The Reign is a classic within Giant’s lineup. It is well known for being a plush, long-travel machine built for overcoming climbs and annihilating descents. The Reign quickly became the bike of choice for hard-core trail riders, later shifting its attention towards enduro racers as the demand began to grow. In order to create an incredibly competitive machine, Giant has revamped this bike through the years with small geometry changes and new materials. Depending on your style, Giant now offers the Reign with either 29- or 27.5-inch wheels and with both carbon and alloy frame options. Throughout all the changes, the MBA crew has reviewed Giant’s Reign countless times.
We’ve chosen to take a bit of a different approach than our normal test bike reviews. For this article, we built a 2019 Giant Reign starting with the frame and then adding top-of-the-line components and suspension. How does this compare with the 27.5-inch version from 2020 or the latest release of the 2021 29er Reign? Amped to toss a leg over the bike for comparison, we got to building it and then hitting some trails.
The frame of our custom 2019 Reign is built with Giant’s ALUXX SL aluminum and painted with an eye-popping orange colorway not found for sale here in the United States. We chose to stick with a more playful 27.5-inch option than the 29-inch frame. The 2019–2021 Reign models all continue to utilize the Maestro rear linkage. This rear-suspension system offers 160mm of travel on the 27.5-inch version, while the trunnion-mount design allows air- or coil-shock compatibility. The frame features some modern touches like internal cable routing, an oversized headset (1 1/2 inches lower and 1 1/8 inches upper), Boost rear spacing, a 92mm press-fit bottom bracket, and ISCG-05 tabs for a chainguide.
We really went all out in this category with quality and performance in mind. Giant currently offers the Reign in a variety of builds depending on what a rider is looking to spend. In 2020, the Reign was offered at $2700 for the 27.5-inch alloy Reign SX build going all the way up to $9000 for the carbon Reign Advanced Pro 29. The SX build has…