Compare Brands: Giant vs KHS

Why Buy A Smaller Name Brand Bike Over A Mainstream Brand?


If you're an avid cycler, or even a competitive cyclist from time to time, chances are that purchasing a new bike will be a hugely important event for you. Obtaining the right hardware for your hobby means tracking down the best brand capable of offering the best performance, and for many people, this means assuming that the biggest name, for example Giant, Specialized or Trek Bikes, will be the best, only because they spend a lot more in advertisement and marketing than others. However, it's important to recognize that smaller-name brand bikes provide a performance that is just as good - or better - than those bigger names you've grown used to. Also a lot of the “big” brands might be not so big in other parts of the world.


A very important question to ask is; how long has the company been making bikes.

A company making bikes for a long time has a great track record and is more likely to be a good brand.

Therefore it is very important to note that there are many bike makers who are in the bike business much longer than the “Big 3”.


Bypassing The Regular Brand Names


For some time, the big 3: Giant, Specialized and Trek name has been associated with mainstream cycling culture. The concept of those bike brands has become well known. Not always for their innovations but mostly for being around a lot. However, many people forget that these “regular bike brands” aren’t the only option out there when it comes to obtaining high-quality, reliable bikes.


For example, Intense Cycles have been around for almost a quarter of a century, making them almost as ingrained within the historical culture of cycling as for example Giant Bikes. Intense Cycles were bred particularly for racing, in a time that was much less concerned about brand, and more interested in performance. Though these particular bikes can claim to have something of a hand in the early career of Shaun Palmer, and his 2nd place achievement at the world championships, it's worth noting that they have also been rebadged and ridden by various cycling heroes throughout the 90s. To most cycling experts:


"Intense is one of the few brands that can still lay claim to the truly American-made mountain bike."


The Norco Option


Another alternative that serious bikers can consider is the Norco Cycle, est. 1954. Norco may not be as popular and well known as other bike brands in the US, but they have actually been around for much longer, introducing more than 100 different models into the world of cycling culture. In fact, Norco is one of the companies that is pushing the movement for the increasingly popular 650b wheel size.


Although they do not benefit from the U.S. popularity of many of the “normal” brands that you can see at every corner, Norco bikes have roots firmly set within the world-class testing ground of British Columbia, and are dedicated to offering superior cycling experiences to everyone - regardless of where you're from.


Norco road and mountain bikes focus on delivering competitive drive, energy, and focus to cyclists, which has allowed them to develop brand new technologies such as Gravity Tune, and refine their designs for amazing results. Indeed, Norco bikes differ from Giant Bikes in the way that they are built to feel like a natural extension of the rider's body - regardless of whether you're moving through the city, the road, or on the trail.


What Makes a Brand Special?


At the end of the day, chances are that the popularity of the big-box brands won't be going anywhere any time soon. And although it's perfectly reasonable to consider huge brand when looking for your next bike, it's also important to remember that there are other great options there worthy of consideration. It doesn't necessarily mean that the big brands are the best option available for you, and finding your perfect ride is about being open to different options, and testing out different solutions.


Most experts will tell you:


"There are good manufacturers and bad manufacturers in every sphere of life. The same holds true with bikes."


There are many well-known bike manufacturer out there making quality bikes since a long time, many of them longer and better than the big corporate chain manufacturers that are so popular in the US.



Here are some examples for excellent bicycle brands:


Bianchi the leading Italian brand for road bikes and lifestyle bikes. Established 1885 in Italy and up to date one of the oldest bike maker in the world.


KHS, established 1974, one of the biggest US bike maker still owned by a single family, who owns and operates several factories in Taiwan and fabricates their extensive bike line as well as bikes for other brands. KHS is the brand that is most likely to be considered on the same level as Giant.


Marin bikes are from Marin County in California founded 1986, the home of the first mountain bike. Mostly famous for their incredible line of mountain bikes, Marin also carries a full line of road bikes, cyclo cross bikes and hybrid bikes.


Felt carries the most beautiful designed bicycles. Famous for their custom road bikes, in the 90’s, Felt now is an international bicycle maker fabricating all kind of bikes: mountain bikes, city bikes, fitness bikes, kids bikes, cruiser and electric bicycles. Felt won the Kona Ironman many times.


Linus Bikes from Venice California are one of the fastest growing bike makers of the new generation. They produce classy 50s and 60s-era bicycles in the popular retro vintage style, that started a world wide trend.


GT Bikes Founded in 1979 by a welder and a bicycle shop owner, GT Bicycles has been a known name in the American bike scene for over three decades, famous for BMX, Mountain, road bikes and city bikes. 


There are many good brands out there. Take your time and compare them before you make a decision.