Well, the booths have been broken down and the trucks are packed and rolling out of Vegas, but we still have a lot of news to down load to you all out there. Here we will continue with ride reports of several of the bikes we had a chance to throw a leg over at the Outdoor Demo.

Giant Anthem 29 Ride Report: by Grannygear

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I took a look at this bike in a previous article where I stopped by Giant North America HQ and visited with Andrew J., marketing guy to the world for Giant. I was very curious to see how this incarnation of the short link suspension, that being Maestro, compared to the VPP-2, DW, and CVA that I have ridden. The tire clearance is very generous, something not true in many of the short link bikes.

So pedaling out of the paddock with the Pro Pedal set to the #2 setting, I was quite pleased to find a quick accelerating scooter that remained that way in the saddle, out of the saddle, big or small gear. This was really getting good here. I am a pedaling response snob, even at the expense of plushness. The Anthem X 29er just moved out smartly with no feeling of dragging something behind you or anti squat or whatever. Yet, it was very supple when seated in the chatter. Impressive!

P9200180I have to compare it to the two most recent bikes I have ridden that are in this segment of 29ers, the Specialized Epic 29er and the Santa Cruz Tall Boy. I have a Marathon at home with many hours on it and I recently rode the carbon version. As well, we had a Tall Boy on test not that long ago. I hold the Epic with the Mini Brain as the ultimate in pedaling response out of the saddle as it just does its best to be a hard tail until it is supposed to be a full suspension bike. I love that about it, but it does come at a small cost of suppleness on smaller bumps, etc, although that is dependent on how you set the Brain shock.

The Anthem gave me a real surprise in that out of the saddle efforts were very snappy and rewarding. It felt very good to stand and jump on the pedals. But, it was still compliant over trail chatter. In my mind, it felt significantly different from the Tall Boy as well, and I would give my vote to the Anthem X here.

It felt a bit quicker steering than my Epic, both of them with 100mm forks. The long stem and very minimally swept bar kept me pretty far forward and that may have been part of that feeling, but it was not a deal breaker. I was on the XL with a 100+mm stem and laid back post. I would run the XL with a 90mm stem, a more swept back riser bar, and be happier.

Could this bike be the one to dethrone the Specialized Epic 29er as my go-to bike for long XC rides? It may well be, but that will have to wait until I get one on home turf and spend some time seeing where the chinks in the armor are….if any. I can see why the Giant fans were so excited about a Maestro 29er.

Following is a video presentation featuring Giant’s Brand manager, Andrew Juskaitis.