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2015 Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 0 Team (discontinued)

Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
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Reign Advanced 27.5 0 Team
2015 Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 0 Team 2015 Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 0 Team
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First Look, First Ride: 2015 Giant Reign 27.5

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Brandon Turman // Photos by Sterling Lorence

After over two years of development, testing, and fine tuning, the Giant Reign 27.5 is finally here. While Giant may have begun their 27.5 quest with a prototype Reign, it’s the last to hit the market. Why did it take so long? Giant says they were busy trying to make the best bike possible, and that took time.

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The bike is redesigned from the ground up for 27.5-inch wheels. It’s longer, lower, and slacker than ever before, making the 6.3-inch (160mm) travel bike even more capable. For 2015, Giant will offer the Reign with Advanced Composite (carbon) and aluminum frames. While the bike may have grown a bit, the aluminum frame comes in lighter than its predecessor by 140-grams, and the Advanced Composite version is the lightest Reign ever produced.

Reign 27.5 Highlights

  • Advanced Composite mainframe/ALUXX SL rear swingarm and full ALUXX SL frame options
  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • Maestro suspension design
  • 6.3-inches (160mm) travel
  • Internal cable and dropper post routing
  • Overdrive tapered headset (1 1/8-inch upper, 1 1/2-inch lower)
  • Custom 46mm fork offset exclusive to Giant
  • Front derailleur direct mount with optional cover
  • Post mount disc brake tabs
  • Molded downtube and chainstay protectors
  • Oversized BB/chainstay area with 92mm BB
  • ISCG05 mount
  • Water bottle mount
  • New 142/135mm convertible rear thru-axle design
  • Air or coil shock (200x57mm) compatible
  • Available in S, M, L, and XL sizes
  • 4.98-pound (2,260g) Advanced Composite frame weight without shock (size Medium)
  • 5.42-pound (2,460g) ALUXX SL frame weight without shock (size Medium)

If you’ve followed the 2014 Enduro World Series at all, chances are good that you’ve seen the Giant Factory Off-Road Team sporting the prototype Reign 27.5 bikes shown in the video above. Giant worked closely with the team to engineer new geometry that gives it a lower center of gravity and longer wheelbase compared to its 26-inch-wheel predecessor to improve stability and handling on rough terrain. The bike’s front center averages 30mm longer than the previous version, plus it has improved standover, a lower bottom bracket, slacker 65-degree head angle, and shorter 17.1-inch chainstays.

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Interestingly, the bike also comes with a custom RockShox Pike fork featuring a 46mm offset, something you won’t find on any other 27.5 Pike-equipped bike at this time. Why the need for a custom offset? Giant says they did it to improve handling. During early tests they felt the standard 42mm offset could create an odd cornering feel due to too much trail. Giant arrived at the 46mm offset using blind tests of several forks with their Pro riders, and the 46mm offset was unanimously chosen as the best, noting that knifing in high-speed corners and the tendency to flop during uphill switchbacks was drastically improved.

If you’re the inquisitive type and if it truly is better, you’re likely wondering why Rockshox doesn’t already offer the Pike this way to customers. When we asked Giant that question, they told us that it’s exclusive to Giant for now, but may be offered to other OEMs in the future. The custom fork is created by combining 27.5 Pike lowers with a 29er Pike crown.

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Perhaps the biggest HECK YES moment struck us when we were told that Giant will no longer use their 1 1/2 to 1 1/4-inch Overdrive 2 headtube system which caused a lot of headaches when you’d go to swap stems. They were the first to produce bikes with tapered headtubes, and while they still believe Overdrive 2 does offer an advantage, they’re returning to the original Overdrive headtube (standard 1 1/8 to 1 1/2-inch tapered) in favor of convenience.

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The Reign continues to use the Maestro suspension system, where four pivot points and two linkages work together to create a single floating pivot point. Bearings in the upper shock mount help improve small bump performance by reducing stiction by up to 10% during the initial stroke.

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Nicely executed internal cable and dropper post routing complements the frame’s clean lines and smooth looks. Rubber plugs at the cable entrance and exit points help keep water and grime out.

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Two carbon (left) and two aluminum (right) models will be available in the USA with prices ranging from $3,400 to $8,250. Different availability and prices may be in place globally.

Geometry

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Initial Impressions

So how does the redesigned Reign ride? We met up with the Giant crew in Pemberton, British Columbia to find out.

Our two day adventure included several shuttle runs as a shakedown, followed by a high alpine heli-drop adventure with nearly 7,000 vertical feet of descending - enough ride time to make some sound observations. Pemberton’s terrain isn’t for the timid. Get distracted for a moment and chances are good that you’ll end up on the ground. It’s a non-stop root and rock fest where the occasional loamy corner is a breath of fresh air. With temps pushing 100-degrees Fahrenheit for the last few weeks, dirt conditions were as loose and dusty as could be. We were guided by Pemberton Bike Co.'s Seb Wild and Bush Pilot Biking's Johnny Smoke, both legends in their own right.

Waka waka waka, we rode up in this choppa.

At 5’10” tall we opted for a size Medium Reign Advanced 27.5 0 Team bike. With an impressively long 444mm reach and 620mm effective top tube, the Medium Reign 27.5 is every bit as long as many other brands’ Large frames. The change in geometry allowed Giant to ditch the long stem in favor of wider bars and a stem in the 40-60mm range, depending on the size. The added frame length may be a shock to some at first, but it’s for the better. Rider weight is centered well while standing, and the 73-degree seat angle puts you in a good position for climbing.

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Pointed downhill, the Reign is free of any odd quirks. Pick your line and let it rip. Even on the challenging Pemberton trails we never once felt in over our heads, and the 65-degree head angle let us point it down some pretty hairy sections without worry. It’s plenty stable through the rough, yet the short rear end, progressive leverage curve, and air shock help the bike maintain a nice playful feel. Getting the front end off the ground is easy to do at a moment’s notice.

We were surprised at the high pressures required to achieve 30% sag (~230psi for a 175-pound rider). Even so, small bump performance is greatly improved, a combined result of the new RockShox Monarch Debonair shock with a larger negative air chamber and the bearings in the upper shock mount. Square edge hits don’t disappear under the Reign, but the feedback to the rider isn’t overly harsh either. It’s well supported on g-outs, drops, and jumps. Though we used full travel routinely we never felt a harsh bottom-out. Paired with a RockShox Pike fork, the bike is well balanced front to back, and the performance of the fork complements the rear end well.

Silas Hesterberg, a Giant Off Road Product Developer, was largely responsible for the new Reign 27.5. He shreds with the best of them.

The Advanced Composite front end and ALUXX SL rear triangle are plenty stiff. The bike is snappy and precise. You can pump hard in the turns and place it exactly where you’d like it.

How about that custom 46mm fork offset? We’d have liked to do some back-to-back testing to really see the benefit, but we will say that we never felt any odd handling issues. In fact, we could honestly do away with the dual position Pike feature - tight uphill turns were a breeze even at the full 160mm of travel.

Out of the saddle sprinting the bike picks up speed with the best of them. Pointed uphill it’s quite efficient for having 160mm of travel, and a healthy amount of anti-squat inherent in the design pretty much eliminates the need for a climbing platform on the rear shock.

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Build Kit

The Reign Advanced 27.5 0 Team build kit features some nice parts from SRAM, RockShox, Truvativ, MRP, DT Swiss, and Schwalbe. Our pre-production test bike lacked the SRAM Guide brakes and Schwalbe tires that will come stock, which were replaced by Maxxis Minion/High Roller II tires and Avid X0 Trail brakes.

Overall there was very little to find fault with, especially out of the box. Everything worked as expected and the build is perfectly suited to all-day adventures or hauling down Enduro race courses.

Things That Could Be Improved

We’d favor some slightly higher rise bars instead of running spacers under the stem, as well as slightly thinner or softer grips. There was also some cable rattle inside the frame. Those on a size Small frame will unfortunately have to settle for just 100mm of dropper post adjustment, while bigger sizes benefit from 125mm.

Giant's Road Marketing Specialist, Doug Barnett, throws down harder than most mountain bikers.

What's The Bottom Line?

Giant’s attention to detail is readily apparent and carries throughout the entire Reign 27.5. Just about everything is dialed, and it's clear they didn't just cram some bigger wheels in the frame. The components are solid and the ride is comfortable and capable. We give it two thumbs up and think it was worth the wait. Now it's time to #makeitreign.


2015 Reign Models and Pricing

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Visit your local Giant dealer or www.giant-bicycles.com for more details. Bikes will be available in late September or October.

Bonus Gallery: 43 photos of the 2015 Giant Reign 27.5 up close and in action


About The Reviewer

Brandon Turman likes to pop off the little bonus lines on the sides of the trail, get aggressive when he's in tune with a bike, and to really mash on the pedals and open it up when pointed downhill. His perfect trail has a good mix of flow, tech, and balls-to-the-wall speed. He loves little transfers, rollers, and the occasional gap that gives him that momentary stomach in your throat kind of feeling. Toss in some rocky bits with the option to double over them or risk pinch flatting and you've got a winner in his book. In 14 years of riding he worked his way through the Collegiate downhill ranks to the Pro level. After finishing up his mechanical engineering degree, his riding focus turned to dirt sculpting and jumping with the occasional slopestyle contest thrown in for fun. Nowadays he's Vital MTB's resident product guy, putting in saddle time on nearly every new platform and innovation the bike industry has to offer.

Specifications

Product Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 0 Team
Model Year 2015
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 23" 24.4" 25.2" 26.2"
Head Tube Angle 65° 65° 65° 65°
Head Tube Length 3.7" 3.7" 4.5" 4.9"
Seat Tube Angle 73° 73° 73° 73°
Seat Tube Length
Bottom Bracket Height
Chainstay Length 17.1" 17.1" 17.1" 17.1"
Wheelbase 45.6" 46.9" 47.9" 48.9"
Standover 28.2" 28.1" 28.8" 29.1"
Reach 40.9cm 44.4cm 45.8cm 48.0cm
Stack 57.7cm 57.7cm 59.5cm 60.4cm
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Advanced-Grade Carbon / ALUXX SL Rear
Rear Travel 160mm
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch Plus DebonAir RC3
Fork RockShox Pike RCT3 Dual Position Air, 15mm Thru-Axle, Giant Custom 46mm Offset
Fork Travel 130-160mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset
Handlebar Truvativ Custom Blackbox Boobar, 780x31.8mm
Stem Truvativ Holzfeller (40-60mm)
Grips Giant Lock-On
Brakes SRAM Guide RSC, 200mm Front/ 180mm Rear Rotors
Brake Levers SRAM Guide Ultimate Carbon
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM XX1 Trigger, Rear Only
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM XX1 Type-2
ISCG Tabs ISCG 05
Chainguide MRP AMG (Carbon Backplate)
Cranks SRAM XX1 Carbon
Chainrings SRAM XX1 32 Tooth
Bottom Bracket SRAM Press Fit
Pedals N/A
Chain SRAM 11-Speed
Cassette SRAM XX1 10-42 Tooth, 11-Speed
Rims DT Swiss Spline XM 1501 WheelSystem
Hubs DT Swiss Spline XM 1501 WheelSystem
Spokes DT Swiss
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary 27.5"x2.35" Snakeskin Trail Star with Double Defense Front // Schwalbe Hans Dampf 27.5"x2.35" Snakeskin Pace Star with Double Defense Rear
Saddle Fi'zi:k Tundra M3, K:ium Rails
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth, Length: 100mm (S), 125mm (M-XL)
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Standard
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 142mm x 12mm
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Composite/Blue
Warranty Lifetime Frame for Original Purchaser
Weight 28 lb 0 oz (12,701 g)
Miscellaneous
Price $8,250
More Info

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