2015 Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 1

Bike: 2015 Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 1

Size Tested: Medium

Geometry: (Here)

Complete Build: (Here)

Build Overview:

  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX / XT
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX
  • Fork: RockShox Pike RC
  • Shock: Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair

Wheels: 27.5′′

Travel: 160 mm

Reviewer Info: 5’9”, 155 lbs.

Test Location: Boulder City, Nevada

MSRP: $4,750

Noah Bodman reviews the Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 1, Blister Gear Review.

Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 1

Caveat

Interbike’s outdoor demo is located at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada. It’s a fantastic network of trails, and it’s a great escape from that wretched hive of filth and villainy that is Las Vegas.

The trails we spent most of our time on were relatively fast, with a fair amount of sand and some pretty rocky sections.

Having said that…

Riding bikes at a demo is always kind of tricky. For starters, we’re unable to get as much time on each bike as we like–our test durations are measured in minutes and hours, not our preferred time frame of weeks and months. One good ride can tell you a lot about how a bike handles, but it certainly doesn’t allow for the customary, in-depth, Blister analysis.

Demo days also don’t generally permit the time needed to get each bike dialed to our liking. A quick suspension setup and fiddling with the bike’s ergonomics gets it most of the way there, but it takes days to really get everything running just right. Furthermore, differences like tire selection and tire pressure can have a huge effect on how a bike rides, and we generally don’t have the chance to get to tinker with those variables too much.

So while we believe it’s important to be upfront about the limitations of reviewing bikes in such settings, there is also merit in riding a slew of bikes, back to back, on the same trail. Subtle differences that might not become apparent if our test rides happen weeks or months apart are able to come to light, and each bike’s attributes may be more easily identified.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 1.

Intro

Giant’s Reign was one of the first bikes to really make a mark on the long-travel-but-still-pedalable segment. It was a departure from the ultra burly freeride bikes of the early 2000’s, and was more of a long travel trail bike that could take some abuse. The Reign developed something of a cult following, and while it wasn’t the only early member of the “all mountain” category, it was certainly one of the most popular.

Fast forward to the present, Giant is throwing its weight behind the 27.5” wheel format, and it comes as little surprise that the Reign is now shod with ‘tweener wheels. The 2015 Reign comes in four flavors: two with aluminum frames, and two “Advanced” models with carbon frames.

They range in price from the $3,400 Reign 27.5 2, to the $8,250 Reign Advanced 27.5 0 Team. The Reign Advanced 27.5 1 I rode is the lower-end carbon model, and the second least expensive Reign model.

The Reign Advanced 1 sports a carbon front triangle mated to an aluminum rear triangle. Like most of Giant’s full suspension bikes, the Reign Advanced 1 features their Maestro suspension design with 160 mm (6.3”) travel. The Maestro design uses two parallel links and bears some similarity to a DW-Link frame.

The Build

Suspension duties on the Reign Advanced 1 are handled by Rockshox, with a Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair rear shock, and a Pike RC in the front. Both on this bike and a few other bikes I’ve ridden, these units performed very well; they’re very supple off the top end, they offer fantastic mid-stroke support, and they don’t easily get overwhelmed on the occasional huck to flat.

Besides the suspension, the Reign Advanced 1 comes with a smart mix of parts that make for a bike that rides nicely without breaking the bank. Shimano’s SLX brakes perform as well as their much more expensive brethren, but are still pretty reasonably priced. It’s also nice to see Giant spend some money where it counts, building the Reign Advanced 1 with a Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper post and some decent tires: a Schwalbe Magic Mary in the front, and a Hans Dampf in the rear.

Noah Bodman reviews the Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 1, Blister Gear Review.

Noah Bodman on the Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 1, Boulder City, Nevada.

The Fit

The Reign Advanced 1 falls decidedly at the long and slack end of the spectrum, in line with some of the extra burly “enduro” bikes out there that are essentially mini-DH bikes. The Advanced 1 sports a 65° head angle, and on the Medium size bike I rode, a lengthy 1191mm (46.9”) wheelbase. That’s longer than pretty much every other bike in this category, including the GT Sanction, the Santa Cruz Nomad, the Yeti SB6c, and Kona Process 153 and 167.

While the chainstays on the Reign Advanced 1, at 434mm (17.1”) are pretty average, the top tube is also a long 620mm (24.4”) on the bike I rode. While Giant doesn’t list the reach on the 1, it looks like the reach comes in somewhere right around 444mm (17.5”).

So yeah, the Advanced 1 is a long bike. I’ll get into how this really affects the riding characteristics below, but the geometry numbers do make Giant’s goals with the bike pretty clear; it’s primarily intended for plundering steep, nasty trails.

7 Comments

  1. JP du plessis October 14, 2014 Reply

    What,is the weight of the bike?
    How does it climb and pedal?
    Is the price($4750) good for what you pay for it?
    Okay thanks

    • Noah October 18, 2014 Reply

      Hey JP,

      I wasn’t able to get a weight on the bike, but according to Giant, the frame comes in right around 5.5 lbs without a shock, so somewhere in the neighborhood of 6.5 lbs with a shock. That’s on par with most of the competition in this travel category. Depending on the build, I’d expect a full bike to be in the low 30 lb ballpark, or the high 20’s if you throw some money at the parts.

      If you didn’t see it, I spoke briefly about the climbing and pedaling efficiency on the second page of the review. Basically, the Reign will climb if you really want it to, but it wouldn’t be my first choice if I was spending a lot of time going uphill.

      As far as whether the price is good, I suppose that’s all a matter of perspective. For that price, I don’t think the Reign is out of line with other comparable bikes in terms of what you get. There will be plenty of other bikes at roughly this price that will come with slightly nicer parts hung on an aluminum frame, which leaves you with the question – which is more important, nicer parts or a nicer frame? That’s a lengthy discussion, and a lot of it revolves around what your long term plans for the bike are (i.e. keep it for years and upgrade things over time, or ride it for a season and sell it).

      -Noah

  2. JP du plessis October 18, 2014 Reply

    What other bike can i look at that is carbon, Good parts for the money, must be available in the USA and the price must be under $5000

    • Noah October 18, 2014 Reply

      Well, I suppose that depends a bit on what you’re looking for, but if a carbon frame is a must and you’ve got a $5k budget, you’ve got quite a few options. Somewhat comparable to the Reign, I’d probably be looking at the Devinci Spartan Carbon RC, a Pivot Mach 6 with an SLX build, or a Norco Range Carbon 7.3. But those are just three options off the top of my head, and I wouldn’t necessarily say any of those are better or worse than the Reign – it just depends on what you’re looking for and what fits you best. I’m sure there are also other options out there that I’m not thinking of at the moment.

  3. JP du plessis October 20, 2014 Reply

    What is the two things that i must first upgrade on this bike to make it lighter and better??? I was thinking of wheels and bracks?? And what is the weight of this wheels?

  4. Dominic Meacher December 1, 2014 Reply

    I enjoy these reviews, they seem like an honest reflection of your experiences, no fluff.
    I’m toying with getting a reign as my enduro race bike and it will also be used for all day rides. I had a 2013 lapierre spicy. The giant is one of these new longer slacker bikes and I’m sure will handle differently to the spicy, and perhaps more importantly require a different riding style.
    You said the Reign wasn’t too poppy, is that to the extent of it feeling dead? Was it still fun to ride? Or just a bit too planted?

  5. Gavin Peychers December 9, 2014 Reply

    Hi Noah,
    Im about to purchase a new reign team or gt force x pro( pike front )
    In NewZealand i cant demo either as they dont sell those models, so mate will bring
    one over from aussie, where i live we ride a lot of dwn hill tracks and often we ride and
    Push our bikes to top, sometimes cpl hrs to get up,,our tracks are rough, and sometimes not very flowing, i am 6ft2 and 103kg
    which bike would you recommend, i was thinking a large size my current butcher is large feels good fit
    CheersGav

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