It’s been hotly anticipated by fans: the Giant Reign 29! By the time Giant got on to the 29er bandwagon, it was already going along at full steam. So we were all the more excited to see how the bike would fare and if the new, bigger-wheeled Reign would do its legendary status justice.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2020

Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 | 160/146 mm | 13.52 kg | € 8,499

The team behind Giant have redeveloped the new Reign 29 from the ground up. Nonetheless drawing on years of experience and proven technology, the frame is made of carbon fibre and features Giants proprietary Maestro linkage, offering 146 mm travel controlled by a FOX FLOAT X2 Factory shock. Up front, there’s a FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 providing 160 mm travel. Coming in at € 8,499, the Reign Advanced 29 0 has a race-ready spec which leaves little to be desired. The build includes only the best in componentry, such as SRAM CODE RSC brakes, X01 Eagle drivetrain and a RockShox Reverb dropper. However, we would have preferred a 32 t chainring instead of the 34 t it came with and the 150 mm dropper post isn’t quite long enough for a size L bike. The paint job of the frame is beautiful but not everything else has been given as much attention to detail. Prime examples are the ineffectively short chainstay protector and rubber plugs at the cable ports that keep on coming loose. However, the biggest flaw of the new Reign is the sizing. There’s a 38 mm leap in reach from size M to L, meaning that the bike is either too short or too long for a lot of riders. Most of our test riders are about 180 cm tall and fell between sizes – we eventually settled on the L with a reach of 493 mm.

Easily damaged
The paint quickly got chipped at the cable port for the shifter cable on the chainstay. Unfortunately, the chainstay protector is too short.
Unchanged for years
We don’t know how long Giant have been relying on the same rubber plugs for the cable inlets. What we do know is that they’ve never managed to stay there for very long.
Extraordinarily fun
The Maestro linkage of the Giant Reign 29 offers 146 mm travel and uses it very efficiently. It offers a lot of mid-stroke support, making for a poppy feel. Unfortunately, big hits following in quick succession soon bring it to its limits.

Giant Reign Advanced 29 0

€ 8,499

Specifications

Fork FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 160 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory 146 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth 150 mm
Brakes SRAM Code RSC 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle 34 - 10/50
Stem TruVativ Descendant 45 mm
Handlebar TruVativ Descendant Carbon 800 mm
Wheelset Giant TRX-0 Carbon 29

Technical Data

Size S, M, L, XL
Weight 13.52 kg


Still too short
To avoid being pulled too far forward on steep descents, we recommend raising the cockpit with spacers under the stem. By doing so, you will also shorten the effective reach by a few millimetres – which is welcome on the long bike.
Pleasantly central
The pedalling position on the Reign is spot on. Thanks to the steep seat tube angle and the firm rear suspension, it climbs excellently. We would have liked a longer dropper post on the descents.

Geometry and size of the Giant

Regarding the geometry of the Giant Reign 29, there’s one thing that struck us most: the extremely large jump in size from M to L. For many riders, size M is likely too short and L too long. We strongly recommended you take the bike for a test ride beforehand.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 431 mm 431 mm 464 mm 496 mm
Top tube 573 mm 600 mm 640 mm 665 mm
Head tube 100 mm 110 mm 110 mm 120 mm
Head angle 65.0° 65.0° 65.0° 65.0°
Seat angle 76.8° 76.8° 76.8° 76.8°
Chainstays 439 mm 439 mm 439 mm 439 mm
BB Drop 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm
Wheelbase 1,188 mm 1,215 mm 1,258 mm 1,265 mm
Reach 428 mm 455 mm 493 mm 516 mm
Stack 619 mm 619 mm 628 mm 637 mm
Helmet Fox Dropframe | Glasses 100% Accuri | Jersey ION Scrub LS | Shorts ION Scrub Amp | Knee Pads ION K-Pact Knee

The Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 on the trail

Sitting aboard the Giant Reign 29 Advanced is a relaxing affair – in the most positive sense. The riding position is central and slightly stretched and the suspension doesn’t wallow, though it bobs slightly. On technical climbs, the Reign offers a lot of traction, whereas on forest service roads it might be worth reaching for the climb switch on the shock. The comparatively low 13.52 kg weight is noticeable when you push down on the pedals. The only thing hindering long days in the saddle is the 34 t chainring. Unless you’re very fit, we recommend installing a smaller version.

Long and direct – a combination for a very specific type of terrain. While the geometry performs best at speed, the suspension often reaches its limit when there.

The Reign 29 repeats the mantra that longer is better. Thanks to the long front triangle, the Giant instils you with confidence and feels very composed on fast and steep descents. However, at a certain point the hits become too big and the terrain too rough and the rear suspension reaches its limits. Here, it takes an experienced and powerful rider to keep the bike on course. Thanks to the suspension’s mid-stroke support, quick line changes are easy and it’s only when things get tight and slow that the bike is hindered by its length. The Reign feels most at home on fast, steep yet moderate trails. In this kind of terrain, the poppy suspension is a lot of fun.

Steep, fast trails without big hits – this is where the Reign feels most at home and is a lot of fun to ride.

How does the Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 compare?

The Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 is a bike with a unique character. Like the Trek Slash, the suspension feels very defined, which is combined with a very long front triangle similar to the Pole Stamina. If you find the Slash a touch nervous and the Stamina a bit too cumbersome, the Giant could be just the thing. For riders up to 175 cm, we recommend going for size M and riders from about 185 cm should stick to size L because of the unusually large gap between sizes – there’s not really a size for riders in between.

Tuning tip: more robust tires, depending on your riding style | smaller chainring for the climbs

Riding Characteristics

12

Uphill

1
  1. sluggish
  2. efficient

Agility

2
  1. cumbersome
  2. playful

Stability

3
  1. nervous
  2. confident

Handling

4
  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Suspension

5
  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

6
  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

7
  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use

XC

8

Trail

9

Enduro

10

Downhill

11

Conclusion

The Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 is made for a very specific type of terrain and is not suitable for all types of riders. It instils you with confidence on steep and fast descents that aren’t too rough and is a very capable climber. However, it demands a lot of input on rough trails and tight sections.

Tops

  • excellent climber
  • instils you with confidence on steep descents
  • poppy suspension

Flops

  • quickly reaches its limits on rough terrain
  • big gap between sizes
  • little attention to detail on some parts of the frame

You can find out more about the Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 at giant-bicycles.com

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2020

All bikes in test: Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD | CUBE Stereo 170 SL 29 | Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 | Ibis Mojo HD5 | Norco Sight C1 29 | Nukeproof Mega 275C RS | Nukeproof Mega 290C Pro | Orbea Rallon M-LTD | Pole Stamina 180 LE | RAAW Madonna V2 FOX Factory Built | Rocky Mountain Slayer Carbon 90 29 | Santa Cruz Megatower CC X01 Reserve | SCOTT Ransom 900 Tuned | Specialized S-Works Enduro 2020 | Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert | Trek Slash 9.9 X01 AXS | Yeti SB150 T2 | YT CAPRA 29 CF Pro Race

Words: Christoph Bayer Photos: Christoph Bayer/Finlay Anderson/Markus Frühmann

About the author

Christoph Bayer

Christoph loves to be kept on his toes – both on the bike and in his role for ENDURO. He’s known as the guy in charge of the bi-monthly magazine and masquerades as both its editor and photographer. You’ll usually find him tearing up the mountains on his bike, soaking up the flow or tackling technical, narrow trails.