The ATX downhill bike was a pipe dream of mine when reading early Dirt mags and Giant has been at the forefront of gravity fed bikes ever since.
The previous Reign was one of the first bikes I rode for Dirt a good few years back and impressed me no end with its clean, easy-going chassis and up to date geo. The light weight full enduro build was also impressive but have they nailed it with this newly updated bike?
Shape and fit
The Giant Reign in size Large was tested and really does have a pretty sorted shape and geometry. The 65 degree head angle and 473mm reach all add up to a good feeling bike and still leaves the XL as a size up if needed.
The Reign has grown 15mm in reach from the previous model and has now got the amazing option of a coil dampered build.
Giant Reign detail gallery
Suspension and chassis
Giant’s long-standing Maestro rear suspension system is all present and correct as would be been expected - the same general design is used on the entire range from the Glory to the Trance. On our Reign it was driven but a Fox DPX2 Elite rear damper adding up to 160mm of rearward travel.
Upfront is a set of Fox 36 Float Elite forks that really keep a clean look with the all black chassis. It really goes well with the day glow frame. In testing I’ve found very little performance difference between these and the kashima so unless you’re the showy type, don’t see them as a massive downgrade.
Giant Reign Advanced specification
There are two different specifications on offer for the Reign Advanced and this is the cheaper of the two.
Sizes S, M, L, XL
Colours Satin Neon Green / Satin Black
Frame Advanced-Grade Composite / ALUXX SL Rear, 160mm Maestro Suspension
Fork Fox 36 Performance Elite, 160mm Travel, FIT Damper, HSC/LSC Adjust, Boost 15x110 KaBolt, Tapered Steerer
Shock Fox Float DPX2 Performance, Trunnion Mount
Handlebar Giant Contact SL DH, 800mm
Stem TruVativ Descendant
Seatpost Giant Contact S Switch, Dropper post with Remote, 30.9mm
Saddle Giant Contact SL, (Neutral) Shifters SRAM GX Eagle 12 speed
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX Eagle
Brakes SRAM Guide RS [F] 200mm [R] 180mm, Hydraulic Disc
Crankset TruVativ Descendent 6k, Eagle, 32T with MRP AMG V2
Rims DT Swiss E1700 Spline Tuwo, 30mm Inner Width, XD Driver Body, Boost 15x110/12x148.
Tyres [F] Maxxis Shorty 27.5x2.5, 60 TPI, [R] Maxxis High Roller II 27.5x2.4, 60 TPI,
Giant has adopted a larger chassis for the new Reign with this size Large measuring 15mm longer in the reach yet it still doesn’t feel massive. The previous bike was one of the favourites in past years with a great damper tune, lightweight feel and bombproof build. Will the new 2018 model weigh up?
I had the chance to take the Reign to Malaga for a real shake down and the game was on - five days of descending on some real tracks. The Reign really held its shape well over the long steep and rocky trails and the Maestro system was spot on as always. Unfortunately the damper did not compliment the platform on this occasion.
I do generally like the DPX2 damper but it just felt a little weak when under pressure and the suspension design did have to save it on a few occasions. It is a shame that the coil damper was not available as this really was something I was keen to test. If I’d had access to a workshop, this would have been the first change I would have made.
There’s a good flex feel to the chassis the Reign so it doesn’t waste energy on impacts or long descents. This really benefits the rider when looking into the fatigue and energy used while riding. It does leave you with plenty of energy for them pedals to get you back on top.
There are a few little niggles and quirks on this Giant that really need sorting. First and foremost is the bar height. The bar itself really does have a great shape and the sweep and rise would be something I would opt for on any of my bikes. The issue is when trying to get the bar feel high enough, even with a full stock of spacers on board I would have still liked an extra inch. This could easily be solved by changing the bar, but what a shame as it is such a great piece. It’s not helped by the Giant’s short headstock that didn’t leave much steerer room to get the bars in a comfortable place.
The second was the small issue of not being able to slam the seat post all the way without the dropper being a pogo stick. The cable snagged on the frame and would not allow it to release.
The Reign is very capable bike. There is not doubting that as it’s simply taken a former Dirt favourite and made it fit even better. At times though it did feel like the parts weren’t quite keeping up with the chassis. The stoppers from the Guide RS faded away towards the ends of runs and a coil damper would have been a blessing. With all this in mind, our recommendation would be getting this great feeling bike with a higher build kit. Why not have the all bells and whistles model? You wouldn’t put steel wheels on a Lamborghini would you?