Having secured the coveted test win in last year’s XC group test, we were stoked to see if the 2016 incarnation of the virtually unchanged Giant Anthem SX Advanced could still hold its own against the competition.

Giant Anthem SX Advanced | € 4,599 € | 12.01 kg | Travel (front/rear) 120/100 mm
Giant Anthem SX Advanced | € 4,599 € | 12.01 kg | Travel (front/rear) 120/100 mm
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Bursting into the season with a fresh lick of green paint, the Anthem SX Advanced might look all-new, but the frame and spec remain largely unchanged. The dropper post has been wisely upgraded for one with more drop and zero layback, which is exactly what we’d recommended in the past. It’s a pretty racy position, but not too stretched-out, and definitely comfortable. Given the slack 72° seat angle, it might be wise to move the seat slightly further forward, unlike on other models. Weighing in at 12.01 kg, the Giant took the prize of heaviest bike on test – but it’s actually pretty well distributed, so there are no real negative consequences.
The lightweight carbon wheels aid acceleration and contribute to the bike’s ample agility. Smoothness on technical sections comes courtesy of the slack head angle, while the RockShox suspension (consisting of a 120 mm Revelation fork and a 100mm Monarch RT rear shock) is plush and forgiving, dishing up heaps of traction. To get a firm ride for the climbs, it’s definitely worth a reach to lock out the rear suspension.

Giant Anthem SX Advanced Review Action Shot 1

Up front, Giant have concealed the short headtube with a less-than-attractive stack of spacers – but you can always lower the front if needed. The bike comes in five sizes from XS to XL, so short-arses and lanky riders can rejoice. The spec reads without a single blemish, featuring the super-precise SRAM X01 groupset, well-defined SRAM Guide RS brakes, and a sweet Schwalbe tyre combo. Look elsewhere for a grumble.

Giant Anthem SX Advanced Review Action Shot 2

Details of the Giant Anthem SX Advanced

Giant Anthem SX Advanced Review Detail Shot 1
Upgraded: For 2016, Giant have upgraded the Anthem SX to feature a dropper post with more travel and no layback. It makes total sense!
Giant Anthem SX Advanced Review Detail Shot 2
Functional: ‘Form follows function’ is the reason for the spacers in the stem; the higher cockpit adds to the level of control.
Giant Anthem SX Advanced Review Detail Shot 3
Relaxed: The Giant Anthem SX’s one weakness is the noticeable bob at the rear on steep climbs, so it’s worth reaching down to the lockout lever once the gradient steepens.
Giant Anthem SX Advanced Review Detail Shot 4
Unseen: The lightweight carbon wheels on the Giant aren’t particularly eye-catching, but they massively boost agility and playfulness.

Specification of the Giant Anthem SX Advanced

  • Fork: RockShox Revelation RL 120 mm
  • Shock: RockShox Monarch RT Debon Air
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RS
  • Seatpost: Giant Contact SL 150 mm
  • Stem: Giant Contact SL
  • Handlebar: Giant Contact SL 730 mm
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Nobby Nic / Racing Ralph 2,25″
  • Wheel size: 27,5″
  • Wheels: Giant PTRX-1C Carbon
  • Weigth: 12.01 kg
  • Price: € 4,599
Geometry of the Giant Anthem SX Advanced
Geometry of the Giant Anthem SX Advanced


With a spot-on handling package, the Giant Anthem SX Advanced is a thrill while descending, no matter how tech the downhill might be! Thanks to the potent suspension and superb spec, this is an XC bike for downhillers, and an enduro bike for XC racers! There are only minor bugbears on the climbs, so it’s still more than decent enough to be tipped as our one to buy!


  • Top spec
  • Extremely balanced handling
  • A good-time bike


  • The rear tends to bob

For more information on the bike head to the Giant Website.


About the XC Bike Group Test 2016

Just outside the sprawl of Barcelona, we took out the test fleet onto the varied trails, confronting them with everything from frighteningly steep climbs to challenging descents. All of this occurred with the backdrop and climate of the Mediterranean Sea – and despite it being February, the conditions couldn’t have been better. The test team consisted of four riders, each with their own nuances when it comes to mountain biking, but all with years of experience when it comes to testing bikes.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: XC Bikes Group Test 2016

All bikes in test: Canyon Lux CF 9.9 Race | Giant Anthem SX Advanced | Pivot Mach 4 Carbon | ROSE THRILL HILL 3 27,5″ 2016 | ROTWILD R.R2 FS 29 Evo | SCOTT Spark 710 | Specialized Epic Elite Carbon 29 World Cup | Trek Top Fuel 9.8 SL

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer

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