US national short track champion Adam Craig is training and racing in 2010 on the full-carbon Giant Anthem X Advanced SL he played a pivotal role in developing.
While he was previously known to race on a hardtail from time to time, this latest bike's impressive performance has him using full-suspension exclusively for cross-country, short track and super D events.
"For the first time, I'm not getting a hardtail," Craig said while showing off his new bike at a pre-season team training camp in Tehachapi, California. "In part, it's because I looked at the World Cups and there are no hardtail courses like Madrid or Schladming. But also, the bike's now light enough and stiff enough that there is no reason for me to race the hardtail anymore."
The production model is the fourth prototype that Craig tested and earlier versions were actually even lighter, with the lightest being under 2kg. Craig and Giant ultimately decided that it was important to gain more chassis rigidity but the new frame still weighs only 2.1kg (4.63lb) with shock and hardware, making it 200g (0.44lb) lighter than last year's aluminium Anthem X and minimising the weight penalty relative to Giant's XtC hardtail.
Giant say new design elements borrowed from the road-going TCR Advanced SL, such as the tapered front end, huge rectangular-section down tube and extra-wide bottom bracket shell with press-fit cups, narrow the stiffness gap, too.
Craig is effectively riding the same bike as he was last year but he has recently switched sizes, moving from a large to a medium frame. "It's a little shorter, stiffer and lower," he said. "It rides more awesomely, and I feel like I have better handling. I was racing the final prototype last year. I'm stoked this frame is in production now. Carl (Decker) and Kelli (Emmett) have them now and everyone can enjoy them."
Stock Anthem X Advanced SLs come with a 100mm-travel Fox Racing Shox fork up front but Craig's is set up with a 120mm one instead. He said he made the change in part simply because he enjoyed the performance of the bike with more travel but also because "it slackens the head tube angle by about one degree", giving the handling that best suits his style.
Most of the build kit comes from Shimano including an XTR group – hopped up with lightweight Yumeya bits – and wheels and cockpit components from PRO. The only major deviation for the former two-time national cross-country champion is a lightweight single 38-tooth chainring setup with an MRP 1.X guide to keep his chain in place. Adding a wide-range 11-34T cassette still leaves Craig with a broad enough spread to get him through his races near the front of the competition.
Like his Giant team-mates, he runs one metallic and one organic brake pad in each disc brake caliper instead of matched sets to get a better balance between all-conditions power and noise. According to Giant's global marketing director Andrew Juskaitis: "The two materials have different properties and with one of each you get the best of both worlds."
Unlike his Rabobank-Giant team-mates, who ride and race on Vredestein tyres, Craig is personally sponsored by Michelin and will again use their products in 2010. "I have a slightly different kit being made than my team-mates," he said. "It will have a more prominent Shimano logo and of course, I'm racing Michelin tyres. I want to stay well with what works for me."
Craig said the lines of communication have been opening with Michelin and he expects they'll "be able to do some good things" going forward. His comments hinted at a partnership for more R&D, though he didn't reveal any specifics.
His 2010 bike arrived just prior to the team training camp and, given that he is in the early stages of recovery from ACL reconstructive surgery in February, Craig was still setting it up. He said he's not planning any major changes in his bike position for 2010, although he will have his physical therapist look at him on the bike and advise of possible minor adjustments. He had just gotten enough range of motion back with his injured knee to complete a full pedal stroke, but is still working toward "pedaling normally." Even so, he is hoping to return to competition – with his new bike – as early as June.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: 2010 Giant Anthem X Advanced SL, size medium
- Rear shock: Fox Float RP23 w/ high-volume air can
- Fork: Fox Float 32 F120 FIT RLC QR15
- Headset: Chris King InSet
- Stem: PRO XCR
- Handlebar: PRO XCR Riser, 660mm
- Tape/grips: ODI Ruffian (wired on)
- Front brake: Shimano XTR BR-M975 w/ Yumeya upgrade kit and 160mm rotor
- Rear brake: Shimano XTR BR-M975 w/ Yumeya upgrade kit and 140mm rotor
- Brake levers: Shimano XTR BL-M975 w/ Yumeya upgrade kit
- Front derailleur: MRP 1.X chainguide
- Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR Shadow RD-M972-SGS w/ Yumeya upgrade kit
- Shift levers: Shimano XTR SL-M970 w/ Yumeya upgrade kit
- Cassette: Shimano XTR CS-M970, 11-34T
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7701
- Crankset: Shimano XTR FC-M970 w/ Yumeya upgrade kit, 175mm, 38-tooth MRP chainring
- Bottom bracket: Shimano XTR
- Pedals: Shimano XTR PD-M970
- Wheelset: Shimano XTR WH-M975
- Front tyre: Michelin Wild Race'r, 26x2.00", converted to tubeless with Stan's The Solution sealant
- Rear tyre: Michelin Wild Race'r, 26x2.00", converted to tubeless with Stan's The Solution sealant
- Saddle: Fizik Tundra
- Seatpost: PRO XCR
- Bottle cages: King titanium
- Rider's height: 1.8m (5ft 11in)
- Rider's weight: 77kg (170lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 752mm
- Saddle setback: 9mm
- Seat tube length, c-t: N/A
- Seat tube length, c-c: 390mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): N/A
- Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 30mm
- Head tube length: 130mm
- Top tube length: 570mm
- Total bicycle weight: 10.7kg (23.63lb)