Giant Anthem 27.5
Two years ago we rode the Giant Anthem 29 and liked it a lot. This year Giant is going all in with 27.5 for their short and mid-travel full suspension bikes and has gone to great marketing and “scientific” lengths to justify the change. Is it all that? We wanted to find out so checked out this light weight four inch Anthem.
I thought the Solo (there I go again) climbed really well but the Anthem practically levitated up the climbs. It was extremely light and the Maestro tuned mini ink suspension provided acceptable bump absorption while staying steady and bob-free. The only problem was it felt too XC to me…. Even old school XC, meaning long-ish stem, narrow bars, short front center, and steep head angle. You know, like a short travel 29er should feel, but the 29er had more wheel sticking out in front to help roll over the rough stuff and keep you feeling more centered “in” the bike. I just could never shake the feeling that the Anthem felt better as a 29er. I mean it did fine on the less techy climbs and descents but when things morphed into chunky mode it felt sketchy. I was begging for the Solo back at this point. And to make matters worse, it didn’t display enough of the big wheel magic that makes a 29er great on the smoother stuff either.
Otherwise, overall fit and finish were acceptable, lateral stiffness was good enough, and its pedaling efficiency was good. I suppose with a 120mm fork, wider bars, and bigger tires it might gain some “trail” credibility but as it was it just didn’t do it for us. A 27.5 Trance and Reign make sense…. This didn’t.
This 1×11 drivetrain had some adjustment/set up issues and didn’t shift as cleanly as the 5010 either.
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