Can you achieve harmony with a huge 170 mm fork paired with only 146 mm rear travel? Is the reign of the Giant Reign SX over, or can a supersized fork add to its fun?

For an overview of the test fleet head to thtrue oup test: What’s the best 2020 Enduro Bike under € 3,500 – 9 mountain bikes in review

GIANT Reign SX 29 | 170/146 mm (f/r) | 15.7 kg in size L | € 3,399 | Manufacturer’s website

The Giant Reign SX in detail

The Reign is iconic in Giant’s lineup and it could even be considered royalty even, and the latest 15.7 kg SX 29er with 170/146 mm of travel is targeted firmly at the bike park enthusiast. True to their name, Giant are something of a super-sized brand and with such buying power, always deliver on value. The € 3,399 Giant Reign 29 SX is no exception and stands out in this test when it comes to componentry. Who could miss the massive 170 mm FOX 36 Performance Elite fork up front with the all-important GRIP2 damper, boasting a whopping 24 mm travel more than the rear. That’s not the only supersized component. We were pleased to see SRAM CODE R brakes running proper 200 mm rotors front and rear. At the back, a FOX DHX2 Performance coil shock (400 lb/in spring, size L) controls the 146 mm rear travel and a SRAM NX drivetrain is a popular choice at this price point. The build is finished with EXO casing Maxxis Minion DHF 29 x 2.5” WT and Maxxis Minion DHR II 29 x 2.4” WT tires rolling on Giant’s own 30 mm internal aluminium rims laced to their Tracker Performance hubs, as well as their own Contact Switch dropper post.

Great suspension
The Reign’s Maestro suspension provides incredible grip and sensitivity with the Fox DHX2 shock. Only the final quarter of travel is a little too linear.
Das The sound of silence
The Giant Reign is impressively quiet downhill, without any creaks or squeaks from the linkages, chain or internally routed cables.
Full-moto fail
The Giant own brand grips snapped inside, allowing free rotation of the outer ends. Braap braaap…

GIANT Reign SX 29

€ 3,399


Fork FOX 36 Performance Elite, GRIP2, 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX DHX2 Performance Elite 146 mm
Seatpost GIANT Contact Switch dropper post with remote
Brakes SRAM CODE R 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM NX Eagle 1x12
Stem GIANT Contact SL 35 40 mm
Handlebar GIANT Contact SL TR35 800 mm
Wheelset GIANT AM 29 29"
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF / MAXXIS Minion DHR II 2.5"/2.4"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 15.7 kg

Specific Features

Grip for the win!
Wir sind riesige Fans der MAXXIS Minion DHF 29 x 2,5 WT- und Minion DHR II 29 x 2,4 WT-Reifen-Kombi, die einen grandiosen Mix aus Grip und Rollgeschwindigkeit bietet
We are massive fans of the Maxxis Minion DHF 29 x 2.5” WT and Minion DHR II 29 x 2.4” WT tire combo, giving a great mix of grip and rolling speed
Investment where it counts
The Fox GRIP2 damper is far superior to the basic GRIP in the Rhythm fork found on the YT Capra.

Geometry of the Giant Reign 29 SX

This iteration of the Giant Reign is the brand’s most progressive yet, with a tall 464 mm seatpost, 64.5° head angle and 76.4° seat tube angle. Chainstays are average at 439 mm, in contrast to the long 488 mm reach and tall 631 mm stack in size Large. The geometry feels tall with a high top tube, like you are sitting on top of, rather than integrated with the bike. However, the 27 mm bottom bracket drop stops the bike feeling too unbalanced.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 380 mm 431 mm 464 mm 496 mm
Top tube 603 mm 638 mm 658 mm 683 mm
Head tube 95 mm 95 mm 115 mm 125 mm
Head angle 64.0° 64.0° 64.0° 64.0°
Seat angle 72.0° 72.0° 72.0° 72.0°
Chainstays 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm
BB Drop 4 mm 4 mm 4 mm 4 mm
Wheelbase 1,182 mm 1,217 mm 1,240 mm 1,267 mm
Reach 415 mm 450 mm 464 mm 487 mm
Stack 583 mm 584 mm 602 mm 611 mm

Quiet, fun and predictable. With a superb build kit, the Giant Reign SX 29 makes a great bike for an intermediate rider looking for a confidence-inspiring ride.

Helmet MET Roam | Goggle Canyon G5 | Jersey Troy Lee Checker Skyline
Pants 100% R-Core Pants | Shoes ION Rascal

Can a big-travel front and short-travel rear be a match made in heaven? The Giant Reign on the trail

The sitting position of the Giant Reign feels a little more compact than the numbers suggest. The 488 mm reach in size Large sounds stretched but the tall 631 mm stack from the long fork gives the bike a comfortable, upright and open feeling. It does feel like a big bike though and the high top tube robs the Reign of that ‘immersed’ feeling. It’s a bike that is best suited to taller riders, so be cautious if sizing up. Like most of the bikes in this test, it’s not a rocket uphill. The long fork, average chainstays and slack seat angle position you to the rear of the bike when it gets steep. However, running the saddle forward and reaching for the easy to reach compression adjuster on the FOX DHX2 Performance coil shock to control the slight bob from the rear improves matters. The aluminium frame feels very stiff and solid and is really well finished. How much of this feeling of stiffness is due to the super-wide Powercore bottom bracket is unclear, but traditionalists will no doubt be polarised by the 92 mm press fit bottom bracket. One disaster were Giant’s own-brand grips, which quickly snapped inside and allowed the outside grip portion to twist freely.

Hitting the descents, the first thing that impresses is just how quiet the Reign is – not a rattle, not a squeak, everything feels very well put together. With the huge travel at the front and tall frame, there is a feeling of riding ‘on top’ of the Reign. However, the Maestro suspension is very active and super plush without any insensitivity, offering a masterclass in comfort and feedback. The mid-stroke is supportive, allowing you to weight the bike in corners, but hit a big drop and the coil shock gives up the last third of its travel easily, bouncing us off the end stop. A Fox X2 air shock would have been a better choice. In tight turns, the Reign feels a little taller, bigger and more clumsy than the best bikes in the test, preferring instead to charge through longer and faster turns where the excellent fork and Maestro suspension combined with the DHX2 coil find every last morsel of grip. When you really go for it, you start to wish for just a little more travel in the rear and a lower top tube. It’s an easy-going bike and there’s a lot to like in the comfortable and stable ride with its awesome build.

How does the Giant Reign compare to the competition?

The closest competitors to the Giant Reign are the Nukeproof Mega and Ibis Ripmo AF. Both those bikes combine an all-rounder appeal with brutal downhill speed. The Giant feels taller and bigger than these bikes though and is better suited to taller riders. As soon as it gets really tight, the more immersive Nukeproof and Ibis start to pull away. The Giant Reign is best suited to open, fast trails where it can make the best use of its potent suspension fork.

Tuning tips: reduce the fork travel to 160 mm if you don’t live near a bike park, or save a little more for the Giant Reign 29 1 |fit better grips

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use










The Giant Reign SX is composed, quiet and capable of rapid speeds on open trails. When it gets tighter, the tall feeling frame does limit radical moves for smaller riders. With a great specification, our testers came to the conclusion that the Giant Reign SX makes a good bike park smasher for an intermediate rider who values grip. Riders looking for a more balanced all-rounder would be better off saving a little more for the air shock equipped Giant Reign 29 1.


  • Maestro suspension provides sublime grip and comfort
  • outstanding componentry
  • totally silent on the trail, excellent build quality


  • Coil shock is missing progression at the end
  • tall feeling frame limits cornering fun for shorter riders
  • grips fell apart

For more info head to:

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to thtrue oup test: What’s the best 2020 Enduro Bike under € 3,500 – 9 mountain bikes in review

All bikes in test: Canyon Torque AL 6.0 (Click for review)|GIANT Reign SX 29 | Ibis Ripmo AF Coil (Click for review) | MERIDA ONE-SIXTY 700 (Click for review) | Nukeproof Mega 290 Expert (Click for review) | Privateer 161 (Click for review) | Propain Tyee CF (Click for review) | Trek Slash 8 29 (Click for review) | YT Capra Comp 29 (Click for review)

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Words: Photos: Trev Worsey, Finlay Anderson