GI­ANT AN­THEM AD­VANCED PRO 1

Bicycling (South Africa) - - SHOOT OUT - Model year: 2018 Price: R73 250 gi­ant- bi­cy­cles.com

In 2014, Gi­ant – the world’s big­gest bike man­u­fac­turer – de­cided to halt all devel­op­ment into and pro­duc­tion of 29ers, in favour of smaller, more nim­ble 27.5” wheels. It was a bold move, thread­ing all of their spokes into one wheel size. But their de­ci­sion has proved rel­a­tively short­lived, as per­sis­tent pres­sure from mar­kets around the globe – most no­tably, South Africa – has seen Gi­ant buckle, and re­open their 29er weld­ing jigs and car­bon-fi­bre moulds.

In what reads like a bat­tle be­tween David and Go­liath, South African agent Dragon Sports were able to make enough of a ger­aas that Gi­ant took note, shift­ing their global strat­egy and rein­tro­duc­ing 29” moun­tain bikes for 2018.

The new An­them 29er – which is cat­e­gor­i­cally a race- ori­ented ma­chine, with 90mm of rear- end travel – is up to speed in terms of mod­ern ge­om­e­try ( it’s long and slack) as well as ride char­ac­ter­is­tics ( it won’t scare the liv­ing day­lights out of you).

In fact, we felt the An­them dis­played the best trail man­ners on test, with its 780mm riser han­dle­bar am­pli­fy­ing con­trol, and Mae­stro sus­pen­sion de­liv­er­ing great small- bump sen­si­tiv­ity; and as Olympian James Reid re­marked, a plush­ness that be­lied its 90mm of travel.

Af­ter crush­ing ‘ Craig’s Co­nun­drum’, a tricky drop on Meerendal’s sin­gle­track de­scent off Dors­berg, Chris Whit­field quipped that the An­them’s pre­dictable han­dling would prove in­valu­able to­wards the end of a long, tough day in the sad­dle, when you re­quire your bike to pro­vide sta­bil­ity above all else.

In terms of tech­ni­cal, steep climb­ing, which re­quired the lock- out to be off, our testers felt they set­tled deeper into the travel, rob­bing them of a few watts and mak­ing the Gi­ant feel slightly slug­gish rel­a­tive to the other bikes. But as soon as the ter­rain al­lowed us to flick the lock- out on, the An­them climbed with the ef­fi­ciency of a thor­ough­bred.

Online edi­tor Aaron Bor­rill summed up our thoughts per­fectly, say­ing the An­them is fast, ver­sa­tile and ap­pre­cia­bly well- specced for its price point – be­fore even men­tion­ing its con­fi­dence- inspiring ge­om­e­try, which is truly flat­ter­ing in a ser­pen­tine en­vi­ron­ment.

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