Friday, July 20, 2012

Giant Reign 1-The Review

Giant Reign 1

Since May I have been working at Two Wheels One Planet Bike shop in Costa Mesa, and one of the many benefits is that I can grab any of the demo bikes to ride whenever I want.  I have tried out several, but the Reign 2 has been my favorite.  It is lighter than my Marauder yet has the same amount of travel, it has a slacker head angle than the Marauder, but can out climb it and out descend it.  The bike looks great (it is the red one in the picture) and rides even better.

Here's the spec's:

SizesS, M, L, XL
ColorsSatin Blood Red/Orange/Black
FrameALUXX SL-Grade Aluminum, 6" Maestro Suspension
ForkRockShox Revelation RL Dual Air w/ 15mm Thru-Axle and OverDrive Steerer, 150mm Travel
ShockRockShox Monarch RT High Volume


HandlebarGiant Connect SL, Low Rise 31.8
StemGiant Connect SL
SeatpostGiant Contact Switch-R, 30.9
SaddleFi'zi:k Gobi XM w/ Manganese Rails


ShiftersShimano SLX, 3x10 Speed
Front DerailleurShimano SLX, Direct Mount
Rear DerailleurShimano SLX
BrakesAvid Elixir 5, [F] 180mm, [R] 160mm
Brake LeversAvid Elixir 5
CassetteShimano HG81 11x36, 10-Speed
ChainShimano HG-74
CranksetShimano SLX, 24/32/42
Bottom BracketShimano Press Fit


RimsDT Swiss E540
Hubs[F] Giant Tracker Sealed/CNC w/ 15mm Axle, [R] Shimano Deore, 32h
SpokesStainless Steel, 14/15g
Tires[F] Maxxis Minion DHF, [R] Maxxis High Roller, 26x2.35 Folding


The Review:

The first thing I notice is the frame.  In the shop this bikes stands out due to the red color scheme, most bikes   are black with some other color.  It comes with Giants Contact Switch remote dropper post, Shimano SLX 3x10 drive-train and Maxxis tires on DT Swiss wheels.  On the showroom floor this bike looks ready for action.  Showroom looks are one thing, but what really matters is how the bike works in the dirt, and this bike flies.  The slack head angle and Maestro suspension make descending a breeze and allow me to take on trails that I have always slowed down for at a much faster pace.  The 3x10 drive-train allows for a broader range of gears so you feel like you can always push a little harder on the flats.  The Reign makes you feel fast!

So some people may think that this is a bike built to descend, but despite the head angle it pedals up the hill admirably.  I tried it with the suspension locked out in front (the fork has a lockout, but not the rear shock) and in climb mode in the rear, and with everything open and found that I prefer to climb with the front locked and the rear open.  Riding up hills like this I have been able to clean several hills that have given me trouble in the past.

The Maxxis tires grab the trail with the tenacity of a wolverine, but still seem to release in all of the right places.  The performance that the tires have provided have given me a confidence boost in hard corners.  The Contact Switch seat post is another confidence inspiring feature.  I had not used a dropper post before this, but now I hate to ride without one!

Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings:

While I love this bike and have tons of fun on it there are a few things I would change!

The first thing I would change is the stem.  Giant likes to put long stems on their bikes.  A shorter stem with wider bars (29.5-30") would make the cockpit perfect for me.

The second change I would make is the 3x10 drive-train.  I would like to see this as a 2x10 with a bash guard, I really don't use the big ring much.

The features that I loved,  there are a few.

The Contact Switch Seat post, I really can't say enough about the difference this made in my riding, all I can do is say to go demo a bike that has one and feel the difference and I can almost guarantee that you will walk away wanting one.

The Maxxis tires, especially the Minion DHF are awesome and will be going on any bike I have in the future.      They grip, but don't track, and they roll great!

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