Giant 2011 mountain bikes - First look

New Anthem X 29er, plus improvements to Aluxx alloy line

Giant Factory Team rider Carl Decker won the first race he rode his prototype 2011 Anthem X 29er at, the 2010 Sea Otter Classic, and has since been on a tear with it.

Most recently, he won the Downieville Classic cross-country by over five minutes, setting a new course record and putting him on course to win the overall all-mountain victory too. “This week was an eye opener,” said Decker. “I’m starting to get used to this 29er thing.”

The Anthem X 29er has just 100mm of travel front and rear, yet Decker was able to hold off his team-mate Adam Craig, who charged the course on a Trance X Advanced SL with a 140mm Fox Float 32 RLC fork and custom DHX RC4 rear shock. Third placed Jason Moeschler was sporting even more suspension in the form of a Santa Cruz Blur LT with 140mm Fox Float fork.

“I rode the Trance X [26in wheeled bike] here for a few days practising,” said Decker. “I’m so used to that 29er platform I was having trouble [with the smaller wheels]. After a few days I was good on the Trance X and I was having a good time on it, but I knew the 29er was the answer for the overall and that epic climb.”

Giant built the Anthem X 29er to mimic the ride of the 26in-wheeled bike. To achieve this, they kicked the head angle up half a degree to 71.5° (the Anthem X 29 uses a standard 44mm offset on the fork), kept the bottom bracket height low and the chainstays short. Giant claim compatibility with all of the 2x10 and 3x10 transmissions that will be available in 2011, plus clearance for tyres up to 2.3in. “It rides like an Anthem,” said Decker. “It’s true to that lineage.”

Giant’s 2011 aluxx models feature press-fit 92mm bottom bracket shells: giant’s 2011 aluxx models feature press-fit 92mm bottom bracket shells

The Anthem X 29er has a low bottom bracket and space for 2.3in tyres

The Anthem X 29er relies on Giant’s proven Maestro suspension system and will be built out of a newly shaped tubeset of the brand’s hydroformed Aluxx alloy. It's the only completely new model in the 2011 line, and it demonstrates how many of the technologies introduced on Giant's Advanced composite models last year have trickled down to the mid- to top-level Aluxx alloy bikes for 2011.

These include the OverDrive tapered head tube and steerer, MegaDrive oversized rectangular down tube and PowerCore 92mm press-fit bottom bracket. All of these designs were developed for the company's road bikes but offer similar advantages off-road, namely saving weight and maximising stiffness. Additionally, Giant’s 2011 alloy bikes will sport a post mount rear brake boss, which saves further weight.

The new 29er utilizes a 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in tapered head tube and steerer, dubbed overdrive:

The new 29er has a 1-1/8 to 1-1/2in tapered head tube and steerer, dubbed OverDrive

Aluxx alloy Reign, Trance X and Anthem X all revised for 2011

Giant’s Glory, Faith and Reign X were all redesigned last year and haven't drastically changed for 2011, and the same is true for the new-for-2010 Trance X Advanced SL and Anthem X Advanced. This year it's time for the alloy Maestro bikes to take their turn in the spotlight.

As with the Anthem X 29er, features like the OverDrive head tube, MegaDrive down tube and PowerCore bottom bracket have trickled down to the redesigned 6in-travel Reign all-mountain bike, 5in-travel Trance X trail rig and 4in-travel Anthem X cross-country racer.

The 2011 bikes use a distinct two-piece rocker linkage, which giant found to be as stiff, yet considerably lighter than the bolted version from 2010:

The new two-piece rocker linkage is said to be lighter with no loss of rigidity

The 2011 bikes use a distinct two-piece rocker linkage, which Giant say is as stiff as the bolted version from 2010, yet considerably lighter. “We’re always trying to improve a little bit,” said Kevin Dana, Giant’s mountain bike category manager. “Can we make it lighter, stiffer, stronger and ultimately faster? That’s the goal.” Additional design changes include a shorter head tube and half-degree slacker head angle (67.5°) for Reign, not to mention a 115g weight reduction.

The 6in travel reign was due for a facelift after its big brother, reign x, had one in 2010:

The 6in travel Reign was due for a facelift after its big brother, Reign X, had one in 2010

Trance X gets a straight top tube, which helps to shave a claimed 75g off the frame weight and increase torsional stiffness by four percent. “The bend is always going to add a little bit of weight,” said Dana, comparing the top tubes of the 2010 and 2011 Trance X. “A straight line is always going to be a little lighter; it’s a shorter length. There are no compromises. They lose a little weight and gain stiffness.”

 another look at giant’s seat stay weld that is said to better distribute stress from braking forces:

Giant engineers found that by continuing the brake mount’s welding bead towards the middle of the seatstay, they’re able to better distribute braking forces across the tube

Like the Anthem X 29er, all of the 2011 Aluxx models, from Reign to Anthem X, are compatible with all 2011 2x10 and 3x10 drivetrain systems. For more details on all the new bikes, visit www.giant-bicycles.com.

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