The legendary quickness and agility of Anthem X gets the big-wheel boost. Developed with the help of Giant XC pros and raced to victory at its very first event, the Sea Otter Classic Super D, Anthem X 29er is all systems go. Featuring a lightweight FluidForm ALUXX SL frameset, confident geometry and Maestro Suspension, with the added benefits of 29-inch wheels, the all-new Anthem X 29er is Giant’s most versatile XC bike.
Strengths: Great value, decent weight. Climbs amazing. Suspension is set it and forget it, very low maintenance
Weaknesses: Stem and Bars, too "race" inspired for my style. Tires leave something to be desired.
I have over 2000 miles on my 2011 anthem x 29er 3 and only parts I have HAD to replace are chain and rear cog. Bike functions how it is supposed to day in and day out while I watch riding buddies wrench.
Shifting is fast and thought free, I assumed I would upgrade my parts but have had no need, other than a few grams of weight I do not know that they could function any better.
Ridden at least twice a week for 6 months in rooted single track, rides longer than 2 hours or so started to get uncomfortable as I got faster. I replaced the bars and stem, answer pro taper 1/2 inch rise with some sweep and a 70mm slight rise stem. This added to my ability to spend hours on the bike without discomfort. I regularly ride for 4-5 hours with no issues or numbness.
Bike handles drops and descents like a champ rough terrain vanishes at speed, the faster you go the better it rides.
I do feel the length occasionally on tight switchbacks or when trying to throw little tail whips.
Bottom bracket started to creek after about 1000 miles shop took it in said nothing is wrong, been riding ever since no issues other than noise every so often when really cranking hard.
Rear pivots stay tight, only had to tighten once.
I changed out the wheels for some chris king built tubless stans and notice a huge improvement I would recomment to anyone. Running super heavy 2.2 kenda dtc nevegals and still feel fast.
All I do to this thing month after month is wash it and lube it, and it takes any punishment I can dish out.
I recommend this to anyone, get some grippy tires, lean into every turn and enjoy.
Strengths: This bike is smooth and stable. Once up to speed, it feels like I'm on a freight train, it's just unstopable. Which is not to say that it cannot stop. I switched the elixir pads over to organic and that cured the brake noise it had with the sintered pads and has provided nice brake feel, not bad for a fairly low level set of brakes. The obvious strength of this bike is its value. Giant leverages their buying power to spec the bike really well at this price point. I really like that you get a groupo, it gives it a solid feel, whereas other bikes at this price might offer an XT rear, everything else is Alivo/deore. On this, it's SLX shifters, front and rear derailleurs, which work flawlessly.
Weaknesses: As others have noticed, the CrossMark Tires aren't the best. Sure, they're super fast on the hard pack, but they don't inspire confidence in the corners or when stuff gets soft. The Rear Chainstays are long, and it does require an adjustment in riding style. Some people adjust, others do not. Personally, I've had no problems and I love the way this bike handles.
It's a beast. It didn't win the best 29er for 2011 on Twentynineinches dot com for nothing.
Strengths: Accelerates quickly, climbs with confidence, sucks up bumps like they aren't there. Goes where I point it. So stable and predictable I can change lines in rocky swooping corners.
Elixir 3 brakes have had no problems. They self-adjust well. I'm fussy about brakes.
Shifts well. The range of 10 speed is really nice.
Weaknesses: Narrow rims. I've been getting a LOT of pinch flats. But I'm a 6'4" and weigh 220lbs so I'm putting a lot of force on them. Wheels are plenty strong, mine are still true with no flat spots.
Stock bars were too narrow and stem was too long. Rode the bike home from the shop via some trails. When I got home I swapped the stem and bars for wider and shorter. Much better.
Stock seat broke within 6 months.
Stock chain broke frequently and was difficult to fix on the trail.
Great combo of climbing prowess and descending confidence. Incredible value for the money.
Strengths: Can't beat the quality spec at this price. Similar spec in other brands was $800 to $1000 more. Wheelbase is a bit shorter than competitors like Specialized Epic and Santa Cruz Tallboy allowing for tighter turning. Suspension is excellent. Stiff and responsive frame. Have not felt any hindrance for handling tight switchbacks, in fact can take corners tighter than on my 26er.
Rides twisty single track, steep rocky descents/ climbs with aplomb, very confidence inspiring with how stable it is. Seems to be good at everything.
I wasn't sure about the Fi'zi:k Tundra 2 saddle. I've been riding saddles with a cutout for over a decade. To my surprise the saddle has been very comfortable. It's very easy to get behind this saddle on step descents. Longest ride I've had on it is 5 hours on rocky trails.. no problem at all. This doesn't mean my favorite brand for saddles (Specialized BG) won't be better.. I'll try one next season.. but for me the Tundra 2 worked very well, and I am very picky about saddles. Saddles of course are very much and individual thing, but I found the Tundra 2 to be very comfortable despite not looking so.
Best mountain bike I've ridden since I started riding MTB in the mid 80's. Easily shares the pedestal with the industries best race bikes. If this bike works for you for fit, you can't go wrong.
Weaknesses: The Avid Elixir 3 brakes worked well on the test rides, but reviews say they become a bit of a pain to adjust. The Maxxis Crossmark tires aren't very grippy. This spec is easy to change. I have found no weaknesses with the Giant frame or suspension.
This bike was 29.5 lbs stock, 3 pounds heavier than my 2004 Klein Attitude. All my lap times on local courses were reduced on the Anthem 29er.. obviously the extra weight is not an issue. But hey this is cycling.. I want my new bike to be as light or lighter than my previous one. Switching to Rocket Rons knocked off over a pound, Stans, carbon bars, and carbon post bring the weight down to slightly less than my Klein.
A set of Stans Crest 29ers will drop another pound or so. So will eating less :-)
The 2012 SLX brakes are very powerful and have true 1 finger braking with excellent modulation; they are a worthy upgrade and only something like 40g more than XT, but less$$.
I've seen this bike spec'd out as low as 23 lbs, which is excellent for an alloy 29er.
This is the first time I've gone with 3rd tier SLX components instead of XT or XTR. Shimano does such a great job with trickle down that I felt a minimal difference between the groups. There is a difference, but it's not like you're going miss a shift with SLX. So far it's been flawless. If it wears earlier it will be a tiny fraction of the price to replace. If it really craps out under race conditions then I'll move back up again to XT-XTR, but I'm very impressed with SLX this year and thought is was worth a shot.
I usually leave Pro pedal off on more rocky corses and don't find any problematic bobbing when climbing or sprinting. Pro pedal does stiffen up the rear end though.. I use it on pavement or faster-smoother courses. Fork lockout is great when on pavement. Very smooth action on forks when wide open on rocky drops and small to mid size chatter.
The 2012 Anthem 29er will be a great buy as well. It has exactly the same geometry. The top two models have the slightly larger overdrive two steertube/ headset/ stem which is claimed to be stiffer than the Original Overdrive found on all the 2011's and the 2012 Anthem 3.
I find minor flex in the front end on my Anthem, and a bit in the wheels, but less than other bikes I tried, of which the Niner Jet 9 had the greatest front end flex. So far this minimal flex has not taken away from the handling or ride quality, which is superb. I have to really crank it to feel the slight flex, but the front end remains perfectly controllable.
I bought the XL size but with my 97cm inseam I needed a longer post; great excuse to get the Giant Carbon post. The stock stem was slightly too short and bars were too low, but this was easily resolved with higher rise stem and riser bars.
I'm 6'2.. If you're taller than this with long legs/ arms, I would suggest looking at a frame with a taller head tube/ longer seat tube as I am at the limits of sizing this bike.
XC racers will be at home on this bike, but it works for enduro and mild all-mountain as well.
Similar Products Used: Test rode Epic, Stumpy, Niner Jet 9, Kona Hei Hei (all 29ers), and a bunch of hard tail 26ers. The dual squish 29ers were so much better I stopped trying 26er hard tails
Bike Setup: Schwalbe Rocket Rons with Stans, 2X10, 2012 SLX brakes, Easton EC70 40mm Riser, ESI Chunky grips, Giant Contact SLR Carbon seat post
a Cross Country Rider
from Boulder, CO
Date Reviewed: October 21, 2011
Strengths: My first 29er, so far it rides great!!! It climbs slightly slower than my Ibis Mojo SL. I think it has something to do with the wheel size and weight. But not bad for the price I paid, I can't really complain much. I don't see a thing wrong with the Elixir 3 brakes, they stop well. The tires however are the worst I have ever ridden, I replaced them with the Kendas 2.2 Nev's up front and slant six on rear. Wow what a difference it made. The seat and flat bars are not bad. The Maestro suspension design is Awesome and the Fox fork, I wish had a 120mm upgrade option. The wheels aren't too heavy but they do roll fast. The SLX components work well enough for me.
Weaknesses: Maxxis Crossmark does not belong on the dirt trail of any kind. Leave them on, only if you're gonna ride strictly paved bike paths.
Compare to other 29er bikes in the $2k range, This bike gives you more bling-bling for the money.
Strengths: Suspension is my favorite; compared to Turner, Santa Cruz, Specialized, and Yeti
Weaknesses: Components (see review). Weight. Fork 100 mm; personal preference.
Is this my favorite bike of all-time? Yes. 29er's are simply more my style. I personally wanted a higher SO and BB, so I put on a 120 mm fork. Made a big difference; more fun. Yes, more weight. Bike is about 29 lbs now, and feels like 35 lbs. When you climb 4k feet, it feels like a tank. The SLX components are really, really horrible. The wheels are OK, but super heavy. I think you are really just buying the frame and fork. At 1800, no worries to add another 1k; however, at 2350 I would not be that happy. Rear Derailleur broke after a few months, and shifters are super horrible. The 100 mm fork was really great, and I'm keeping it in case I decide to get some Mavic Wheels and race marathons again. I also got a new stem and low riser bar. So, at the right pricepoint this bike is fantastic. However, be prepared to add new components and wheels; a significant addition.
Strengths: First step into a dual suspension bike... My other two bikes were hardtails- Specialized Hardrock- Giant Talon...This rides awesome...can't believe how smooth compared to my hardtails...I not a pro so my speed has not been very compromised...I wish I didn't wait so long for this bike
I'm now 50 yrs old... so I'm writing this to all my fellow compatriots... I would recommend this bike blindly to anyone thinking about making the change... I wish I wouldn't have waited so long to make the change
Similar Products Used: sped hardrock n giant talon
Bike Setup: stock except changed pedals
from Portland Maine
Date Reviewed: October 3, 2011
Strengths: Rides like a dream, the suspension has little to no bob when climbing with the way i have it set pressure wise on the front and back shock. Brakes work well, climbs like a goat.
Weaknesses: West coast tires it comes with aren't the greatest on the east coast trails regarding shedding mud.
I just ran the 12 hours of Bradbury Mtn race with this bike. Three person team category and finished 10th out of 26 teams. I myself ran a sub 49 minute - 8 mile lap, did four of them and this bike and I never got passed once. This bike rides like a dream and climbs like a billy goat. I beat it like a red headed stepchild and it comes back for more. better then my old Ellsworth, much better then the stumpy I just put away. Awesome bike for the money. Would get 5 chilis if they sent it with beefier tires.
Similar Products Used: Ellsworth Isis, Specialized Stumpy.
Bike Setup: Stock for now, will upgrade as parts break.
a Cross Country Rider
from San Diego, CA
Date Reviewed: September 25, 2011
Strengths: Great Looks, Awesome suspension, price can't be beat.
Weaknesses: The Avid 3's aren't the best. But maybe they just need a good working in. They seemed to lack power on my first real descent. Stickers on the wheels needed to go, but they were a pain to get off (even with acetone). Goofy seat needs to go.
Awesome suspension design. BEst I have ridden. After I had my first generation FS Kona I swore I would never buy/ride this same general design again, but the Maestro is awesome. Sure, the Spider and the Tallboy were great, but they are not in my financial ballpark. The VPPs and I somehow didn't click. Go figure. I would put this Giant at the top of the mass-produced Taiwan Genre. The only faults I can see thus far are the brakes (will eventually upgrade) and the rear swingarm. The swingarm is 2 pieces welded together (left and right). I can understand this from a production/cost saving point but I'm skeptical about how well it will hold up if abused. Added Crank Brothers goodies to shave some weight. Now I'm looking at cranks. Does anyone know if I can run the XO cranks with everything else in the drivetrain being Shimano? Would like to do this to shave some weight and add some bling. And I will be buring the seat after I get my Specialized Phenom (riding without a seat would not be good, but I'm tempted to- it's that ugly)
Similar Products Used: Demo'd a Spider 29er, Aluminum Santa Cruz Tallboy, Rumblefish. Owned a Kona King Kikapu, Intense Uzzi SL (until it was stolen), and a Specialized Enduro Expert
Bike Setup: Upgrades: Crank Brother 11 Riser Bar (Falt bar still doesn't feel right to me), Crank Brother 3 pedals, stem, and seatpost.
from Milford, Indiana. U.S.
Date Reviewed: September 17, 2011
Strengths: Fast, Comfortable, Fast. Maestro suspension is out of this world. Amazing spec for the price. Takes a beating and goes faster while doing it. The harder you hammer it the smoother it rides.
Weaknesses: Stock brakes SUCK.
This thing rocks!, switch out the grips and brakes and this thing can play with the big boys. Im 16 and in my second year of racing, and Im consistently posting the fastest Cat2 times at all of the races. I love passing guys on thier GF carbon bikes with XX and lots of other bling... This thing added 1 mph to my average at the local trail (thats alot!)
I hate the brakes, they are the downfall of this bike. Mine howled like crazy and lacked power. I sold the original ones and got some Formula RX's and It only cost me 100 bucks. Def. a worthy upgrade.
Power transfer is as good as any hardtail Ive ridden, especially using the shocks propedal platform. The suspension is amazing, and its impressive its on such a low priced bike. The drivetrain works extremely well. Turn it downhill and its smoother and more confidence inspiring than any of the 6" travel 26ers Ive ridden, even with the propedal on! If your looking for a good value mid-spec FS 29er, you found it! Dont think twice, just buy it, you wont regret it!
Favorite Trail: fort custer state park in michigan
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Purchased At: Nappanee Bicycle
Similar Products Used: XTC 29er 2, Cannondale Caffeine 29er hardtail, Santa cruz carbon 6" travel bike. Ibis 6" travel 26er. Rigid 26" singlespeed is my other ride.
Bike Setup: Stock except for: Formula RX brakes (AMAZING), ESI racers edge grips, Kenda karma 1.9 tires, and Egg beaters!
a Weekend Warrior
from San Diego, Ca, USA
Date Reviewed: September 16, 2011
Strengths: Even at full retail, this bike is a super bargain. Fox suspension, great handling, intelligent component chooses for the price point
Weaknesses: Stock tires work well on hardpack only
Great handling bike! Great pedaling bike. Glad I went full suspension on this buy. The Maestro linkage lives up to the hype. I get virtually zero rear suspension movement while pedaling on smooth asphalt.
I'll upgrade the wheels at some point but that's about it.
Bike Setup: Running tubeless with Kenda Nevegal up front, KS dropper seatpost
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: August 19, 2011
Strengths: Price. This thing rips with amazing speed up, across and (surprisingly) down.
Weaknesses: That stupid piece of plastic between the wheel and cassette fell of and nearly destroyed my derailleur.
Never enjoyed riding so much.
I have a long steep rocky hill at the back of my house that I couldn't climb with a 26 hardtail or my all mountain Dualie so I went 29er. The 29er rips it, without stopping. Amazing.
The speed on the road with this bike between XC trails is fast and would leave any similar 26er way behind.
My choice of 2012 model 29er dualie at sub AU$3000 (entry level) was Giant Anthem/Specialized Epic comp/Trek hi-fi. Giant kills the competition with it's spec list, kills it. How they ride when you read bike forums comes down mainly to opinion, although possibly Giant wins that too.
Bike Setup: Stock 2012 - minus the aforementioned plastic.
a Weekend Warrior
from Kansas City, MO, USA
Date Reviewed: August 16, 2011
Strengths: Price, some components and performance.
Weaknesses: Weight, some components
This is my first full suspension bike as well as 29er. I am riding over, around and through things I would have never attempted on my old hardtail. My confidence is elevated and I have to be careful to allow my skills to develop before getting in over my head.
For my money this was the best, most well equipped bike in its price range/class. The frame is the same as the X2 and X1 and the fork and 15mm TA were big selling points. The drive train, brakes, and wheelset will be upgraded/replaced as needed, but are good enough for now.
Similar Products Used: Tested Specialized FSR Comp 29er, Specialized Epic Comp 29er and Gary Fisher (Trek) HiFi Deluxe. Also considered Salsa Spearfish but no local dealer had one is stock to test ride and I was not about to buy a $2K+ bike with out riding it.
Prior to purchase I was riding an Klein hardtail, which I still use.
Bike Setup: Stock. Looking to upgrade a few items soon, but for the money stock components are solid.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: August 2, 2011
Strengths: Takes hits, I can ride long periods of time, great geometry, brakes are sweet and I swear it makes riding 20% easier than an equivalent 26" bike b/c it's so damn fast. Swooping around turns makes me feel like i'm on a road bike.
Weaknesses: I hear that the wheels aren't great but at this price, something's gotta give.
I think that this is an excellent bike for under $2.5k. It is so detail-oriented an all the high quality parts that I really think an equivalent boutique brand would run you quite a bit more.
Similar Products Used: demo'd some 26" and some hardtail bikes.
a Cross Country Rider
from Folsom, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: July 12, 2011
Strengths: Too many to list. FAST, Stiff where it's supposed to be. Love the Fox suspension. Steers quick and rides super nice
Weaknesses: Weight. The parts are lower-end, work well, but heavy. I pulled the entire drivetrain off and upgraded.
Super-Good bike. Great frame/fork stiffness which you can feel going downhill and/or on the brakes. Frame is SOLID, even for us big fat dudes. Really responsive to steering input and I love the White frame. Didn't like the upper models (colors or components), so I bought at this level and pulled the entire drivetrain off and went for an upgrade. Shifts/rides fantastic. Best 29er I've owned yet. Got it down to 25.3lbs. LOVE IT