GIANT REIGN ADVANCED 1 - BIKE TEST
Giant have always been one of the company’s on the forefront of bike manufacturing since the early days. With the likes of the ATX1 downhill bike being a pipe dream of mine when reading early dirt mags. This has definitely been the case when it came to trail bikes too. The previous Reign was a bike that I rode a good few years ago in 2016. That bike impressed me no end with its clean easy going chassis and up to date geometry. The light weigh full enduro build was also impressive, but have they nailed it with this newly updated bike?
Suspension and Chassis
Giants Maestro rear suspension system is present, as you would expect. This is the same general design on all the range, from the Glory to the Trance. With a Fox rear damper unit, the DPX2 Elite fitted gives it 160mm of rearward travel, it could be promising.
Upfront a set of Fox 36 float elite forks. These really keep a clean look to the bike, with the all black lower and stanchion. It really goes well with the day glow frame. These dampers have little performance difference from the more expensive Kashima Factory setup. For 2019 these bikes will be fitted with dampers from DVO.
The Giant Reign in size Large was offered. This has a pretty sorted shape and geometry. With the 65 degree head angle and 473mm reach, these are all numbers that add up to a good feeling bike. This still leaves the XL as a size up if needed.
The Reign has grown 15mm on the reach from the previous model, and has now got the amazing option of a coil dampered build.
With two different specifications on offer for the Reign Advanced, this is the cheaper of the two. With the same main chassis and look, just a few smaller part changes.
Sizes S, M, L, XL Colours Satin Neon Green / Satin Black
Advanced-Grade Composite / ALUXX SL Rear, 160mm Maestro Suspension
Fox 36 Performance Elite, 160mm Travel, FIT Damper, HSC/LSC Adjust, Boost 15x110 KaBolt, Tapered Steerer
Fox Float DPX2 Performance, Trunnion Mount
Giant Contact SL DH, 800mm
Giant Contact S Switch, Dropper post with Remote, 30.9mm
Giant Contact SL, (Neutral)
SRAM GX Eagle 12 speed
SRAM GX Eagle
SRAM Guide RS [F] 200mm [R] 180mm, Hydraulic Disc
TruVativ Descendent 6k, Eagle, 32T with MRP AMG V2
DT Swiss E1700 Spline Tuwo, 30mm Inner Width, XD Driver Body, Boost 15x110/12x148.
[F] Maxxis Shorty 27.5x2.5, 60 TPI, [R] Maxxis High Roller II 27.5x2.4, 60 TPI,
Giant have made some changes to the sizing on the new Reign. This size Large measured at 15mm longer in the reach. Even with this size gain, it did not feel massive. The previous bike was one of my favourites in past years. Having a great damper tune, lightweight feel and bombproof build. But will the new model weigh up?
With its very striking colour, Giant seem to have opted for the “be seen” look. I cannot deny it does look loud. Having the chance to take the Reign to Malaga for a real shake down, the game was on. Five days of descending on some real tracks. The Reign really held its shape well over the long steep and rocky trails. Having that great Mastro suspension platform the Reign did what you would want however the damper did not compliment the bike on this occasion. The DPX2 damper is one that I do like, but it just felt a little weak when under pressure. The suspension design did save this on a few occasions. It is a shame that the coil damper was not available, this really would be been something of an upgrade. If there was a longer time scale to keep the bike, this would have been one of the changes that I would have made.
Giant have come up with a good flex/stiffness balance to the Reign. It did not waste energy on impacts or long descents. This really benefits the rider when looking into the fatigue and energy used while riding. It leaves you with plenty of energy for those pedals to get you back up to the top.
As with everything the Giant reign is not perfect. With a few little niggles and quirks that Giant really need to sort. First and foremost is the bar height. Now the bar itself really does have a great shape. The sweep and rise would be something I would opt for on any of my bikes. The issue comes when trying to get the bar feel high enough. Even with a full stack of shims on board, I would have still liked an extra inch. This could easily be solved by changing the bar, but what a shame as it is such a great piece. It does seem that the Reign has a very short head tube, so the steerer is then short in return, so it looks sensible. Shame it jeopardised the feel.
Second was the small issue of not being able to slam the seat post all the way down without the dropper being a pogo stick. The cable snagged on the frame so it would not allow it to release.
The Reign is very capable bike. There is no doubting that. At times it did feel like the parts were not quite keeping up with the frames capability. Some changes to the stoppers from the guide RS to something more powerful, as they faded away towards the ends of runs. Add a coil damper, that would have been a blessing. All this taken into account, it could be worth getting what is a great feeling bike but with the higher build kit. Why not have the all bells and whistles model? You would not put steel wheels on a Lamborghini would you?
Words - Ieuan Williams
Photos - Alex Hunter
Price for 2019 model - £3,995