Bike Check: Sam’s 2021 Giant Reign 29
We haven’t done a bike check here in a little while. The last bike we looked at was Tony’s Chromag Rootdown build, with its classy yet understated black and silver colour scheme. This time we wanted to show you something a little more wild, and so we have our service manager and media co-ordinator Sam’s 2021 Reign 29 Advanced Pro 1.
The Reign 29 is Giant’s flagship enduro bike and the Advanced Pro 1 is one tier down from the top spec Advanced Pro 0. With carbon construction, 146mm of maestro suspension on the rear and 170mm up front as stock, it’s a bike that means business but can be happily pedalled all day. The Reign 29 is ideal for Sam because he loves to go out for big rides with big elevation gain, but he doesn’t like to be held back on the descents. With the Reign 29, Giant have somehow created a bike that climbs amazingly well with great efficiency and little pedal bob but excellent active suspension. Sam says it’s probably one of his favourite bikes and one of the best all-rounders he’s ridden.
At 6ft tall Sam rides a size Large, with a 488mm reach combined with a 76.4º seat angle the Reign 29 has a roomy front end but climbs well with a cockpit that doesn’t feel too stretched out and the weight fairly forward. Chainstay length comes in at 439mm across the range, somewhere between stable and nimble, and with a 64.6º head angle it’s plenty slack enough for steep, technical riding.
Giant have really been stepping up their paint jobs recently and this year’s Reign 29 has some amazing colour options. The Advanced pro 1 has a black with purple sparkle over the top paint scheme that looks black in low light, but really shines in the light. A little bored of plain black bikes, Sam loves the way the colour pops in the sun, and decided to add a couple of tasteful upgrades of his own.
The stock bike comes with a pretty incredible spec right out of the box, but Sam is a Rockshox fan through and through. Wanting to drop a little weight off the front of the bike to keep it manageable on the climbs and switch to his favourite suspension brand, Sam decided to fit a 160mm Lyrik Ultimate on the front with the Charger 2.1 RC2 damper. The Lyrik chassis toes the line between light and stiff for a long travel fork, and with the new Charger 2.1 damper is super supple with great small bump compliance and amazing control.
Rounding out the suspension package is the Fox Float X2 Performance shock. Totally redesigned for 2021 with new internals, lower friction seals and finishes, the Float X2 is said to be more plush than ever. The Performance version of Fox’s flagship air DH shock doesn’t quite have all the fancy bells and whistles in that it lacks the high speed compression and rebound adjustments, but Sam finds that this makes it easier to set up with fewer adjustments to worry about. Because the Float X2 has such a large air can with a massive negative chamber it has plush feel almost like that of a coil shock, but with the ramp up of an air shock.
We couldn’t possibly talk about this bike without mentioning Sam’s favourite part – the wheels. Sam is currently running Industry Nine’s Enduro 305 wheelset. Hand laced at their factory in Asheville North Carolina the Enduro 305 wheels use a super strong wide profile Aluminum rim laced to their beautifully machined hubs via 32 anodized aluminum spokes. With eleven anodized colours to choose from you can go as mild or as wild as you like with the customisation down to the hubs, individual spokes and even valve stems. Sam opted for silver hubs, spokes and valve stems with every fourth spoke purple to match the frame. We hope you’ll agree that it looks pretty sweet.
With 690 POE (points of engagement) the hubs engage almost instantly with almost zero lag – perfect for getting in a quick pedal stroke on those janky North Shore trails. Despite running an alloy rim, these wheels have been totally reliable and the rims remain dent-free.
text Instead of the stock bar and stem combo, Sam is running an SQLab 30x 12º handlebar with a PNW Range stem. The bars only come in a 31.8mm clamp diameter and so are good at absorbing trail buzz but more importantly the 12º backsweep with a 780mm width feels much more natural to him than most 800mm bars with less sweep and results in less hand/arm fatigue over longer rides.
At the end of those handlebars sits a pair of Bjorn grips. Bjorn is a local company based out of Squamish and partnered with ODI, makes their grips from 100% recycled rubber waste from ODI’s grip manufacturing process. The grips only come in one diameter right now, which is relatively thin, but they’re very comfortable and the compound is nice and sticky.
Next another local Squamish company, Sam decided to switch the dropper post out for a OneUp dropper and lever. The OneUp lever is incredibly tactile and robust, with a wide textured paddle running on a big bearing, they’re a great upgrade. Sam decided on a OneUp post to go with it so that he could run just a little more drop, going from 170mm to 180mm and with a slightly better quality.
The rest of the bike is relatively stock and that’s the way Sam likes it. The groupset is running the current Sram GX eagle groupset with the 10-52t cassette. The range makes climbing a breeze and it’s robust enough to put up with some tough riding conditions. Taking care of brakes are the latest Shimano SLX M7120 4-piston brakes. With the typical grabby Shimano lever feel and bags of power they’re a a great option that does everything you need and nothing you don’t. It’s sensible spec choices like this that maximise performance for minimal outlay that makes Sam stoked to have such an amazing bike for the money.