It was only a matter of time until Giant was going to bump up its last remaining 27.5-inch trail bike to 29-inch wheels, and after a couple of days riding the new Reign Advanced Pro 29 in Revelstoke, British Columbia, it’s safe to say that the larger wheels fit nicely on the enduro-flavored offering.
Giant Reign 29 Highlights
- 29-inch wheels
- 160/146mm of front and rear suspension
- Available in carbon and alloy versions
- 65-degree head tube angle
- 8-degree seat tube angle
- Offered in S-XL sizes
- Price range: $3,000-$9,000
- Availability: TBA
- Visit giantbicycles.com for more information
Giant Reign 29 design details
At 146mm of rear-wheel travel, and paired with a 160mm travel fork, it’s not the longest-travel 29er trail bike out there, though it does seem to be on-trend with Giant’s leaning towards slightly shorter travel end of the market spectrum—take the 115mm travel Trance as case in point.
The geometry numbers include a 65-degree headtube, 76.8-degree seat tube, and 439mm chainstays. While specific reach numbers or toptube lengths are quite long, suffice to say the chatter at the launch was that the new Reign is long. So long, in fact, that some editors talked about downsizing for their longterm review bikes.
Giant added a trunnion-mount shock to the 2020 Reign for a longer stroke that is said to equate to a smoother and more active feel from its Maestro suspension platform. Lowering the shock mount points on the seat tube for a trunnion shock also allows for longer dropper post compatibility, and the internal cable routing is said to be straighter than previous models, allowing for an easier install and a reduction in kinked housing. The Reign’s suspension rate is said to be very consistent and linear, too.
Up front, fork offset is either 42mm or 44mm, depending on fork spec throughout the model range. Out back, Boost spacing allow for up to 2.5-inch tires while keeping chainstay lengths just under 440mm. In the same zone, the one-piece rear triangle is shaped in a way to provide ample heal and ankle clearance. For reference, I wear size 45.5 shoes had had no issues.
Giant Reign 29 Pricing, Weight and Specs
While not official, weights are rumored to be hovering at around 29lbs for the Advanced 0 models, and my size XL left the impression of this being accurate, if not maybe a little overestimated. The full carbon frame, rear triangle, and Advanced Forged Composite upper rocker arm are a big part of the very respectable weight, along with Giant’s carbon TRX-0 29 wheels, which come “tubeless prepared”.
Three all-new Reign models are on the way for 2020, with the $9,000 Advanced Pro 29 0 we were able to ride last week being the highest end of the spectrum. An aluminum ALUXX SL Reign 29 2 will retail for $3,000, but the Reign 1 build will only be available in Europe. That same ALUXX SL chassis will also be offered in a more shuttle-biased Reign SX package for $4,000, which features an extra 10mm of travel up front, and stouter components all around.
Two full days of riding some of the best trails BC has to offer was just enough to get a feel of what the new Reign 29 is all about. Day one consisted of a nice little self-propelled loop that highlighted the Reign’s willingness to efficiently climb to the top of some fun but mellow (for BC) descents.
A couple of afternoon shuttle laps at Revelstoke’s Boulder Mountain trails really showed how well Giant and Fox worked together to dial in the suspension on the new Reign 29. Compared to the previous bikes of similar genre I’ve ridden in this zone, the Reign was impressively predictable and more than willing to absorb any mistakes made in the rough, rooty and steep terrain.
Day two consisted of a heli-drop with Wandering Wheels off of Mt. Cartier, netting an elevation loss of over 7000ft., starting with steep switchbacks begging to be nosepicked through, which bled into relentless rooty and chundery off-camber trail, and ended with high-speed flow down to the valley floor. In other words, it was a great way to get familiar with a bike’s capabilities.
Overall, first impressions of the new Reign 29 are mostly good. One minor issue that was noticed by several at the event, including myself, was a slight rear brake rub under pressure. Inquiring about it with Giant staff was met with diplomatically “we’ll get back to you on that” type answers, as it appeared to be a new issue specific to this first batch of production bikes that’d shown up just in time for the launch.
Otherwise, the 2020 Reign 29 was an easy bike to hop on and point down some of the most challenging trails I’ve ridden this season. It climbed to the top of the trails respectably well, and barreled down the burly stuff with ease. The only slight complaint in performance was that the front end seemed a bit more glued down than I typically like. Whether it was slightly longer chainstays than what I’ve been riding over the last couple of seasons, a longer cockpit than usual, possibly a suspension setup variant, or a combination of all three, I never got the hang of getting the front wheel off the ground a la manual style.
With so many potential culprits, and only two days to ride, this one will have to be set in the TBD column unless/until we get our hands on one for a longterm review. And, yes, we’re expecting a video of Josh Carlson manualing down some mountainside on his new Reign 29 any day now.