Giant Reign 27.5 1 review£3,999.00

A heavy hitter that's ready to devour downhills

Over the last couple of years, Giant’s Reign has been steadily notching up some impressive results at the Enduro World Series, while continuing to be a regular sight on the trails around the UK.

Spec overview

  • Frame: ALUXX SL-grade aluminium
  • Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air, custom offset, 160mm (6.3in) travel
  • Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X1 (1x11)
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss M1700 Spline, Schwalbe Magic Mary Snakeskin Trailstar (f) and Schwalbe Hans Dampf Snakeskin PaceStar (r) 27.5x2.35in tyres
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RS, 200mm (f), 180mm (r) rotors
  • Bar/stem: Giant Contact SL DH, 800mm/Truvativ Holzfeller, 50mm
  • Seatpost/saddle: RockShox Reverb Stealth/Giant Contact SL Neutral
  • Weight: 13.4kg (29.54lb), medium size without pedals

The frame

Part of the Reign’s popularity can be attributed to its decent proportions. A reach of 444mm in the medium certainly puts it right up there alongside the likes of the impressive Canyon Strive with its race-oriented geometry. Although those numbers are already towards the lengthier end of the spectrum when compared to many other mainstream brands, Giant will be introducing an XL Reign for 2017, which will be a welcome addition for taller riders. Geometry across the other sizes will remain the same, though.

A slack 64.9-degree head angle and 343mm bottom bracket further underline the Reign’s preference to be heading down the hill rather than up.

We shouldn’t overlook Giant’s proven, well-mannered, twin-link Maestro Suspension system, which delivers 160mm (6.3in) of travel via the RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 rear shock.

The spec

Schwalbe Magic Mary Snakeskin TrailStar rubber up front
Schwalbe Magic Mary Snakeskin TrailStar rubber up front

The Reign 1 isn’t cheap, but it does drop slightly in price by £200 for 2017, where it’s ditched the RockShox Pike fork and Reverb post we rode in favour of a Lyrik and Giant’s own Contact SL dropper. While the gearing and brakes remain the same, the 2017 Reign 1 also gets own-brand wheels rather than the DT Swiss numbers seen here.

The ride

The Monarch Plus RC3 controls the 160mm of rear wheel travel
The Monarch Plus RC3 controls the 160mm of rear wheel travel

After experimenting with shock set-up, we ended up running around 33 per cent sag with four volume-reducing bands, to add a little more ramp-up at the end of the 160mm of travel. However, on the flatter sections of trail and up the climbs, we still found ourselves reaching for the low-speed compression lever on the Monarch shock, to help prop things up a little better at the rear and avoid that 73-degree seat tube angle feeling slacker.

While it isn’t the sprightliest machine on the more sedate bits of trail, get the Reign 1 pointed downhill and it really comes alive. That said, it rides like more of a mini downhill rig than a trail bike on the edge.

The Reign 1 will simply swallow up then spit out root spreads and trail chunder with relative ease, and offers more than enough stability at speed. It’s a case of just dropping your heels and committing. That surefooted feel also transfers to the turns – you can slam it into ruts or load it hard into berms with total confidence.

Yes, there’s a bit of annoying cable clatter, which needs some attention to quieten it down, and the custom fork offset does take a little getting used to at slower speeds, but with a spec that’s hard to fault and arguably improving with the addition of the Lyrik next year, Giant’s Reign 1 is a seriously capable beast in the right hands.

Giant Reign 27.5 1 early verdict

The Reign 27.5 1 is a seriously capable beast in the right hands
The Reign 27.5 1 is a seriously capable beast in the right hands

Point the Reign downhill and it’ll be your confidence, not the bike, that's holding you back.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Rob Weaver

Technical Editor-in-Chief, UK
Rob started riding mountain bikes seriously in 1993 racing cross-country, though he quickly moved to downhill where he competed all over the world. He now spends most of his time riding trail bikes up and down hills. Occasionally he'll jump into an enduro race.
  • Age: 34
  • Height: 172cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Natural trails where the loam fills my shoes on each and every turn
  • Beer of Choice: Guinness

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