Giant Reign 29 Advanced Pro 0Check Out the Full Specs and Review
Chameleon Saturn is the name of the dazzling green hue found on the Giant Reign. It hands- down won the best paint award, and combined with Giant’s new Tensio design language, which imparts the frame with beautiful flowing lines, creates a very handsome machine. It feels like one of the most expensive bikes Giant makes, and also has the dubious honor of being one of the priciest bikes at this year’s Bible.
We know we’re starting to sound like a broken record when it concerns geometry, and this will be no exception, as the Reign boasts all our favorite modern numbers. Almost. The 65-degree head angle and 76.8-degree seat angle are right where we like them, but the long 493-millimeter reach (size large) befuddled us a wee bit. The medium measures 455 millimeters, so that leaves a massive 38-millimeter gap between the two sizes. Giant defends these numbers by explaining that the steep seat angle negates the extra reach, but that’s only true while seated. And Giant still comes to the table longer than other bikes with similar seat tube angles in this travel category. To be clear, this is not a bad thing, just different and requires a touch of acclimating.
The Maestro suspension delivers 146 millimeters of rear travel, which is a narrow focus between trail and all-mountain. Obvious comparisons in this travel range are the Santa Cruz Hightower at 140 millimeters and the Yeti SB150. The Santa Cruz is more trail-focused, while the Yeti is more all-mountain/enduro. More obvious is the 145-millimeter Ibis Ripmo—consider it high praise that we’d call the Reign a comparable bike.
The frame is stunning, and comes with a lifetime warranty, but the real standout is the additional two-year no-questions-asked crash replacement warranty. If running out of talent is a regular occasion for you, definitely put this on your radar. Underneath the good looks, the frame drew criticism for its unrefined cable management; at this price, it should be internally tubed. Nine-thousand dollars buys you an X01 SRAM kit and top-spec Fox Factory suspension. You also get Giant’s carbon wheels, a solid choice, however in a landscape in which carbon wheels routinely come with lifetime warranties, Giant’s two-year warranty isn’t up to snuff. We are fans of the EXO+ casing they chose for the Maxxis tires, it’s nice having something a little tougher without paying the weight penalty you get with Double Down casings. There are a couple of wonky spec choices worth mentioning though. We like the Reverb dropper, but on a large frame that boasts copious room for long droppers, why only a 150? And the 34-tooth chainring may require a swap if you live anywhere with mountains. We weren’t quite as picky when assessing the build on the adequately spec’d $5,000 Advanced 1 build. There’s not a lot of compromise for saving $4,000.
Ride impressions were consistent across the board. Testers praised the Maestro suspension’s small-bump compliance, with some calling it best in class. And while not quite as efficient of a pedaling platform as a Ripmo, it doesn’t give much up. It feels light and stiff and coaxes you to take more challenging lines while climbing. As with nearly all of the bikes this year, the steep seat tube angle made extended climbs enjoyable, allowing for an easy conversational pace on the way up. The relatively long wheel base and supportive suspension produced a speed-hungry, stable ride, yet in contrast to that stability, it was also surprisingly playful, and testers noted it had a penchant for goofing off, thanks in part to our build’s barely-over-30-pound weight.
It’s a looker, it climbs and descends beautifully, and above all it’s fun. But in this high-priced category, there’s more to it than that. Giant has to overcome its reputation for building low-cost bikes in order to cultivate the necessary brand panache, and this new Reign has the chops to pull it off.
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