Giant Glory 00 £3950

Ground-up redesign of downhill staple

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

The old Glory was a privateer race classic, and it’s been redesigned for 2010. It’s shed the pounds but it can still step up to the plate. If you want a bike that you can buy in the morning and then race for the rest of the season, you’ll be hard pushed to find better than this.

Ride & handling: Silent and stable; loves going flat-out

It was immediately apparent that we were aboard a very quick bike. There’s a keenness that the old Glory never had.

The Shimano Saint groupset is an essential ingredient in the formula. The shifting is bullet-quick and accurate while the brakes are retina-dislodgingly powerful on a bike this light.

One of the Glory’s most noticeable traits is its almost eerie silence. It really is one of the quietest downhill bikes we’ve ever ridden.

The revised Maestro system, and Fox’s new DHX RC4 shock is a big part of the improved feel too. The back end copes with smaller obstacles and trail debris so much better. The overly plush linear feel is gone and the bike now skims the surface as opposed to wallowing into it.

It’s hard not to ride the Glory flat-out. It pings out of corners and the whole thing feels so composed and stable that going properly fast is easy.

The steering is precise without feeling twitchy but the Michelin tyres let it down in the on-the-limit communication stakes. They're a small fly in the Glory’s otherwise extremely accomplished ointment.

Frame: Dramatically lighter for 2010, with shorter-travel but more linear suspension

The new frame is a masterclass in hydroforming with bulges in all the right places. The head tube is tapered for added stiffness and the rear derailleur now gets tidy internal cable routing through the chainstay.

Suspension comes courtesy of a Fox DHX RC4 shock, operating around a revised version of Giant’s Maestro suspension system. The travel has been shortened to a more efficient 203mm (8in), from 224mm (8.8in).

Giant have even done away with paint – the Glory comes in brushed alloy with hard wearing, lightweight sublimated graphics (graphics that are melted to the metal).

All these changes have lopped 1.5kg (3.3lb) from the frame weight alone. The rear axle can be upgraded to a Maxle, which will lose more weight and cut out the faff of the stock, agricultural rear axle.

Equipment: Awesome groupset and one-off rims, but we'd change tyres and cockpit

At the heart of the Glory is the awesome Saint groupset. The brakes offer tons of modulation and feel, and enough power to fix the economy. Shifting is crisp and intuitive, and the cranks are super-stiff and tough. The Mavic EX721 rims come in typical Glory blue, and are one-offs for Giant.

The only gripes that we had were about the cockpit. The bars were too narrow, the grips are big and spongy, and the RaceFace Diabolus stem is hefty. Michelin tyres have always been an acquired taste and the Glory’s Hots were just too heavily treaded to cope with Great British gloop.

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