Downhill Bikes

Giant Glory Advanced 0

We sometimes feel like we’re a bit out on our own when we shout the praises of this bike, but honestly it’s really, really good. And truly it always has been.

Once it was a privateer’s workhorse, seen at local races up and down the country with a solid spec and great all-round ride, but now it really has bloomed into one of the best race bikes in the world. The old aluminium version always had our curiosity, but the carbon update was the one that really grabbed our attention.

Sticking to the same formula has allowed a level of refinement on the Glory that few other downhill bikes can match. The Maestro suspension is the key here – it’s the same system that’s found on the Reign (featured in the enduro bikes section of this year’s 100) so it must be doing something right. What’s even more exceptional is the feel it gets from some, frankly, fairly average dampers.

The Boxxer Team is fine but there are better models available from RockShox, nevermind other brands. The Vivid RC2 is starting to become a bit dated in our minds though (hence the announcement of the new Super Deluxe coil). It’s certainly nice to see a coil spring but it tops out and knocks. Better offerings are out there from Fox and Ohlins – or at least we thought. When we actually swapped out the dampers the bike lost its feeling, the Vivid and BoXXer we scoffed at in the carpark were hastily and sheepishly refitted.

“one of the best race bikes in the world”

The dampers are allowed to work so well simply because the bike is superbly balanced. The carbon construction allows Giant to make the lightest downhill frame in its history along with a perfect mix of flex/strength – something few brands are truly able to master. There is a silence and a pace to the bike and a real balance to the ride that really stands it apart from so many other downhill bikes. It is exceptional. And yet simple.

What also sets it apart is the sizing. This is a true XL bike with reach figures longer than the Demo, Session, V10, Wilson and M16. Our testers, ranging from 5’ 9” to 6’ 2” all felt right at home.

“Did we mention we like this bike a lot?”

When it all boils down, there’s probably only the Specialized Demo that we think beats it in terms of pure performance – and that’s £2,000 more. Why so good then? It’s simple, fast, silent, balanced and easy on your body. We are mostly talking basics here. So many brands that make downhill bikes think they have it dialled. Ride the Glory and all becomes clear how crucial it is to get chassis flex/stiffness, damper tune and wheel build working in unison.

Did we mention that we like this bike a lot?

Giant Glory Advanced 0

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Selected for Dirt 100 2017

View the full 100
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