Mountain Bike Action Bike Test: Giant’s Custom Reign Enduro Bike
the new 29-inch Reign was modified just slightly with a slacker seat and head tube angle from the previous model year. Not only was the geometry modified slightly, but the new models have been updated with 2021 Fox suspension, which we used on our custom build. Now, to find out if the “old dog” could be tamed with the latest Fox suspension.
DOWN AND DIRTY
The Reign is built for racing enduro and holding high speeds. Don’t let serious race talk fool you. The bike still can get rowdy in the mountains! The Reign can definitely get wild, yet remain composed at speed. If you’re looking for a more agile enduro bike than what is felt with a 29er, then perhaps the 27.5 Reign lines up as an optimal choice.
Giant has been moving with the trends and experimenting with seat tube angles to find an ideal position for pedaling the longer-travel enduro rig. While our custom 27.5-inch 2019 Reign has a seat tube angle 4 degrees slacker than the new 2021 29er, we felt that the pedal efficiency was still excellent, given that it is a longtravel bike. We also felt that the coil shock with Giant’s Maestro linkage provided a great deal of traction. Although there is a bit of bob on steep climbs, the DHX2’s climb switch allowed us to firm up the shock to improve efficiency.
By no means does the Reign want to be ridden slowly. The bike keeps begging for high speeds and motivates you to ride the roughest, most direct lines. The overall feel truly gave us the confidence to hold on tight and go for lines we would not normally attempt. Compared to the Reign 29, we preferred the maneuverability of the 27.5 wheels through tight sections and quick corners. As intended, the Maestro suspension responds with sensitivity and almost feels endless on the bigger hits.
Even with our custom-built 2019 model, the Giant Reign continues to be a solid enduro bike for the roughest terrain. If you’re looking for a quick and manageable race bike that you would like to have as a project build, their bike is a great choice. Yes, this is personal preference, but we were able to save a decent chunk of change by choosing to start with the 2019 frame. Overall, we found the geometry and suspension to be top-notch. Keep in mind, if you’re looking for a lightweight trail bike, this is probably not your choice. On the other hand, if you like to throw down and push the limits in the mountains, you’ll love the versatility of the Reign.