Giant Glory 1 £1995

Great spec, but it's a tank

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

The Giant Glory DH may well be the choice of many a privateer downhill racer, but here we have the Glory 1, which is a couple of steps down from its relative. Giant’s entry-level big-hitter uses the same frame as the DH, along with all the knowledge this company has acquired over the years. Crammed with good products, it’s the weight that seems to be the principal tipping point for this latest offering.  

Ride & handling: Plush rig that's great for big, burly Whistler-style tracks

Giant’s tried-and-tested Maestro suspension system never fails to deliver. The rear end of the Glory 1 is active and filters out small bumps with ease. Put the power down on the pedals and the Maestro does exactly what it was designed for, isolating the pedalling forces and creating a super stable platform. The rear wheel tracks the ground extremely well thanks to the near vertical wheel path and can be confidently clattered into any obstacle.

This bike really is a point-and-shoot sort of machine. It isn’t about precision riding. The weighty 21.3kg (47lb) rig is a real beast to try to man handle from line to line, and it feels almost a battle to do anything except go where the bike wants you to go.

The weight can’t be blamed entirely for this. The poor tyres and sticky performance of the Marzocchi 66 RCV forks don’t help matters. The 66 RCVs feel strong and stiff, but that initial part of travel takes some force to penetrate, meaning the fork suffered in small bump sensitivity.

One upside to the weight is that it’s all fairly central and keeps the centre of gravity super low, which is great for railing turns. This bike is very stable at speed and begs to go faster, which is what makes us think it may be better suited to the trails of Whistler rather than shorter, flatter tracks. We say do away with the double ring and front shifter – it’s not likely you’ll be trying to pedal this rig up any climbs.

Frame: Strong, good looking frame with plush rear end that eats everything in its path

Giant can always deliver in the looks department. To create the shapes and enhance the strength of the Glory 1, Giant have used their own ‘AluxX’ aluminium technology and hydroforming to produce a seriously robust bit of equipment. The frame is finished to a high standard and has subtle, well designed graphics.

To counteract the poor chain line that would be created using a 150mm rear hub, Giant use an offset asymmetrical rear triangle which helps keep every gear running smoothly.

The Maestro suspension system delivers a plush 203mm (8in) of travel via the Marzocchi Roco R coil shock, which bisects neatly through the bulky down tube.

Strength isn’t something Giant have overlooked with this one. The burly head tube and 1.5in headset is testament to this and looks almost a little too much, plus it’s another contributing factor to the overall weight.

Equipment: RaceFace goodies impress, but tyres are poor and brakes lack power

The RaceFace Evolve DH bar and Diabolus D2 stem are a great way to kick things off up front. The reach of the stem and natural sweep of the bars makes you feel at home straight away. The RaceFace Ride DH cranks offer plenty of strength and zero flex.

Marzocchi 66 RCV forks with 180mm travel keep steering precise thanks to their stiffness, but can’t seem to keep up with the Roco R shock on the rear.

The WTB 2.5in front and 2.3in rear tyre don’t do the bike justice. The hard compound struggles for grip while the square profile dislikes any kind of drifting and both eagerly clog with mud.

Although 203mm discs are used, the Hayes Ryde hydraulic brakes take some time to bed in and even then, their performance is disappointing.

Giant have added a Shimano Saint front mech to add a touch of versatility to this bike, along with the RaceFace Atlas chain device to keep things secure. There are of course ISCG mounts if you feel a chain guide is the way to go.

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