First ride review: Giant Reign 29 – the revival of an absolute classic
The Giant Reign is a classic in the enduro segment. It was a mainstay of Enduro racing’s formative years. However, things have been quiet around the bike and it’s become quite dated. That’s all about to change with the new Giant Reign 29 – we’ve put it to the test.
Less is more, or why 146 mm travel is enough
Giant isn’t a brand that follows every trend and it often takes the truly gigantic bike manufacturer some time to implement changes, but when Giant do something, they do it right. Which is exactly what they did with the Reign 29. As the name suggests, the bike rolls on big 29″ wheels and it comes with 160 mm travel up front and 146 mm at the rear. It may not sound like much at first, but to Giant, the quality of the travel is more important than the length. The goal was to create a bike that responds sensitively yet offers enough reserves for hard hits, all without wallowing its travel and making the bike feel cumbersome.
The Maestro linkage on the new Reign has been further refined, reducing the leverage ratio to 16% progression (0-100% travel). This achieves a more constant rebound rate and thus offers more traction.
The new Giant Reign 29 in detail
Of course, Giant haven’t only revised the rear linkage and gone for larger wheels, the frame itself has also been updated. The main pivot point has been moved further forward, allowing you to insert the seat post deeper into the seat tube. This means that the Reign is now compatible with longer dropper posts. Speaking of compatibility, the new Reign 29 also has enough room in the front triangle to accommodate a water bottle and the carbon fibre models are FOX Live Valve ready.
Giant rely on a carbon fibre rocker link and Trunnion Mount shock across the range (including the aluminium models). Unfortunately, Giant haven’t changed the cable routing and still use the same rubber plugs, which often detached themselves from the frame in the past. The chainstay protector also seems like a bit of a half-hearted effort compared to the elaborately crafted versions seen on the bikes of many of their competitors.
All the latest trends combined – the geometry of the new Reign
Longer, slacker, lower – these are the latest trends in the geometry of Enduro bikes. The Reign also ticks all of these boxes. For example, the 65° head angle is slack, the 493 mm reach in size L is long, and the bottom bracket with a drop of 30 mm is pleasantly low for quick direction changes. Giant also rely on short offset forks with either 42 mm (RockShox) or 44 mm (FOX). The stack height is rather low compared to the length of the bike. The 439 mm chainstays are neither very long nor exaggeratedly short.
|Seat tube||431 mm||431 mm||464 mm||496 mm|
|Top tube||573 mm||600 mm||640 mm||665 mm|
|Head tube||100 mm||110 mm||110 mm||120 mm|
|Chainstays||439 mm||439 mm||439 mm||439 mm|
|BB Drop||30 mm||30 mm||30 mm||30 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,188 mm||1,215 mm||1,258 mm||1,265 mm|
|Reach||428 mm||455 mm||493 mm||516 mm|
|Stack||619 mm||619 mm||628 mm||637 mm|
Three carbon, two aluminium and one very special Reign model
Giant is offering the new Reign 29 in three carbon versions called the Reign Advanced Pro, as well as two aluminium Reign 29 1 and Reign 29 2 models. As in the past, there will also be a Reign SX model featuring a 170 mm travel fork and a coil shock. The Reign 29 SX is based on the same aluminium ALUXX SL frame.
Pricing for the new Reign 29 starts at a fair € 2,900 for the Reign 2 followed by the Reign SX for € 3,799. The most affordable Reign Advanced Pro will set you back by € 4,300. For the flagship Reign Advanced Pro 0, you’ll have to pay € 8,500.
All models come with a 12-speed SRAM Eagle drivetrain and high-quality MAXXIS tires. Unfortunately, only the flagship model is specced with the more robust EXO+ variant – even the SX has to make do with the EXO casing. Despite the improvement in the design of the seat tube/rocker mount, GIANT continue to fit rather short dropper posts. The S comes with a 100 mm dropper, the M with 125 mm and the L and XL with 150 mm. The models specced with RockShox suspension don’t get piggy-back shocks either. In our eyes, the bike offering the best value for money is the Reign 1 with a FOX 36 Performance Elite Grip2 fork and X2 shock, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain and CODE R brakes. The flagship Advanced Pro 0 leaves nothing to be desired, built up with carbon wheels and complete FOX factory suspension. You also get the Chameleon paint job that shimmers different colours depending on the light.
Die Ausstattungsvarianten im Überblick
|Reign Advanced Pro 29 0||Reign Advanced Pro 29 1||Reign Advanced Pro 29 2||Reign 29 1||Reign 29 2||Reign 29 SX|
|Fork||Fox 36 Float GRIP2||RockShox Lyrik Select||Fox 36 Performance Elite GRIP2||RockShox Yari RC||Fox 36 Performance Elite GRIP2|
|Shock||Fox Float X2 Factory||Fox Float X2||RockShox Deluxe select+||Fox X2 Performance||RockShox Deluxe Select+||Fox DHX2 Performance Elite|
|Brakes||SRAM Code RSC||SRAM Code R||Shimano MT520||SRAM Code R||Shimano MT520||SRAM Code R|
|Drivetrain||SRAM X01 Eagle||SRAM GX Eagle||SRAM NX Eagle||SRAM GX Eagle||SRAM NX Eagle||SRAM NX Eagle|
|Wheels||Giant TRX-0 29 WheelSystem||Giant TR-1 29 WheelSystem||Giant AM 29, tubeless ready||Giant TR-1 29 WheelSystem||Giant AM 29, tubeless ready||Giant AM 29, tubeless ready|
|Tires||Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 WT/ DHRII 2.4 (v/h) – TR/3C/EXO/MaxxTerra|
|Seatpost||RockShox Reverb Stealth||Giant Contact Switch dropper post|
|Price||€ 8,500||€ 4,999||€ 4,300||€ 4,000||€ 2,900||€ 3,799|
The Giant Reign 29 Advanced Pro 0 on the trail
To test the Giant Reign 29 Advanced, we travelled to Revelstoke in Canada. There we were able to put the Reign 29’s climbing capabilities to the test on a technical uphill trail as well as some relaxed forest service roads on the first day. The riding position is pleasantly central, and the seat angle sufficiently steep so that you never feel like you’re pedalling from too far behind, even with the shock open and the saddle not pushed all the way forward. On even terrain such as forest roads, you can feel the rear suspension bobbing slightly, but it never wallows. It can be worth reaching for the climb switch in those situations, depending on personal preference. On technical climbs, the Reign offers a lot of traction and willingly climbs uphill. Thanks to the low weight of just 13.10 kg (manufacturers specs), the bike is pleasantly fleet-footed – but it’s still an enduro bike, of course. In tight sections, it takes some effort to get the front wheel around the corners. Due to the low bottom bracket in combination with the 170 mm cranks, you also have to be careful with the timing of your pedal strokes or risk snagging them on roots or rocks as we did several times.
When the trail points downhill, you immediately notice how much room you’ve got to move around on the bike. You feel super integrated between the big wheels, which instils you with a lot of confidence from the get-go. Let go of the brakes and the bike quickly picks up speed with the rear end sensitively absorbing irregularities on the trail. We have to praise the FOX Factory suspension at this point for its super sensitive and very defined performance. The fork and rear suspension harmonise well despite the difference in travel, always providing plenty of traction. Although it’s long, the bike doesn’t feel sluggish. The rear end provides a lot of pop and mid-stroke support which makes it easy to get the bike airborne or spontaneously change direction. Quickly switch to the high-line before you hit that turn? No problem!
The weight distribution between the wheels is somewhat back-heavy, which means that you have to shift your body weight forward to generate enough grip on the front wheel in flat sections and tight corners. However, if the terrain is steep enough and you’re going fast, the bike’s handling is very intuitive and extremely composed. Active riders will be able to ride the bike very directly but also get loose. The bike invites you to flick it into corners.
On steep and rough trails, the bike feels composed and instils the rider with confidence. Just let the brakes go and hold on. We would only have wanted a longer travel dropper post to get the saddle even further out the way. Due to the short head tube, we would also advise adding a few more spacers under the stem, which in turn reduces the reach by a few millimetres. The componentry proved to be reliable in our test and was perfectly suitable for the application. The carbon wheels were neither too stiff nor uncomfortable. We didn’t encounter any issues during the two days that we tested.
The Giant Reign 29 convinced us on demanding trails with its enormous composure and stability. Thanks to its active suspension, it doesn’t feel slow or cumbersome either. This is a bike that will put a smile on the faces of experienced racers as well as weekend warriors that typically ride rough and demanding trails. it climbs efficiently too. We would only have wanted a little more attention to detail on the frame.
- very stable, composed handling
- excellently balanced suspension
- hard to beat on steep terrain
- good value for money
- good climbing characteristics
- boring on flat trails
- technical climbs require physical effort and good crank timing
- a lot of room for improvement with regards to cable routing and chainstay protection
For more info head to: giant-bicycles.com