We were not fully convinced. A 160mm trail/enduro bike presented with what appeared to be underweight, underpowered DT Swiss XM 1501 wheelset, a strange custom 46mm off-set fork on the lesser performing dual position RockShox Pike RCT3 (over the solo air version), and lurid paintwork. A bike with history of being slightly mushy in suspension, there were some who set about this bike slightly guarded.
How wrong. Within only a few seconds of the bike being built up, that recognisable shape of a bike being ‘up for it’ was immediately evident. After about a minute the bike was charging through deep dark woods with an even shadier mindset, the shape and the pace of the bike inspiring a full on approach to anything and everything ahead.
“that recognisable shape of a bike being ‘up for it’ was immediately evident”
One of the key factors in this is the shape and position that the Reign allows the rider to stand within, the tune of the rear damper and the frame size. Partly bar and stem shape, interestingly an own brand 800m bar and relatively cheap Truvativ Holzfeller stem, a reasonably low bottom bracket and standover, and that shock tune which simply makes full use of every inch of the 160mm on offer. The tune has obviously been worked on hard with engineers and factory riders because it’s lively, it’s supportive and it works better than nearly all other Monarch Plus dampers we’ve ridden this year. With so many nervy Monarchs around it proves fully that it’s not the damper at fault but the tunes that some companies have chosen. Giant meanwhile have it bang on.