Strengths: This bike ticks a lot of boxes, both as an all day XC machine and as something to tackle technical trails. Straight from the first ride you can tell a lot of design know-how has gone into this machine. Coming from two years of owning a Fisher 29er, I am stunned by the light, quick steering on this bike. Giant have done their homework when it comes to 29ers, I love big wheelers but sometimes found the slightly slow, clumsy steering irksome and switchback trails through trees were no fun but the Anthem seem to have re-written what we should now expect. This is a 29er you could comfortably call 'flickable'.
The componentry is top notch stuff, no complaints about the shimano xt/slx kit, the 2X10 transmission is very easy to use and the Elixer 5 stoppers work without fuss or noise. The fox suspension is as good as anything else you'll find for XC -if you take the trouble to set it up. I erred on a softer, more compliant set up than I did on my Fisher and it works well with the bonus of increased comfort on those all-day rides.
The rigidity of the forks, front triangle and front wheel are the key to this bikes handling, it always feels planted and it goes where you point it without flexing, it gives great feedback from the trail. The PXC -2 wheel set are a good compromise between rigidity, strength and weight. The general finish of frame and wheels is above average and has so far managed to fend off chips from the shale tracks I've been riding in the last couple of months.
All the usual 29er positives are present and correct on the Anthem, it likes to roll and roll fast, roots and small bumps don't hinder progress plus the stability of this machine when charging downhill really is a boon to self-confidence. BB bracket height is good, I've certainly had fewer pedal strikes than on my 'Fisher. The climbing ability on this bike is outstanding, I find myself changing up a gear on hills that used to be a granny gear slog all the way.
Weaknesses: Stand over heights on Anthem frames is a little high and if you are short of leg you need to watch it when putting feet down on uneven ground. I'm 30' leg and the medium frame gives me minimum acceptable clearance, the Small size frame isn't that much lower to make a difference unfortunately.
Cable rubs are inevitable on most machines but there is some clumsy routing on the Anthem, they supply a sheet of helicopter patches and you need to use them all. The headstock is swarthed in cables, the shock is rubbed both sides and the front brake line is too long by about 9', it waves around removing paint from the fork brace and occaisionally catches and moves the CTD lever. On a £2000 bike I also wasn't amused to find the end nipple of the front derrailer cable sticking out 3' -enough to flick my ankle bones when pedaling ('ah, so that's what that clicking noise is...')
The cheap looking plank that Fizik call a saddle is a token inclusion, I think Giant have anticipated buyers will want to use a saddle of their own choice but I'd rather start off with a cheap saddle that isn't painfull. Other little niggles are the strange squishy grips plus there's room for only one bottle in the front triangle. The otherwise decent wheel rims come with the uncelebrated and wretched presta valves. Hands up if you've bent a Presta valve! yep, these things are a solution looking for a problem, why invent a valve that is flimsier and takes more effort to pump air into? A schraeder option on mountain bikes would make sense, although it's easy enough to convert the rims.
The Anthem X1 29er isn't a cheap to buy but what you get is really good value. The bike is very capable, very well put together and features quality kit. It's a great deal of fun too and it will last me a few years for sure.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: April 17, 2013
Strengths: Relatively Light Weight Full Suspension 29er well priced with solid componentry
This is an excellent bike and a night-and-day upgrade over my old FS 26er. This bike flies and eats up roots and rocks like they are nothing. At 6'-4" tall my old XL 26er felt small and unbalanced. With the 29er platform everything feels just right. After extensive searching and consideration of comparable Santa Cruz, Specialized, and Trek bikes I settled on the Anthem as the bike that provides the most bang for your buck. The Maestro four point pivot rear suspension is much more advanced than that provided on similarly priced bikes, and provides superior dampening over other dual/single point suspensions.
Similar Products Used: Trek Superfly AL 29er, Specialized Camber 29er, Santa Cruz Superlight 29er
Bike Setup: Stock
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 7, 2012
Strengths: Very stable, allows you roll over everything to keep up the flow. It really does gobble up the miles, also very fun compressing the suspension at every opportunity. With correct sizing, sitting lower between the wheels and not on top of it makes for good cockpit feel.
Weaknesses: Really the converse of the strengths. Very stable/longish wheelbase can make rider use greater body english, lower bottem bracket can equal pedal strikes, head tube angle can be a be both blessing and sin. On tight single track at slow speeds nice for sharp cuts, however sharp cuts can lead to tracker trailer / 2 part turn effect.
For east coast riding, this bike is great for going down, and ok going up (compared to hardtails). Guess for me its a cross country bike that has a downhill bias, that's ultra stable, without too much of weight penalty, that ultimately makes for alot of fun. Additionally with the price of the this bike, it's easy to justify the wheelset upgrade 1st, and something I would reccommend.
Similar Products Used: Marin Mt Vision, Rocky Mountain ETSX 50
Bike Setup: Tubeless Arches with Hope hubs, bash guard, slight rise on handlebars, setback seatpost. almost exclusively on the middle ring 34x12-36
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 1, 2012
Strengths: Very comfortable ride for the longer limbed! I am 6'2" and weigh 101kg and this is the most comfortable bike I have used. Climbs, handles bumps and does everything else you want from a long distance bike very well. The fizik seat takes getting used to but racking up the clicks will take car of that. Very capable in the tight and twisty stuff once you learn the geometry of the bike.
Weaknesses: The extra height and length makes for a different turning circle and took a little getting used to so be careful and take your time.
One of the best things I have spent money on for fun.
Bike Setup: Stock apart from the SRAM XO Twist Shifters
Date Reviewed: August 31, 2012
Strengths: I bought this partly as a result of reading reviews on MTBR. I got it at the end of the season at a substantial discount, otherwise it would have been a bit more than I am willing to pay for a bicycle. It handles exceedingly well, and as my first 29er, I am most impressed. I had some question about SRAM X7 components, as I had X9 on my 26" full suspension bike, but have found that for the most part the components are OK. The BB especially is quite good for a modest priced part. The bike comes with an X9 rear derailleur, and I wish the front was X9 as well, as upshifting is not great. I will replace that soon. The fork and shock travel are a great improvement over my old bike. I can now roll over rocks like the ones that caught my smaller front wheel and caused a crash that broke the top tube on my old bike.
Weaknesses: I wish I had paid a bit more attention and had the LBS change out the BB for the same thing, but with 170mm crank arms rather than the 175mm arms that came on the bike. I will look for one online so my very skinny pedals aren't always hitting rocks on my trails.
Overall I am very pleased with this bike. I can go faster, more securely, and further too, as it takes less effort to climb and the downhill sections are, ahh, a lot of fun. I know lots of others have sung praises for this bike, but I wanted to add mine, as it is very well engineered and designed, and the execution is excellent.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 26, 2012
Strengths: Great geometry that fits perfectly (size L 20", I am 6'2" or 188cm). 29" rolls over and ploughs through most stuff (I mainly ride sandy/muddy root infested forest trails). Meastro does not feel like sucking power when climbing and nicely smoothes out descends. 2x10 works great (apart from the X9 ghost shifting and the top gearing being somewhat short). Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evolution even preform ok in wet conditions.
Weaknesses: The way I set up the bike the brake levers hit the top tube (so better be careful). Spinning out 2x10 when going downhill fast (I spin out around 35 mph). Front brake squeals but works fine. Ghost shifting on the X9 (this is my first experience with SRAM and I have to say....I love Shimano).
I have been riding C'dale Lefty's for over a decade now and I am shocked by the lack of torsional stiffness of the FOX Evolution 32 Float 29 100 RL (but this seems to be the case for all 'lightweight traditional' forks).
Handle bar seems to lack sweep for me. My hands start getting numb during long rides.
I would say the best value for money full suspension 29er available today (and my guess is tomorrow as well). Got mine at a discount for 2200 bucks.
The frame and rear sus just work fantastically (in my riding conditions the bike does not need propedal). This bike definitely makes me go quicker.
Things I would change on the bike are personal. I might swap the handlebar and replace the grips for something more meaty when they are worn out.
The only thing I really need to solve is this ghost shifting. It is not impossible to live with but a real nuisance.
If you can handle riding a bike lacking an exotic brand name then get this bike. The package just makes sense. I you fancy more expensive equipment just upgrade when the parts wear out.
Strengths: Light (12.1 kgs out of the box and 12.7 kgs with pedals and anti-puncture sealant), nimble, perfect geometry, great climbing and very fast. The maestro suspension is like magic - efficient like hard tail and still provides a smooth and plush ride. The best suspension outthere. Great value for money.
Awesome bike!!! Best bike I ever rode in 8 years. The Combination between the Maestro suspension and large wheels is amazing. It's quick up and down hills and ride on them is pure joyfull.
For the same amount of effort, this bike are much faster than my old 26" anthem x2.
If you are looking for a new 29" full suspension you can't go wrong with these bike.
Strengths: this bike does giant proud for bang for buck. soaks up bumps like nothing else i have ever ridden. nice selection of gears, cant say enough about thios bike well worth the money.
Weaknesses: seat is a bit hard on the rearend. swapped it on purchase(bike shop swapped it for something i liked ,no charge) thought it was a bit light on gear selection but like it better than the 3x9 now
rode event on it in weekend and bet my previous time by 6 and a half minutes! best move i made going to full sus 29er. previous ride was a gt avalanche expert 26 hardtail ,great bike but nothing like the giant. compared to all other 29er full sus bikes out there i looked at before deciding iant has it won hands down for everything! cant wait till weekend to ride her again.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 20, 2012
Strengths: Great value bike from a great shop (Pushbikes Papanui). Bike has huge capabilities. An excellent trail bike that is happy to be raced. Suspension is awesome and supple for long trail rides and yet climbs efficiently even out of the saddle.
Weaknesses: For the money, no weaknesses. The basics are fine and you can upgrade the rest if you want. Might use Gobi saddle But that is personal choice.
A fantastic bike.Mine is the X29-1 which is runs Fox RL100 fork and RP2 shock. There are a few parts that were chosen by Giant to meet a price point, but they work well, including stock wheels. Thought the X7 shifters might need upgrading but they are alright. In fact the X7 2X10 surprised me with crisp shifting and good gear ratios. AnthemX29 can be your only bike. I intend to trail ride using stock wheels and Ardents converted to tubeless. For racing I'll run Stans wheels and the Racing Ralphs.
Glad I didn't buy carbon hard tail. You might lose a little on long climbs compared to lightweight racer, but this bike adds huge fun factor on the way down! I had a Trace X for a while and the Anthem is better everywhere. Would agree that 29er takes a bit of work on tight switchbacks, but gains everywhere else are significant.
Bike Setup: Stock except for Ardent UST 2.25. Race setup adds Stans rims on Hope Pro2 hubs with Racing Ralphs.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2012
Strengths: Great handeling, cornering, climbing, stiffness, momentum monster.
Great wheels, love the 2x10 system. Hate the fact that your limited to a 26tooth small ring with the x-7.
Solid front end.
Good for the cross country/trail rider.
Weaknesses: Fork is to short, need a 120mm for any rough trail use.
Geared to high, needs the new 64mm x 110 ring set up so one can choose from 22 on up for small ring.
Put your favorite bars and seat on it, right away.
Replace that flimsy front tire, use em for the rear. Get a good tubeless one, have a new rim strip installed right
Mod the rear derailleur spring. Its way to tight! Spread the spring so slightly in several places then its soft city on the thumb push. Derailleur still drops like a champ.
Fork choices are limited to none with the 'New Standard' 1 1/4 inch top steer tube diameter to fit stock
Wish I would have built the bike from a frame. The bike needs the following for any good ol fashion trail riding.
1 120 minimum travel fork. with remote lock. A 120-130-140 adj would be just fine.
2 64-110, 2x10 crankset. You can run a 22 small ring and up. I would use the new slx 2x10.
3 Good tubeless tires, and a quality sealed system. Stans?
4 90mm stem, your choice of bar, maybe a dropper post and a better seat
Strengths: Very Stable, excellent suspension, SLX is flawless, decent weight
Weaknesses: Not particularly quick in tight twisty single track
This is for the 2011 anthem x 2 which is the same as the 2012 anthem 1. I am a 6-hour solo racer, sport class. I love this bike, moving to 29er made me much faster and feel more stable. As noted on an online review somewhere, the chain stays are kind of long. the bike turns quickly from the front but kind of drags in the back if you are in tight stuff. its perfect for flowy turns though and other people more skilled than me don't have the agility problem in the tight stuff. love my bike, but wish the wheel base was just a bit tighter.
Strengths: Very fast. Climbs well, grips well beyond what I would expect when climbing even with summer tyres in wet mud!
Weaknesses: Slightly twitchy steering. Saddle is an instrument of torture.
For what feels like the same amount of effort this bike seems to go noticably faster than my 4 year old Trance. Granted the Trance is a different type of bike and is older, but I wasn't expecting around 2 mph difference on the flat on this. Seems to handle everything I throw at it including jumps, rocks and roots better than the Trance. It may be the bike or it may just be that it's a 29er, I suspect a large part is the later. I will never buy another 26" bike either way.
Strengths: Everything. This is the bike you want. Hands down, the best bike I have ever ridden in 17 years of cycling. The 29 inch wheels make light work of rocks and tree roots, very forgiving. Super light,
Weaknesses: Technically the weakest part of this bike is the frame weld where the seat post tube meets the top tube, this was recalled in very early 2011 versions as I understand. I owned a 2011 and now own the 2012 version, this weld now seems stronger however I still feel that it may be a weak point for super heavy riders. I am 105 kg and no problems so far.
Only other thing is the seat is hard at hell and caused me to a get numb... you know what. If you buy this bike,m buy a seat with a channel through the middle, otherwise all your weight is on your Perineal nerve. Just so you know, 90% of professional cyclists encounter some sort of sexual disjunction from their sport at some stage. This happened to me but saddle fixed it.
Try not to damage the frame, it feels barely thicker that an aluminum can, especially the under side of the lower tube. Still, surprisingly strong.
Strengths: The maestro suspension, and of course the 29 inch hoops. Great balance and stability going both fast and climbing and decending, and the fairly light weight.
Weaknesses: Seat, width of handlebars at 690mm. Great bars for ya'll out west but not the most optimal for super tight technical woods sections (I cut mine to 640mm width). When jumping (2.5 ft and smaller) it may land stiffer than say a 120mm suspension on a 26er (but I need more jumps to validate all charecteristics and play with the sag on the fox shocks)
Based on a comparison to my beloved Trek Fuel EX 26er the bike does almost everything better. The Anthem X 29er climbs incredibly fast or slow and stable if you want. The 2x10 drive train just takes a few rides to feel comfortable and works great with the larger wheels so I don't miss a 3x9 where you would not use many gear combos. Bottom line my lap times were faster on this 29er rig due to the increased speed and the root and rock gardens that don't even phase the bike. You can also spend a lot more time in the saddle on smooth or rough especially running tubless with low tire pressure. I loved the handling and decents of my Trek 26er with a dropper seat post However I realized I don't need a dropper seat post on the Anthem X 29er due to just as much speed and more stability on those decents. Handing is about the same between the two bikes I've discussed but need more saddle time to validate that (ridden Three 15 mile rides so far) Great bike for fun and racing.
Favorite Trail: Many, but in FL- Alafia River state park
Similar Products Used: I have not ridden many other 29ers on the trail but did do short rides on the Trek Superfly AL and Pro 100 and those two felt heavier and more cramped in the cockpit, all large frames. The Giant seems to open up with the top tube for some reason and feel more flickable.
Bike Setup: 2012 Giant Anthem X1 29er stock except- cut handle bar width to 640mm from 690mm, Stans tubless set up with 25lbs of tire pressure seems just right. Swapped Fizik seat for WTB Rocket V race.
over the hill almost
a Weekend Warrior
from Layton, Utah, USA
Date Reviewed: March 31, 2012
Strengths: Smooth riding. Deals with big rocks on the trail. Easy to ride in all conditions
Weaknesses: Tight turn agility.. not really the bikes fault.
This 29r hadles all conditions. It is like skiing powder on a Rocker Cam Ski. Floats, carves and makes you look good in tough conditions.
I am 58 and love to ride the trails in Utah. This bike helps me keep up with my 25 yr old sons who ride like the wind. I find it easy and fun to ride.
I'm planning to buy a new trail bike, and the ones I have available at my LBS is the [URL="http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/trance.x.29er.1/11514/55873/"]Giant Trance X 29er 1[/URL] and the [URL="www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/anthem.x.29er.1/11510/56554/"]Giant Anthem X 29e ... Read More »
Well I have narrowed my search down and was about to pull the trigger on the new Giant Talon 27.5 1 when I stumbled across an used 2012 Giant Anthem X 29er 2. Price wise they are within ~$100 of each other, Talon for $1500 w/ tax and asking price of Anthem $1600.
The Anthem's owner states that it h ... Read More »
Is it worth it going for the Anthem X 29'er Advanced 2 instead of the Anthem X 29'er 1? Frame only options seem out of wack price wise.
I am 5 foot 9.5" tall and will weigh 165-180 riding season. I am recovering from a back injury. I ride cross country singletrack mostly with the odd obstacle or ... Read More »
Are there any trouble spots on these bikes that I should put tape over to prevent any cable wear? I previously had a Jekyll on which the brake cable gouged the frame over time, hence I would like to be proactive in preventing these simple problems.Read More »