Long awaited 29er version of the Giant Reign
The Giant Reign 29 is the long awaited 29er version of the Giant Reign. Full carbon frame with Maestro rear suspension delivering 146mm travel.
Giant Reign 29 need to know
- Fox Factory level suspension sees a 160mm 36 Grip 2 fork and 60mm stroke Float X2 shock
- Steeper seat angle and more progressive suspension boost pedalling efficiency
- Also available in a three alloy versions; which include an SX build with a 170mm fork and coil shock
As mountain bikers we are obsessed with numbers. How much does it weigh? What’s the reach measurement? Are 29in wheels faster than 27.5in? Every aspect of the bike is measured, calculated and quantifiable.
So when Giant announced that the travel on the new Reign 29 was 146mm, I instinctively questioned it. After all, that’s not much more suspension than most modern trail bikes.
It wasn’t a slip of the tongue or a typo. In fact, if you’re familiar with the Giant Trance 29, you’ll know that Giant’s 29er bikes have less travel on the rear than most, the focus being quality of travel over quantity every time.
In that vein, Giant has increased the progression on the 29in Reign over the 27.5in bike, so it’s now 16.6% across the full range of travel. It’s less progressive around the 30% sag mark, which gives a bigger window of set up possibilities without the suspension feeling weird; run it softer for steeper terrain, firmer to helping load the front tyre on flatter trails, it’s your call.
But why only 146mm of travel on a bike that’s designed to tackle the toughest EWS race courses? First up, Giant wanted to keep the chain stay length under 440mm: it’s 439mm, which instantly limits the amount of travel you can get out of the design. All things being equal, longer stays always increase travel.
Giant was also shooting for a desired leverage rate. Upping the travel without increasing the chain stay length would have meant upping the shock size, which would also have meant moving the upper link of the Maestro suspension up the seat tube. The knock-on effect being, less dropper post insertion, especially on the smaller frame sizes.
To improve pedalling efficiency over the old 27.5in Reign, Giant also steepened the seat tube angle significantly on the 29er. So much so, that you can now run the saddle centred on the head of the dropper post, where the nose of the saddle will line up directly over the BB. The bad news is that Giant is still running the same hard, pointy Contact saddle on the Reign 29 Advanced 0 that we’ve been complaining about for years.
With the steeper seat tube angle eating into the top tube length, and to make the sizing current, Giant extended the reach measurements across the size range: S 428mm, M 455m, L 493mm and XL 516mm.
As you can see there’s a pretty big jump between M and L. I rode the size L and even though it has the longest reach measurement of any mainstream 29er enduro bike I’ve tried to date, the Reign 29 never felt too big our unwieldy. In fact, it felt smaller than some bikes I’ve ridden with shorter reach numbers so don’t be afraid to upsize.
Bar the pointy saddle the rest of the specification on the flagship model is dialled. Maxxis EXO+ tyres, SRAM Eagle drivetrain and Code RSC brakes. Giant has done an about turn on its choice of wheel specification on its top end enduro bike though, favouring carbon rims over alloy.
That said, if you want the reliability of alloy hoops then the next model down is the bike to look at. The Reign Advanced Pro 29 1 shares the same full carbon frame and similar suspension components as the Advanced Pro 29 0 but costs £4,899 and is available in a size small in the UK rather than just M, L and XL like the Advanced 0.
Giant Reign Advanced Pro 29 0: first ride review
My initial impression of the Reign 29 Advanced 0 wasn’t the best. Sure it pedalled and climbed with new-found efficiency but the Reign 29 also felt harsh through the contact points and I was getting a lot of wheel defection on roots and rocks, of which there were plenty in Revelstoke, Canada. To make matters worse the bike also felt a touch lifeless, I struggled to preload the suspension and get the bike off the ground.
It would have been easy to assume that the carbon wheels, skinny grips and rock hard saddle were the sources of the harsness, but I looked to the 4-way adjustable Fox suspension for answers.
Having started the ride with the recommend settings, I backed off the high-speed compression on the 36 Grip 2 fork and Float X2 shock. I also reduced the rebound damping. Two subtle changes that completely transformed the ride experience. The fork tracked better on roots and off camber sections and the high frequency vibrations that I was experiencing in my hands and feet were gone.
My confidence in the bike soared, the Reign 29 feeling fast and efficient everywhere. My feet still got bounced of the pedals a couple of times in the fastest, roughest sections of trail and I’m not sure if that’s a set up issue, or simply reaching the limits of the 146mm travel. Also in the back of my mind I was never able to escape the thought that the new Reign 29 felt more long-travel trail bike than full-blown enduro rig. Which is no bad thing, as most of us have to pedal up to earn our turns. How it stacks up against bikes like the Santa Cruz Megatower and Yeti SB150 remain to be seen, but that’s a test I can’t wait to get stuck into.
UK Pricing and available sizes
Reign Advanced Pro 29 0 M, L, XL £7499
Reign Advanced Pro 29 1 S, M, L, XL £4899
Reign Advanced Pro 29 2 S, M, L, XL £3999
Reign 29 1 S, M, L, XL £3999
Reign 29 2 S, M, L, XL £2899
Reign 29 SX M, L, XL £3499