Test Riding the 2015 Giant Anthem SX January 12 2015
Last weekend I had the chance to ride this seasons Giant Anthem SX, just one of the many demo bikes we have on offer at Burkes Cycles. Being a 29er rider meant I was "down-sizing" to a 27.5"/650b wheel size so I was pretty interested in the differences I would notice on a loop I have ridden hundreds (well, maybe 10's) of times before.
First off the bike is specced well, a nice mix of Shimano XT/SLX level components means you're getting an excellent performance/durability level where you need it most. Giant's decision to ship this beefed-up XC bike with a dropper seatpost is also an excellent decision.
If you're familiar with Polhill in Wellington, you'll know that tightish singletrack is the order of the day. The Anthem SX climbed nicely through switchbacks and loose terrain but keeping your weight forward was an essential. On my usual rig I normally sit a bit further back on my seat - I found I need to sit well towards the front of my saddle to avoid my front wheel lifting, something I'm sure would become second nature with more kilometres on the clock.
Performance was at it's best when the bike was pointed in a more level or downwards sloping direction. This bike proved to be extremely nimble and it pretty much gobbled up anything the tracks threw up, especially with a bit more speed on. I was surprised a how easily a quick flick of the bars got me around protruding tree limbs and how I was able to avoid most of the lush green invasion of summers growth with slight weight transference here and there - nice!
Overall the Giant Anthem SX proved to be a singletrack weapon, excelling when the track narrows or becomes a bit more technical. If you're in the market for something that will climb like your old hardtail, but descend like your mates' trail rigs, this could well be the bike to try out on a demo ride. I think you'll be pleased you did.