The new Giant Anthem 29
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the end
Our time with the new Giant Anthem 29 was brief but we walked away thoroughly impressed. Giant have embraced modern design and standard and they have executed it well. If Giant maintain the good value the brand is known for, I have no doubt that this new Anthem 29 will become a firm favourite amongst South African riders.
Time for an upgrade?