Review: Giant Anthem Advanced SX 27.5

2014-10-07 giant

With Giant abandoning any wheel size that is not 27.5, it’s only natural that their flagship race bike, the Anthem, gets similar treatment. As a former owner of the excellent Anthem X 29er, I have been looking forward to trying out the smaller wheel version.

The “Advanced” in the name refers to Giant’s top-of-the-line carbon compound that is lighter while also stiffer. Contact points are Giant’s own Contact brand, rendered in alloy, with the addition of a Giant-branded dropper post. A SRAM X01 drivetrain pushes the Giant-branded P-TRX1 carbon wheelset while a RockShox Revelation and Monarch RT Debonair handle the front and rear squish. This rig features 100mm of rear travel and 120mm of front travel. Braking duties are accomplished with the new SRAM Guide RS brakes with a 180mm front rotor and 160mm rear. While Giant is generally tight-lipped about bike weights, the Outerbike crew said the Anthem SX comes in around 25 pounds in stock form, and there are some easy upgrades to make it even lighter.

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Out on the Trail

While the Anthem definitely comes from a race pedigree, the 27.5 version is more like the love child of the Anthem X 29er and the old 26″ Trance. Accelerating from a stop is snappy and efficient, with top speed easily maintained for long stretches of pedaling. However, once the course gets twisty or rough, the maestro rear suspension and extra 20mm in the fork kick in and keep things moving forward confidently. Some marked differences from the 29er version include the enhanced ability to zig through tight switchbacks and the ease with which the 27.5 can take to the air. Given the playful nature of the new design, the dropper post makes sense. However, for a more race-oriented setup, a straight carbon post would be a smart choice.

Overall, the Anthem SX 27.5 really does handle like a mix of the Trance and Anthem 29er. It has snappy acceleration, confident handling in all types of trail terrain, and yet still rolls over stuff when needed.

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Bottom Line

While there may be better choices for people with very specific riding styles, the Anthem SX 27.5 is an excellent choice for all around trail riding with some occasional weekend races thrown in. The respectable $5,575 price tag includes some smart component choices like the included dropper post and carbon wheels, while leaving room for lighter contact bits. The suspension is easy to get dialed, and the SRAM brakes and drivetrain perform flawlessly out of the box. Giant has pulled from its well-stocked bag of tricks and put together a winning combo with this model!

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