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.



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.


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!

# Comments

  • Greg Heil

    $5575 for a full carbon frame, carbon wheels, and X01 drivetrain, and Guide brakes? That sounds like a pretty fantastic value to me! Why doesn’t anybody talk about the great value that Giant provides?

    • Mark Bates

      You just did a fine job of doing so.

    • Greg Heil

      Ha! True that 🙂

    • John Fisch

      My sense is that Giant has always been known as a value brand–generally providing similar parts kits on comparable frames for less $. I spotted that when shopping for my very first bike in 2000 and seeing that I could get a perfectly trail-worthy Iguana for only $500. I noticed that, throughout their line, the price points tended to be lower than comparable offerings by other manufacturers.

      Maybe we don’t talk about it because everyone already knows it. Or maybe, it’s just because Giant isn’t a “sexy” brand, so it doesn’t generate much buzz–kinda’ like a wonderfully reliable and reasonably priced Honda Accord.

    • Greg Heil

      I’m guessing the second one, John. I think you hit the nail on the head. Giant is “hot” or “sexy,” but they definitely seem to provide good value.

    • wareagle4130

      I noticed this as well when I ran across the Anthem Advanced 27.5 2 for only $3500. Yeah, it’s only an X7 build, but comparing it to other brands’ carbon frames with SLX build, the Giant comes in about $1000 less!

  • Jared13

    A timely article!

    The local bike shop (Knicker Biker) just got the alloy version of this bike in today for the owner. While I wasn’t a big fan of the looks from the catalog picture (the top tube looked “off”), it looks pretty sweet in person!

  • N8xC

    I gotta say, that color scheme is awesome! It’s nice to see bike paint jobs other than solid colors. Seems like a great value for what you get, and Giant has always been reliable for my friends.

  • bigmountainrider

    Giant is definitely a leader in 27.5’s, they’ve done years of testing before making the decision to go almost entirely 27.5. I’ve decided 29ers are not the bike for me. Every time I ride a 29er back to back on the identical trails and hills against my 27.5’s the 29ers feel sluggish and unresponsive while my Giant and Scott XX1 carbon frame 27.5’s feel snappy, quick, accelerate fast, handle better, climb and descent better and are just more fun to ride. 29ers might be a good choice for some riders, just not me.

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