GIANT REIGN 27.5 2
Well here we are a new year and look what we have for one of our first test review, the all-new 2015 GIANT REIGN 27.5 2.
If you recall last year we did the review on the new GIANT ANTHEM ADVANCED 27.5 carbon that was one step down from the team model and I found this to be an amazing ride for someone that is in the 5’ tall range in comparison to a small 29er. http://www.mtnbikeriders.com/2014/04/11/2014-giant-anthem-advance-27-5-1-test/)
Giant Bicycles went full boar in 2014 committing to the new tire size with their top of the line mountain bikes for women and men. Now they didn’t drop the 29’er as they do have a place in the market.
This is a big thing for any company to do and Giant has always done their research and it was a huge success for Giant Bicycles if you ask me.
The only two models left out of the 27.5 line in 2014 were the REIGN and GLORY.
With the advent of Enduro racing soaring to new heights, Giant’s Enduro weapon was the TRANCE 27.5 with 5” travel. The Trance did very well in the Enduro racing scene, but Giant needed to excel further in this realm and what better way to do this then bring your Enduro team to the table, send them out on countless test rides and races, bring the team back to the table with all the data heads, and go back out till everyone involved got what they wanted. The end result is the all-new 2015 GIANT REIGN 27.5.
THE REIGN LINE
Giant has come out with four models of the all new REIGN for 2015. Starting with their carbon framed bikes, the REIGN ADVANCED 27.5 0 Team and the ADVANCED 27.5 1.
The next step down is the ALUXX aluminum REIGN 27.5 1 and the REIGN 27.5 2.
Price ranges for the ADVANCED to the ALUXX are $8250 to $3400.
The prices may seem a bit high, but when you look at the range of parts and frame materials, this is relevant to all the competition out there.
GIANT’s full REIGN line is well equipped to get the job done, whatever that may be for you.
“So, Pick your REIGN and REIGN down on the competition “. I should use this line at the end of the review, but this bike rips!! (Getting ahead of my high praise)
In comes the all new REIGN 27.5 2. Its stout looking frame with clean lines is built for speed in the rough. RockShox Monarch Debonair RT shock with 2 position compression (Open/Pedal) lever and 6.3”/ 160mm rear travel does the duty in the rear with the Maestro suspension, while up front RockShox Pike RC Solo Air w/ 15mm thru-axle and 6”/ 6.3mm travel will smooth out the bumps and jumps in your path, now this is the only REIGN model without a dual positon travel fork.
Giant chose Shimano equipment to fill in the duty of breaks and drivetrain, starting with Deore 203mm rotor front and 180mm rotor rear. Deore shifters, Deore front derailleur, and SLX Shadow + rear derailleur, Deore cranks, 24/38 w/ MRP 2x Guide.
Giant finishes off the REIGN 27.5 2 with a few of their own components like the P-AM2, Double wall rim set with Giant hubs, Contact SL DH 31.8mm bars that are nice and wide with the Truvativ’s Holzfeller 40mm stem.
To finish off the REIGN, Giant’s Contact SL Switch-R Dropper seat post and Contact seat handle getting low on the descents.
My Giant REIGN 27.5 2 came with Maxxis Minion DHF on the front and a High Roller on the rear.
If you look at the spec sheet on Giant’s website the REIGN 27.5 2 is supposed to come with Schwalbe Hans Dampf, Performance tires, but I’m not complaining with tire choice here at all. (Big smiles)
This will be the second 27.5 Giant bicycle I will be reviewing for MtnBikeRiders.com, so with blind faith and no reviews out at the time of their released I went straight away and purchased this beauty for my own.
Now the first thing that you will notice if you ride DH bikes is the layout. To look at the 2015 REIGN 27.5 2 you see DH written all over it, slack head tube, slack seat tube, wide bars, DH tires, this bike is a mini DH rig. Is that what you want in an Enduro bike?
When you sit on the bike it even has the feel of a DH bike, just less weight to it. When I sat on it for the first time I was so at home on it, the REIGN is just calling you, no begging you to go and ride it.
So now that you know what an awesome machine it is (wait I’m getting ahead of myself here), let’s see if it will perform the way you expect an Enduro bike should.
We will review the climbing, descending, and handling of the GIANT REIGN 27.5 2, get down to the nitty gritty so to speak.
I owned the earlier 07’ REIGN X 6.7 and I loved the way it preformed, though I might add these are two different beast all together, but in comparison when it came to climbing my old REIGN did climb better, “ WAIT, WAIT I must explain okay…” There are reasons for this. First off the rake between both bikes is night and day of course and you really can’t compare each together.
The 07’ had a 67deg head angle (steeper), while the new 27.5 REIGN has 65deg head angle.
When climbing the REIGN 27.5 2 on a somewhat steep hill (Aliso Woods, Cholla trail) you feel the front end wanting to come up on you quite often. This meant really playing with your body English on the bike’s seat to keep the front end down.
This is very noticeable on the 2015 REIGN 27.5 2 in steep climbs only. Handling is not a bear, but it will make you work for it. On moderate climbs the REIGN would do well without the front end coming up. The new REIGN 27.5 2 may not be a climber, but put a dual position fork on it and I would say watch out.
The second is the absence of a dual position travel fork. All the other REIGN’s come spec’ed with this type of fork and this is the only issue I see so far while climbing.
When you look at the price point of the Carbon Advanced 27.5 1 ($4750) and the REIGN 27.5 2 ($3450) that we tested, this is a $1300 difference. I bring this up only because with this caliber of bike for the price, I would pay that little extra for a dual position travel fork to be on the REIGN 27.5 2.
Having the option to dial the fork down would have been a big help while climbing.
Now what does help with the climbing though is that the rear Rock Shox Monarch Debonair RT is equipped with a 2 position compression (Open/Pedal) lever. When its locked out it helps with the uphill pedaling, you feel the rear working to keep you moving like a tractor. The Maestro suspension has come a long way also. I notice the smooth efficient way it works while you mash those pedals to propel you to the reward you seek at the top of the climb, which is that downhill.
OK, so it’s not like you will be winning any King of the Mountain awards for climbing right. Enduro is stages with more descending then climbing, Right? After all you don’t get scored for the uphill, right.
I really have to try an Enduro race.
OK so you read what I thought of the climbing aspects, so let’s talk about the handling.
I set up the suspension to the recommended settings for sag and hit the trails.
You heard me say that the REIGN 27.5 2 feels like a DH bike when you sit on it, well I’m here to tell you it not only feels like a DH bike, it rides like one too. With its 65 degree head angle and its standover height of 28.2 inches (small frame tested), it made me feel right at home. Turning on the REIGN 27.5 2 was effortless with its geometry layout.
I loved every minute running this bike through its paces at high speeds and low. Mild climbing was great as the 27.5 wheel size motored you up hill no problem, like I said just steep made you work for it.
Add the GIANT Contact Dropper post, wide GIANT Contact bars and 40mm Truvativ’s Holzfeller stem for the descents or maneuvering through single track and you have a lethal combo of an Enduro racer.
DOWN THE HILL
This is always my favorite part of any test when it comes to a bike and I’ll get right to it. The REIGN 27.5 2 descends with prowess. The Maestro suspension works so well tracking in the bumps at low speed as well as in the rough you forget you are even on a 6.3” travel bike.
When you get this kind of feel on a bike it makes riding easy. It puts you in the zone to concentrate on other thing at hand.
Now I know I made mention of the fork not having a dual position setup, well it may not be so important on a descent. The Rock Shox Pike RC Solo Air does a great job handling the rough.
Braking with the Shimano Deore brakes isn’t bad. I did experience some brake fade when pushing the REIGN 27.5 2 really hard all day. Something you don’t want during racing.
The Maxxis DH tires of course did the job of keeping you on track.
Descending in a whole was outstanding on the REIGN 27.5 2. It ate up the rough and didn’t miss a beat.
What make a good Enduro bike, better yet what makes a great Enduro bike? It has to encompass all the makings for an All Mountain trail bike that will keep you on it all day for that push to each stage, a little bit of XC to run the distance, and finish it off with all the ability to look at rough terrain and laugh all the way down.
GIANT has hit the mark here yet again (OK I need a GLORY 27.5 now to round out the quiver, wink, wink).
With the whole redesign of the REIGN line I went on blind faith and did my purchase and I am very happy with the outcome of the bike.
I found few flaws with the REIGN 27.5 2. Sure it could use a better fork and better brakes, but GIANT has managed to bring it to the table at an affordable price in comparison to some. Sure one could upgrade the bike’s week points, but if you do that you might as well go to the next level and if you only have a certain amount of cash flow this would be a bike worth getting.
If there is one thing I look for in a bike is comfort, the minute I sit on a bike I want that feel that I am right at home in the cockpit. Upon my first ride I felt I had been on this bike for a while. The handling gives you a point and shoot ride with no thought of the bike other then you looking at the line you want and making it yours.
When it comes to the Maestro suspension, the progression in high and low speed bumps was top notch. You stay tracking the ground in total control. This inspires confidence in your riding. I have been on the first and second gen Maestro suspension and this has got to be the best yet.
I like the way the Rear Rock Shox Monarch Debonair RT shock worked on the bike. It felt as though I was on a DH bike the whole time.
The Deore and SLX drivetrain do the job in the shifting department with no issues.
With my last words I have to say this being the lowest on the tier of GIANT’s REIGN model, it should take any weekend Enduro race warrior to the podium.
Seeing that the REIGN 27.5 2 gives this kind of performance I would love to see what the REIGN Advanced 27.5 0 Team rides like.
With all the time and effort that went into the designing of the new REIGN 27.5 lines GIANT has brought to the table a world class racer.
Thank you Giant Bicycle for another great ride. You can find a Giant dealer near you by going to giant-bicycles.com