And thus the bike reviews begin!
Giant Anthem 27.5 3 Review
The 2014 Giant Anthem 27.5 3 is the base level for Giant’s new 27.5 Anthem platform. The Anthem itself is one of the most heralded bikes that Giant has and it also happens to be the same bike that I ride (in 29er version). So I am well acquainted with the bike itself and the Maestro technology in the rear suspension.
Specs From Giant’s Website
|Frame||ALUXX SL-grade Aluminum with 4" Maestro suspension|
|Fork||RockShox Recon Gold RL with 15mm thru-axle, lockout, OverDrive steerer and 100mm travel|
|Rear Shock||RockShox Monarch R|
|Shifters||Shimano Deore, Rapid Fire|
|Front Derailleur||Shimano Deore|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano Deore, Shadow Plus|
|Brakes||Shimano M395, hydraulic disc with 160mm rotors|
|Brake Levers||Shimano M395|
|Cassette||Shimano HG62 11x36, 10-speed|
|Crankset||Shimano Deore, 26/38|
|Bottom Bracket||Shimano Pressfit|
|Wheels||Giant S-XC2, double wall|
|Tires||Schwalbe Racing Ralph 27.5x2.25|
I do want to make a note that Giant’s website has this bike specced with all Shimano parts, but the bike I rode was a mix of Shimano & Sram as you can see in the photo. I also had Maxxis Crosmark tires instead of the standard spec Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires. I don’t think this made a difference in the ride. But full disclosure and honest stuff, ya know.
How It Rides
First let me say that the Giant Anthem 27.5 is a great bike. Well put together and supported by a terrific company that is heavily invested in the Texas region and especially here in DFW. The Anthem 27.5 was the first bike that I rode upon arriving at the dirt demo and I actually put 2 full laps in on this bike trying to really gauge the way it rode.
The big feeling that I had while riding this bike was that it felt miniature in size. My legs, shoulders, arms and back felt cramped or squished up toward the handlebars while I rode. I double checked the seat, the frame size and everything else about the bike, but it just felt small. For the first time since getting rid of my old bike which actually was too small for me, I felt like I didn’t fit on a bike. This was not something that I felt on any other 27.5 bikes, not even on the Anthem 27.5 0 or the Giant XTC 27.5.
I also felt that the bike was somewhat sluggish while climbing and on the flats. During descents it didn’t feel much different from the 29 that I’m used to, except for in one very gouged up hairpin-downhill corner. Ascending though it really did have a more sluggish feel to it. Important to note, that this was something I felt on ALL 27.5 bikes that I rode, not an indication of the Giant brand or the Anthem platform.
Giant Anthem 27.5 3 Overall Thoughts
As mentioned earlier, the Anthem 27.5 3 is a great bike that is well made and comes specced pretty well for the price tag. The ride was stable, though slightly cramped. Climbing seemed sluggish and so did flats, but it did feel very good and stable during the one chewed up hairpin corner on the trail.
I think that I have a bias towards riding 29ers because I am so used to mine and so take my review with a grain of salt. I definitely recommend you get to a local dealer or a Giant demo in your area to test ride one for yourself because your ride may be massively different from mine. In fact, I can say at this point that all but 1 person has disagreed with me on my standpoint with 27.5’s. Which means that a lot of people either really dig the way 27.5’s ride or… they’e drinking a lot of 27.5 koolaid.