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
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.
Giant Reign Advanced 29 0
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
Size S, M, L, XL
Weight 13.52 kg
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.
|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|
|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|
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
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.
- excellent climber
- instils you with confidence on steep descents
- poppy suspension
- 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
This scale indicates how efficiently the bike climbs. It refers to both simple and technical climbs. Along with the suspension, the riding position and the weight of the bike all play a crucial role.↩
How does the bike ride and descend? How spritely is the bike, how agile is it through corners, how much fun is it in tight sections and how quickly can it change direction?↩
Is the bike stable at high speeds? Is it easy to stay in control in demanding terrain? How composed is it on rough trails? Stability is a combination of balanced geometry, good suspension and the right spec.↩
This is all about how balanced the bike is and particularly about how well it corners. Balanced bikes require little physical effort from the rider and are very predictable. If a bike is unbalanced, the rider has to work hard to weight the front wheel to generate enough grip. However, experienced riders can have a lot of fun even with unbalanced bikes.↩
How sensitive is the suspension over small bumps? Can it absorb hard impacts and does it soak up repeated hits? Plush suspension not only provides comfort and makes a bike more capable, but it also generates traction. The rating includes the fork and the rear suspension.↩
This aspect mainly comes down to the suspension. How much pop does it have, does it suck up the rider’s input or is it supportive, and how agile and direct is the bike?↩
We don’t calculate value for money in an excel spreadsheet or based on how high-end a bike is specced. We are more concerned with how a bike performs on the trail and how the bike benefits the rider. What good are the best components if the bike doesn’t perform well on the trail? Expensive bikes with a lower-end spec can offer very good value for money – provided they excel where it matters. Just as supposedly cheap bikes with good components can get a bad rating if they don’t deliver on the trail.↩
No, it’s not about racing, it’s about efficiency. Fast, fleet-footed and efficient – those who want to speed along flowy singletrack and gravel roads need a defined and spritely bike that accelerates with ease and efficiency. Nevertheless, reliable components are important too. We interpret XC more like the Americans do: big back-country rides instead of a marathon or XC World Cup with the ultimate in lightweight construction! Uphill-downhill ratio: 80:30 (not everything has to be 100%!)↩
...also known as mountain biking. Classic singletrack with roots, rocks and ledges – sometimes flowy, sometimes rough. For this, you need a bike with good all-round qualities, whether climbing or descending. Uphill-downhill ratio: 50:50↩
Even more extreme and challenging compared to Trail riding, riddled with every kind of obstacle: jumps, gaps, nasty rock gardens, ruts and roots. For this, you need (race)proven equipment that forgives mistakes and wouldn’t look out of place on a stage of the Enduro World Series. Climbing is just a means to an end. Uphill-downhill ratio: 30:70↩
Strictly speaking, a 200 mm travel downhill bike is the best choice for merciless tracks with big jumps, drops and the roughest terrain. Those would be the black or double-black-diamond tracks in a bike park. But as some of the EWS pros (including Sam Hill) have proven, it’s the riding skills and not the bike that define what you can ride with it. Climbing? On foot or with a shuttle, please! Uphill-downhill ratio: 10:90↩
Words: Christoph Bayer Photos: Christoph Bayer/Finlay Anderson/Markus Frühmann