Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 Giant Reign X 1

2014 Giant Reign X

In December I was surprised by my wife with a new bike an not just any bike but the one I had my eye on for several months, The Reign X.  I have been needing a new bike for a while (the Airborne Marauder I had didn't last long under real use) and had been riding everything we had at the shop.  I really liked the new 27.5" wheeled bikes that Giant has out like the Trance and Trance SX and I liked the Trance X 29er.  I rode the crap out of all of these trying to decide what to get but for the type of riding I enjoy it was narrowed down to the Trance SX 27.5 or the Reign X.  In the end I was more comfortable on the 26" wheels and the Reign was the bike I wanted.  The surprise was that my wife got it for me!

Giant's Reign X is the one of the last 26" wheeled bikes being offer by Giant.  The last 26" offerings are the Reign X, the Glory, and the STP.  The Anthem, Trance, XTC, and Talon are all going to 27.5 wheels, and I would not be surprised to see the Glory and Reign X go that way in the next couple of years.

The Reign X 1

Price-$3,825 msrp


SizesS, M, L
FrameALUXX SL-grade aluminum, 6.7" Maestro suspension
ForkRockShox Lyric RC, w/20mm thru-axle, OverDrive 2 steerer, 160mm travel
ShockRockShox Monarch Plus


HandlebarGiant Contact All Mountain, 31.8mm
StemGiant Connect SL, OverDrive 2
SeatpostGiant Contact Switch-R, 30.9mm
SaddleGiant Contact, Upright


ShiftersSRAM X7, Trigger Shift
Front DerailleurSRAM X7
Rear DerailleurSRAM X9, Type 2
BrakesAvid Elixir 7 Trail, hydraulic disc, [F] 200mm, [R] 180mm
Brake LeversAvid Elixir 7 Trail
CassetteSRAM PG1070 11x36, 10-speed
ChainKMC X10
CranksetSRAM S1000, 24/36 w/MRP 2x Guide
Bottom BracketSRAM GXP


RimsGiant P-AM2, Double Wall
Hubs[F] Giant Tracker, w/20mm axle, 32h [R] DT Swiss 350, w/12mm Maxle axle, 32h
SpokesDT Competition, 14/15g
TiresSchwalbe Hans Dampf Performance, 26x2.35, folding

My size large Reign X weighs in at 32lbs with Wellgo Magnesium platform pedals.  While this is definitely an improvement over my 42lbs Airborne Marauder it is still not the lightest bike out there.  The Reign X does not climb like a heavy bike but it also does not climb like an XC machine.  The Maestro suspension does a great job of controlling pedal bob, and with my upgraded Rockshox Monarch High air volume rear shock that has three compression settings it will get up anything I need it to.  When the trail heads down the Reign X is really in its element.  Rock gardens vanish under it and drops feel like your going off a curb.  The Reign X's slack head angle and 29" bars give the bike a very controlled feel while descending and inspires confidence.  

The Reign X comes with a Giant Contact Switch-R dropper post that has 4" of travel.  I personally would like one with 5" or 6" of drop so I could run the post all the way down and still get high enough to pedal, as it is I have about 3" of post exposed to get the saddle height I like for pedaling and in the dropped position it has not interfered with my descending so I am just nit picking.  I also would have liked to see the bike come set up for internal cable routing for the dropper post. 

The brakes that are spec'ed for this bike are Avids Elixir 7 Trail brakes, while I sure they are good brakes and have plenty of power I can't say anything about them because they were replaced with my Avid XO Trail brakes before I ever put a leg over the bike.  The XO Trails are the best feeling brakes I have ever used.  They provide the power that a four piston brake should and have great modulation, unfortunately they take a little more maintenance than Shimano brakes, but I would not trade the feel of these brakes for the difference in time it takes to bleed them.

Sram's 2x10 drive-train is a solid performer and the MRP 2x guide will keep your chain were it belongs in most situations, I was able to drop a chain during a downhill race but never on a trail ride.  

The bike comes with the Rockshox Monarch rear shock, mine had a problem when it arrived and Rockshox sent out an upgraded version that has a higher air volume and 3 setting compression switch.  This has worked great for me since I am 220lbs.  The front suspension duty is handled by the Rockshox Lyric.  The Lyric is and has been one of my favorite forks in the last few years.   It has both rebound and compression adjustments that allow you to dial it in where you like.  The fork will take anything you can throw at it.

All in all the Reign X is a solid All Mountain/ Enduro bike that will get you to the top relatively painlessly and let you really enjoy the trail on the way down.

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