It’s fresh new bike time of the year, now from the folks at Giant and their women’s specific brand, LIV. We see a few slight changes to the ever-popular Maestro suspension designs in spec and, fewer 29ers in favour of the 27.5″ wheel size, and we see the introduction of some of the boldest coloured bikes yet from the big G.
No more Overdrive 2. We raise our glasses to Giant for ditching Overdrive 2 on the mountain bike range for 2015. Gone is the slightly irritating proprietary stem size needed with Overdrive 2 system (1 1/4″ and 1 1/2″ upper and lower bearing sizes) that claimed to add stiffness to the front end. Sure, it may have added stiffness, but with Giant or Giant dealers not really carrying a full range of stems, changing a fork or stem length was perceived more hassle than the added performance was benefitted.
More bigger travel bikes to be announced. With two more bikes yet to be officially released very soon (hint at the bottom of this post), we bring you a few of Flow’s highlights from the 2015 range.
Click the smaller images for more detail.
[divider]Anthem Advanced SX 27.5[/divider]
New for 2015 is the Anthem SX 27.5, which is basically an Anthem 27.5 with balls.
The Anthem 27.5 is Giant’s short travel, high speed, cross country dually with an efficient 100mm of Maestro Suspension goodness. For very good reason, the Anthem has been so incredibly popular in Australia, with a hard to beat balance of the important elements in a good honest bike; looks, efficiency, weight, durability and value. Giant are really pushing the 27.5″ wheel size, and each year we see less of the 29ers in the catalogue. Still offering the choice though for consumers though, with two 29er full suspension bikes remaining for 2015, in both composite (Anthem X Advanced 29er, $4999) and the lower cost aluminium 29er (Anthem X 29er, $2799).
It grows a 120mm fork (in place of a 100mm fork) for a slacker head angle, wider bars, a shorter stem and meatier tyres. There will be two models, one alloy $2799, one the top end composite version pictured below for $4999. Hats off Giant for noticing what the savvier riders are modifying to their bikes, we see a lot of riders adding these style of components especially 120mm forks to their Anthems over the last couple years, making the bike shred just a little harder on fast and buff trails but not wanting to go bigger in rear wheel travel.
[divider]XTC Advanced SL 27.5[/divider]
The term ‘SL’ is given to Giant’s lightest mountain bike frame, the XTC Advanced SL. With a lighter composite layup and super minimal frame shape, this guy has one thing in mind, racing buff trails with maximum power.
Also going down the route of 27.5″ wheels even more for 2015, Giant’s 29er hardtail range is down to just two models in there Advanced composite only, using the older style frame with the more square shaped profile. We could’t keep our eyes of this one below, the attention to detail in the graphics and spec colour choices will not help you find it in the dark, so very black.
Giant cover the whole gamut of cycling, with no area unrepresented, including the entry level dual suspension market with this seriously great value and well-manufactured Giant Stance 27.5 with 120mm of travel.
Borrowing the frame shapes and styles from the Maestro range of the Anthems and Trances, the Stance cuts down in production costs with a simplified suspension design. A RockShox Monarch rear shock pivots around a single pivot and ‘flex stay’ arrangement (replacing one suspension pivot towards the rear axle with an area of flex in the aluminium frame) keeps the frame price down, but the component spec is still super capable for real off road riding. This bike ain’t just a comfortable ride, it’s decked out for the dirt, at an entry level price of $1599.
[divider]Trance Advanced 27.5 2[/divider]
The trail ready Trance series remains unchanged for 2015, but we couldn’t get past this red number for its bang for buck at wallet friendlier $3499. At 140mm of travel, the Trance series nail that all-day trail bike category, with most models with an adjustable seatpost as standard, and great geometry for shredding the rougher and trickier trails with confidence.
27.5″ wheels is the continuing theme for Giant’s range, and they are sticking to their guns on this size being the ideal wheel size.
[divider]Anthem Advanced 27.5 0[/divider]
The Anthem series also remains unchanged for 2015, with the 27.5″ wheels staying as the 29er Anthem options shrink to one alloy and one composite model. The 100mm of travel is managed by more RockShox than we’ve seen in years past, but the new Fast Black coating on the shock shaft boosts the sensitivity and smooth action of the shocks and forks.
This Anthem Advanced 27.5 0 would have to be one of the finest options for the cross country or marathon racer out there. Or if your focus is speed, and your trails are smoother then an Anthem could be your pick of the Giant bunch.
[divider]LIV, women’s specific[/divider]
For six years since Giant made a concerted push into making their women’s specific bikes that are more than a just smaller framed bikes with a paint job, Giant have created a whole new brand; LIV. For 2015 the LIV mountain bike range is very healthy, and we finally receive the Intrigue into Australia, 140mm travel dually that was previously only available in some international markets. The frame constructions for the Obsess composite hardtail, Lust 100mm dually and the new Intrigue but what we love most about these bikes are the fun, and vibrant graphics.
The Lust is womens specific from head to toe, we reviewed the 2014 aluminium Lust 27.5 2 and loved the capable, agile and well-specced bike that also looked so damn hot. With 100mm of suspension travel front and back, the Lust is based around the Anthem 27.5 platform, geared towards the cross country rider looking for the added control and comfort rear suspension gives.
Expanding on their parts, accessories and apparel to match the other big brands, we’ll see more Giant and LIV branded gear at a higher quality than before. A digital gauge floor pump will be available as well as a whole new foray into the footwear range. Lycra kit manufactured with the Australian brand, Jaggad and new-look trail gear.
So, keep your eyes peeled for more bikes to be announced soon.