the Specialized Turbo Como is designed as a practical everyday bike, perfect for commuting or getting around the neighborhood, it makes sense that the bike is designed with comfort and ease-of-use in mind. So the bike's step-thru frame makes too much sense to ignore, and while some step-thru frames have an outdated retro look, the Turbo Como has a more modern appeal.

Giant Electric Bikes

As with the other traditional bicycle companies, Giant has stepped into the future with electric bicycles fit for any occasion. Giant sells electric road bikes, electric mountain bikes, and electric adventure bikes perfect for trekking. We are particularly fond of the Giant trekking category.

Giant Explore E+

Trekking with an electric bicycle is not only helpful when you need a boost, but it is also downright fun, and that is why we love the Giant Explore E+. The aluminum frame is built with a step-thru design, which is helpful when you are loaded down and need to mount or dismount. The hybrid bike technologies combine a few Giant favorites including RideControl, the EnergyPak battery system, and the SyncDrive Pro motor.

But before you head out to the woods, just how far might the Giant Explore E+ take you? Well, that depends on quite a few factors including riding conditions such as terrain and elevation change, as well the condition of the battery and how precisely the tires are inflated. Still, under extreme conditions, the Explore E+ will get you 40 miles, while under optimal circumstances you can make it more than 100 miles.

Giant Stance E+

While the Giant Explore E+ is very capable of trekking, it isn't built for the toughest trails. For that, you would be better served to consider the Giant Stance E+. It features the same, trail-friendly geometric shape as the non-electric stance, but adds a little boost to help beginner, or even intermediate trail riders experience the most exhilarating rides that trail riding has to offer.

Which Bike Is Worth The Investment?

Picking a bike as a kid was pretty simple. You simply went to a local box store and picked out the coolest-looking mountain bike with the best paint scheme. As an adult deciding on the right bike is much more complicated, in part because the bikes are much advanced than they were when we were kids. And the reality is that in comparing Trek vs Specialized vs Giant, your decision will come down to two things: How you plan to use your bike, and preference. In many ways, it is that simple.

Of course, price comparison and your budget may play a part too, but all three brands offer premium bicycles with technical features available for additional costs. The good news is they also offer entry-level and average-Joe-priced bikes for those of us that want to get our hearts pumping, but are self-aware enough to know that we aren't Peter Sagan. And in my book, that is quite alright. Weekend warriors should be proud and deserve the best available equipment.

Is A Trek Bike Worth It?

Whether you are looking for an entry-level bike, a weekend cruiser, a seriously competitive road bike, or a versatile electric mountain bike,

Trek has something to meet your needs.

  • check Largest range of options
  • close Expensive top-end prices
  • check Innovation leader
  • check Popular with race die-hards
  • check American company

Trek vs Giant vs Specialized Review

Is A Specialized Bike Worth It?

The Specialized brand represents premium quality and advanced research applications. The S-Works name takes this one step further and is built for athletes that expect to compete and win.

  • check Advanced technology
  • close Expensive top-end prices
  • check Frequent race winner
  • check Broad portfolio
  • check American company

Specialized vs Giant vs Trek Review

Is A Giant Bike Worth It?

Giant doesn't have as broad of a portfolio as the other two brands, but that doesn't mean they should be discounted. If you are looking at aero bikes, Trek and Specialized have more options, but the Giant cross-country mountain bikes are a force to be reckoned with.

  • check Less expensive prices
  • close Fewer options
  • check Trade Up program
  • close Taiwanese Company

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