Giant's new Anthem 29er is all about hot, nasty, badass speed

29in wheels for the unapologetic XC racer

Giant’s Anthem has been a mainstay XC race bike for over a decade, and now for 2018 the brand has moved back to bigger 29er hoops, updated the geometry and claims a lighter frame that's all about speed and efficiency.

Giant Anthem highlights

  • 29er wheels and tires
  • 90mm rear travel, 100mm front
  • 69-degree head angle, 73.5-degree seat angle
  • Updated Maestro Suspension system
  • Boost hub spacing

The New Anthem has been redesigned from the ground up
The New Anthem has been redesigned from the ground up

Set to be available in three frame options, the flagship Anthem Advanced Pro 29 sees a full carbon frame and swing arm, and is said to be the lightest 29er full suspension frame the brand has ever produced, though it doesn't provide specifics on how much it actually weighs.

In an interesting move, Giant has opted to reduce the new Anthem’s rear travel to just 90mm. The updated Maestro Suspension system sees a trunnion mount shock and updated kinematics to boot.

Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Carl Decker has been racing the Anthem platform since it was first introduced in 2005, and played a role in designing the new frame

“By moving to a longer shock stroke and 90mm of rear wheel travel, we were able to substantially lower the leverage curve, which allows for greatly reduced shock pressures, a wide range of usable rebound, and elimination of the ‘dead zone’ of unused suspension travel that 100mm platforms traditionally suffer from,” said Kevin Dana, senior off-road global category manager at Giant.

The rear suspension also sees a new rocker arm, made with Giant’s Advanced Forged Composite, which that the brand says is half the weight of the alloy rocker and is stiffer and stronger too.

The Rocker has been updated with Advanced Forged Composite, which is said to be stiffer, stronger and lighter than the alloy version
The Rocker has been updated with Advanced Forged Composite, which is said to be stiffer, stronger and lighter than the alloy version

Although Giant was outspoken about how handling characteristics of a 27.5 wheel far outweighed the benefits of a 29er only a few years ago, big wheels and new approaches to geometry have come a long way in recent years, clearly changing the brand's tune.

All three versions see an updated geometry; it's a bit slacker at the front with a 69-degree head angle and a steeper seat angle at 73.5 — 2017's bikes measured 71.5 degrees at the head angle and had a 73-degree seat angle.

Giant has also lengthened the top tube and hacked an inch off of the chainstays, meaning this bike shouldn’t be too twitchy when it comes to handling, and the rear end should be nimble.

We’re a bit disappointed to see Giant opt for a 27.2mm seatpost because that makes choices for a dropper pretty slim — though the new frame does see internal routing for a dropper. That said, the thinner seatpost should further the compliance with the stock fixed post while smashing out watts seated.

Giant was a staunch supporter of 27.5in wheels being the best wheel size for XC. But progress with geometry and technology seems to have swayed the brand's opinion
Giant was a staunch supporter of 27.5in wheels being the best wheel size for XC. But progress with geometry and technology seems to have swayed the brand's opinion

With bigger wheels the new Anthem 29 also sees Boost hub spacing for a more robust dropout to wheel connection, and provide better handling and additional tire clearance too.

The bikes also see Giant’s Overdrive headset and Powercore 92mm bottom bracket, 1x drivetrains, tubeless ready wheels and tires, as well as one bottle cage mount.

Models

Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29

Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29
Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29

The flagship model of the new Anthem 29 range is engineered with a full carbon frameset including the mainframe and rear swingarm made with Giant's highest grade Advanced Composite.

Aimed at serious racers, Giant says it’s the lightest 29er full-suspension frame it has ever made saving 125 grams compared to the Anthem Advanced with an ALUXX SL aluminium rear swingarm.

The top-tier Anthem 29 will be available in two levels of spec: the Anthem Advanced Pro 29 0 and Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1 are set to retail for $8,500 and $4,900 respectively.

UK and Australian pricing are to be announced.

Giant Anthem Advanced 29

Giant Anthem Advanced 29
Giant Anthem Advanced 29

The Anthem Advanced gets the same suspension updates and new 29er-specific frame geometry as the Anthem Advanced Pro 29 series. The key difference is this one is built with an Advanced-grade composite main frame mated to an ALUXX SL aluminium rear swingarm.

The mid-range Anthem Advanced is set to retail for $3,900.

UK and Australian pricing are to be announced.

Giant Anthem 29

Giant Anthem 29
Giant Anthem 29

The most budget friendly of the bunch, the Anthem 29 ALUXX SL aluminium frameset sees the updated Maestro Suspension system (like all models in the Anthem 29 range) configured for a tighter rear triangle and for a quicker, more agile feel on the trail.

The Anthem 29 is set to retail for $3,759.

UK and Australian pricing are to be announced.

Colin Levitch

Staff Writer, Australia
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Colin now resides in Sydney, Australia. Holding a media degree, Colin is focused on the adventure sport media world. Coming from a ski background, his former European pro father convinced him to try collegiate crit racing. Although his bright socks say full roadie, he enjoys the occasional mountain bike ride, too.
  • Discipline: Road, mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Tarmac mountain climbs into snow-covered hills
  • Current Bikes: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, Trek Top Fuel 9
  • Dream Bike: Mosaic Cycles RT-1
  • Beer of Choice: New Belgium La Folie
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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