Giant shocked the bike industry when they announced that the Anthem XC race bike was going 27.5″. At the time, wheel size was still a fierce debate, and even though one version of the 29″ Anthem remained in the line, it seemed that 27.5″ wheels were the way forward for Giant – even for XC racing. Now a few years later, it looks like Giant is going back to the wagon wheels with a new race focused Anthem 29. There’s still some information locked up in the vault, but we’re able to get the idea of what’s coming…

Giant has announced three new editions for their 2018 Anthem 29 lineup. There’s the full carbon Anthem Advanced Pro, the Anthem Advanced which has a carbon frame and aluminum swingarm and the aluminum Anthem. Each version is equipped with 100mm of front suspension and 90mm in the back, plus they come tubeless ready and setup on 1x drivetrains. Pairing a trunnion mounted shock with Boost 110 & 148mm hub spacing allows them to shave an inch off the chain stays from last year’s Anthem X 29er, making them 17.2″ long. Relative to the 2017 edition, they slightly stretched the top tube, slackened out the head angle to 69° from 71.5° and steepened the seat tube to 73.5º from 73°. Frame technologies include Giant’s Overdrive headset using a 1.5 – 1.125 taper, Powercore 92mm bottom bracket and the updated Maestro suspension system with a composite rocker.

All photos c. Giant

The Anthem Advanced Pro 29 is equipped with Sram’s Eagle 1×12 drivetrain, Factory Fox Float 32 fork and remote controlled Float rear shock, and Giant’s carbon XCR0 wheels. The wheelset has Giant’s Dynamic Balanced Lacing [DBL] technology which claims to offer better efficiency, control and durability. It’s Giant’s lightest 29er full-suspension frame which weighs in 125g less than the Anthem Advanced version.

The Anthem Advanced 29 is next in line and offers many of the same technologies as the Pro edition. It has a 1×11 Shimano SLX drivetrain, a RockShox Sid with a remote and Monarch RT3 rear shock. Similar to the Pro, the XCR1 wheels also have Giant’s DBL technology, but come with a slightly heavier build. Just looking at the frames, the Anthem Advanced has an ALUXX SL aluminum swingarm while the Pro keeps it carbon.

Last in the lineup is the Anthem 29. The frame is Giant’s ALUXX SL aluminum from head tube to rear dropouts and still gets the Maestro’s stiff and lightweight carbon rocker. The build includes the new Sram GX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain (with Stylo crank), Performance Fox Flot 32 fork with remote and Float rear shock, along with the XCR1 wheels (DBL not specified).  Stay tuned while the full component breakdowns, geometry charts and pricing sheets become available.


  1. 27mm seatpost only making adding a dropper serioulsy complicated (gravity dorpper or cheap ebay looks like the only options). Why did they do that ? Would be such a great bike with 30.9 or 31.8.

    • If you require a droper seat post this is obviously the wrong bike for you, it is not designed for long technical down hills which require a dropped seat.

      • Plenty of world cup XC racers are putting droppers on their bikes. Floria Vogel, Chloe Woodruff, Maja Wloszczowska, Julien Absalon… Antoine is right, this bike needs dropper compatibility.

        • I am not sure I am sold on dropper seat posts just yet for Cross Country but I still believe in running an oversize seat post because they have better engineering section properties under compressive loads. So if you are not running a dropper post it will let you run a high modulas carbon fiber seat post.

          • Not sure where you’re getting the “better engineering section properties” idea. What? Furthermore, high modulas Carbon has nothing to do with tube diameter.

          • There is no such thing as “engineering section properties”. What you are looking for is “area moment of inertia” of a tube shape and size, which has nothing to do with “high modulas” (sic) carbon fiber or not.

    • I’ve been using a KS Lev Integra on my Highball and it has been great. Easy to come by in 27.2mm but limited to 100mm drop.

    • Where did you get 27.2 from? Giant has been 30.9 for a very long time.

      Re…. not needing droppers for XC, maybe in Kansas!

  2. I dont know what to believe anymore. A few years ago giant told us that 27.5 was the ultimate wheel size for all bikes. Now xc race bikes needs to be 29? Does that mean they were wrong? I’m so confused. Its a good thing that I ignored their last announcement and kept my 29er xc bike, does this mean that they are wrong again and I should sell it asap?

      • Actually the driving motivation to switch to larger wheel sizes is the fact that american bicycle import tarifs are driven by wheel size. So by going with wheels sizes that not included in the tarrifs the bicycle companies can make more profit $$$.

            • The categories shown there are under 25″ wheel, and over 25″ wheel. So it doesn’t differentiate between 26″, 27.5″ and 29″.

          • That’s not true. Tire cross section impacts tariffs not wheel size. Road bikes are around 5.5% and MTBs 11.2%. Wheel size is irrelevant. Look on US Customs website.

            Road bikes definition is. Bicycles having a front wheel exceeding 55 cm but not exceeding 63.5 cm in diameter and a rear wheel exceeding 63.5 cm in diameter, weighing less than 16.3 kg complete without accessories and not designed for use with tires having a cross-sectional diameter exceeding 4.13 cm, valued $200 or more each

            MTB is considered “other”

            It’s also a myth that the Industry is pushing wheel sizes on consumers. The changing standards are a nightmare for Manufacturers and adds massive cost in all areas but they are chasing trends in a rapidly changing market. No-one is currently getting rich in the Bike Industry. That is a fact.

    • A local guy just KOM’d a main loop in my area on 26′. Makes me think that if you are not at the pro elite level, the difference between a 27.5 and a 29 is negligable.

      • Biggest bonus of 29 is consistency and performance accessibility. I’m not much faster now that i’m racing 29er. But i feel safe doing similar performance that sounded seriously skechy. In the pas i was falling in races with a 1/2 rate. Now i did not have serious racing accident in a long time and my speed is there.

      • You can get a 29er to be as fast a 26er but you have to pay attention to wheel weight and shave every gram possible to reduce the acceleration penalty as much as possible which is what the pro’s are doing.

      • My 26 hard tail race bike is lighter and faster up a smooth climb than any 29er, but I can ride 29er all day and be faster overall on most race courses.

        • That pretty much sums it up.

          At the start of a race and you are pretty confident on the bike wheel size do not change much. Once you start getting tired your lines are usually not as perfect as they should be with lots of small errors and you tend to be less active with your upper body. A 29er help smooth out those errors by losing less momentum on rocks, roots and … ahem… body parts sometimes too while with a 26″ you’ll lose speed much quicker and have to put a foot down earlier as well.

      • With enough power, one can overcome other deficiencies. 29er is best for racing because the larger wheels have better rollover and less rolling resistance. The difference is greater for us regular joes and our feeble power output than it is for pros. I thought this argument was put to bed years ago…

  3. As someone once said, though I forget who, it’s funny that that a company called GIANT pushed for the middle wheel size so much. They’re only continuing this trend by pushing for the smaller post size too.

    I say they should make their entire line 36ers.

  4. I’m intrigued, but at the same time not sure about 90mm in the rear compared to 100mm….and I’m also a bit annoyed they’d go 27.2 for the seatpost, making the dropper prospects slim.

  5. Crap! Now has a Trek dealer I can’t use that against Giant. Sold many of Trek TopFuel’s because Giant did not make a 29er.

    • Personally I think having a life size poster of XC Racer Emily Batty would be a more effective sales tool then using wheel size against Giant.

      Emily has won a bronze medal at the 2016 World Championships. Batty is the current Pan American Games champion and was the silver medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She won the gold medal at the Pan Am games in Toronto in 2015 in her home country.

  6. Nice looking bike. But wheel size is the biggest con the industry ever sold the public. And it seems they missed the mark going with a 27.2 seatpost.

  7. The weight difference between a 26″ and 29″ wheel set with Stan’s No Tubes Valor Pro Wheel set with Kenda SB8’s 2.1″ tire size is only 222 grams. It is only a 82 gram weight penalty if you run Kenda 1.95″ SB8’s which could be probably offset with light weight brake rotors and titanium bolts.

    With a minimal weight difference and the bicycle industry pretty much decided on 29″ wheels for XC racing I think Giant just finally relented and went with it.

  8. The marketing spew trying to convince everyone that 29ers didn’t work the last few years was funny. The MAESTRO suspension just didn’t work with big wheels and the bikes were not fun…They were fast, just not fun. The re-design puts them on par with everyone else in terms of chainstay length and ride quality. They should fire the cosmetics guy. I’m sure they will sell boatloads of them as they will be cheaper than the competition.

    • Some Giant could have better graphic but i think they still look cool. The top one is really pretty to me but i prefer more flashy design. I bought for my father some time ago a Trance 3 which has a nice shiny bright red paint, definitely cool looking bike. Some are good, some could be better.

  9. So here’s what happened;
    Giant was the last major manufacturer to bring a 29er to market. They lost countless sales because of this. Then with 27.5 on the horizon they (and several other brands) quickly adopted this new wheel size for fear of missing out on sales again. Now, with 27.5 beginning to fade and 29 coming back into the headlines because of DH and Endurbro they’re trying not to miss out again. It doesn’t matter which wheel size is actually better, faster or more proven. It simply about selling bikes to the masses.

    • 29 er are fast and stable which are both good thing for racing. Been riding 29er since they come to france, would never buy anything else. I still ride other ppl bike in 27.5 and 26 from time to time. Each time it remember me why i ride 29. Then i can get that for some 27.5 is already plenty, but for those seeking speed and consistency it’s hard to beat.

  10. ISO: 601 mm
    ISO: 602 mm
    ISO: 603 mm

    It might take some time, but one of these will eventually be another wheel size option.

  11. On a side note, the guys filming this video were riding e-bikes on trails specifically marked with “No e-bike'” signs. These trails are managed by the BLM as non-motorized. As a local who truly enjoys these trails, I certainly cannot support a bike company that doesn’t support us.

What do you think?