Gi­ant Reign 2

Cycling Plus (Malaysia) - - BIKE OF THE YEAR 2018 -

The first thing we no­ticed aboard the Reign was its ge­om­e­try. With a 459mm reach and 435mm chain­stays, the siz­ing of our medium bike felt spot on, en­cour­ag­ing a great po­si­tion on the bike and feel­ing well-pro­por­tioned when out of the sad­dle. The next thing that be­came ap­par­ent was the bar height. Even with all of the avail­able steerer spac­ers stacked un­der the stem, we couldn’t get the own-brand bar to sit as high as we’d have liked. This isn’t a big is­sue to fix, though.

There’s 160mm of rear wheel travel, cour­tesy of Gi­ant’s twin-link ‘Mae­stro’ sus­pen­sion sys­tem, which drives a Rock­shox Deluxe RT shock. Tweaks for 2018 en­sure this of­fers more sup­port than the pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tion. This means things feel spright­lier up­hill and down, where you no longer have to fill the shock with vol­ume spac­ers to make it use its travel in a con­trolled man­ner. It also means that, even with the ad­di­tional sta­bil­ity from the ge­om­e­try ad­just­ments, this year’s Reign feels live­lier and more play­ful.

The sup­ple back end still tracks ev­ery con­tour with ease and helps keep the im­pec­ca­bly-cho­sen tyres glued to the dirt. Like Nuke­proof, Gi­ant haven’t cut corners when it comes to rub­ber choice, slap­ping a Maxxis Shorty on up front and a High Roller II at the rear, both set up tube­less – pos­si­bly the ul­ti­mate UK all-rounder combo. While the Gi­ant rides well at speed, it lacks the com­po­sure that the top con­tenders here ex­ude. It’s also nois­ier, so needs some time taken to qui­eten down chain slap and cable rat­tle. The gappy free­hub is also no­tice­able when you’re try­ing to get on the power quickly out of turns.

While the Shi­mano De­ore brakes are punchy enough on flat­ter trails, they lack the power needed on steep, long drags. Cou­pled with the Yari fork, which isn’t quite as for­giv­ing as the pricier Lyrik found else­where, this meant we found it hard to avoid hand pain on lengthy de­scents. Al­though we’ve picked holes in the Reign’s spec, what’s on of­fer is still im­pres­sive for the price, and we’re mas­sive fans of the up­dated ge­om­e­try and sus­pen­sion feel. A switch to a higher-rise bar would make an in­stant dif­fer­ence.

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