XC or trail bike, its not really sure.
I have kept it pretty much stock. Except for the following.
The stock crossmarks had sidewalls made of paper and would not mount tubeless so I stole the 2.25 ardent(front) and 2.15 Hutchison Toro Tubeless ready (rear). They mounted up with no issues on the stoke giant rims using a ghetto rim strip made from a 26 inch presta valve. I have had one pinch flat on the hutchison from running it at too low of a pressure.
The stock 90mm stem and stock 700mm wide 5 degree bend bar were not working out for me. The bike felt way to long, and my wrist were cocked in away that made me want to put my thumb on top of the bar. If giant would just make the bar 11ish degrees of bend I think they would not suck for me so bad, to be honest I think most would like the stem but the 5 degree bars just suck. To rectify the problem I measure the reach and drop on my SS, then stole the 80mm stem(flipped) and 660 11 degree bars from that bike as well. It is still 5mm longer than my SS but overall it pretty close. I ordered up a 75mm stem and some 10 degree 660 mm bars for this bike. I am also currently running Ergon GX1 grips and titec bar ends. The Ergons are great grips for XC riding, and the bar ends are though not cool(because MTBer are the bigger poseur than skiers) let me have short aggresive positions for downhills and tech and still have some length while climbing or cruising road section.
lets more on to how it rides. The first impression while riding this bike is just how smooth it tracks over terrain. From pavement to dirt road, to easy singletrack to gnarly freeride trails this bike really does not make misstep. Outside of big drops, i have been comfortable doing nearly anything on this bike. It literally begs you to pedal rough rolling sections as fast as you can, and just eat them up with out much effort at all. The maestro suspension plain works and has been updated since my last 05 Trance 2. With the shock now set up better propedal is best only used on road style climbs or for standing. Sitting down riding on rough trail or rough fireroad it is easier to pedal with it off. Once the trail turns downhill, the bike has very bottomless feeling but yet doesnt wallow when you try to pump it or ollie trail obstacle. It is faster downhill than most so called trail bikes or at least I am faster dh than most riders on their trail bikes on this bike.
Climbing on gnarly steep and off cambered section is so easy. It has really taken alot of skill out clearing alot of local technical trail features on the way up I am totally ok with using less skill to get over section because this bike was bought to be raced for hour on end and its forgiving off mistakes is great thing for enduro racing. The bike just has so much grip going up hill that its unfair to anyone else really.
In all but the tightest corning this bike takes a line and just hold its. The stiff chassis, and supple suspension just let it track, while the 11inch sag BB height makes it east to lean over and transition. You sit very much in the bike on this thing. The 18.2 inch chainstay can be chorelike in very tight singletrack. I mean VERY VERY tight. Like so tight it would be annoying on a 26er as well.
some component run down.
FOX RL 32 29er fork - the fork steers great with its 15mm thru axle, is really supple on medium to big hits, but lacks the small bump sensitivity I feel most rockshox forks give you and does not platform as well either.
FOx Rp2 with BOOSTvalve rear shock - simple reliable performance, pedals great while still have great bump compliance for all types of hits
Giant's 29er wheel set. - 1900 grams is not ultra light, but then again its only a 3000 dollars bike, they have stayed true after 20 days of riding and are not as bad as intial reports were saying.
SLX/XT drivetrain - let it be known that I am SRAM/rockshox/Avid guy but the drivetrain has been great, quick shifts, has not missed a shift. My gripes are this with it. The rear Derailuer needs to be stiffer so the chain doesnt slap around, and the indicators for gear position need to go so you can run the brake in board.
Avid Elixer 5 brakes - alittle finicky to set up but have been great after that. Nice of giant to spec a 185mm front rotor on a bike that can go so fast down hill.
I will soon be making it a 2x10 or 1x10 using a BBG Bash Guard and a MRP 1.X guide, I also plan to switch it over to SRAM XX, get the new SID, and overall get the weight down. IT currently sits at 27.0 lb even which is lighter than some carbon 29er wonder bike(cough tallboy cough) but carl Decker's machine weighs a featherlike 23.5 lb. I am basically copying his build as funds allow to make the fastest XC weapon I can have.