Giant's Reign still rules the kingdom of enduro
The 2018 Giant Reign Advanced 0 has class leading sizing and geometry plus a race-tuned coil shock and revised suspension linkage.
Giant Reign Advanced 0 need to know
- New Reign frame with revised suspension, sizing and geometry
- Metric shock and Boost 148mm rear end bring the Reign bang up-to-date with the latest standards
- Addition of a carbon upper link saves weight and increases stiffness
- Travel is kept at 160mm front and rear
- Schwalbe tyres are replaced by Maxxis on all four models
- Reign Advanced 0 gets a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil shock with remote lockout
Giant Reign Advanced 0 first ride
What is it about that brief nap, just before a plane takes off, that’s so restorative? As I awoke to the flight deck announcing “arm doors and cross check” my focus quickly switching from the journey to the destination… I was heading to Italy to ride the new Giant Reign. It’s a bike that’s been close to my heart for some time now. It’s won mbr’s enduro bikes test two years running and it has been my go-to ride for testing products and general mucking around in the woods. So while we were cruising comfortably at 30,000 feet, I starting thinking about what I’d change to make the Reign even better. First thing on my to-do-list would be to steepen up the seat angle to improve climbing efficiency, especially on the L and XL sizes.
Every other aspect of the geometry and sizing on the Reign is pretty dialled, which goes to show just how far ahead of the curve Giant was when it last revised the Reign three years ago. Sure, I could see Giant increasing the reach measurement to keep abreast of development, but I wouldn’t consider it a necessary change. One aspect of the Reign that does need addressing though is the shock, or more specifically, the spring progression. We’ve always had to add volume reducers to the shock to prevent the bike ripping through its 160mm travel in a heartbeat, and while that’s a simple fix, it’s one that Giant really should take care of.
The shock on the Reign also has a relatively short stroke for a 160mm travel bike, which means it has to work harder and runs hotter on longer descents, which can lead to inconsistent damping. Not such an issue in the UK, but it would explain why Giant’s EWS team have been using coil shocks instead of air.
Going to a longer stoke Trunnion mounted Metric shock would probably be ideal then, but the advantage really would be about better heat management and reliability, not increased sensitivity, as the Reign already has its shock mounted on bearings rather than bushings. It’s one of the primary reasons that the bike tracks terrain so effectively. The other is that, unlike some carbon bikes, the Reign frame never feels too stiff, or jarring.
Obviously Boost dropout spacing is the latest go-to standard so I’m expect to see that update, and the front mech mount will probably disappear to make all models 1x specific. I could also see Giant switching to a carbon upper link, just like it did when it updated the Giant Trance, or even a full carbon rear end.
So how did my wish list/predictions measure up?
We’ll, I didn’t get off to a great start, as the seat angle remains unchanged for 2018. The new Reign does however get a longer-stroke Metric shock, which lowers the leverage ratio by 7.5per cent.
Travel remains the same at 160mm, but the Maestro suspension linkage has been tweaked to offer more support. As such, the 2018 Reign pedals and accelerates better, and it doesn’t sink into its travel as much when your weight shifts rearward on steep climbs. So my main concern about the seat angle being too slack is a non-issue, especially with the remote lockout on the rear shock.
As predicted, Giant has switched to a 1x only design and a Boost rear end, the combination of both increasing tyre clearance by a hair. The new Reign doesn’t however get a carbon rear end, and with hindsight being 20/20, I should have seen that one coming.
Giant is a brand based on sound engineering practice, not marketing, and with little weight saving to be gained with a carbon rear end it’s sticking with aluminium. It has however switched to a carbon upper link, which Giant claims is lighter and stiffer than the alloy one it replaces.
Giant has updated the sizing too, adding 15mm to the reach measurement on all four frame sizes. As such, the reach on the size L jumps from a respectable 457mm to a rangy 473mm. The really cool thing about the size change is that the 2018 medium is now 1mm longer than last years size L, so by going down a size you can ride the same length bike with a shorter seat tube.
To keep the fit roughly the same as the 2017 Reign, the stem lengths have been chipped back by 10mm. In fact, the size and fit of the new bike feels remarkably similar to the old bike, even though the increased reach measurement means that you are effectively going up a frame size.
And I couldn’t really put my finger on what was causing it to feel that way. Maybe it was the increased dynamic ride height of the revised suspension making the bike sit up more, or it could just be that the big mountain terrain we were riding dwarfed the size change. That’s not to say that the bike felt small, it just wasn’t as big a jump as I’d anticipated. The terrain also highlighted the need for sintered metal pads in the Guide disc brakes, the rear really lacking bite when running red hot.
Specification wise, the Giant carbon wheels have been replaced by alloy DT Swiss Spline 1501s, and out go the Schwalbe tyres, making way for Maxxis. Other than those changes the build on the on top- end Reign Advanced 0 remains largely unchanged for 2018. It’s still running a RockShox Lyrik suspension fork, SRAM X01 drivetrain, with a 800mm wide carbon Giant handlebar and 150mm Giant dropper post rounding out the package.
The hierarchy within the range remains the same too. So you have two carbon models, and two alloy bikes to choose from. Taken together, the four distinct models cover a comprehensive price range from the entry-level alloy bike at £2,649 to the race-ready Reign Advanced 0 at £6,499.
All modes aren’t available in all four fames sizes however. Which means the top end Reign Advanced 0 and entry-level aluminium Reign 2 only come in S, M and L sizes. If you really want a Reign 2 or an Advanced 0 in XL though, the good news is that they are both available in Europe. So forget the booze cruise, just nip over to France and pick one up.