Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.
By Singletrack.com Test Crew
Check out the Giant Trance X0 review.
As Giant’s Trance X0 is a pure trail bike, the company’s Anthem X1’s four-inches are better left to racing and less heavy-hitting trails.
Sure, you could take the Anthem out on an extended trail ride where climbing would be efficient and fun. But descending technical singletrack would be more physically and mentally draining than on the Trance X0. And after a long day in the saddle on the Anthem, those hits to the body and concentration would begin to take their toll.
But that’s not to say the Anthem isn’t a capable rig; far from it. The rear suspension works great picking up medium- and larger-sized hits thanks to the company’s Maestro suspension, which uses four pivot points that, according to Giant, neutralize pedaling and braking forces while allowing the suspension to remain fully active.
That said, there’s no disguising the fact the ride is that of a four-inch bike, which isn’t a negative thing for a race bike.
“I don’t find it to be really supple in the rear suspension, but it picks up the mid-size hits just fine,” said one tester. “It has what I call a ‘deadening’ feel to the rear suspension, which in my mind means that it works, and you know it’s working, but it doesn’t telegraph through the frame that it’s picking off bumps.”
Out on the trail, lowering the air pressure in the tires, shock and fork made for a more compliant-feeling ride, but doing so took away from the Anthem’s strong suits — quick handling and efficient pedaling.
As with its Trance cousin, the Anthem’s hydro-formed aluminum frame is plenty stiff, which translates into climbing efficiency even on technical trail.
“It claws uphill very well, as you would expect from a race bike,” a test rider said.
Overall, our Anthem rig was a full pound lighter (25.08 lbs as tested) than the Trance. This could explain somewhat the feeling that the bike doesn’t like to plow through obstacles as much as it wants to have a line picked. Nonetheless, the Anthem is stable enough to give a sense of outrunning the suspension travel, but also nimble enough to stay on the line you’ve picked.
Unlike the Giant Trance X0, where we say “ixnay” on the XC, the Anthem X1 could do double duty on the track and trail if needed. But the Anthem feels like a very pure cross-country bike. Its hallmarks are very quick turning and efficiency in climbing.
Depending on the trail and how far the bike is pushed, the Anthem’s four-inches keep it stable on the descents. The key with the Anthem is just how far a rider is pushing the bike; keep it within its limits on technical trail and the bike will perform just fine. On a typical cross-country course, the bike will hang on the outer edges like you’d expect from a high-end ride. And at $3,700 its an attainable racer right out of the box.