Spotted in prototype form at Sea Otter and officially announced in July, Interbike was our first chance to get some hands on time with the new Giant Anthem X 29er, and we learned quite a bit from their marketing guy Andrew Justkaitis.
First up there will be four trim levels from $3,200 down to $1,700. The model pictured here is the top of the line one, and at $3,200 it’s priced very, very well for the spec. How did they do this? Well, Giant has a lot of buying power among it’s suppliers for one, but they’ve built this bike (and a lot of their 2011 bicycles) up with a lot of house-brand parts, including the complete cockpit (except saddle) and wheels.
Justkaitis says this gives them better quality control as well as letting them exactly match colors across the frame, but it also helps keep costs down.
When we reviewed their XTC 29er, one of the highlights was Giant’s new 29er wheelset…so that was the first thing we asked about. No, the Anthem doesn’t have the same wheels, but the changes to this 2nd generation wheelset make them a bit lighter at the rim. See how, along with a full technical run down of the frame and actual bike weight, after the break…
The complete bike in size Large weighs inat 27lbs 5oz…not too bad for a 29er dual boinger mountain bike at this price point with a full 3×10 drivetrain and housebrand parts.
Up front, the tapered head tube and MegaDrive oversized downtube keep things stiff.
Their new ‘Powercore’ integrated bottom bracket has integrated BB86 pressfit bearings, which is the first mountain bike that Giant has used pressed-in bearings. They did it because it gave them a bigger BB shell, which gives them more weld area. Asked why they didn’t flair the tubes out to the edges to take full advantage, Justkaitis said they had to leave room for the linkages, but you can see here that the welds for the downtube are all the way out to where normal BB shells would end in order to allow for threaded in BB cups, so it appears they’ve made the most of the design.
Speaking of those linkages, Justkaitis says building their Maestro suspension design into the 29er platform wasn’t as straightforward as it looks. They had to really wrap the lower linkage around the bottom bracket shell to keep the pivots where they needed to be.
Here’s a look at the full suspension set up. In our test rides (here, and more recently here), the Maestro suspension design works really well, and as soon as we can get an Anthem X 29er in our review queue, we’ll report back on how it translates to larger wheels.
The rear end has post mount brake tabs…
… and plenty of tire clearance for XC-oriented tires, which is what this bike is made for (although Giant team rider Carl Decker has been known to race Super-D on it).
All Anthem X bikes, both 26″ an 29″, come with 15mm thru axles on the front.
Now, about those wheels. What we liked about the Giant 29er wheels on the XTC is that they were super wide and designed to allow you to run pretty low tire pressure…a big plus given that that bike is a hardtail. And from testing other wide-rimmed wheels (like Ellsworth’s, for example), we’ve come to really like the tire contact patch that a wider rim allows. The new Giant P-XC2 wheels use the same rim width as their originals that come on the XTC 29er, but are 5mm shallower and about 3mm narrower, ending up 22g lighter.