Here comes the (Giant) Reign again, and it's lower, longer and slacker than ever


Remind me, where does the Reign fit in the Giant line-up?

Missing from the Giant line-up in 2014, the 160mm travel Reign is back and it’s longer, lower and slacker than ever.

So what’s new?

Given Giant’s wholesale switch to midsize wheels for 2014, it’ll come as no surprise that the Reign also goes 650b. And, frankly, it’s extremely unlikely we’ll see anything other than a continued phasing out of Giant’s remaining 29er offerings from now on. There’s also been another death in the family, but you won’t see us shed a tear about this one. Gone from every mountain bike is Giant’s Overdrive 2 steerer/stem system; the 1.25-1.5in tapered steerer that reduced stem choice in return for little discernable improvement in stiffness.

What else has changed apart from the move to 650b wheels?

Right off the bat, Giant is introducing both aluminium and ‘Advanced’ carbon versions of the Reign. Normal procedure would be to kick off in alloy and step up to carbon the following year, but – perhaps due to the unbelievably competitiveness of the 160mm category, and Giant’s investment in its enduro race team – the decision has been made to jump in feet first. On the flipside, only the front end is carbon – mated to an aluminium rear triangle – and the opportunity has been missed to create a single-ring specific frame with greater clearance and wider, stiffer, pivot stance. At present, it seems, there just isn’t a drivetrain affordable enough to give Giant the low-end price point it needs to go down this route.

The new Giant Reign enters a 160mm category stacked with rippers

The new Giant Reign enters a 160mm category stacked with rippers

Did Giant have to make any changes to the geometry to accommodate the bigger wheels?

Compared to the old 26in wheel Reign, the new bike is significantly longer, lower and slacker. Headline numbers are a 65.1º head angle, 435mm chainstay and 1,220mm wheelbase on the size large – that’s the same as Mondraker’s equivalent Dune XR. Full geometry, as measured on our size large demo bike, is as follows:

  • Head angle: 65.1º
  • Seat angle (actual seat tube angle): 68.6º
  • Front centre: 785mm
  • Chainstay: 435mm
  • Bottom bracket (with 2.3 Minion Fr and 2.3 High Roller 2): 340mm
  • Down tube: 711mm
  • Wheelbase: 1,220mm

Especially intriguing is Giant’s experimentation with fork offset. This is something that, until now, has been almost single-handedly championed by Trek, with its G2 geometry.

For those of you who are not geometry geeks, offset is one of the measurements that influences how the bike steers. Basically, as head angles get slacker, and axle heights get higher (thanks to bigger wheels) the steering develops a tendency to want to flop. To counteract this, Giant tried out a variety of different fork crown offsets. After blind testing, a unanimous decision was made to go with a greater-than-standard crown offset (46mm vs 42mm), which has the effect of reducing both trail and steering flop.

Reign Advanced 27.5 1

Reign Advanced 27.5 1

What else do I need to know?

There are four frame sizes available, from S to XL, in both frame materials. The frame accepts a 200mm eye-to-eye shock with a 57mm stroke, which means there’s space to fit a large oil volume shock such as the RockShox Vivid Air. Frame weight, without shock (size medium) is 2,260g for the Advanced and 2,460g for the all-aluminium version. The rocker link/upper shock mount uses a bearing for improved small bump sensitivity. Internal cable routing includes stealth dropper post ports. There’s a single water bottle mount on the down tube and moulded rubber down tube and chainstay protectors.

Giant Reign 27.5 1

Giant Reign 27.5 1

How many models are there in the range?

There are two Advanced carbon models and two all-aluminium models to choose from, although we are awaiting confirmation of which models will be brought into the UK and their pricing. Judging by some of the colours, it looks like Giant has finally learned how to let its hair down too.

Look out for a first ride on the new Reign Advanced 27.5 0 Team in mbr soon.