Jump to 1:10 on the video to see the Anthem X in action at the Backbone Trail of Southern CA
(all photographs by Jake Orness at http://www.jakespointofview.com/)
What is it?
The Giant Anthem X Advanced 29 is the latest iteration of the best selling full suspension bike by Giant. It is a 4 inch travel full suspension bike meant for XC riding and this year, the front triangle has been converted to carbon fiber. The tapered head tube steerer has been increased to 1.25″ on top instead of 1.125″ and this along with the change to carbon has resulted in a 7% increase in stiffness. The BB area has increased in stiffness by 3% with the switch to carbon fiber. These numbers might not seem large but these are improvements to an already awesome platform from the previous year.
Geometry is unchanged from 71.3 head angle and 73 degree seat angle. The chainstays stay at 462 mm or 18.1 inches.
The rear triangle is kept at aluminum since the stiffness benefit of switching to carbon fiber was not significant. In fact, the rear skewer is still the old 135 mm quick release instead of the emerging 12 mm thru-axle standard. These two decisions were made based on the minimal performance benefit to the Anthem X design and passing on the cost savings to the consumer. However, this will be no consolation to customers who want a full carbon frame and the latest axle technology and rear wheel compatibility. Also, buyers of the top end $8900 Advanced 29 0 may wonder where the cost savings went.
The Anthem X has switched to Rockshox for both front and rear suspension. While Rockshox makes excellent products, some may be disappointed with the migration away from Fox and all the wonderful new technologies like Kashima, Talas, and lighter stanchions for 2013.
Product line-up comparion of Anthem 29 line. ‘W’ models are women’s specific models courtesy of the Liv/Giant team.
|MY13 Spring Launch|
|Model||Size||Weight (imperial) LBS/ounces||Price|
|Anthem X Advanced 29er 0||M||22.06||$8900|
|Anthem X Advanced 29er 1||M||25.05||$4650|
|Anthem X Advanced 29er 2||M||26.07||$3300|
|Anthem X 29er 4||M||28.03||$1925|
|Anthem X 29er 0 W||M||26.12||$2950|
|Anthem X 29er 4 W||M||28.10||$1925|
Anthem X Advanced 29er frame weight, size medium = 2200 grams = 4.85 lbs
All bikes share the identical frame with different shock options.
So how does it ride?
I rode the the top level Anthem X Advanced 29er 0 for two days. Once, on a long ride in the twisty, rocky singletrack of the Backbone Trail in Southern California. The other ride was on a two hour loop in the tight singletrack and loose fire roads of Laguna Seca, CA.
My first (and second) impression was “This bike climbs like a goat.” It truly was a great climber as I impersonated a superior climber on both test days. I hammered out of the saddle on short efforts and I sat and spun on very technical and long sections. The bike was poised and it maintained traction over the roughest terrain. While it had all this traction, it remained efficient as well as I made it through all the big climbs with energy to spare. And the best part was I never had to play with the lockout settings of the rear shock. I just left it to ‘full open’ both days.
Handling was a strong suit as well. I had to learn to put my weight on the front tire and trust the traction of the Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires. But once I figured that out on the very light front end, I was in business. The bike carved and railed as we flew through the natural berms of the Backbone trail.
As the descents got steeper and rough, the steep 71.3 head angle was a bit daunting but I made it through just fine. On one of the photos, you can see my muscles and stress show but I just let the bike do its thing and the descent ended with little drama. The bike is well balanced and it really is quite easy to control on descents. The rear feels similar to a Tallboy as it gets great traction but is not a plush couch.
The cockpit was a dandy with flat, wide handlebar with about 8 degrees of sweep. The front end was indeed stiff and was very easy to control. I put a Crank Brothers Kronolog dropper post on my test bike and that gave me a distinct advantage on the big descents.
- Amazing climber with great traction and efficiency
- Stiff front end
- Stiff BB area for pedaling and stiff rear triangle for handling
- 4.85 frame weight is impressive for this level of stiffness and performance
- Very balanced bike that has confident handling and descending
- Schwalbe tires are some of the best OE tires to be found
- $3300 Anthem X Advanced 29er 2 has the same carbon frame as top end model
- $8900 highest level spec bike is very pricey
- No carbon rear end and no 12 mm rear thru axle
- Stem is a proprietary size
- Head angle is steep at 71.3 degree
We’d love to spend more time with this machine but we learned that the top spec bike is one of the best climbing bikes around. It is incredibly balanced as well and is a joy on singletrack and technical descents.
Read user reviews on the original Giant Anthem X 29er aluminum full suspension bike.