RIDE REVIEW: GIANT’S FULL-E +1, RIDING THE ELECTRIC BAND WAGON!!

2017 GIANT FULL-E+ 1
2017 GIANT FULL-E+ 1

So, a few months back when we were having all this rain, yeah SoCal had “RAIN”!! Can you believe it…

With all this rain we had it was hard to get out for one good day? You have to hit it before the rain came.
I was able to do some CX riding (Cyclocross all) with the bros, which lead to a slight trail mishap (injury story soon).
Well one particular Sunday a few months back was the window of opportunity to finally try out something new. I got a call from a friend of mine to come out a demo a new GIANT mountain E-Bike. I jumped at the chance to try this new bike out. The tech of E-Bikes has come a long way, but we still don’t understand the whole thing about E-Bikes. Throttle or pedal assist?

OPENING YOUR EYES TO NEW THINGS

We have never really crossed the gap of the mountain E-Bikes here at MtnBikeRiders.com and before I go into what the bike was like on the trail, I have to say a little something about this new market as well as what you will see in the future of MtnBikeRiders.com.
Not only will we do the standard stories of product reviews on mountain bikes and products, fun stories, and how to’s, you will see us bridging the gap into new niches such as Gravel bikes and mountain E-Bikes, and Cyclocross. Maybe even some Adventure Biking.
If it’s made for the dirt we want to bring it to you because playing on dirt is fun.
We also want you to know that we are not here to change your minds, only inform you as best as we can. Ultimately once you have done your homework, you will make the decision to what best fits your needs on the trail.
I know there are those out there that are fully against any kind of E-bike, no matter what it’s meant for.
After posting some pics and doing a live vid on our Facebook fan page (MtnBikeRider.com Facebook fan page / Please go and like) of the ride on the new Giant Full-E +1, I was kind of taken a back at the comments.
“You’re cheating!” “Its called a motorcycle!” “Really a motor?” “The motor does “ALL” the work and you just sit while it goes.” I was like, ” people relax!!”

That all being said, please keep an open mind and always go demo something new.
Remember, you never know till you try something new you might just end up liking it.
Hell I was never going to trade up my 26” bikes for that new-fangled 27.5 stuff or a 29’er (not for me, I’m height challenged). Now all my bikes are 27.5, see!!

THE BIKE!!

THE GIANT FULL-E +1 LOOKS LIKE ANY OTHER BIKE, BUT PACKED WITH A LITTLE EXTRA FUN.
THE GIANT FULL-E +1 LOOKS LIKE ANY OTHER BIKE, BUT PACKED WITH A LITTLE EXTRA FUN.

OK, so let’s look into the 2017 Giant Full-E +1. For the most part, I say “MOST” because it is a mountain bike.
It has cranks, pedals, chain, shifters, gears, suspension, wheels, you get the picture.
The Full-E +1 is equipped with top of the line parts you would expect from any high-end bike for trail riding at this price range. Big names like, Shimano, Fox, Schwalbe, and Giant’s own parts to round it all out.

What’s the exception to this bike, well that would be the Giant SyncDrive Sport , 80Nm, 500Watt motor powered by Yamaha.
You could say this is the only thing that would be associated with a motorcycle is the name of the company that made the electric motor.
This as I said is a bicycle, you have to pedal it up hills, on straights, and wherever you would pedal any other bicycle. There is no throttle on it like some E-Bikes. The Giant Full-E +1 is a pedal assist motor. In order to get the benefits of the pedal assist you HAVE TO PEDAL!!! Yes pedal, so if you’re a lazy person wanting to sit and hit a throttle you’re out of luck.
Now the Full-E +1 frame is made with Giant’s ALUXX SL grade aluminum to give it a stiff ride, 140mm rear Maestro suspension with a FOX Float Performance DPS, Trunnion mount shock, front suspension is handled by a FOX 34 Float Performance, 15mm thru-axle, OverDrive fork that is 140mm. Sizes range from Small to XL.

FRONT AND REAR DERAILLERS, STANDARD SHIFTING LIKE A NORMAL BIKE, AND GETTING TO PEDAL YOUR HEART OUT.
FRONT AND REAR DERAILLERS, STANDARD SHIFTING LIKE A NORMAL BIKE, AND GETTING TO PEDAL YOUR HEART OUT.
GIANT'S NEW TRUNNION MOUNT REAR SHOCK.
GIANT’S NEW TRUNNION MOUNT REAR SHOCK.
GIANT MAESTRO REAR SUSPENSION WITH 140mm OF TRAVEL.
GIANT MAESTRO REAR SUSPENSION WITH 140mm OF TRAVEL.

The cockpit is setup with Giant’s own GIANT CONNECT handlebars, stem, seat, and Contact SL Switch Trail dropper seat post.
Wheels are again Giant’s own hoops and hub systems, with Schwalbe putting the rubber on the ground for you. Drivetrain and brakes are all Shimano XT, SLX, and M615 brakes.
Let’s talk about the heart of the dive system, I mean pedal assist system.
Giant as always does their homework and when they decide to bring out a new product, Giant makes sure it works the first time. This system works quite well, now I will admit I don’t have a lot saddle time on E-Bikes and coming from a moto background I do know power. This pedal assist motor feels really great when you’re pedaling your heart out up the hills.
The Full-E +1 is equipped with;
• Motor – Giant SyncDrive Sport, 80Nm, 500w, system powered by Yamaha.
• Sensors – Giant PedalPlus 4-sensor technology
• Display – Giant RideControl EVO, grip launch control with walk assist, mini USB charger
• Battery – Giant EnergyPak500, 36V 13.8Ah rechargeable Lithium-ion

Now what is cool about this system is that you have three modes for the system on the display.
When you turn it on the display has ECO, NORMAL, and POWER. Each mode gives a different feel when you pedal. ECO mode has more resistance when in use, but when using ECO you save battery life.
NORMAL mode has better assistance and will of course use more battery. Hit that POWER mode and pedal the cranks you really feel the Full-E +1 go. This will use the most battery life of course.
One other great feature with the Full-E +1 is the button for the grip launch control with walk assist on the handle bar. This allows you to get off the bike and when you press the button the bike will go at a slow pace to assist you when say you have to go up a very steep hill (perfect when you have to “Hike-A-Bike”).
The Display also has a built-in rider computer to help track your miles and ride info. You also have a USB charge port for your lights, pretty nifty I’d say.
All in all this bike is laid out like any other, but with the pedal assist.

YOU KEEP THE GIANT FULL-E +1 GOING, BUT WHAT HELPS YOU IS THE GIANT EnergyPak500, 36V 13.8Ah RECHARGEABLE LITHIUM BATTERY.
YOU KEEP THE GIANT FULL-E +1 GOING, BUT WHAT HELPS YOU IS THE GIANT EnergyPak500, 36V 13.8Ah RECHARGEABLE LITHIUM BATTERY.
A WELL LITE DIGITAL CONTROL PANELS FEEDS ALL THE INFO YOU NEED.
A WELL LITE DIGITAL CONTROL PANELS FEEDS ALL THE INFO YOU NEED.
EASY TO USE ON THE FLY. GAINT'S RideControl EVO, GRIP LAUNCH CONTROL WITH WALK ASSIST, AND MINI USB CHARGER.
EASY TO USE ON THE FLY.
GAINT’S RideControl EVO, GRIP LAUNCH CONTROL WITH WALK ASSIST, AND MINI USB CHARGER.
IF THE BATTERY IS THE HEART, THE MOTOR IS YOUR TRACTOR. SyncDrive SPORT, 80Nm, 500W MOTOR POWERED BY YAMAHA. THIS WILL DELIVER SMILES FOR HOURS.
IF THE BATTERY IS THE HEART, THE MOTOR IS YOUR TRACTOR.
SyncDrive SPORT, 80Nm, 500W MOTOR POWERED BY YAMAHA.
THIS WILL DELIVER SMILES FOR HOURS.

THE RIDE

CLIMBING
I wanted to go to a place where I could really use the pedal assist motor. I wanted to see if this was really all worth it or not
I was told by the Giant rep to meet out at “The Luge”. Now I hate riding there and if anyone in SoCal has ridden there you would understand. It’s one big fire road climb up, up, and UP some more. Not my cup of tea at all, but what better way to see how Giant’s Full-E +1 works.

Now this is the first time MtnBikeRiders.com has tested a mountain E-Bike on our site and the first time I have ridden a mountain E-Bike, so I really didn’t know what to expect.
After a quick going over the controls with Giant rep Mark Helms, it was really quite simple to operate the three modes, so off we go to start the climb on the paved road to the entrance of the fire road, climbing of course.
The first thing I noticed was how the pedal assist motor really helps on the climb. Mark Helms encouraged me to play with the power modes, Power Mode being the best and most fun and I’m here to say it was. You really got going in a climb.
Normal mode was not to bad either, you could feel the slight resistance in comparison to the Power Mode and it worked great on the climb.
ECO mode was a lot slower in the get up and go department, however pedaling in this mode would save the greatest amount of battery and you feel the burn (man I’m getting a workout here).
OK, “I LIKE THE POWER MODE” … The bike feels fast in helping you climb up the hill and I hate climbing PERIOD!!! The pedal assist motor made climbing fun and as we were able to pass some people riding up the trail I couldn’t help but feel a sense of resentment, or maybe that was guilt on my part. The funny thing I noticed was, when we would stop these riders would catch up to us within a couple of minutes (these were riders that were in obvious shape) and pass us by as we were resting.
We hit some steep hills a couple of times, again fun, fun, fun!! As Giant Rep Mark Helms put it, “Riding uphill on the Full-E +1 is like descending a fun signal track.” You are moving at a rate of speed that’s actually making climbing fun with all the benefits of getting in shape, this is exciting and makes me want one just for that fact.
Bottom line is, I liked climbing on this bike!!

DESCENDING
Going downhill on the Giant Full-E +1 is no different than any other mountain bike, of course it may weigh a bit more than your average Enduro bike, maybe more like a Downhill bike and going downhill at speed was a blast. You really don’t feel the weight at all.

The Full-E +1 has great handling skills. You can carve the turns with ease, it handles the jumps great.
Giant put together a great bike with geometry that feels like a cross between their Trance and Reign, add the full active Maestro suspension with its Trunnion mount and you have one stable bike on the descend. 140mm of travel front and rear make for one plush ride.
The Shimano XT drivetrain worked perfect as always and the Shimano M165 hydraulic brakes took care of business in the stopping department. The Schwalbe tires did a great job of holding you on the ground and Giant’s cockpit made the ride solid with their own Connect stem and bars, Contact seat, and Contact SL Switch Trail dropping seat post.

THE WRAP

OVERALL I HAD FUN RIDING THE GIANT FULL-E +1. THE PEDAL ASSIST WORKED GREAT  IN ALL MODES AND THE BEST PART WAS THAT i GOT A HELL OF A WORKOUT. IF YOU HATE TO CLIMB, BUT LOVE TO DESCEND, AND WANT TO LOVE BOTH AT THE SAME TIME THAN THIS IS A WAY TO GO.
OVERALL I HAD FUN RIDING THE GIANT FULL-E +1. THE PEDAL ASSIST WORKED GREAT IN ALL MODES AND THE BEST PART WAS THAT i GOT A HELL OF A WORKOUT. IF YOU HATE TO CLIMB, BUT LOVE TO DESCEND, AND WANT TO LOVE BOTH AT THE SAME TIME THAN THIS IS A WAY TO GO.

OK, so I finally got to try out a top of the line mountain E-Bike and I have to say I’m very impressed with the overall ride, feel of handling, and performance of the system.
Now this was only a two-hour test ride and not a full “run it through the ringer” test review that we would normally do, I just had to see what it was like and see if its worth all the hoopla. We at MtnBikeRiders.com have not bridged the gap of the mountain E-Bike and with the advent of more E-Bikes being made and the prices coming down we want to keep you the readers up to speed on the newest anything made for the dirt.

So, what is my assessment of Giant’s Full-E +1. “FUN!!!” This is a bike plain and simple, you have to pedal it where ever you are going. The pedal assist helps to make the climb easier, but not really.
OK I may sound as if I am contradicting myself a little by saying an E-Mountain bike makes things easier. “SEE I knew it!!” Well no, it helps to climb faster, yes, go quicker on the flat trail, yes, however you are doing this by having to “PEDAL” and I mean “PEDAL” everywhere. So what’s the advantage of all this, well You’re now training or riding harder.
I found myself overlooking the speed and started seeing the benefit of an E-Mountain bike.
I got one hell of a workout just at the point of going anaerobic, yet was able to continue on. If we hadn’t stated our ride late I would have gone on longer to till I ran the battery out.
When asked how long the battery last, Giant Rep Mark Helms made mention with a full charge on his FULL-E, he took it out on a full days ride with a combination of a 6000 feet of elevation gain in total with a 37 mile ride with no problem. So depending on your mode your in you can have a great day of riding.

The next question is, do I need an E-Bike or can I do without. Let’s face the truth, when you’re ready to spend your hard-earned clams on a new ride and you’re looking at about the same price as you would spend on any high-end mountain bike without pedal assist, with bells and whistles ($5,300), you want to make sure this is what you want.
I can say from my short ride on the Giant FULL-E +1, I would for sure add this to my quiver of bikes.
If you are going to be purchasing your first bike and not sure what you may want go and try one out, you might just be surprised that you may like it.
Giant has two models, the FULL-E 0 SX ($7,700) and the FULL-E +1. ($5,300). Again as I said, these are priced at the same level as any high end mountain bike today and you are getting a lot for it in my opinion.

Thank you, GIANT BICYCLES and Mark Helms, for the great time on letting MtnBikeRiders.com see what your E-Mountain bike was all about.

MtnBikeRider.com readers, if you are interested in trying one of Giant Bicycles New E-Mountain bikes out, you can visit your local Giant dealer to find out if they have a demo on hand or go to GIANT Bicycles website at
giant-bicycles.com to see when they have a demo day come near you.

REVIEW – 2015 GIANT REIGN 27.5 2 RIDE TEST

2015 GIANT REIGN 27.5 2
2015 GIANT REIGN 27.5 2

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. https://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.

ATTACKING THE TRAIL ON THE REIGN 27.5 2 IS ALL FUN
ATTACKING THE TRAIL ON THE REIGN 27.5 2 IS ALL FUN

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)

LAYOUT
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.

RockShox Pike RC Solo Air
RockShox Pike RC Solo Air
RockShox Monarch Debonair RT
RockShox Monarch Debonair RT

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.

SHIMANO SLX REAR DURAILER
SHIMANO SLX REAR DURAILER
THE REIGN COCKPIT WITH WIDE BARS AND 40MM STEM
THE REIGN COCKPIT WITH WIDE BARS AND 40MM STEM

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)

GIANT'S CONTACT DROPPER POST WITH INTERNAL CABLE ROUTING
GIANT’S CONTACT DROPPER POST WITH INTERNAL CABLE ROUTING

RIDE TEST
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.

THE CLIMB
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.

HANDLING
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.

IN THE AIR WITH THE REIGN 27.5 2 IS A GREAT FEELING
IN THE AIR WITH THE REIGN 27.5 2 IS A GREAT FEELING

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.

BIG BUMPS AND LANDINGS, NO PROBLEM
BIG BUMPS AND LANDINGS, NO PROBLEM

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.

OVERALL
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.

HANDLING THE ROUGH IS NO PROBLEM HERE
HANDLING THE ROUGH IS NO PROBLEM HERE

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.

AN ENDURO RACER WITH A DH SOUL
AN ENDURO RACER WITH A DH SOUL

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

2014 GIANT ANTHEM ADVANCE 27.5 1 TEST

NO BOUNDARIES


Now if you remember we did a little post on”COMMITMENT” ( Interbike 2013) when we came back from Interbike about Giant Bicycles taking a big leap for their top Off-road line. Giant had been testing the 27.5 wheel size for just over a year, so when we saw the line up, no one was more excited then me to try one out.
Well the wait is over and this will be one of our first test for the year with a 2014 bike and Giant is a bike company that truly believes in “No Boundaries” and this is apparent more then ever with the new line up they have this year.
Giant has equipped 29 bicycles in 12 model titles with the 27.5 size tire, “Phew I did the math and hope I got that right.”
Now we all know this isn’t the first company to do 27.5, let alone in a Carbon frame, but if you look at any of the Advance line and the degree of thought put into it, you will come back walking away saying these are the most sexy looking, cleanest lines, and coolest parts groups you could get on a bike short of a custom build.

THE BIKE
When I first received the Anthem Advance 27.5 1 I really didn’t want to ride it, I wanted to just look at it, sounds weird, but we all do it when we get a new bike. Its a beautiful bike. I just wanted to sit there and check it out up close, from one end to the other, studying the curves of the Carbon frame, looking at the links, and parts. One thing comes to mind “Feng shui”. This bike has a sexy flow of lines from the headtube through to the Maestro links, to the rear triangle and the parts package is spot on, Shimano XT, Fox suspension, topped off with Giant’s very own components.
After I was snapped out of my state of bliss from my friend rapping me on the head, I noticed his strange look of discuss in me and I felt the drool running off the side of my lips, he gave a loud “LET RIDE MAN!!!” OK so after composing myself it was time to work this baby out and see what this 27.5 thing is all about…

THE LAYOUT

I might add the Giant rims that come on the Anthem Advance 1 are Tubeless compatible and have all the parts to set them up, but out of the box they come with tubes in them.
With that all said lets get down to the nitty gritty of what you want to hear, “THE RIDE”!!!

CLIMBING

I will start with the thing I hate most on an XC bike, the climbing. I’m a Downhiller by nature, but riding a XC bike is important to training, I do like going on a long ride with friends, so its important to have a great bike that can do this efficiently and the ANTHEM 27.5 1 does this with ease.
I noticed very quickly that the Anthem Advance feel while climbing up was lighter feeling then a 29″, but ascended a little better then a 26″. The weight felt better then a 29″, yet it feels like a 26″.
Reaching down to lock out the FOX CTD Pro Pedal to lock out mode on the fork and rear shock was no problem. Once you have this on the ANTHEM 27.5 1 was a tractor up the hill. Tight switchbacks were more manageable then being on a 29er.
While doing any type of climbing the bike felt nimble and reactive to my input on the trail at all times, in a standing pedal, mashing the pedals its light feel will get up and go. The Maestro suspension preformed by far better then all passed Maestro suspension’s. How do they get it any better.
This was truly a nice bike to climb. I never felt like I got the work out from the bike itself.

DESCENDING
Now this is where I want to have my fun and this is reward time after the climbs, so how did the new Anthem Advance 1 do? “It did better than great. At times I didn’t feel like I was even no XC bike, but more like on a tail bike with more suspension.”
In comparison to my first gen Anthem Team 26″ and the last of the 26″ Anthem X (I did call upon a friend to try out his Anthem X to compare), the descending on the 27.5 was by far more stable at speed, line choice with the 27.5 size wheels was a mere point and shoot feel to it. with the bigger tire size, raked out headtube and a frame that is stiff in all the right spots, the Anthem Advance puts the fun in XC riding. The stock tires held grip good and I would look for something more to my needs. Under braking the XT disc brakes work awesome and pull you down in speed with no problems. In the photos you will see the comparison of the 27.5 to that of the 26″ wheel and that of the 29″ wheel. I doesn’t look like a lot, but size matters.
Before going down I turned the CTD levers to descend and the Anthem’s Fox fork and Shock worked great. One thing I have to put in here is that since getting this bike I have not dialed in the front or rear suspension at all. Out of the box it has worked fine.Jumping on the Anthem Advance is a dream, it handles air time nicely if you want to have fun on some little jumps on a trail.

OVERALL THOUGHTS
As I mentioned I had asked a friend who I knew had the last of the 26″ Giant Anthem X 1. I had not ridden his bike before and I wanted to see just how much of a difference it would be, plus he had never ridden a bike with the bigger wheel sizes. This was a in the field blindfolded test ( really wanted to try that).
Just to see how much of a difference there is between a 26 inch and 27.5 inch I called my friend Juan Arrello to bring his Anthem X to do a ride compare and what I found out was there is a huge difference in how both bikes feel.
The older Anthem X feels so twitchy in the handling compared to the Anthem Advanced 27.5. You wouldn’t think this small amount would make this much matter when it comes to the overall ride-ability between the two.
The 27.5 wheel size feels like no other Anthem since and the 29″ does have its place. With this being said I have to say that the 26″ wheel size may be a thing of the past sooner then later. In my opinion the 27.5 wheel size is truly the choice for my size over the 29er.
You get all the characteristics of the 26″, the feel of the 29er without the wheel weight, and without loosing to much of the handling characteristics in tight areas.
My friend Juan had this to say about his ride on the Giant Anthem Advance.

I own one of the last of the 26″ wheel Giant Anthem X.  The ride is great but after riding a 27.5″ Giant Anthem it was like night and day.  First of all the 27.5″ rolls so much smoother over exposed tree roots, fixed rocks, and wash board surfaces at breaking points.  On the 26″, one is more dependent on a well tuned suspension to smooth out the ride, as for the 27.5″ it felt like I had more suspension even though both bikes have the same 4″ travel.  The 27.5″ really complimented the 4″ travel suspension the Anthem.   On the descent I also noticed the amount of speed I picked up and to sustain the speed without much rider input to keep up the momentum.   I liked the fact that I was able to brake a bid late going into a turn but at first I had to get used to turning the larger wheel but I quickly adjusted.  Even though the 26″ is more nimble on tight turns I like the fact that the 27.5 rolls much better if there are obstacles in the turn.  There was a very slight difference in acceleration but with proper gear selection acceleration differences was insignificance to me.  Overall I wished I would have waited one more year so I wouldn’t buy the last of the 26″ Anthem and I could have been one of the first to purchase a 27.5 Anthem.”

In a nut shell I have to say that every time I ride this bike I love mountain biking more and more everyday.
 The parts group is top notch as it should be at what your paying and Giant is not skimping here. They are giving you a race ready bike out of the box, now its up to you to take it to the podium or race it at your favorite trail.

Oh and what is this little baby going to cost you, only $4750.00, is it worth it, I would say an outstanding “YES!!”

 

INTERBIKE 2013: COMMITMENT

LETS TALK COMMITMENT

Commitment is a big word for some people, some will run from it, some will half commit and not fallow through, and some will go head long into it all the way knowing they have done their homework believing in what they are doing.
Now a lot of you may know already that GIANT BICYCLES has done just that, they have went head long into the 27.5 tire size for just about all their 2014 mountain bike line and have all but sent the 26″ mountain bike way of the Dodo (for our younger readers this is a saying referring to an extincted bird) except for their DH Glory and Reing X which I would bet will fallow next into the 27.5 line, after all their are others that are doing DH and Freeride bikes in 27.5 with some success.
For those who know GIANT this wouldn’t be the first time they have done this. In 2006 GIANT was the first manufacturer to bring the tapered headtube to market, known as OverDrive2. So you can bet that when Giant decides to do something big it won’t be on a whim.
Here is a look at why GIANT feels the 27.5 is superior performance without compromise and cool pics of the 2014 27.5 line.
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tech27-5_image1

Overall Bike Weight
Compare the weights of identically equipped bikes with different wheel sizes and you’ll see substantial weight differences. As expected, the 26-inch-wheel bike is somewhat lighter than the 27.5, and substantially lighter than the 29 (up to two pounds of overall bike weight savings from 29 to 27.5). Every gram saved helps you ride faster.

Wheel/Tire Weight
The overall weight of a 27.5 wheel set (wheel, tire and inner tube) is only 5% greater than that of an identically built 26-inch wheel set. Compare this to the 12% increase of a 29-inch wheel set and you can see how a seemingly small increase in diameter results in substantial weight gain—and poorer performance when climbing or accelerating.

Weight Comparison
Static wheel weight
Lighter wheels/tires result in a quicker acceleration and lighter overall bike weight – a win-win combination.

ANTHEM ADVANCE O TEAM

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tech27-5_image2

Snappier acceleration and a reduced angle of attack for a smoother, more agile ride.
Rollover
Increased wheel diameter decreases the angle of attack (the angle in which a round object intersects a square object). This is a good thing. A 29-inch wheel rolls over a 6-centimeter square-edge obstacle 14% more efficiently than a 26-inch wheel does. In comparison, a 27.5-inch wheel rolls over the same obstacle 9.8% more efficiently than a 26-inch wheel does.
Another way to analyze angle of attack is the degree of impact—where 26-inch equals X degree, 27.5 equals X-4 degrees and 29 equals X-6 degrees. Again, a shallower angle is better—so 29-inch takes the win, with 27.5 exhibiting nearly the same performance but without the weight penalty.

TRANCE ADVANCE O
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tech27-5_image3

Acceleration
Arguably the most important benefit of 27.5 over 29 is quicker acceleration. This is the “snap” that a rider feels when they push hard on the pedals. It is affected not just by overall static weight but also where the weight is distributed throughout the wheel. The farther the weight is from the center of the hub, the slower the acceleration. So a similarly constructed 1000-gram 29-inch wheel is slower to accelerate than a 1000-gram 26-inch wheel—because the larger diameter rim and longer spokes place weight farther from the hub. The key to snappy acceleration is minimizing the weight of the outermost components (rim, nipples, spokes, tire, tube). As you can see, a 27.5-inch wheel is only 1.5% slower to accelerate than a similarly constructed 26-inch wheel, but a 29-inch wheel is 3.6% slower than a similarly constructed 26-inch wheel.

TRANCE ADVANCE SX
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A larger tire contact patch, increased stiffness, and optimized frame geometry improve traction, braking and handling.
Traction

The larger the diameter of a wheel, the greater the contact patch of the tire. A larger contact patch results in better traction, which leads to improved acceleration, deceleration and cornering. As you can see, a 27.5-inch wheel has a similar contact patch to the 29.

TRANCE ADVANCE O
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tech27-5_image5

Frame Stiffness
Lateral (side-to-side) frame stiffness can be affected by wheel size. To accommodate larger wheels, frame dimensions must be elongated. Therefore, a size medium 29-inch wheel frame has more lateral flex (bottom bracket and headtube) than a size medium 27.5 or 26-inch wheel frameset. Additional flex compromises handling under heavy pedaling or sharp cornering
Frame Geometry
The larger the wheel, the more difficult it is to optimize geometry, especially on smaller frames. As the frame size decreases, headtube heights become higher (in relation to saddle height). On 26 or 27.5-inch frames, it’s less of a problem, but geometry limitations can affect smaller 29-inch-wheel frames.

XTC ADVANCE
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Their was quite the buzz around the GIANT both and it was great to see them back at Interbike. The Advance line was beautiful to look at and people were very interested in the bikes, with the reps super busy and questions being ask I have to say GIANT may have a very good year in 2014.
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FINAL NOTE
So you got a glimpse of the 27.5 tech and a look at GIANT’S Advanced Composite line, but if you don’t want the Advance bike GIANT also has their ALUXX SL aluminum framed 27.5 Bikes, and Frame sets for the ANTHEM XC and TRANCE in Advance composite, as well as ALUXX aluminum, so they have your taste cover one way or the other.

Commitment, a big word for most brands out there. Most will want to wait and see what and where the current trend will go before they commit major resources and time to something as big as this. GIANT has the resources, takes the time, and has always brought their brand one step further then most I have seen with a lot of bang for the buck.
You could go to GIANT’s website at giant-bicycles.com or see your local GIANT dealer today.

We want to say thanks to GIANT for the 27.5 Tech provided on their website and Mark Helms for the time at DirtDemo going over the 27.5 bikes.

Ride Report: Maui, Hawaii

This past week I traveled to Maui. After many trips to Hawaii, I was finally going to get to ride! Needless to say, I was super excited! Prior to my arrival, I’ve been in contact with West Maui Cycles which was located in Lahaina, the same city as our hotel.

We arrived in Maui on Wednesday. On our way to our hotel, I stopped by West Maui Cycles to pick up my rental. Only bike they had available was a Giant Trance in either a small or a large. The guy helping was Aaron aka “Moose”. If you have seen The Collective, you may remember a segment where they rode in Hawaii. Their guide for that shoot was Moose.
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With my rental – Giant Trance. Lanai behind me

My original plan was to ride at the Makawa Forest, however the trail was on the other side of the island and I was there for a company function, so I didn’t want to be too far away. Moose gave me directions to a trail that he’s been working on called Nillpes (It’s actually a body part but since this is a PG site we’ll change it a bit). It’s located just outside of there shop. Being in the same city, this would be a perfect fit for my schedule.
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Nilppes from the trailhead

Moose drew me a map…a couple of landmarks, turns here and there…climb… and singletrack. He swapped the stem on the Large Trance with a shorter stem and I was good to go! I also rented a bike rack for $5.00.

Excited for my ride I made sure to turn in early Wednesday night. Thursday I was up at the crack of dawn. I followed Moose’s instructions and headed to the trailhead. I parked at a shopping center and rode in. The trail started off relatively flat, riding through red dirt. Just about one mile in, the ascent started. I reached the base of Nilppes and continued to climb. Nilppes was an actual hill that I would have to ride around to get to the top. At this point, I had only gone about 2+ miles but I was soaking wet! There is a lot of humidity in the islands thus making this a warm ride at 7:30 am. I wasn’t going to let this stop me. The directions that Moose gave me were very accurate and I knew there was a singletrack at the top!
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Looking back from the top

Portions of Nilppes was a rock quarry. As I made my way around the mountain, workers were starting their day. Several passed me on their work trucks giving me the “shaka / hang loose” sign. The steepest of the climb was the last stretch just before I reached the top of Nilppes. At top, I took a short break and examined the first parts of the singletrack. Loose dirt! I lowered my saddle and started down the singletrack. It was pretty flowy but apparent that not enough people are riding it. As I got closer to the trees, I was surprised with a little wall ride that was built on top of a pipe that ran through portions of the trail.
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The climb up on loose gravel

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Wall ride

A bit uneasy, I walked through this part; little did I know there were more surprises coming up. All of a sudden the trail started to get technical. I came up on a some rock drops that was a little over my skill set. Shortly after this I ran into the pipe again. This time there was a teeter-totter on it. This ended on what looks like The Great Wall of China (see pictures below). Past this section was more singletrack that eventually led to the fireroads that I rode in.

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Teeter-totter

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Part of the trail, what appears to look like The Great Wall of China

Once I knew I was nearing the exit, I hooked up with the main road and did the loop again. It took me this long to ride in Hawaii, I might as well enjoy it as much as I can. The ride was a good one considering I walked portions of the technical section. The ride is different from what I was used to, regardless I had a great time! Cant wait for my next trip to the islands!

Southern California: Best Mountain Biking Locale in the World?

A recent press release by the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News website mentioned that Bicycling Mag has decided to move its offices from Burbank to Valencia, California. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Southern California, Burbank is a city just north of downtown Los Angeles while Valencia is a little farther northwest of Burbank, another 25 miles.


Riding next to the beach… +1 for So. Cal riding

Bicycling Mag’s Steve Madden (I thought he made women’s shoes) stated that their reasons for keeping an office in Southern California is because its “important to have a place with access to sunshine.”


Jumping the gap on a So. California trail

That got me thinking: yeah, Southern California is a great mountain biking locale but could it be one of the Best Mountain Biking locales in the world? Could it be THE best Mountain Biking Locale?


Off chamber singletrack with some nice exposure to boot! yum

Here are my thoughts:

1. Diverse trails: You can’t start off any list of best mountain biking spots in the world without a list of what that location has to offer. I live in north Orange County and within one hour of me I have access to literally hundreds of trails. The Santa Monica mountains northwest of me are world renown for their challenging yet beautiful trails. The San Bernardino mountains to the northeast is home to what is widely considered the best singletrack in So. Cal.: San Ana River Trail (SART). To the east are two major race courses in Fontana’s Southridge which runs Cross Country, Downhill and Super D races as well as Temecula known for its Endurance racing. To the south, within an hour and a half drive, there are a ton of trails. I would not be exaggerating if I said that I could ride every Saturday for a year without riding the same trail twice.


Riding SART in the middle of December

The sheer variety of all that is available can make choosing a weekend ride particularly difficult. Want to ride in the mountains? Want to ride in the hills along the beach? Want to do a 100 mile epic? You can find them all in Southern California.


Lance ready to race in early November… notice the beautiful skies

2. Spectacular weather year round:
You can not qualify your locale as the best mountain biking spot in the world if you can not ride on dirt at least 3 seasons of the year. Year round riding gives you another point. Sure there are a ton of great spots in Colorado and Utah to ride but if they’re closed down 6 months of the year for the white stuff then you can’t really stake a claim to being the best. Maybe we’ll give you the title of best mountain biking locale 6 months of the year. 🙂

Think of it this way: I’ve been mountain biking through the last few winters and the coldest its ever been is the high 30s. What did I wear? For my legs: leg warmers & shorts. For my upper body: wicking base layer, long sleeve t-shirt & windbreaker pull over. No parkas, no snow boots, no ear muffs. On the other side of the coin I’ve ridden into the dead of summer with just shorts and tank-top type wicking shirt, no problem. Some guys even ride shirtless… although I’m not sure if that’s a plus or not.

Just an aside but why would you send products to test in places that are packed down by snow 6 months of the year? Unless you’ve got a mountain biking product made for extremely cold weather most products sent in the fall/winter can’t or shouldn’t be tested until spring/summer in those areas. Do you want your mountain bike getting ridden in conditions most mountain bikers wouldn’t venture out in? OK, now I’m just being selfish. 😉


Early MARCH race at Bonelli with temps in the low 70s

3. Tons of Local Bike Shops: If having choices are good then having a ton of choices is even better right? A few weeks ago, I visited 4 different bikes shops to check out there 29er collections. These four shops were within 5 miles of each other, not “as the crow flies” but actual driving miles. In Southern California you are not limited to the one LBS in town. Don’t like one place’s service or bikes? Stroll down the street and see if the next LBS doesn’t do better.

Not only are there a ton of LBS’s but some great big name e-tailers such as pricepoint.com & jensonusa.com are located in Southern California. Why is that good? Because if you buy something from them and select ground shipping, many times you can get your purchase the next day! No need to pay for expensive overnight shipping if you live here.


Pricepoint is almost down the street in Gardena, CA.

Jensonusa not only has quick shipping to So. California residents it also has two brick & mortar stores. Can’t wait until tomorrow to pick up your order? Roll on over to their store and pick up orders that you make from their online store.

4. Huge mountain biking community. I’m not a fan of riding solo, but that’s usually not a problem with such a large mountain biking community. The strengths of this is not just meeting friends and riding together, it also has fringe benefits. Having a large mountain biking community means demos are always swinging by. Just last week Specialized, Pivot and Rocky Mtn had demos going. This weekend Giant will be doing demos in So. Cal.


Demoing the KHS Flagstaff

Another fringe benefit to having a huge mountain biking community is that there are a lot of bike companies who have offices in Southern California. How is this a plus? Well, you can’t spend 24/7 mountain biking, right? You’re going to have to work sometime to pay the bills and what better place to work, for the mountain biker, than for a bike company? Niner, Intense, KHS, Felt, Shimano, Giant, Turner, etc. all have offices or are headquartered in So. Cal.

OK, enough bragging. Now I want to hear your arguments. Why do you think your location should be considered the best mountain biking locale in the world?

Giant is GIANT

I used to think (and I’m sure many people still think) that every bike company has their own little plant in China or Taiwan churning out hundreds of bikes a year. But this plain untrue.

The vast majority of bikes you see out there (especially those from small bike companies) come from just a handful of manufacturing plants. In fact most bikes do come from plants in Taiwan, China or the Netherlands… go figure… but these plants aren’t small. They are giant plants owned by the giant in bike manufacturing… Giant.

Giant started off innocently enough making bikes for other heavy weight bike companies like Schwinn. But in the mid-80’s Giant decided to come out with its own line of bikes and now they’re considered one of the top bike companies.

Giant is also looking to double their production of bikes by the end of 2008 by opening a new factory in China. You can read more about it here via Dirt Rag Magazine.

“S� Shaped Downtube

Maybe I’m late to the party, but I’ve been noticing a lot more “S� and almost “S� shaped downtubes recently. Giant has begun to use them on their Trance & Reign models after their 2007 models just had the conventional straight downtube.


2007 Giant Trance with a conventional “straight� downtube


2008 Giant Reign with a new almost “S� Shaped downtube

Specialized, too, has been doing this for a while now to their full lineup although some are a little more pronounced (think Enduro) than others.


Yes, it’s a dual crown fork so clearance isn’t an issue, but if a conventional downtube had been used, the shock and unconventional top tube would have meant no water bottle cage

This particular design has been around the past few years but now it seems that more people are using it and with good reason: it helps with fork crown clearance and allows you to keep a water bottle cage in FS bikes. In the 29er world the “S� shaped downtube should be used more judiciously than the 26″ world because of the taller wheels.

With the 29er wheels being slightly taller than 26″ wheels, standover height starts to become an issue. To get a lower standover height, you need to lower the top tube but, lowering the top tube means having to lower the downtube too. This in turns can cause an issue with the fork crown clearance.

The “S� shaped downtube solves this problem though. The “S� starts at the headtube. By taking advantage of the flatter angle for the top of the downtube, you can still lower the toptube and have the fork crown clear the downtube in case you’re in an accident and the front wheel turns underneath the bike. Rather have that happen than having the fork crown damage the bike frame or vice versa, right?

Another dilemma ensues if you have a FS with a shock in the front triangle. When you lower the toptube and use a traditional downtube you run the risk of not being able to fit in a water bottle cage on the downtube. But with an “S� shaped downtube, the middle portion of the “S� downtube drops at a steeper angle than a conventional downtube allowing you to still put in a water bottle cage even if a shock takes up a good portion of the space available in the front triangle. This works because the “S� then flattens out at the bottom before reaching the bottom bracket allowing the shock to still have its space.


Brand new Stumpjumper 29er with a very pronounced “S� downtube


Lenz Sport uses an almost “S� shaped downtube for many of their bikes including this 29er, the Leviathan