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Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29er 1 review

A speedy machine for your XC events

Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29er 1

Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29er 1

Giant’s 2018 Anthem lineup has multiple wheel sizes with alloy or carbon frame options. But for the Pro models, it’s all about light and fast. This style of bike does not take kindly to looking at the scenery or stopping for selfies. This bike exists to be your Strava weapon or to be used full-throttle at any XC race event. It demands, and then rewards, your full attention.

The bike features a full carbon frame, seatpost and rims, dual remote suspension lockout for the Fox 32 Step-Cast 100-mm fork and Float DpS trunnion rear shock, 1 x 12 GX Eagle drivetrain and tubeless setup right from the factory. All these highlights add up to an out-of-the-box, race-ready rocket.

Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29er 1

Components SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, SRAM Level TL brakes
Suspension Fox 32 Float SC Performance Elite fork with 100 mm of travel, Fox Float DPS Performance Elite shock
Wheels Giant XCR 1 29 carbon wheel system
Sizes S, M, L, XL
Price $5,199

To test the Anthem on my home trails in Squamish more safely and enjoyably, I installed a 100-mm 27.2-mm-diameter dropper post from my steel hardtail. Currently, there are limited choices for dropper posts in that diameter but they do exist. With my high-seat-riding skills fading since moving west two years ago, I felt the modification would make for a more accurate comparison to most other bikes I have tested here.

The light composite wheels shod with Maxxis Ikon MaxxSpeed tires accelerate quickly, but will not be your allaround best tire choice when temperatures drop and the trails are wet and slick. With tire pressures low enough to attain traction on roots, I felt the tire sidewalls being pushed over during aggressive cornering due to such little flex in the wheels and stiff frame. A spare set of hoops with stickier, more knobby tires would be my advice if you want to help this bike be more than just your race steed, or you don’t like swapping rubber everytime the weather changes.

The reworked Maestro suspension makes the most of the 90 mm of rear travel. There was no harshness at any point in the travel. The minimal sag kept the bottom bracket at a sweet spot with no pedal strikes. It is refreshing to be running full-length crankarms and not have to time every pedal revolution on technical terrain. The 29″ wheels definitely help this shorter travel bike hold speed, putting me into corners a bit faster than expected. But the SRAM Level TL brakes, with a 180-mm-diameter rotor in the front and 160-mm disc in the back, took care of that speed with consistent modulation and ample power. Dialing in the reach adjust does require an Allen key but should only need to be done once. Now that Giant has slightly steepened the seat-tube angle on this model and listened to the masses by increasing the handlebar’s width to 780 mm, my biggest gripe, which is pretty minor, is with the grips. They are a bit too soft, squirmy and vague feeling for such a precise handling bike.

This Anthem doesn’t claim to be a do-it-all bike, but what it was intended for, it does very well. At $5,199, it puts a second play bike within reach.