WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The Anthem is the shortest-travel, full-suspension bike in Giant’s lineup and uses the same
Maestro technology as the rest of the fleet. Giant
built the Anthem Advanced with an advanced-grade
carbon frame and aluminum rear triangle. This
frame and rear triangle are the same on every level of
Anthem, with the only differences being in the build
kits. This level of Maestro is built with 100 millimeters
of rear travel, and all the frames are optimized for a 100-millimeter
fork, although they will accept up to 120-millimeter forks.
The frame uses full internal cable routing and even has
an option to run a stealth dropper post. Giant took away the
OverDrive2 head tube this year, which reduced the steer tube to a
standard taper. This will make it easier for riders to find the right
stem to adjust the reach and overall fit. A standard 12x142 rear
axle and PressFit bottom bracket complete the package.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
The RockShox RS-1 and SRAM Rise 60 wheels with matching
decals stood out right away—on and off the trail. The RS-1 fork,
with its incredible stiffness, is one of the only forks we could imagine being able to hang with the weight and stiffness of this frame,
so it’s a welcome addition.
This is the first bike we’ve tested with Giant’s new Contact SLR
Forward saddle. It’s impressively light and comfortable for most
riders, even on long rides. The KMC X11SL DLC chain shows awesome attention to detail and delivered crisp shifting throughout our
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Moving out: Small tweaks to the suspension setup can make a
big difference on the trail with this bike. For trail riding we ran the
sag at about 20 percent, which felt fairly plush. Riders looking for
a more efficient ride might want to run 10–15-percent sag, especially given how plush the Maestro linkage is.
This is one of the few pure XC race bikes that we have seen
come with a riser bar, which made us scratch our heads a bit;
however, after riding the bike on several trails, we found the bar
choice complemented the geometry very well. The Anthem comes
stock with 740-millimeter-wide bars and a carbon 90-millimeter
stem. The reach and ride position are fairly aggressive with this
Climbing: This is arguably the most important part of testing
any cross-country race bike, especially considering that most
races are won on the climbs. With the RockShox Monarch RL
shock locked out, the Maestro suspension felt responsive. We did
notice some flex out of the rear triangle with out-of-the-saddle
pedaling and when pushing hard on the pedals.
Get low and stay low: The Anthem Advanced has a very unique
and aggressive fit. The low stack height had our weight forward on
the front of the saddle. It felt natural to lean over on the top tube
instead of standing up out of the saddle down singletrack, which
helped both its climbing and cornering prowess.