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My bike Monday: Giant Anthem Advanced SX

Much more than a cross country racer

Giant Anthem Advanced SX

Giant Anthem Advanced SX

The great-looking Anthem Advanced SX has some features that many cross country bikes may not possess, especially at this price point. This upgraded Anthem gets a carbon main frame and alloy rear end. It rolls on Giant’s own 27.5″ P-trX 1C composite tubeless-ready wheelset. These features make for a light, racing-stiff package that isn’t punishing on longer rides. Some well-placed rubber armour nicely protects the down tube and drive-side chainstay from possible rock strikes and chain slap. Backing up the race-level chassis is a full complement of SrAM and RockShox components. The rear 100-mm Maestro suspension system by Giant floats on a Monarch Debonair RT. The longer 120-mm Revelation RL thru-axle fork adds a little more capability on the descents. The Guide RS brakes and X01 group keep the weight down and performance high while not breaking the bank.

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The SX in the bike’s name means slightly slacker angles due to the longer travel fork, a shorter stem and a dropper post have been added so you can tackle terrain that’s a bit more aggressive. With its 72-degree seat angle, you may find yourself sliding the saddle way forward to get the bike to climb efficiently. Keep this feature in mind when choosing your frame size. After making that adjustment, I needed to swap in a 100-mm stem on the large frame to fit my 5’10” body. These changes made the bike just big enough to make my back happy. The top tube on the Anthem is an inch shorter than my own two large bikes.The short 3.9″ head tube does make it easy to get into a more race-oriented position if desired, even with the longer fork. The top tube is almost level, so standover and seatpost insertion may be an issue if you stick with the dropper post, depending on your leg length.

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Once I dialed in the fit, I found the Anthem to be quite a capable XC bike that has a hint of trail bike thrown in. The more miles I pedalled, the less I played with the rear lockout lever, and just let the Maestro system work away eating up trail chatter and the many roots I encountered. If you’re a pure XC racer, you likely want the steeper angles of the regular Anthem. If you like to ride more aggressive trails, Giant’s Trance or Reign are likely better choices for getting rowdy. The Anthem Advanced SX sits right in the middle. It’s a bike you can use to explore unknown trails. On the start line at your weekly races or at an endurance event, you won’t look out of place. Putting this bike through all but the worst Squamish, B.C., has to offer showed me that with a little skill and attention, a well set up cross country bike can still be a good dose of fun.

The Giant Anthem Advanced SX will set you back $5,459.