Review -

Back Issue | In Review: Giant Anthem Advanced SX 27.5

Originally featuring in the group test from Issue #015, we pitted the Giant Anthem Advanced SX 27.5 against a range of other XC bikes to see which could not only conquer the lesser aggressive discipline of cross-country, but handle the thrilling and more technically encompassing, enduro. This is how it panned out:

You know that little kid who hangs out with the older kids and demands to be included in the big-kid games? This is the kid who operates without any fear, can’t comprehend the phrase “not possible,” and doesn’t understand why anyone would say, “You’re too small.”

Abner Kingman 2015©
“This is the kid who operates without any fear, can’t comprehend the phrase “not possible,” and doesn’t understand why anyone would say, “You’re too small.”
Giant’s marketing material calls the SX a bike that “blurs the line between XC and trail,” which might actually be an understatement. Imagine that, a bike that performs above and beyond its marketing hype.
Giant’s marketing material calls the SX a bike that “blurs the line between XC and trail,” which might actually be an understatement. Imagine that, a bike that performs above and beyond its marketing hype.

That I-can-do-anything spirit is immediately noticeable when you climb aboard the Anthem Advanced SX. That and a whopping dose of “Quit taking shit so seriously, and let’s have some fun.” This was the bike that had us feeling the most playful, and it’s the bike we’re calling the most fun, our favorite – Best in Test.

Even being aimed at cross-country, the Anthem Advanced could still shred like an enduro bike.
Even being aimed at cross-country, the Anthem Advanced could still shred like an enduro bike.

To make the SX model, Giant takes its Anthem Advanced 27.5 XC racer, decorates it with flashier paint, and then swaps out some key components to make the bike perform better on the downhills. The SX gets a 120-millimeter RockShox Revelation RL fork, which pushes the head angle from 69.5 degrees back to a more stable 68.5. On rear shock duty for the 102 millimeters of Maestro suspension is a RockShox Monarch RT DebonAir shock. Giant then adds a house-branded Contact Switch dropper post, wider bars, a shorter stem, and wheels that are more suited to the little bike’s rowdy attitude.

You can make modifications to just about any bike, but Giant has done a mighty fine job of converting its flagship XC race bike into a micro-travel enduro machine. That’s right, we said it – micro-travel enduro. Are we suggesting yet another bike category? Are we suggesting you trade in your Reign? Let’s not get carried away. We’re simply saying that this short-travel “cross-country” bike felt a hell of a lot more capable than we’d ever imagined.

The SRAM Guide RS brakes are convincing with their solid does of braking power and good ergonomics. Less impressive is the Giant Contact SL Switch dropper seat-post; with only 100mm of travel, it left us wanting more.
The SRAM Guide RS brakes are convincing with their solid does of braking power and good ergonomics. Less impressive is the Giant Contact SL Switch dropper seat-post; with only 100mm of travel, it left us wanting more.
The cool carbon frame with internally routes cables comes in a bright and eye catching colour combo that is well suited to the decals on the RockShox Revelation RL fork and shock.
The cool carbon frame with internally routes cables comes in a bright and eye catching colour combo that is well suited to the decals on the RockShox Revelation RL fork and shock.
The RockShox Monarch RT DebonAir is responsive to  bumps and controls its 100mm of travel very efficiently. The downtube protector has rubbed off a little during testing.
The RockShox Monarch RT DebonAir is responsive to bumps and controls its 100mm of travel very efficiently. The downtube protector has rubbed off a little during testing.

Who’s the target market for this bike? People who absolutely hate having fun will probably not enjoy the Anthem Advanced SX. If your rides are mostly cross-country in nature but you love embracing your inner downhiller, then you’ll love this bike. If you’re a current or recovering XC racer looking to add a few more smiles to your riding, you’ll love this bike. If you’re a 160-millimeter aficionado who’s looking to add a bit of challenge to your after-work ride, you should take a look at this bike.

Abner Kingman 2015 ©
This bike is a bit of everyone, encompassing the thrilling nature of of enduro, XC and downhilling. Everyone will love this playful little bike.

Price: €4300.00
Weight: 11.32kg (Without pedals)
Travel: 120mm/100mm

Specification

Fork: RockShox Revelation RL
Rear Shock: RockShox Monarch RT DebonAir
Drivetrain: SRAM X01
Brakes: SRAM Guide RS 180/160
Seatpost: Giant Contacty SL Switch
Stem: Giant Contact SL
Handlebar: Giant Contact SL
Tyres: Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.25
Wheels: Giant P-TRX1

The other bikes in the field included: BMC Fourstroke FS02 | Cannondale Scalpel Carbon 2 | Felt Edict 1 29er | Ibis Ripley | Marin Rift Zone 8 | Trek Fuel EX 9.8 | Yeti ASRc.

For more info, visit: giant-bicycles.com

Words: Joe Parkin Photos: Abner Kingman