The thick end of five grand is a lot of wedge to drop on a bicycle, especially one designed for getting muddy, so is the Anthem Advanced worth it? Well, Sort of.
Giant has definately invested a great deal of their time and cash in researching the geometry of the Anthem, because from the first pedal turn you know that this bike is making a connection between you and the ground that's almost telepathic. You feel like you're heading into turns a split-second before your synapses have fired the decision from your brain to your arms.
There's no denying the overtly XC nature of this bike. Point it uphill, apply power and you're climbing as quickly and efficiently as it's possible to do on a mountain bike, and it's thanks to Mavic, Easton and Shimano XTR for that.
But although some credit must go to those guys, most of it must still go to Giant because infused into the frame and very soul of the bike is something unusual for an XC race bike... a desire to be ridden fast downhill.
Okay, so with a shade over three inches of rear travel, the speed and severity of the downhill must be measured carefully, but there is no getting away from the fact that this bike likes a bit of rough and tumble, too.
It's not all plain sailing, though. We found our medium-sized Anthem to be large in both height and length for our 32in inseam and 5ft 9in tester. Some bodging of positioning components made it rideable, but we'd go for the small size if you're not sure. That said, the size did seem to melt away when the bike got moving. The Easton carbon stem and riser bar does twist about a bit, but it's not a deal breaker.
The frame is available on its own for £2250 which is where the 'sort of' at the top of the review comes from. Because although the bike is a real ripper, you can get a whole lot of bike elsewhere for a lot less cash. The issue being, will 'another' bike have the same indefinable quality that this one has...