Engineered to give Giant’s elite-level racers every advantage on technical XC racecourses, this all-new bike features the race-proven performance of the Anthem name-smooth Maestro Suspension, confident handling and lightweight frame technology-but supercharged with a new purpose-built 27.5-inch-wheel frame design. Handcrafted with a superlight and stiff Advanced Composite mainframe and meticulously engineered geometry, optimized for a 100mm suspension fork, it’s the ultimate XC speed machine. Frame technologies include Giant’s OverDrive 2 steerer tube for precision stiffness and steering, internal cable routing, and dropper seat cable routing.
Strengths: This review is for the Giant Anthem Advanced 1 ( not the 0) . This bike is fast. Way fast. Sucks up East coast singletrack , whoop-de-coos, turns, drops with aplomb. The lightweight carbon frame feels like the bike just isn't there. (in a good way) Suspension set up was straightforward.
I've owned full suspension Giant's with the Maestro suspension (26 ers) and love the way full suspension engages on bumps and is stiff for the climb. The 1 has a full XT group with Giant seat post, bars and stem. The 2 x20 XT is perfect for my trails and has good ratios for my trails. XT Brakes are confidence inspiring, the fork is supple and not "too light" for a larger rider like myself.
I also own a XTC 29er 1 hard tail. I was anxious to compare the two bikes realizing they are vastly different. The thing is, I really love my 29er hardtail & I was worried I wouldn't like this bike as much. I was way wrong. My first ride with this bike was that it was ridiculously fast. I kept trying to ride this bike with a serious, unbiased attitude and I kept being amazed at how it felt & how I had just gone through a familiar section of trail way faster than any other time before. I was bombing everything but I had all the control I wanted. My 29er has a little bit of what I call "wheel flop" at slow speeds and I sometimes just can't quite hit the line I want in a turn because it just can't corner the way I'd like. This bike truly does all the thing that my 29er does well AND corners like a champ. I could feel the suspension soaking up all the bumps I needed it too and the bike rolled over everything just as well as the 29er.
Another big difference was climbing and lifting the front wheel. This bike climbs very well and maintains momentum like nothing I've ever ridden. I easily cleaned a few rooty staircases that often give me some trouble on 29 inch wheels.
The gloss black on matte black finish is very stealth looking. Comes with tubeless parts for those who want to lighten it up
Weaknesses: Finding a weakness on this bike is a bit of a reach. It has a ton of value for the money.
If I had to split hairs and find faults, then it might be the grips and the handlebar. These are almost always swapped out to a rider's preference so it really isn't that much of a weakness.
The XT wheels, Giant seat post, bar, and stem aren't the lightest things available and also aren't carbon fiber but they are all still light and strong aluminum. You could easily take a pound off this bike with some new carbon giblets. The wheels are respectably light but racers may want to go for a pedigree wheel set and take some weight off there. Again, not really a weakness a the bike weighs in at just a smidge over 25 lbs for a large.
I've been mountain biking for 25+ years... I hate to be a drinker of the Kool-Aid but this thing delivers what Giant's marketing says it does. It has the rollover of the 29er and the control and cornering of the 26ers. Having ridden 27.5 (650b), 29ers and over 20 years on 26ers... this bike is the fastest riding bike I have ever owned. There's still a few trails that I may ride my 29er on preferentially but if i had to own only one bike, this bike would be it.
(MTBR - Move this review to the Anthem Advanced 27.5 1 section once it's up. )