First Look: The new 2018 Giant Anthem 29

After declaring 650b to be their wheel size of choice, Giant have somewhat neglected the Anthem 29er. An important bike for Giant in South Africa, the Anthem has been rolling around on much the same frame since 2012. But this has all changed with the announcement of the 2018 Anthem 29.

The new Giant Anthem 29


Anthem Advanced Pro 29 0.jpeg
The Anthem Advanced Pro 29 series features a full-carbon mainframe and rear swingarm, making it the lightest full-suspension 29er Giant has ever produced. Anthem Advanced Pro 29 0 model shown.

 

The Anthem frameset series


On the arrival of a new bike, it's always good to get your head around the model naming conventions. In the case of the new Giant Anthem, there are three framesets in the series.

 

Anthem Advanced 29 1.jpeg
The Anthem Advanced 29 series features an Advanced-grade composite mainframe and ALUXX SL aluminum rear swingarm. Anthem Advanced 29 1 model shown.

 

The top dog is Anthem Advanced Pro 29 which features a full carbon frameset. Next in line is the Anthem Advanced 29 which shares the carbon front of the Advanced Pro 29 but has an aluminium rear siwngarms (adding 125 grams to the frame weight). Lastly, the Anthem 29 is a full aluminium frameset. It's worth noting that all framesets feature the new carbon upper-rocker arm link.

 

Anthem 29 1.jpeg
The Anthem 29 series features an ALUXX SL aluminum mainframe and rear swingarm. Anthem 29 1 model shown.

 

There is provision to mount a side swing direct mount front derailleur on the seat tube to run the bike in a double chainring configuration. Other frame features include boost hub spacing, internal cable routing with routing for a dropper seat post, and an integrated rubber protection on the downtube and chainstays. The new Anthem fits a 27.2 mm seatpost.

 

Modern geometry


Giant have brought the new Anthem geometry bang up to date with a slacker head angle, longer top tube, and a steeper seat angle while shrinking the length of the rear end and the headtube height. For those that like numbers, the head angle is now 69 degrees with a seat tube angle of 73.5 degrees. Chainstay length is now 438 mm while the reach on a large frame is 454 mm. For those less inclinced to look at the geometry chart, the purpose of these changes is to create a bike that is more agile and boosts confidence on the descents while still maintaining that all important racing edge.

 

Anthem Advanced Pro 29 Rear.jpg
The Anthem Advanced Pro 29 series features a new Advanced-grade composite rear swingarm. Handcrafted in Giant’s own composite factory, it’s 125 grams lighter than the aluminum rear swingarm while also adding stiffness and compliance. Availability varies by country. Photo: Jake Orness.

 

The new geometry has also allowed for changes to the steering hardware. The longer top tube means that you can comfortably fit a shorter stem with the 780 mm handlebars (which can be cut down). The result is a bike that has precise handling on the trails.

 

 

Giant Anthem Advanced 29.png

The geometry is near identical across the range, with the exception of a slightly lower standover height on the Anthem 29 models.

Updated Maestro suspension


Although Giant's Maestro suspension has proven itself time and again, they made a few changes on the new Anthem. The new Anthem is designed for 90 mm of rear travel with a 100 mm fork.

 

The first obvious change is the carbon upper-rocker which has a new shape and promises increased stiffness at a lighter weight.

 

Another visible change is the Trunnion mounted metric shock. The new shock brings with it a longer stroke which (combined with a few other tweaks) produces a lower leverage ratio than the previous Anthem. Giant say this leads to a bike with better pedalling and braking efficiency. It has also reduced the shock pressure, which allows for more useable rebound, and more efficiently uses the full travel of the bike.

 

Local availability and pricing


The alloy Anthem 29 series is currently available in stores, with the carbon Advanced Pro 29 and Advanced 29 models arriving shortly.

 

The pricing of the Anthem 29 models is the following:

 

Giant Anthem 29 1 - R 49 999
Giant Anthem 29 2 - R 39 999
Giant Anthem 29 3 - R 31 999

 

First Ride: Giant Anthem 29 2


In May, Giant South Africa invited us to the Delvera trails for a quick test ride on the new Anthem 29 2.

 

Giant Anthem-20.jpg

 

Specification


The Anthem 29 2 comes kitted with a Fox Performance SC fork and DPS shock, and a Shimano SLX 1x11 drivetrain (11-42 cassette and 32T chainring) while the brakes are Shimano Deore. The retail price for this model is a competitive R39,999.

 

2018 Giant Anthem -4.jpg

2018 Giant Anthem -6.jpg

2018 Giant Anthem -7.jpg

2018 Giant Anthem -9.jpg

 

The wheels are from Giant with the labelling displaying a width of 29 mm (we're unsure whether this is the internal or external measure). The rims are wrapped with a pair of Racing Ralph tyres. Both the wheels and tyres are tubeless ready. The handlebars are generous at 780 mm and are attached to an 80 mm stem on the Large model.

 

The Large sized bike weighed 13.2 kilograms with Shimano SPD pedals and bottle cage attached.

 

Ride impressions


Jumping on the bike for the first time and heading up the mountain to the trailhead, I was impressed with how light and responsive the aluminium bike felt. On a blind test, I would have confidently said it was a carbon frameset. This is also a testament to the Maestro suspension which showed no sign of squat or pedal bob as we powered up the hills. Even with the new geometry geared towards better descending, there has been no loss in climbing ability. In fact, the new Anthem 29 feels like an even better climber than before.

 

2018 Giant Anthem -5.jpg

2018 Giant Anthem -3.jpg

2018 Giant Anthem -2.jpg

2018 Giant Anthem -1.jpg

 

Once at the top of the trail and heading downhill, the changes to the new Anthem 29 are immediately apparent. The comfort and confidence created by the new geometry are huge. The bike begs to be pushed harder, and even when you do, the Anthem 29 remains composed. To put it plainly, I had a blast following the other media down the trails on the new Anthem 29. Something I would have been hard pressed to say about the old Anthem X 29.

 

2018 Giant Anthem -15.jpg

 

 






8 Comments

Comments

billygoat0523, Jun 26 2017 06:51

that anthem advanced pro looks pretty good.  just wonder what it'll cost

coppi, Jun 27 2017 08:39

I have always ridden the anthems............great reliable bikes!

Skinnyone, Jun 27 2017 09:48

I don't think you could go far wrong with a Giant - not my first choice of bike, a nice bike none the less.

 

It hasn't changed much over the years though, so to me it looks like the same old thing...

Robbie Stewart, Jun 27 2017 12:11

For the money I would stay with the camber.

Ofaniy, Jun 27 2017 01:20

Problem here, this can be the best bike, or at least compete with the best, but if they price it that way, it won't sell. Still a Giant. 

 

Hope I am wrong. Lovely bikes all round

fusion01, Jun 28 2017 12:35

 Why won't it sell? 'Still a Giant'? I see a lot of Giants on the trail, even marathon races. Great bikes at a decent price. OK so zero snobbery value, it's not a SC but it's for those who appreciate good value for money. 'Head over heart'-type stuff - hey I live in the real world and don't like finance! End of the day, even the carbon bike will come in R30k less than a SC or Niner. And I hope they sell well.

Conna, Jun 28 2017 02:36

I'm I the only one on here that thinks the industry is sniffing some strong stuff? R40k for an aluminium bike with 100mm travel and SLX components. (not that there is anything wrong with SLX, just saying). I guess for R32k Giant will spoil us with Deore.

 

second hand it is then.

Jacquers, Jun 29 2017 01:34

Wonder if there will be a longer travel SX 29er? Or only with 650b wheels?

 

Agreed on the pricing, bikes in general have become so expensive.