As What Mountain Bike magazine’s 06 Bike Of The Year, Giant’s Anthem has got a lot to live up to in 2007. A carbon composite frame comes in for the top level Anthem Advanced, but otherwise the basics are unchanged throughout the alloy range. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t improved.
The chassis is the same stripped to the bone Allux 6000 as before: that means it’s still handbuilt by Giant’s top employees on a dedicated specialist production line and is one of the lightest race frames around.
Hydroformed tubing also makes it surprisingly tough. Integrated headset design keeps the head low, while disc specific design gives clean hose routing and there’s room for a bottle cage placement on the down tube.
Mud clearance is a little tight with tyres over 2.1in, but we’ve never had any trouble with narrower race rubber on it. Short forged links keep the Maestro suspension taut and wobble free. The layout is geared towards ‘head down arse up’ aggression, with a long stretch to the bars even on the medium model. Steering angles are similarly uncompromising with radical ‘blink and you’ve cleaned a tight corner’ 72 degree steering geometry.
In fact, ‘blink and you’ve done it’ encapsulates the whole Anthem experience. Even this entry level model distils the essence of all those insane superfast ‘Billy Whizz/Flash’ characters into every ride. You won’t be able to resist hammering up every climb or out of every corner, it won’t let you stop until you’re spinning the big ring in a blur and leaving riding mates far, far behind.
There’s a hint of movement under power, but traction is phenomenal and adhesion through corners or even rocky sections is startling for such a short travel bike. The long, low position nails climbing and cornering traction while providing maximum breathing space and aggressive attitude. Even when you’re totally knackered it won’t let you relax and concede defeat. It has to be first, simple as that.
The Fox Float RP2 rear shock and a RockShox Recon 327 fork boost reliability and make for a much less notchy ride than last year. Avid Juicy 3 brakes stop the ruthless speed nicely. WTB’s lightweight Laser Disc XC rims mean maximum acceleration with every pedal stroke while Hutchinson’s latest Piranha semi-slick equals serious speed in dry conditions with a lovely cushy feel. They’re sketchy as hell in wet or muddy conditions though, so budget for some mud tyres if you’re riding all year round.
From hardened hardtail race heads to loony tunes freeriders, whoever we put on the Anthem, they instantly went nuts. Sprinting out of corners, screaming climbs and ripping descents is all unavoidable.
It’s insane lust for speed totally overrules its 27lb weight and with quality kit to go, the Anthem 2 is the speed bike to beat this year.
|Cassette||SRAM PG950 11-34|
|Front Tyre Size||26x2.0|
|Available Sizes||14.5 Inches 16 Inches 18 Inches 20 Inches 22 Inches|
|Rear Shock||Float RP2|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano XT|
|Headset Type||Integrated Aheadset|
|Front Derailleur||Shimano Deore|
|Rear Tyre Size||26x2.0|