What do you get when you combine the quickness and agility of Anthem X with the stability and control of 29-inch wheels? You get this, the bike that has won the hearts of even the purest XC speed freaks. It was developed with Giant XC pros and has scored big-time wins. Featuring a lightweight FluidForm ALUXX SL frameset with Maestro Suspension, an OverDrive oversize headtube and PowerCore bottom bracket-plus the confident handling of 29-inch wheels-Anthem X 29er is Mr. Versatility.
RockShox Reba 29 RL with QR15 thru-axle, tapered steerer suspension fork and RockShox Monarch RT rear shock
SRAM X5/X7 componentry
Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic disc brakes
Giant S-XC29-2 rims and Giant Tracker hubs with DT Swiss Competition spokes
Strengths: Climbing ability
Value for money
SRAM componentry seems really solid
Weaknesses: Low bottom bracket
Tires poor in slick conditions
Paint scuffs and scratches super easy
Some issues with the rear derailleur losing accuracy after bumpy decents
Holy moly, what a bike. The anthem is marketed as something of a x-country bike (with its 100mm of front and rear travel) but it is as much a trail bike as anything. I ride alongside guys on carbon trail bikes, hard tail "racing" bikes and everything in between and it as good as, if not better than, them all in most regards.
Climbing wise it's a goat. On my most recent trip out to the mountains, I tackled a seriously steep rock garden that has eluded me for the past 4 years and 3 bikes. I honestly cruised up it in the anthem almost effortlessly without touching the granny gear. I'm not even sure what the advantage is?! There's the 29" wheels of course, the geometry is fairly aggressive but comfortable, and the component set all works well. These things combined allow the bike to just roll up and over ascents and obstacles that would previously have had the old sphincter twitching in anticipation before you even turned the corner.
On the descents, she feels solid as a rock. The brakes can be noisy at times but are capable and the 100mm on the front is usually enough save for the real rocky or rooty lines where you may find your forearms take a bit of a beating. The overwhelming feel of the bike though is that if just wants to go faster the whole time. There is one circuit I do when when time is pressing which typically takes me 59 minutes. The first time out in the anthem I did it in 53; it's that fast.
Overall, I'm thrilled with the Anthem. For the price, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better x-country or even trail bike.
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.
Strengths: Maestro suspension design, overall component package, tubeless ready wheels, good blend of XC/Trail ability, geometry is spot on, super stable in the rough, very fast bike, 15mm thru-axle fork is awesome. I'm riding it bone stock except for new grips after the stock ones wore out, and converting the wheelset to tubeless and using Specialized Captain tires.
Weaknesses: Stock Maxxis tires are nearly impossible to go tubeless with. Avid Elixir 5 brakes have had some turkey gobble issues. Grips didn't last very long. Wheels are a little heavy, but I really don't notice it that much. Red cable and brake housing is a little much for me.
This is a review for the 2011 Anthem X2. It's the best full suspension bike I have ever owned. You can fly through XC terrain, but when the going gets rough, this bike can handle that very well also. I would say it's an XC bike with enormous balls. Shimano SLX drivetrain shifts awesome, and the Fox suspension components have been flawless so far. I am incredibly impressed with how well the Maestro suspension design pedals. No need for the ProPedal when on the trail. It will only bob if you are spinning super fast with very little tension on the chain. If you ride a mix of XC and trail type conditions, definitely consider this bike!
Weaknesses: Proximity of rear shock makes on-the-fly adjustment dificult and dangerous. BB is a little on the low side
If one is going to spend the better part of a day in the saddle on single-track, a short travel 29er is the right tool for the job, and for its price the Anthem x2 29er is a pretty good specimen. It isn't that it’s the best possible bike, but in terms of return on investment its sits right around the point of diminishing returns. Of course you could spend 4 times as much for the tip-top of the line models but functionally all you gain is slightly smother shifting and a few pounds less weight, but fundamentally the suspension design and geometry are as good as anything. If maintained properly, everything on this bike works fine I personally haven’t had any problems with shifting or brake squeal.
Similar Products Used: Trek Super-fly, Specialized epic, Scott Spark
Bike Setup: Stock with Stan's tubeless kit ( the dealer threw that it)
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: December 20, 2012
Strengths: Nice setup, Pros complained the handlebar is too high but it works fine for me for single trail riding. Good for tight steep downhill switchback. I added Ritchey bar ends for that long steep climb I thought 3x10 setup was too much but end up using all of it. Front Thru axle works brilliantly at high speed descent on undulating terrain. Maestro suspension was excellent. No pedal bob whatsoever. Manage to climb non stop on a local steep trail, unable to do that on my previous bicycle. Surprisingly firm ride for a full suspension bike. Value for money.
Weaknesses: My chain drop twice now on the SRAM x7 RD, not sure why it happened. Most of the time it was ok. Grip was a bit harsh. Looking for a gel padded gloves now. Saddle was also a bit hard, fixed it with a saddle gel cover. Avid 1 brake pads was a bit close. If your rotor is not straight it will emit some noise. Had to bleed off a bit of hydraulic oil to space out the pads.
I am just a weekend warrior looking for a good workout whilst having a bit of fun in off road cycling. I am not intending to compete in any competition, so i don't mind a bit of weight as long as it is comfortable and lasting. This is my first 29er. I noticed on an undulating terrain, the bicycle is faster due less drag and restrictive due to bigger wheel. On descent without pedalling on rough terrain i can see it is faster than a 26er. Handling wise was weird at first but after same time it was the same as a 26er. No problems on that tight switchbacks.
Strengths: Climbs great, descends great, clears technical sections like a champ (after I replaced the 44t ring with a bashguard). Rock Shox forks & shock smooth out the rough sections without being slushy. Maestro suspension virtually eliminates pedal bob & brake dive. On technical climbs, I almost feel like the bike finds more energy than my legs could provide. I often look back & ask "how did I clear that?" I need the 22t small ring for my old legs, so I preferred the 3x10 gearing.
Weaknesses: X7/X5 shifters & derailleurs. Shifting lags or misses often, even with careful derailleur adjustment & cable lube. The low bottom bracket & 44t ring made it almost impossible to cross even moderate sized logs & rocks. I replaced the 44t ring with a bashguard, & now the crossing is easier but I often strike the pedals on rocks. The stock saddle is pretty poor.
This is a lot of bike for the money. I hadn't mountain biked for several years, but I rented one on a business trip & knew I had to have one. The weaknesses noted above are acceptable trade-offs at this price-point. This is my 1st 29er & 1st full-suspension bike. I don't think any other bike could have got me back into mountain biking at age 53. I plan on upgrading the shifters & derailleurs to X9 & the saddle to some WTB model.
This is my 1st experience with hydro-brakes, & the Elixer 1's seem great to me when bled & adjusted. They make a bit of noise when hard-braking on steep descents, but I don't mind. I hope it scares the bears away.
Similar Products Used: Old Iron Horse Warrior 26er hard-tail.
Bike Setup: Stock, except for replacing 44t ring with BBG bashguard.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 27, 2012
Strengths: The bike is quite, smooth, fits perfect, handles great, very fast.
Weaknesses: Tires are a most go! Schwalbe tires suck! At least the Racing Ralph does. I put some Rubena UST www.rubenatires.com/category/mountain/29-mountain/ on there, change the wheelset which was utter crap and put some tubeless Easton Haven UST rims it rides like a dream. Change out the seatpost to a slanted Thompson. The Sram X-5 shifters and X-7 is crap too. Thinking about putting some XT Shimano groupset on there. I dunno know if it's just me but the Reba fork by Rockshox needs to extend the thing to 120mm because I weigh 192 pounds and have bottomed the fork out twice and am using 135 psi in it.
Bottom line is a nice bike and I like it, but I think giant should dump the tires and the wheelset and go with other brands of wheels
Strengths: I cannot believe how fast the bike is. Read the reviews and thought...well ok. First ride I took 7 minutes off of a section of my local loop. Light enough for now, but I will need advice on what I can do to shed a couple of lbs when it comes to upgrade time. Very comfortable riding position. Saddle seems a bit severe. Might just need to get used to it.
Weaknesses: Not sure about the tyres yet. I seem to have had to put a lot of air in the shock..not sure whether this is my riding style or something that may become a problem later. I weigh 13 stone, so hopefully weight is not the issue.
Absolutely stunned at the speed. I am sure that there are loads of bikes that are faster, but not by much. I cannot imagine me ever needing anything more from a bike. One of those occasions when the reviews are bang on. Sorry for gushing, but believe the hype. I was lucky enough to get a bargain because of the new model coming out oct 2012 I think. I feel re invigorated by this bike. It has raised the bar in terms of what I thought I could do. So, so happy.
Strengths: Quality, components, climbs like a dream
Weaknesses: none so far...
This is a great bike! Handles well, climbs like a dream, shocks take everything the trails I'm riding can throw at it.I'm really impressed with Giant bikes. The 29inch wheels really make a difference in climbing compared to my 26inch mtnl bike.
Read quite a bit about getting a 29er bike that could step up and be a cross country bike also. I rode the Trek, Specialized, GT, Scott, and Santa Cruz equivalents and liked the Anthem the best. Given the price point right now this bike offered me the best suspension and frame for what I like. That's the key folks! Find a frame geo that you like and evaluate what other parts are thrown in the mix and do the math.
The LBS was nice to give me a even swap for a 2x front crank and adjusted the derailleur to work as is. (it actually works better now than it did when 3x10).
I am new to the 29er scene so I can't really comment too much on how it handles tight, because I think that's more an issue for 29'ers in general and not this bike.
So far the bike has made a guy with little experience able to hang with people with a lot of experience on their 26 hardtail bikes. I know that might make you feel this review is a little less valid, but if someone else can benefit then so be it. It just rolls over things and inspires a great deal of confidence and one heck of a fun time.
Word of caution: Bike will make you feel like you are better than you are and it won't stop you from making really dumb mistakes :) So far no bones broken and still a smile on my face.
Strengths: Ride going down, climbing ability, perfect aggressive trail bike and XC
Weaknesses: Avid Elixir, wheelset weight,
demo'd Santa Cruz tall boy, niner, and salsa.. all 29ers. All great bikes but this bike felt the best not matter what I was doing. A goat when climbing, and a parachute on the way down, so smooth and confidence building, just point and go, it does the rest.
Strengths: weight, frame quality, brakes, rims, tires, crank set
Weaknesses: rear derailer
Over all a great bike, i got the 2012 edition. done a few hundread miles and over all im pretty happy with this bike. set up is easy, brakes are great. comes with vrey good components. EXCEPT the rear derailleur. i cant get this thing to work right. skips grears, gear hops, catches on gears when shifting. not sure if its me, tried to adjust it but not much helps. other than that this bike is a good buy. maybe a little heavy for my taste, but i think its weight is on par with others in its class. i hope to get lots of good years of riding out of it.
a Cross Country Rider
from Zurich, Switzerland
Date Reviewed: January 26, 2012
Strengths: weight, looks, handling, and downhill abilities for XC bike. Overall component mix is above the average. Front axle in this price range.
Weaknesses: Brakes for sure if you don't take organic pads from the start. JUST DO IT! Tires if you are riding in wet muddy conditions. If you are serious about racing then rims and rear hub upgrade are probably needed. Deore rear hub, Humm.
But the bike works great as it is as well.
This bike just indicates Giant is trying hard and getting it right with there racer feedback and R and D team etc... A compliment to all those folks at Giant. I am one of those that would never have bought a Giant 5 years ago. But now I put Giant at eye level with Trek, Specialized, Santa Cruz, Niner and all the rest. I am probabay late with that comment anyway. And, for 2012, the Anthem X1 which goes for the same price as the 2011 X2 with more consistent spec, is a MUST buy.
a Weekend Warrior
from La Verne, CA USA
Date Reviewed: July 25, 2011
Strengths: Rolls over everything, looks great, very good ride downhill
Weaknesses: Seat takes getting used too, Brakes are the loudest brakes ever, my cantaliver brakes werent as noisy, some flex in suspension when climbing, creaking in front end while climbing hard.
I was really considering the Gary Fisher Trek Rumblefish. Now that I have the anthem, I wonder if I made the right decision. Am VERY dissapointed with brakes, and that GIANT webside does not allow you to give feedback, or contact them for customer feedback, for a bike retailing 3k, I should not have to deal with these brake problems. In retrospect, you will not notice much difference between X3 and X2, so save the $500, and get the X3. I also considered the hardtail 29er, and the FS X2 which was also approx $2100. Maybe I will like it better over time. For $2400, its ok, you can get it at Wheel World on sale for about $2200, $2400 OTD.