2015 Giant Reign: Initial Impressions
Kris built his Reign Advanced in time to get closing day at Canyon’s Resort, and he’s spent the first month on his new bike riding trails like Arcylon, Little Cottonwood Canyon, and putting in some XC time on Flying Dog in the snow. Joss got his Reign built just in time for the Ho-Down in Moab, and spent his first weekend riding Hymasa to Ahab and getting his second Enchilada run of the Fall. Below are our initial impressions of the bike.
Kris’s First Month on his Reign Advanced
The bike is long and low and slack—and that’s a good thing. It is significantly longer in its reach than anything I’ve ridden before, so I thought I’d be running a shorter stem to bring the reach back to something close to what I’ve become accustomed. However, after riding both full on bike-park terrain, as well as longer XC rides, I’ve grown to really like the longer reach. The seat-tube angle is steep enough to put me in a comfortable pedaling position on steep terrain, and the longer front/center gives me ample room to maneuver the bike around while still staying in a balanced position over the bottom bracket.
But don’t get it twisted, this isn’t a fast pedaling bike. There is a lot of suspension, and the thing is very slack. It does really well on steep, technical climbs for what it is, but this bike sprints up to speed from a dead stop more like a DH sled than an XC bike. However, when the going gets fast and rough, I found it easy to stay within the bike’s center of mass without having to get my body into any funky shapes—e.g. pitched way back on the steeps or cocked at funny angles in turns. The bike rolls down steeps so easily that it really needs steep terrain before it’s even tested, and it corners with so much traction that I found the bike sticking and shooting me out of corners that I had become used to drifting.
Joss’ First Weekend on his Reign
I’ve been running longer frames with shorter stems for a long time, so when I saw the numbers for the new Reign I was surprised to see that the top tube on the medium measured out longer than many of the size large frames I’d ridden in the past. Even though the reach is similar to bikes I’ve ridden in the past, the combination of 160mm of travel, 27.5-inch wheels , and the 65-degree head angle make this bike significantly longer in the wheelbase than any trail bike I’ve ever ridden.
I took my initial ride up Hymasa to descend Ahab, and while the bike felt a bit unwieldy at slow, technical speeds, I never felt like I was going fast once I opened it up. At no point did I feel like I was reaching the edge of control, yet my eyes were watering and I was blowing past groups of people on the trail who were left yelling, “Whoh! Sweet bike!”
I should mention that I built up Giant’s Reign 1, so it’s an understatement to say that the frame is bright orange. The bike stands out on the trail, and all weekend I had people shouting at me about my bike as I rode by.
On the Whole Enchilada the next day, the bike really shined. On the steeps descending Burro the bike came to life. Like descending Ahab the day before, I never really felt like I was going fast, which is to say I always felt confident and in control. Despite still working out the fine points on the balance of my suspension, the Reign had me confident and composed and blowing by crowds of tourists who had little cause to be on the trail beyond simple bragging rights.
I have a long way to go before I’ll feel like I’ve grown into this bike, which has me excited to spend as much time as I can aboard the thing. The suspension still needs some fine tuning, and for the first time in my life on mountain bikes, I may actually run spacers under my stem. The shorter head tube on the medium frame has my 20mm-rise bars lower than I’m used to. So even though I typically slam my stem, I may have to throw 5 or 10mm under there to bring it up a bit.
And Scott’s Been Getting Out on Our Rental Bikes (Giant Reign 2’s)