If someone claims that bikes are becoming more and more alike, then the GIANT Reign Advanced Pro 0 is the best proof that they’re not. This bike has a very unique character! Read on to find out what marks it out and what makes this bike, with its coil shock and revised components, so special.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2021 – 13 models in review
Is that even an enduro bike? If you like categorising bikes based on a few key numbers, there’s one on the GIANT Reign that will have you scratching your head: 146 mm. No, this is not a new axle length standard, but the amount of travel at the rear. This is combined with a seemingly mismatched 170 mm up front. The Reign rolls on 29″ wheels and features GIANT’s signature, virtual pivot point Maestro suspension. For the new season, the bike benefits from an improved chainstay protector to make it even quieter. The soft down tube protector and especially the beautiful paintwork are nice touches too. However, the seat tube length limits the dropper post travel and the cable routing looks a bit rudimentary.
The components of the GIANT Reign Advanced Pro 0 – It’s all about the details
For 2021, GIANT have made the switch from SRAM to Shimano for the € 8,280 flagship Reign, speccing only the finest XTR components. Braking and shifting are taken care of by the Japanese brand’s top groupset. The 200 mm rotors are non ICE-TECH versions, not to cut costs, but because GIANT’s in-house tests showed them to be quieter both in a laboratory and in the real world. Unfortunately, the bite point of the rear brake wanders heavily. At 14.28 kg, the Reign is the second lightest bike in the test field. This is certainly also due to GIANT’s own TRX0 carbon wheels which are shod with MAXXIS tires in the EXO+ casing. If you’re going to ride a lot of rocky trails, you should think about installing tire inserts to protect the rims. As is typical for GIANT, the head tube on the Reign is quite short, which explains the tower of spacers under the 40 mm stem. GIANT were one of the first manufacturers to deliver their bikes set up tubeless. The wheels come with the valves and the rim tape already installed, so all you have to do is add sealant – brilliant!
Giant Reign Advanced Pro 0
Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT DHX2 Factory 146 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory 170 mm
Brakes Shimano XTR 4-piston 203/203 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 34/10-51
Stem GIANT Contact SL 35 40 mm
Handlebar GIANT Contact SLR TR35 Carbon 780 mm
Wheelset GIANT TRX 0 29 Carbon
Tires MAXXIS Assegai MaxxTerra EXO+/Maxxis DHR II MaxxTerra Exo+ 2.5"/2.4"
Size S M L XL
Weight 14.28 kg
The geometry of the GIANT Reign Advanced Pro 0 – Long, longer, Reign
The most striking aspect of the GIANT Reign’s geometry is the huge jumps in reach between sizes medium and large. According to GIANT, they wanted to prevent smaller riders from sizing up, but in our opinion all they have achieved is making it harder to find the right size. The Reign Advanced Pro 0 was either too long or too short for our 180 cm tall riders, but more on that later. The head angle of the Reign isn’t overly slack at 64.6° and the seat tube angle is a moderate 76.4°. GIANT combine the long reach with short, 439 mm chainstays.
|Seat tube||431 mm||431 mm||464 mm||496 mm|
|Top tube||574 mm||601 mm||640 mm||666 mm|
|Head tube||100 mm||100 mm||110 mm||120 mm|
|Chainstays||439 mm||439 mm||439 mm||439 mm|
|BB Drop||27 mm||27 mm||27 mm||27 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,191 mm||1,220 mm||1,262 mm||1,289 mm|
|Reach||423 mm||451 mm||488 mm||511 mm|
|Stack||622 mm||622 mm||631 mm||640 mm|
Good acceleration, challenging on steep terrain – The GIANT Reign on the climbs
The front centre of GIANT Reign Advanced Pro 0 is very roomy, even going uphill. The riding position is significantly more stretched than on some of the other bikes in the test. This allows you to ride fast on flat terrain and makes easy work of longer transfers. Thanks to its low weight and light wheels, the Reign is lively and accelerates quickly. However, when things get steep, you have to lower your upper body in an attempt to weight the front wheel and keep it planted. If you’re going to tackle long, steep climbs, you’d do well to push the saddle far forwards.
Going downhill, you’ve got plenty of space to throw your weight around aboard GIANT Reign and this is something you will have to do. True to the motto that long is stable, it instils you with confidence from the start. However, when things get faster and the hits get bigger, the rear end will eventually run out of reserves, passing blows on to the rider.
Let’s get loose! Riding the Reign is like riding a wild bull.
It never does so harshly but in such a way that the bike generates less traction than the best models in the test. In return, the Reign Advanced Pro 0 offers a lot of feedback and responds to rider input with immediacy. The long front centre combined with the short rear end leads to an unbalanced weight distribution. If you throw your weight forward to generate more grip on the front wheel, the rear end gets very light and tends to slide out. On the other hand, with a more passive riding style, keeping your weight at the back, the bike has a tendency to understeer. Don’t get us wrong, that’s not necessarily bad, though if you find yourself between sizes, the larger bike is a lot more demanding. If you can take advantage of this characteristic and adjust to it, giving up control up to a certain point can also be a lot of fun. Thanks to the capable rear suspension, the Reign rewards an active riding style with agile handling. You’ll only notice the bike’s length in tight sections. Bonus point: the Reign is super quiet.
How does the GIANT Reign Advanced Pro 0 compare to the competition?
The GIANT Reign Advanced Pro is comparable to the Transition Sentinel. However, thanks to its relaxed riding position, the latter is a much better climber than the GIANT despite weighing more and rolling on aluminium rims. On the descents, both bikes require an active riding style, the Sentinel because of its head angle and the GIANT because of its length. The Sentinel scores for its clever details on the frame and the shorter seat tube. If you compare the GIANT with the Nukeproof, the differences couldn’t be greater: the Mega 290 Alloy remains absolutely composed through the roughest terrain while the GIANT demands constant vigilance.
Tuning tips: if necessary, fit tire inserts or thicker tires
You can have a lot of fun aboard the GIANT Reign Advanced Pro! However, you have to be prepared to ride the bike actively. You’ll also have to come to terms with the fact that you won’t always have everything under control. If you like drifting and ride a lot of steep trails, you will love this bike. However, it cannot keep up with the best bikes in the test when it comes to climbing, high speeds and tight sections.
- good poppy suspension
- a lot of fun with an active riding style
- its length adds stability in steep terrain
- suspension reaches its limit on rough tracks
- requires an active riding style
- sizing excludes a lot of riders
You can find out more about at giant-bicycles.com
The test field
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2021 – 13 models in review
All bikes in test: Canyon Strive CFR (Click for review) | COMMENCAL Meta AM 29 Öhlins (Click for review) | GIANT Reign Advanced Pro 0 | Ibis Ripmo V2 (Click for review) | Nukeproof Mega 290 Alloy Pro (Click for review) | Propain Spindrift CF Mix Custom (Click for review) | Rocky Mountain Altitude Carbon 90 Rally Edition (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Megatower CC X01 Coil RSV (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Nomad CC X01 RSV (Click for review) | Specialized Enduro Expert (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper EVO (Click for review) | Transition Sentinel XT (Click for review) | Trek Slash 9.8 XT (Click for review)
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, Valentin Rühl, Markus Frühmann