Giant / LIV 2018 Range Highlights

Reign Advanced 0 and 1.

The Reign Advanced 0 is savage. 13kg of fury.

Let’s start with the one everybody’s talking about, the new Reign. Already one of the most popular and aggressive 160mm bikes on the market, the new version is positively ferocious. It has a poise that makes you feel like it wants to head butt you – hell, it comes with a Maxxis Shorty front tyre, talk about aggro!

A new trunnion mounted shock with carbon link. While the coil sprung shock mightn’t be quite so convenient in terms of adjusting spring rates, it is plusher than a feather bed. A remote lock out keeps it all stable on the climbs.

Travel is still 160mm, but the move to a trunnion mounted shock means a longer shock and lower leverage ratios, for improved sensitivity and more damping control. Geometry is on the slaaaack side, with a 65 degree head angle, and even longer reach than its predecessor (460mm in a medium).

The Reign Advanced 0 is full SRAM spec, with a Lyrik, Eagle drivetrain and even a RockShox Super Deluxe rear shock. The use of coil shocks in this category of bike has been gaining momentum (Josh Carlson has been using a coil in his Reign for a couple of years now – take a look at our bike check with him here). The addition of a handlebar mounted lockout is wise. It’s kind of a best of both worlds solution – coil-sprung grip on the descents, with a firm lockout for fire road climbs.

Brighter than a radioactive frog, the Reign Advanced 1.

Interestingly, there are no more carbon wheels in the Reign lineup, with the high-end bikes now moving to DT rims. We never had a drama with Giant’s carbon wheels in the past, but in the Enduro race world, alloy rims are still seen as the safe option, so perhaps this is simply a nod towards the race crowd.

There are four models of Reign coming into Australia, two in carbon and two in alloy. Pricing starts at $3799 for the Reign 2 and tops out at $8999 for the Advanced 0. The luminescent Reign Advanced 1, in the picture above, is $6499.


LIV Hail 

LIV are cementing their advantage in this market, with a comprehensive line-up of big travel women’s bikes.

LIV are doubling down on their range of women’s specific trail bikes and Enduro bikes too, clearly determined to put their stamp on the hard-riding women’s market. The women’s specific segment is an interesting place at the moment, with a number of brands discontinuing women’s specific frames, while LIV keeps on growing their offering.

We were grabbed straight away by the Hail Advanced 0, which essentially has all the same intentions and burly spec as you’ll find on the Reign, but with slightly revised geometry and a lighter suspension tune. It’s heartening to see that just as with the Reign, there will be four models of the Hail coming to Australia too – two carbon, two alloy. At $5299, the stunning brushed-alloy Hail 1 is probably the model offering the best bang for the buck in the Hail line up.

 


LIV Pique

The Pique gets more travel up front for 2018. We love this model with its superb suspension and top notch spec.

LIV have given the Pique lineup a bit of curry too, adding 10mm travel up front (130mm front, 120mm rear now), pushing it into the trail bike realm, rather than strictly an XC bike.

We couldn’t walk past the range topping Pique Advanced 0, which has a very cool, slightly 80s inspired ‘fade’ decal kit which we love. It reminds us of 2017 Anthem SX actually, especially with the spec of a piggyback shock and big-bagged Maxxis Forekaster rubber. If you’ve got the budget to stretch to this bike’s $8499 price tag, we don’t think you’ll find many finer women’s specific trail bikes out there.

With the Pique getting slacker and longer-travel, we can’t help but wonder if we’ll see more of a cross-country race bike from LIV in the near future. With the recent release of the new Anthem 29er, you’d have to assume something is on the way. (Though whether or not it’ll be a 29er or 27.5 is anyone’s guess).


Trance 1

Cheers! The Trance 1 is a robust beast, but with money spent in all the sensible areas.

The Trance line up was comprehensively overhauled last year, and so there are no great changes for 2018, but the range does look great. We particularly like the working man’s bling of the Trance 1, which blends a tough and proven alloy frame with some high-end components.

For a little over $5000, you get an Eagle drivetrain, carbon wheels, and a great FOX Elite suspension setup, with the new DPX2 shock. The money is clearly being spent in the areas where it’ll have the most impact.


Anthem 29er 2

We’ve already had an in-depth look at the new Anthem 29er in our launch piece, but we were impressed to see that you can get rolling on the platform for less than $3500, with the alloy Anthem 29 2. A no-fuss SLX 1×11 drivetrain keeps the cost down without sacrificing performance (read our SLX review here), allowing money to spent on high-quality suspension, including a FOX 32 Step Cast fork. If you’re after a bike that’s race-friendly without spending a tonne, then this is a good contender.

It’s cool to see a lightweight Step Cast fork at this price point.

Revised dropper post, more tubeless out of the box

A new under-bar dropper lever.

Some welcome tweaks have been made to Giant’s in-house dropper post, which has a greatly improved under-the-bar lever now. This was one item we whinged about in our recent Trance Advanced review, so it’s cool to see this feedback taken on board. Apparently, the sealing is improved too.

More bikes in the range are now coming setup for tubeless too, which will be welcomed by bike shops. Rims are largely pre-taped now, with tubeless valves installed, so all that is required is a splash of sealant, and you’re set.


Fresh trail and downhill footwear

The Shuttle is a robust looking shoe, with a high cuff on the inside of the ankle to protect you from banging against the bike.

Giant have added two new shoes to their growing range of footwear, with the Line and Shuttle ($189 and $169). The Line is aimed at trail riders and the Enduro market and has been on the leg-ends of Josh Carlson a lot this EWS season. The Shuttle is more of a downhill shoe with extra ankle protection, but we can see its popularity crossing over into the trail market too.

Both shoes have a nylon sole and a pretty chunky tread too, for clambering about. While Giant weren’t keen for us to chuck them in the pool, apparently the material is highly resistant to absorbing water, so even when sopping wet they only weigh 30g more.


GPS units

Hello! At $299, the Neos Track is superb value.

Giving you more information at a glance than the NSA, Giant’s new Neos Track computer is going to rattle the cage of some of the bigger GPS brands. At $350, it’s crammed with features, including turn by turn navigation, Di2 integration, plus of course power and just about every other metric under the sun. Battery life is over 30hrs, so you can DOMINATE Strava next weekend, and the weekend after, and the one after that too.

Tested: Liv Hail 1

A proper enduro bike, built for women from the ground up.

We love the Liv Hail. It’s a kick ass bike for kick ass women. It recognises that girls also want to have fun and is designed specifically for that.

It’s an aggressive, 160mm travel bike and the one of the only female bike of its class that isn’t simply a gender neutral frame re-painted and re-branded. It’s not just marketed to women, the Liv team actually took the time to build a frame to better suit women, with differences inspired by the feedback of female Liv brand ambassadors.

A big bike, for sure, but never unmanageably so. The geometry is very well balanced.

So, how did it feel?

Beefy, solid, strong. This bike is not mucking around, we felt confident and comfortable straight away.  The long wheel base keeps you in control and the Maestro suspension system eats up technical terrain with ease.

With the aluminium frame and overall burly feel, we were a bit worried about how the bike would handle climbing, yet were pleasantly surprised.

The alloy frame has a tough wearing shot-peened finish.

Any modifications pre-ride?

Before heading out, we swapped out the bars from 800mm to 740mm (rather than cutting down the stock bars), and changed from a 50mm to a 30mm stem. As we’ve noted later, the medium sized frame was pretty long for us, hence the shorter stem to get the reach feeling good for us.

After the first ride, when we dinged the rear rim, we also swapped out the tires for something with thicker sidewalls to protect the rims and let us ride harder.

We fitted a slightly shorter stem, as we felt a little stretched out on the medium frame. In hindsight, we should have tested a small.

How did it perform?

Over a four week period we took it to our local trails many times – enduro style trails with rocky sections, fast corners, drops and jumps – to get a good feel of the bike on familiar and technical terrain.

At 800mm, the stock bars will probably need a bit of trimming for most riders.

The handling overall is unreal. If you want to ride aggressively, it inspires a level of daring that we haven’t ever experienced in a women’s specific bike. It was stable at full speed, we felt assured right away and it absolutely gave us the confidence to send it.

We also enjoyed the control on slower speed navigating down steep technical rocks chutes. We were able to tell it where to go, not the other way around.

But could we get it back up to the top?

Absolutely. We weren’t about to win any XC races, but we could comfortably pedal all day on this bike and still be smiling at the end.

The Lyrik RC dual-position fork allows you to adjust from 160mm to 130mm when climbing for steeper angles, however we didn’t use this much. We would have preferred to see more adjustability in the rear shock rather than the fork. The bikes comes with a RockShox Deluxe R, Trunnion mounted rear shock, which has an external rebound dial but no compression setting adjustment.

The Lyrik fork’s adjustable travel is a bonus on smoother, steep climbs, but be aware it does lower the bottom bracket height too.

On technical climbs, with rocky features, we found pedal striking a recurring problem. We would have liked a compression adjuster on the shock, not so much to increase efficiency, but to help with pedal clearance by keeping the shock higher in the initial stroke – but there’s not a lot of tinkering on this shock.

The trunnion mounted shock is driven by a carbon link. We’d love to see a shock with some external compression adjustment on the Hail 1.

How does it size up?

The reach on this bike is long, like proper Enduro long. So if you’re considering the Liv Hail, read the size chart and don’t assume that it fits small being a womens-specific frame.

We tested the medium, however at 165cm tall, we would have been more comfortable on the small. The size chart was spot on, also indicating we should have had a small.

Once we had some tough tyres on the Hail, we were ready to send it without second thought.
Neat internal cable routing.

So what’s actually ‘female specific’ about the frame? 

According to Liv, their team takes data from a global body dimension database for its design, coupled with feedback from its ambassadors and refinement through testing. A key physical difference for females is strength distribution, where females have a lower relative upper body strength vs. their male counterparts.

This means women will generally favour leg strength to manoeuvre the bike vs. upper body comparatively to males, and it can mean women are generally positioned a bit further back on the bike as a result.

The mens’ equivalent of the Liv Hail is the Giant Reign, also a 160mm, 27.5 wheel size bike. Compared to its brother, the Hail’s head angle is a bit steeper (66 degrees on the Hail vs. 65  degrees on the Reign) and there is a higher bottom bracket. We assume these difference are all about making the bike more manoeuvrable and less reliant on upper body muscle to command it. The reach measurement is about 25mm shorter than the Reign in the same frame size too, and the cranks are 170mm across all sizes, versus the 175mm cranks found on the Reign.

As we’ve mentioned above, even though this is a big bike in terms of travel, we never felt like we were a passenger on it, so clearly the geometry mix works well for us, and likely a lot of other women too.

The Maestro system is efficient, plush and reliable. We’re very much a fan of this suspension setup.

Any gripes?

We don’t like the lever of the Giant dropper post. We much prefer dropper levers that are positioned under the bar, so you don’t have to compromise your grip to hit the lever. There are lots of aftermarket levers that will work with this post, so we’d swap it out for a different brand if this were our ride.

A ding in the rear rim on ride one motivated us to swap to some tyres with a stiffer sidewall. We like the grip of the Schwalbe tyres, but on our rocky trails we wanted something a little thicker.

The Giant PAM-2-disc rims are pretty soft considering what this bike is capable of. We managed to ding the rims on first ride with our usual pressures.

Other options in the range

There are three Hails in the Liv range – the alloy Hail 1 we have here, and two Advanced carbon versions too, at $5699 and $7999. Seriously, Liv deserve a huge pat on the back here for not only creating a women’s specific Enduro bike, but offering properly high-end versions as well. We’d loved to have had the chance to ride the lighter Hail Advanced 1, which comes with a FOX Float X2 shock with compression adjustment. Without obviously having had the chance to ride it, it looks like a very impressive bike.

 

 

Yep, we like it a lot. And we like the price too.

 

Overall verdict

If you’re on of those girls that when the working day is done you just wanna have fun, then the Liv Hail was made for you. At $4499, you’ll be able to push limits, ride harder and faster on technical terrain, and generally progress your riding. It rides hard and won’t ruin you at the bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flow’s First Bite: Liv Hail 1

The Liv Hail 1 is a female specific enduro weapon.
Despite there being many passionate female mountain bikers, from beginners to professionals, female specific models are few and far between. Liv Cycling is attempting to change that.

Apart from the fact that there’s a whole heap of absolute shredders out there who also happen to be women, more and more women are getting into mountain biking every year, which is awesome to see.

Kath Bicknell recently wrote an article on the importance of women to the cycling industry as a whole.
Kath Bicknell’s recent article on the importance of women to the cycling industry as a whole is a great read.

It’s also great to see bike companies starting to put more resources behind female specific models, and in the case of Giant Bicycles, an entirely separate company for women’s bicycles, components and apparel- Liv Cycling.

Liv Cycling is a separate brand to Giant Bicycles, and produces solely female specific products.
Liv Cycling is a separate brand to Giant Bicycles, and produces solely female specific products.

We’ve got a Liv Hail 1 on test, a 160mm enduro race bike, but before we jump into the First Bite, let’s learn a little bit more about Liv, and what makes them unique in the women’s market.


I haven’t heard of Liv, what’s it all about?

Liv Cycling was launched in 2014 as a standalone brand to Giant Bicycles focusing entirely on women’s specific bikes, equipment and apparel. Rather topically, the first ever Liv specific store is about to open in Vancouver!

Liv also offer the Pique, a 120mm trail bike.
Liv’s 120mm trail bike, the Pique.

For 2017, Liv have signed Kiwi shredder Raewyn Morrison to race the EWS aboard the Liv Hail Advanced, which is the only female specific 160mm bike currently on the market.


What makes the Hail 1 female specific, or is it just the fancy colour scheme?

Thankfully, the entire Liv range shows a real attention to detail through bikes with genuine differences to their Giant counterparts- you won’t simply see colour changes with different grips and saddles here! For a bit more of an overview of the entire Liv range, check out our 2017 range highlights piece.

Liv Bicycles might be made by Giant, but the finished product is very different.
Liv Bicycles might be made by Giant, but the finished product is very different.

All Liv products follow their ‘3F’ principal, which encompasses fit, form and function. We think that all bikes should follow these principals, regardless of the gender they’re designed for, but the video below goes into Liv’s ‘3F’ mission and its centrality to all of their products in a bit more detail.

Another aspect that makes Liv Bicycles truly female specific is their use of the Global Body Dimension Database.


What’s the Global Body Dimension Database- is my head going to start hurting?

Thankfully, despite the fancy name the Global Body Dimension Database is pretty simple.

The database provides Liv with information on the average body dimensions of women around the world. Average arm, torso and leg lengths give Liv essential measurements to consider when designing new bikes.

Data from the Global Body Dimensions Database indicates that men and women have very different body positions on the bike.
Data from the Global Body Dimensions Database indicates that men and women have very different body positions on the bike.

Where does the Global Body Dimension Database information come from?

We must admit that initially reading about the Global Body Dimension Database we were a bit sceptical about the data, but Liv’s website gives a clear explanation of where they source the information, its relevance in their bike designs and its limitations. Read below for the summarised version of what the data encompasses.

The Global Body Dimension Database includes over 250 individual body measurements from men and women of nine different nationalities. From this data set, Liv can gather information on things like stature, inseam, torso length, shoulder breadth, arm length, hand length, hip breadth, ischia (sit bone) distance, weight, and strength that allow them to uncover fundamental differences between men’s and women’s bodies.

Liv’s ‘function’ design principal is also an interesting point of difference to their Giant parent company. From the data Liv have collected, they’ve changed the material layup of Liv bikes compared to comparable Giant models to make the bike stronger and stiffer where it needs to be, and lighter where possible. These changes are made relevant to where women are putting forces through the frame and where they aren’t. Interesting stuff indeed!

Liv use different tubing thicknesses in their frames to account for the different forces women put through their bikes compared to men.
Liv use different tubing thicknesses in their frames to account for the different forces women put through their bikes compared to men.

Getting back to the Hail 1 we’ve got on review, the obvious comparative model in the Giant range is the Reign, however there’s some key differences that demonstrates the Hail 1 is an entirely different product designed specifically for women.

The Hail also comes two carbon variants, including the Advanced 1 model pictured.
The Hail also comes two carbon variants, including the Advanced 1 model pictured.

What are some differences between the Liv Hail and the Giant Reign then?

The Giant Reign has a head angle of 65 degrees, in comparison with the Hail’s 66-degree head angle. Liv say that their data indicates that by making the bike slightly steeper in the front end, it will be easier for women to manoeuvre the Hail up and over obstacles due to their generally shorter upper torsos.

The Liv Hail has a one degree steeper head angle than the Giant Reign.
The Liv Hail has a one degree steeper head angle than the Giant Reign.

Another point of difference in comparison to the Reign is the higher bottom bracket height. Liv say that  their data has indicated that the benefit of a higher bottom bracket in allowing a female rider to pedal over rough terrain with more ease is an attribute they wanted to incorporate on the Hail.

The Hail's bottom bracket height is slightly higher than a comparable Giant Reign.
The Hail’s bottom bracket height is slightly higher than a comparable Giant Reign.

The Hail also has more standover clearance than Reign models in the same size, and yes, female specific finishing touches are present such as the Liv Contact Upright saddle.

The Liv Contact Upright saddle is a female specific model.
The Liv Contact Upright saddle is a female specific model.

Are there any other differences other than the geometry?

There sure are! The front and rear suspension on the Hail runs a different tune to a Reign or Trance, to specifically accommodate female riders. We’re very interested to see how noticeable the different suspension tune is during testing.

The Hail's suspension is tuned specifically for female riders.
The Hail’s suspension is tuned specifically for female riders.

How much does the Hail 1 cost, and what do you get for your dollars?

The Liv Hail 1 retails for $4499, putting it squarely in the budget price point as far as enduro bikes go.

There's three Hail models brought into Australia, ranging from $4499 to $7999.
There’s three Hail models brought into Australia, ranging from $4499 to $7999.

For your cash, you’re getting an aluminium frame (except for the carbon rocker link which comes as standard across all Hail models), RockShox suspension front and rear with a Lyrik RC dual position (130-160mm) fork and Deluxe R shock, and the full SRAM package in the form of an X1 drivetrain and Guide RS brakes.

SRAM's X1 drivetrain is about as hassle free as it gets.
SRAM’s X1 drivetrain is about as hassle free as it gets.

Giant provide the handlebar and grips, which are a standout item, offering tackiness and a nice profile. The Truvativ Holzfeller stem is a nice touch, and so is the MRP chainguide, something we see as a must for any bike with more than 150mm of travel.

The Liv branded grips are impressive.
The Liv branded grips are impressive.

The bashguard is another welcome inclusion, especially on a bike with 160mm of travel, saving your chainring from a walloping should you get a little eager out on the trails.

A chainguide and bash guard as standard is always a welcome inclusion on a 160mm bike.
A chainguide and bash guard as standard is always a welcome inclusion on a 160mm bike.

The Giant dropper post is simple and very mechanic friendly, but we would like to see a 125mm drop specced over the 100mm drop model that comes on the medium sized model we have on test.

We feel that a 100mm dropper post on our Medium sized test bike is a bit short.
We feel that a 100mm dropper post on our Medium sized test bike is a bit short.

The wheels are a nondescript aluminium offering from Giant called the PAM-2, however the tubeless conversion with the Schwalbe tyres was simple and the slightly wider rim width than you see on some house brand wheelsets gives the Schwalbe rubber great shape, so our initial impressions are positive.

Giant's PAM-2 wheelset converted to tubeless easily and gives a solid tyre profile, it's a thumbs up performance so far!
Giant’s PAM-2 wheelset converted to tubeless easily and gives a solid tyre profile, it’s a thumbs up performance so far!

Speaking of the tyres, it’s good to see Giant going with the beefier Magic Mary up front paired with the slightly less chunky Hans Dampf out the back to offer predictable traction up front paired with something faster rolling in the rear.

A Magic Mary up front offers oodles of traction.
A Magic Mary up front offers oodles of traction.

Women’s bikes are often more expensive that a comparable unisex model, does the Liv Hail 1 represent good value?

For under $5000 the Liv Hail 1 packs a fair amount of value and is a bike that can be ridden out of the box with no real weak spots in the components.

The Hail 1 packs alot of value for under $5000.
The Hail 1 packs alot of value for under $5000.

Our only complaint would be the lack of piggyback reservoir on the Deluxe R shock, but considering the price and the other nice touches such as the chainguide and bashguard we’ll wait until we get some trail time on the bike before making any hasty judgements.

We're interested to gauge the performance of the Deluxe R shock.
We’re interested to see how the Deluxe R performs against a piggyback equipped rear shock.

Where will we be riding the Liv Hail 1?

Everywhere we would normally shred a 160mm bike! Just because the Hail 1 has a lovely colour scheme doesn’t mean it’ll be subjected to anything but the most brutal trails we reserve for testing 160mm bikes.

We're excited to get the tyres dirty on the Hail 1!
We’re excited to get the tyres dirty on the Liv Hail 1!

Stay tuned for our detailed thoughts in a full review soon!

LIV 2016 Range Preview

2014 saw LIV launch as a standalone brand, a women’s specific range from Giant. With a comprehensive range of hardtail and suspension bikes, it grows to meet the demand for a growing segment.

Fast forward to 2016 the range is super strong and complete. With the addition of the Intrigue SX for 2016 with generous suspension travel and high end spec, the women’s enduro category now has a serious contender.

[divider]Intrigue SX[/divider]

Based around the aluminium Giant Trance 27.5 platform, the Intrigue SX is not going to be afraid of tough terrain. With 140/160mm travel, slack head angle, wider bars, meatier tyres this bike speaks stability and confidence. For steep terrain, or pushing the speed limits this is the one.

The Intrigue SX goes for – $4799

Giant 2016 79

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[divider]Intrigue 1[/divider]

LIV’s Intrigue 1 uses 140mm of Maestro suspension with a FOX fork and rear shock.

A double chainring with a wide range of gears and adjustable height seatpost highlights the massive versatility of this trail bike!

Intrigue 1, $3599.

LIV Intrigue 1
LIV Intrigue 1.

[divider]LIV Lust[/divider]

The world’s first women’s specific carbon dual suspension bike with 27.5″ wheels goes even higher spec for 2016. The Lust Advanced 0 is a seriously gorgeous bike, and dripping in the highest quality components around.

The Lust range begins at $3499 for the aluminium frame, and tops out at this one below for $9399.

Take look at our review of the 2014 LIV Lust 27.5 2.

Giant 2016 70

Giant 2016 81
LIV Lust Advanced 2.
Giant 2016 82
FOX Float suspension front and back.
Lust Advanced 2_Blue_2000px
LIV Advanced 2, $3499.

[divider]Obsess[/divider]

For 2016 the cross country race hardtail from LIV consists of two carbon models. Obsess Advanced 2 for $2999 and Obsess Advanced 1 for $5799.

Giant 2016 80
The detail on the Obsess Advanced 2 is fantastic.
Obsess Advanced 2_Comp_2000px
Obsess Advanced 2, $2999.

 

See more from Giant’s 2016 range here.

Giant 2016 Range Preview

Walking into a room full of brand new 2016 Giants is naturally going to raise heart rates and eyebrows with us at Flow, the range is so dialled and complete. Here is a brief overview of what caught our eye.

Giant 2016 123
New bikes, fresh new kit, bring on 2016!

*Click images to enlarge.


2016 is a big year for development on the road bike side of things at Giant, so the bulk of the mountain bike range remains fairly unchanged from the 2015 lineup.

Take a look at our highlights from the women’s specific LIV range here: LIV 2016.

Check our review of the 2015 Giant Reign 27.5 1, Anthem SX, LIV Lust 27.5 2  and 2015 range overview.

From a quick look at the range we were able to see:

– Giant is very much behind 27.5″ wheels for everything aside from cross country racing. With the Anthem X 29er and XTC 29 hardtail being the only two models with 29″ wheels.

– Bold new colours are everywhere, following on from the 2015 range Giant have gone even brighter. And they look HOT.

– Anthem X 29ers will have a new top tube shape for strength, internal cable routing and a 142x12mm through axle.

– More single ring 11 speed drivetrains than ever before, especially with the new Shimano XT 11 speed. Giant feel it is lighter and easier to use.

– New Giant saddles in the range, with three shapes to match the bike’s intended use – Forward, neutral and upright.

– Redesigned Contact Switch adjustable seatpost – Zero offset, and new two-bolt clamp. Better adjustability and smoother action, and in three lengths to suit the frame size.

– FOX suspension more prominent in the range, especially the new FOX Float DPS shock with the EVOL (extra air volume) air can.

– New performance logo, from the Stance and upwards. Sharper and fresher look.

– Trance models will have bigger legged forks, via a RockShox Pike and FOX Float 34 (no more 32mm legged forks).

[divider]Giant Trance 27.5[/divider]

Giant’s do-it-all trail bike is their most popular suspension bike. With 140mm of Maestro rear suspension, 67 degree head angle and 440mm chain stays, this sums up trail riding in a light and versatile package.

Three carbon models and two aluminium, pricing ranges from $3399 up to $7499.

Giant 2016 28
This bike is a real winner, the Trance Advance 27.5 1 for $5499.
Giant 2016 35
FOX Float 34 leading the way, bigger diameter fork legs for more steering precision.
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[divider]Giant Reign 27.5[/divider]

In the catalogue, the colour description for the Reign Advance 27.5 1 simply states ‘green’… That’s a bit dull, we’d have gone with ‘pollen celeste’.

The Reign Advanced is a serious bike, raked out angles and a plush 160mm of travel for giving trail hell, this bike has quickly become a popular one for the emerging enduro crowd and race scene.

Josh Carlson may go faster than you on his one, but at least you can look the part.

Pricing ranges from $3799 for the aluminium Reign 27.5 2 up to the Reign Advanced 27.5 0 for $7999.

Giant 2016 16
The Reign Advanced 27.5 1. A composite front end paired to an aluminium rear end, with all boxes ticked for seriously hard enduro shredding.
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Giant 2016 17
Colour matching gone wild! Pike dressed perfectly.
Reign Advanced 27.5 0.
Reign Advanced 27.5 0.
Reign Advanced 27.5 2
Reign 27.5 1.
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[divider]Giant Glory[/divider]

The Glory 27.5 range expands for 2016 with the addition of the carbon version – the Glory Advanced 27.5, shaving 200g from the frame and delivering a ride quality that composite bikes are known for, less fatigue and more precision.

Ranging from $3499, up to the $7999 version pictured below, there are four Glory models to choose from in 2016.

It's finally here - the Glory Advanced 27.5. This premium one for a pretty reasonable $7999.
It’s finally here – the Glory Advanced 27.5. This premium one goes for a pretty reasonable $7999.
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Giant 2016 93
A dialled spec, composite frame and all for $5499.
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[divider]Giant Anthem[/divider]

The only dually in the Giant range with a choice of two wheelsizes, it’s also available in three variants, it has many personalities: The Anthem 27.5, Anthem X 29er and Anthem SX 27.5.

For 2016 the 29er Anthem X receives a new aluminium rear end with a bolt-through 142x12mm axle, and a stronger top tube and seat tube junction.

Giant Anthem 27.5

From $2999 for the basic aluminium Anthem 27.5 up to the Anthem Advanced 27.5 0 for $9299.

Giant 2016 3
The Anthem Advanced 27.5 1 – $4999.
Giant 2016 1
So much yellow, so much good spec!
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Giant 2016 57
Hello, race track! The Anthem Advanced 27.5 0 is a seriously hot rig. $9299 for this guy, whoa!
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Giant Anthem SX

SX stands for ‘shred harder’, right? Well, with dropper posts, more fork travel and a slacker head angle the Anthem SX blurs the line between the Trance 27.5 and Anthem 27.5. Read our review of the 2015 model here.

Two versions of the Anthem SX 27.5 at $4299 for aluminium, and Anthem Advanced SX 27.5 for $5799

Giant 2016 58
Anthem Advanced SX 27.5. Big rubber, dropper post, 120mm fork for a little bit more go go. $5299 for this little ripper.
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Giant 2016 21
Anthem SX 27.5, with an aluminium frame for $4299.

Giant Anthem X 29er

With such a focus on 27.5″ wheels, Giant still represent 29ers where they feel they suit best – cross country.

Two models, the aluminium one for $3299 and the one pictured below – Anthem X Advanced 29er for $5299.

Anthem X Advanced 29er_Comp_2000px
The Anthem X Advanced 29er, big wheeled fans rejoice!

[divider]Giant XTC Advanced[/divider]

Giant’s carbon hardtail remains unchanged for 2016. With two wheel sizes there is still a choice, but it’s 27.5″ wheeled version that scores the highest spec and higher grade frame construction.

Advanced SL Composite brings Giant’s finest material to the mountain bike range.

Pricing ranges from $3199 for the XTC Advanced 27.5 2, and up to the super-light XTC Advanced SL 27.5 0 for $8699.

Giant 2016 96
Full Shimano XTR Di2, SL-grade composite frame and composite wheels for the premium hardtail.
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Stay tuned for more, as we get our grubby mits on a few of these sweet new rides.

Giant and LIV 2015 Range Highlights

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.

Fresh Product Giant 2015 34
One of the coolest bikes in the 2015 lineup, the Anthem Advanced SX 27.5, for $4999.

[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.

Stealth black XTC Advanced SL 27.5
Stealth black XTC Advanced SL 27.5 1, $4799

[divider]Stance 27.5[/divider]

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.

Giant Stance, a very well built $1699 dually.
Giant Stance, a very well built $1599 dually.

[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.

Fresh Product Giant 2015 44
A carbon trail bike for under $3500, bargainzzz.

[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.

Fresh Product Giant 2015 10
Anthem Advanced 27.5 0, $6799

[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.

[divider]LIV Lust[/divider]

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.

Lust Advanced 2, $3299
Lust Advanced 2, $3299

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.