“With a 26in cross country full suspension bike as good as the Anthem, developing a 29in version was a logical move for Giant, but also a brave one for the sceptics out there. However, those new to 29in wheels will find a pleasant surprise when they ride the XO29. It lacks the sturdy yet lethargic feel that some other 29ers are guilty of, instead having more of the lively ride 26in wheels are known for.
“It’s quick, it’s nippy and is a hell of a lot of fun. The big wheels bump it up to give it similar capability to the 130mm Giant Trance, certainly as far as cushioning goes, and the sprightly feel encourages creative riding. There’s far less of the straight line stuff that 29ers are so good at and much more capacity to carve around as you would on a 26in.
“The Anthem XO29 has the get up and go to change a 26er fan’s way of thought towards the bigger bike and despite keeping the features of a 29er that are so attractive to many – the low bottom bracket height, improved traction and rolling prowess – it rides far more like a 26in than it lets on.
“With a Rockshox SID fork, Monarch RT3 shock and a host of componentry from SRAM (XO cranks and rear mech) and powerful Avid Elixir brakes, it’s a very attractive package indeed.”