Giant’s Glory needs no introduction, with 2011 DH world champ Danny Hart helping to evolve it to where it is today. Could it make us feel like we were Danny, mid Champéry race run?
If it ain’t broke…
The ‘ALUXX SL’ alloy frame puts out eight inches (203mm) of travel through Giant’s dual-link Maestro system, which debuted on the very first Glory back in 2006. A 150mm rear axle, 83mm BB shell with ISCG-05 tabs, tapered head tube and integrated fork bumpers take care of the details, while external cable routing simplifies things. We tested the outgoing 2015 model, but the frame carries through to 2016 with just a change of colour.
Long, low and slack, the Glory is ready for some serious race or uplift action
Given the bike’s price tag and pedigree, its mid-level spec is understandable. Nonetheless, it’s all solid kit that should get you through a race season and not cost crazy money to replace should you forget which way up the bike should be.
A full RockShox setup deals with the bumps. You get a basic Boxxer RC fork up front paired with a top-end Vivid R2C shock at the rear.
Shimano’s underrated Zee groupset has the gears under control as well as the braking. The Giant finishing kit lacks a brand name, but is also solid and high-quality.
Need for speed
It doesn’t take more than a couple of turns to realise that the Glory just wants to go fast.
Our medium test bike’s whopping 1,242mm (48.8in) wheelbase gave a huge amount of stability. And despite the boat-like length and super slack 62-degree head angle it was no trouble whatsoever to turn, with the low 340mm bottom bracket height helping it make amazingly light work of even the tightest, steepest and rootiest switchbacks.
The roomy 610mm effective top tube length gives a good amount of space to move around on the bike should you need to. But a central attacking position lets the Glory do what it does best – soak up the terrain.
Shimano Zee kit isn’t the ‘shoutiest’ but it’s solid and reliable, like the rest of this build
The performance of the rear end is exemplary, with the Vivid shock and Maestro linkage absorbing everything we could throw at them while remaining predictable and composed the whole time. Square edges are eaten up and low-speed compressions never seem to use more travel than necessary.
If there’s a weak link in the spec of the Glory 1 it’s the basic Boxxer fork, which tends to spike or dive when really pushed hard. A Charger damper upgrade doesn't come cheap, but it’s a no-brainer when the rest of the bike is this capable.
Even though the P-AM2 rims are Giant’s own, they’re light compared with most DH hoops and pick up speed quickly, while still being capable of taking a beating. The Schwalbe Magic Mary tyres tick every box for riding in UK conditions, though if you’re in dryer, dustier climes you may want to switch.
The cockpit kit is all appealing stuff too. In particular, the Giant bar is comfortable and, at 800mm wide, it’s easy to cut it down to your preferred width.