Giant Anthem changes suspension design and geometry to better cope with modern World Cup XC courses where everything is short 'n' steep 'n' very, very fast.
Yep, the new Anthem is the first Giant full suspension bike for approximately yonks that does not feature the Maestro twin-link suspension design. Does this mean we can expect to see other Giant models (Trance, Reign etc) ditching Maestro? Almost certainly no.
So why have Giant gone single pivot – okay, okay – linkage-driven single pivot on their best cross country mountain bikes? We think there are a few potential principal factors.
First and foremost, XC riders/racers (still) love hearing about things getting lighter. The new Anthem lops a not inconsiderable 250g off the weight of the Maestro-d Anthem. XC bods also like to hear about stiff thing. The new FlexPoint Pro design claims to stiffen up the (PressFit 92) BB area by 20% and the whole twist-stiffness of the frame by 7%.
Another thing that ditching the chainstay linkage affords is a shortening of said chainstay – this doesn’t really appear to be case here however (438mm vs 435mm) – so maybe the win here is better tyre clearance. Certainly the speccing of 2.4in tyres suggests this is the case.
The third and final thing is that a single-pivot can be more efficient under pedaling than a twin-linkage bike. Let’s not forget that we’re only dealing with 100m of travel on the back of an Anthem (fork travel is 110mm). Brands like Specialized and Santa Cruz have similarly ditched chain-stay pivot/linkage designs on short travel bikes; the Epic and Blur, respectively.
Aside from the change in suspension design, what else is different about the new Anthem? The geometry has been made a bit less XC sketchy. It’s a bit slacker up front, a bit steeper in the rear and bit longer in reach. A 67.5° head angle, a 75.5° seat angle and a 470mm reach (Large) may not sound very progressive to those of us used to post-Forward Geometry trail bike geometry numbers, but it’s certainly a move in the right direction.
Having said that, the fork is now 44mm offset which brings the front tyre contact patch back towards the rider again, so things aren’t as straightforward as it may seem.
It is nice to see not-long stems on XC bikes the new Anthem’s 70mm stem is not exactly short but it’s a bit better than the previous Anthem’s 80mm stem. Somewhat surprisingly the handlebar width has narrowed from 780mm to 760mm. Which is fine for a cross-country bike but still worth pointing out.
What else is new? The bikes come with Giant Composite wheelsets. new internal cable port design and neat MRP chain guides.Oh, and there’s a set of those dinky bolts on the underside of the top tube for mounting spares stuff to.
There are two models in the range: Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29 1 with Fox Live Valve for £6,999 and Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29 2 for £4,999.