The low stack height came into play on long climbs when we
wanted to get into a more aggressive position. We could easily
put our heads down and shift our weight forward to grind out any
steep pitches that we were faced with.
Cornering: The Anthem cornered surprisingly well and seemed
to bait our test riders into pushing harder than they normally would
on an aggressive XC bike. We found comfortable positions to
confidently plant our weight and ensure maximum traction. Our
testers would have liked a dropper post on the more technical
switchbacks, but given the travel and style of the bike, we didn’t
feel too limited.
Descending: The 27.5-inch wheels made the front nimble
enough to easily be thrown around in more technical sections.
When the trail got steep, we could push our weight back behind
the saddle, although we did still feel a little forward on the bars.
The RS-1 and massive carbon tubes gave the front end plenty of
stiffness, resulting in more confidence through technical sections.
The reach of the Anthem is fairly average for a bike in this
category, but the stack height is lower than most, which puts the
rider weight forward quite a bit more. This didn’t slow down our
test riders too much, though, as they liked the more aggressive
stance on our local cross-country trails. More seasoned riders will
appreciate the low stack height and slacker head angle that the
MAY 2016 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 75
Details for days: The whole drivetrain
has matching blue accents that give
the Anthem a little extra flash. The extra
attention makes it feel closer to the World
Cup XC race bikes it’s designed to emulate and could easily go head to head
Keeps on ticking: We’ve tested many
Giant bikes with the patented Maestro
suspension design and nearly always been
impressed by it. The Anthem delivers a feel
that’s supple and efficient, although Giant
could have improved the stiffness to match
the RS-1 in front.
Fit for a racer: The RockShox RS-1 delivers
incredible performance given its impressively low weight, but it comes with a very high
price tag. Thanks to that added stiffness, we
found ourselves reevaluating how we picked
certain lines with confidence knowing the
steering precision would be there.
Push the corners: Between the smaller
wheel size and aggressive geometry, our
testers found themselves in comfortable
positions to push through corners. The
27. 5 wheels coupled with the lightweight
build gave the Anthem a playful feel on
flowy sections of trail.