XC on ‘Roids: Giant Anthem Advanced SX First Impressions

The not-so-minor details


Giant Anthem Advanced SX


Giant Bicycles Australia





Size tested:



XC on 'roids.
Perfectly up-specced for aggressive riding.
Great frame finish.


Would like to see a 180mm front rotor.
Rims require taping for tubeless use.

‘Souping up’ a cross country bike to make it a little more capable in tricky terrain is usually an undertaking that requires significant investment and post-purchase twiddling, but Giant have done the hard work for you with the new Anthem Advanced SX.

Giant Anthem Advanced SX 1

Giant have taken the same frame as the regular Anthem Advanced 27.5 then dressed it with all the parts to make it go faster when the trails get rougher. A 120mm-travel Rockshox Revelation (instead of the usual 100mm) slackens things up, and a shorter stem and wider bar puts you in a more aggressive position. The tyres are a little meatier too, with an Ardent up front and an Ardent Race out back.

Giant Anthem Advanced SX 11
A wide bar and relatively short stem give the ideal ergonomics to push harder than you’d normally do on a cross country bike.
Giant Anthem Advanced SX 12
The addition of a 120mm fork slackens the head angle and gives you a little more encouragement to cut loose.

Seeing SRAM’s X01 drivetrain on this bike gives us a smile even wider than the gearing range, and the absence of a left-hand shifter frees us space for the clean integration of a dropper post, which is the icing on the cake. In short, Giant have made all the changes that we would make if an Anthem were our personal bike.

Giant Anthem Advanced SX 3
A dropper post on a bike with this much travel makes a world of sense, freeing up your body position to let the bike move beneath you.
Giant Anthem Advanced SX 13
With only a single ring, the cockpit isn’t cluttered, and the tiny lever of the Contact Switch’r dropper post fits in nicely.
Giant Anthem Advanced SX 15
SRAM’s X01 drivetrain with carbon crank arms.

We’re big advocates for this style of bike; the improvements in suspension and tyres, and the proliferation of dropper posts, now allow you to ride a relatively short-travel bike very aggressively. As soon as we’ve converted the wheels to tubeless we’ll be hitting the trails and exploring where this machine’s boundaries lie.


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