Giant’s mountain bikes had a number of upgrades from 2008, mainly longer travel and lower weights. Ã‚Â The Anthem X, above, went from 3.5″ to 4″ of travel all around while losing 185g from the frame. Ã‚Â Giant also relaxed the head angle a bit, presumably for better handling on the way down the mountain. Ã‚Â All together, the bike is a respectable 23lbs built with SRAM XO (w/o pedals) and MSRP’s for $5,600, which puts it very near the new Trek Top Fuel and Specialized Epic S-Works in weight, but about $1,500 less.
Click “more” for additional pics and models, from hard tail up to 6″ travel All Mountain bikes…
The lower shock mount shares the pivot point with the bottom rocker arm, saving weight and simplifying the rear end. Ã‚Â Interestingly, the linkage used for the Anthem X (shown here) is different than the linkage used for the Anthem Advanced (below, carbon).
The mostly white frame had a very nice sheen to it, beee-u-tiful. Ã‚Â The downtube is squared off like their TCR SL road frame, giving it a stiff headtube and bottom bracket. Ã‚Â Even with that and square-to-triangletop tube, the overall look of the bike is soft, smooth and fast. Ã‚Â Whether or not it is fast is something we’ll report on shortly…there’s a local demo day coming up. Ã‚Â You can see their remaining 2008 demo dates here.
The Anthem Advanced is the XC Race version, with a full carbon frame and 3.5″ of travel. Ã‚Â It’s basically unchanged from 2008, but worth looking at. Ã‚Â MSRP is $7,000.
Note the different linkage. Ã‚Â The 4″ travel upgrade for the aluminum frames didn’t make it to the carbon version for ’09, so what you’re looking at is what the ’08 bikes looked like across the board. Ã‚Â I’m waiting on a call back from one of their product managers to hear why they didn’t change all frames and will update this post when I do.
UPDATE: Here’s the deal. Ã‚Â Due to production cycles, the Aluminum frames are what get updated first. Ã‚Â The tooling and dies, etc., to do a new carbon frame are considerably more expensive, so perhaps they’re making sure the new design is rock solid for 2009 before fully committing. Ã‚Â More likely, though, is that the Anthem Advanced carbon frame you see here is actually heavier than the 4″ travel aluminum Anthem X. Ã‚Â Without giving away any details, Giant’s marketing/product liason Andrew Justkaitis said simply “…so you can imagine what we’re working on for 2010.“
Translation: Ã‚Â Look for a sick light Giant carbon Anthem XC race rig with 4″ travel around Interbike time next year.
The Giant Trance (shown above) is the 5″ travel mountain bike from Giant. Ã‚Â They also offer the Reign (not shown) with 6″ travel. Ã‚Â These two bikes are basically the same from ’08, but they did get a minor spec update in that the forks now use the 15mm thru-axle system to stiffen and strengthen the steering. Ã‚Â MSRP ranges from $1,500 to $5,500.
Now we see where the Anthem got their upgraded suspension design from…
For the pure racer, the XTC Advanced SL carbon fiber hardtail is your whip. Ã‚Â The SL is the frameset only option that weighs just 1050g and retails for $2,500. Ã‚Â The frameset comes with an integrated headset with composite spacers and head cap. Ã‚Â The complete bikes are Aluminum models ranging from $870 to $1,900 and are generally low- and mid-range spec for the moderate enthusiast rider.