Words by David Arthur.
Giant has applied the same magic that transformed the Trance into a truly capable trail weapon last year to the new 160mm Reign. That means a switch to 27.5in wheels, a longer, lower and slacker geometry and a choice of carbon or aluminium frames from the outset.
The big news (well it’s not that big really) is that Giant have moved the new Reign onto 27.5in wheels, up from 26in of last year’s bike, just as they first did with the 140mm Trance last year. Giant is fully committed to this wheelsize it would seem, even phasing out 29ers across most of the range, so there’s less choice, but a better concentration on the middle wheel size.
The whole Enduro racing scene is really driving the development of 160mm bikes and we’re seeing some really capable bikes hitting the market at the moment. Some of these brands are also making full use of sponsored enduro riders, Giant leaned on Adam Craig and Josh Carlson when developing the new Reign to get the sort of feedback that should ensure this is a bike that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its main contenders in this category.
“Our goal was simple, to help DH and enduro riders go faster,” says Giant Global Off-Road Category Manager Kevin Dana. “We worked closely with our Giant Factory Off-Road Team riders to design, develop and test these new 27.5 bikes in the most demanding off-road terrain and conditions. After two years of development, testing and fine tuning, we’re confident that both the Glory and Reign 27.5 platforms are the most capable and advanced DH and enduro bikes in the market.”
Something that will please many people, and us especially, is the phasing out of the OverDrive 2 (with a 1.25 – 1.5in tapered steerer) that made replacing stems such a pain. In its place is regular OverDrive which uses a 1 1/8in tapered steerer, so you’ll be able to fit any aftermarket stem. Thanks Giant.
Aside from the wheelsize change, Giant have worked hard on the geometry. The new Reign has a longer wheelbase and lower centre of gravity compared to the old 26in-wheeled model. To deal with some of the handling issues that can occur when slackening the head angle, Giant have uses a custom fork offset of 46mm that they say “optimizes handling with the new wheel size.”