2020 Giant Reign Advanced Pro 29 0 Bike

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Make it Reign: Introducing the 2020 Giant Reign 29

The Reign grows its wheels, loses travel and gains fun. It's a fast ride both up and down.

Rating: Vital Review
Make it Reign: Introducing the 2020 Giant Reign 29

The Giant Reign has been in production for 15 years, and on the verge of getting its driver license it has undergone some serious changes. We were invited to Revelstoke, British Columbia to have a look and get some quality time on the new rig. Surprises lay around every corner.

Across every mountain bike racing discipline we’ve seen big wheels take their place both on bikes and on top of the result sheet, so it should be no surprise that Giant has gone from 27.5 to 29-inch wheels on the new Reign. What exactly would we find waiting for us in Canada though? A long-legged race thoroughbred, a park-capable mini-DH rig, or a ready-for-anything all-mountain bike? Regardless, we knew we would find plenty of proper trail and terrain to give the bike a legitimate test.

Strengths

Weaknesses

The Giant Reign has been in production for 15 years, and on the verge of getting its driver license it has undergone some serious changes. We were invited to Revelstoke, British Columbia to have a look and get some quality time on the new rig. Surprises lay around every corner.

Across every mountain bike racing discipline we’ve seen big wheels take their place both on bikes and on top of the result sheet, so it should be no surprise that Giant has gone from 27.5 to 29-inch wheels on the new Reign. What exactly would we find waiting for us in Canada though? A long-legged race thoroughbred, a park-capable mini-DH rig, or a ready-for-anything all-mountain bike? Regardless, we knew we would find plenty of proper trail and terrain to give the bike a legitimate test.

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Well-tuned shock
  • Great climbing and descending bike
  • Tunable ride with lots of suspension adjustment
  • Solid build kit
  • Well-rounded geometry
  • Lightweight
  • A rather flimsy but lightweight wheelset
  • Brake rub may occur under load in switchbacks and uneven terrain
  • A faster-engaging rear hub would be welcome
  • Expensive as tested, although Giant has more reasonable builds

Reign 29 Highlights

  • 29-inch wheels
  • 146mm (5.7-inches) of rear travel // 160 or 170mm (6.2 or 6.7-inches) fork
  • Available in full carbon and full aluminum framesets
  • Available in both air and coil (SX) options
  • Maestro suspension design
  • 60mm stroke length on a trunnion-mounted shock
  • Boost axle spacing front and rear
  • Downtube and chainstay protection
  • Internal cable routing
  • 29x2.5-inch tire clearance
  • 44mm (FOX) or 42mm (RockShox) offset fork
  • 36-tooth max chainring
  • Standard water bottle fits inside of the frame
  • FOX Live Valve compatible with frame mounts
  • Weight: 28.9-pounds (13.1kg, Advanced Pro 29 0, size medium, no pedals)
  • Lifetime warranty on frame

Suspension and Frame Updates

Giant went through two years of development, during which they rode and tested three different forms of prototypes. They tried three distinctly different geometry and suspension layouts before landing on something they thought could adequately carry the Reign name. The end goal was to make a bike efficient both up and down the hill that could be raced or ridden on downhill-bike-worthy trails.

They let what they felt was the best leverage curve set the amount of travel. The Reign uses Giant’s Maestro suspension design, which consists of a floating pivot point multi-link system claimed to create a "near-vertical" axle path and a linear spring curve. To me, this says the rear wheel gets up out of the way of what you're running over and the suspension feels consistent and doesn’t do anything weird. After all the fussing about they ended up with 146mm of rear travel with 16.6% progression through the full travel and 30.6% progression from the recommended 30% sag point to 90% of travel.

In a departure from the 27.5 Reign, Giant went with a carbon rear triangle on the highest-end Advanced Pro 29 0 model, including a carbon rocker link and wheels. The package is very light at 28.9-pounds for the medium without pedals.

"This latest addition to the Reign collection is aimed at off-road riders who crave more speed, efficiency, and confidence on the most challenging trails." - Giant

Another small but critical detail is that the upper seat tube pivot has moved forward to create extra insertion depth for dropper posts. This means you’re more likely to be able to run your dropper collar slammed down to your seat collar during the rowdiest bits, or simply to run a longer travel dropper in the first place.

Finally, you'll note a large rectangular downtube and oversized top tube. This is claimed to improve lateral and torsional steering precision, as well as pedaling stiffness.

Geometry Updates

For 2020, the Giant Reign 29 gets bigger wheels and several sensible geometry updates. While keeping the same 65-degree head tube, the seat tube steepens 3.8-degrees to improve the climbing position on the bike. On a size large, the bike gains 20mm of reach while going from 473 to 493mm. Reach values range from 428mm to 516mm. All that added front end feels easily manageable with the help of the shorter 44mm offset fork.

While the front of the bike has grown a good deal over the previous 27.5 version, the chainstays have only grown by 4mm. Giant says this retains maneuverability. In the wheelbase department, the previous XL and the current L both measure at an identical 1258mm with the new 29 XL coming in at 1,285mm. Comparing the wheelbase lengths with the previous generation, the small has shrunk 6mm, the medium grows 6mm, the large grows 16mm, and the XL gains a whopping 27mm.

Initial Impressions

Two days of riding in the promised land that is Revelstoke is really only enough time to realize that you need to get your Canadian citizenship papers in order. Fortunately, we were to be guided by Wandering Wheels, whose trail choice and on-the-fly trail information made our experience the best possible. The first day of riding was to be spent pedaling around the trails at our first-class accommodation, Eagle Pass Lodge, and after we were to shuttle some more demanding trail on Boulder Mountain. The second day was to be the 7,000-foot descent of Mt Cartier via helicopter assist. The guides – Matt (owner), Luke (ripper), and Dave (character) – certainly seemed to have the goods on order and all we had to do was follow along.

Setting up the top of the line Advanced Pro 29 0 is a knob-twiddlers dream but rewards those who take the time. I was familiar with the 160mm FOX 36 Grip 2 fork and set it up identically to my fork at home with two additional volume reducers, 75 psi, and my clicks-from-closed counts. Knowing how I like my fork made setting the rear shock easier. After starting at the Giant-recommended 30% sag I then sought to balance the bike a bit better. To match the progression I enjoy in the fork I added one volume reducer, upped the air pressure, and lowered the sag to 25%. I went to the middle of the suggested setting for compression and rebound, and in the two days of riding I was only to deviate my initial setup by a few clicks.

This brings us to a point on the 2020 FOX Float X2, this shock rides nothing like the underwhelming pre-2018 versions I had ridden. The days of max volume reducers and flirting with max pressure are gone (for me and my 175-pounds, at least) and each click of compression made a more notable difference than the previous generation.

Riding the Chameleon Saturn (Giant’s name for the color) green sparkle pony (my name for the color) into the woods of Revelstoke, I was greeted with some surprises. While Vital MTB described the 2018 Reign as having a “passable” climbing position, the 2020 rendition is an outstanding climber in both suspension and geometry. The 76.8-degree effective seat tube angle places the rider nicely between the wheels allowing the front and rear wheels to be weighted as the terrain and angle dictate. The rear suspension has the smallest of bobs and firms up excellently under hard sprinting and climbing force, while still providing great levels of traction. So small was the bob on the rear of the bike that the only time I put the X2 into firm mode was when I was trying to, unsuccessfully, avoid getting my doors blown off by two Giant employees in a road sprint.

The suspension was so composed and the bike's movement so predictable that I instantly felt that I could ride increasingly rowdy sections blind at full speed.

Certainly, a bike that climbs so well was going to ride downhill like a Greyhound on sedatives. Riding into the first bit of down with some trepidation I unwillingly pressed the bike into every compression and pulled up for every downside I could see. The suspension was so composed and the bike's movement so predictable that I instantly felt that I could ride increasingly rowdy sections blind at full speed. Rounding another amazing root-filled corner at half-past mach-looney I would be surprised to find another series of compressions trying to eat me alive. On the Giant Reign, I was able to choose whether to pick up and gap things or compress in and hold on tight. Being both playful and fast I was very happy with what the bike was allowing me to do and get away with.

A note on noise. While climbing the bike up switchback terrain and pedaling hard in uneven terrain, it sounded as though the brakes were intermittently rubbing. Stopping to check the brakes I was confused the see that the rotor was straight and the wheel spun freely and silently. During the two days of riding, I heard multiple test bikes make the same noise. I can only surmise what the noise may be, and according to Giant our complaints were new and they were going get to the bottom of it immediately. The noise is more of an annoyance than a power drain and I do believe that lighter riders or those with a more even pedal stroke may never get the pleasure of hearing it.

Build Kits & Pricing

The Advanced Pro 29 0 is the top-of-the-line $9,000 USD build and gets a spec worthy of the price. First and foremost, it gets the great suspension bits that I’ve already blubbered on about. It also gets a full SRAM X01 drivetrain, SRAM Code RSC brakes, RockShox Reverb dropper post, a carbon Descendant handlebar, and a Truvativ stem – all of which worked flawlessly. 200mm rotors front and rear are a nice and welcome touch for a bike of this speed.

You'll also find chain guides on the entire Reign model line, which makes a great deal of sense. The Maxxis EXO+ casing Minion DHF and DHR tire combination found on the top two models is very capable and decently tough, although some may still wish for a Double Down rear tire.

The Giant brand carbon wheelset is undoubtedly light and a great width for the application of this bike. While many carbon wheels can be overly stiff, I found this set a touch overly compliant. Moments of extreme duress caused audible displeasure as the spokes made sudden unconsenting contact. Torsional flex also made the wheels feel gooey and vague when support was needed most.

There are three Advanced Pro builds available with the full carbon frameset, plus a full aluminum alloy build or two depending on where you live. The most unique build is the Reign 29 SX (red, above), which gets a 170mm fork and a coil DHX rear shock – something Giant's racers have tested at the Enduro World Series. This additional fork travel slackens both the head and seat angles by a degree.

  • Reign Advanced Pro 29 0 - $9,000 USD (tested)
  • Reign Advanced Pro 29 1 - $5,000
  • Reign Advanced Pro 29 2 - $4,000
  • Reign 29 2 - $3,000
  • Reign 29 SX - $4,000

View complete build kit specs

What’s the Bottom Line?

The new Giant Reign 29 is a joy to ride. While the move to bigger wheels and less travel would seem to suggest a more trail bike experience, I found theAdvanced Pro 29 0 model well-deserving of the all-mountain/enduro title. Put simply this bike is both fun and fast. The combination of a great factory tune on the rear shock and great kinematics make this bike much more than an enduro race bike. One way it differs from many enduro race bikes is that it has uphill prowess that many don’t. Getting to the top isn’t simply possible, it is pleasurable. 

While the bike could certainly be raced at high levels, it would also do great as an all-day bike or when thrown into the bike park on occasion. I was pleasantly surprised with just how far a well-done 146mm of travel can get you down Revelstoke's proper DH tracks. Combined with a highly-tunable fork and shock, the bike managed to be both supple and rather progressive without feeling harsh. In the end I was surprised by the 2020 Giant Reign, and pleasantly so.

Visit www.giant-bicycles.com/Reign29 to learn more.

Vital MTB First Ride Rating

  • Climbing: 4.5 stars - Outstanding
  • Descending: 4.5 stars - Outstanding
  • Fun Factor: 4.5 stars - Outstanding
  • Value: 3 stars - Good
  • Overall Impression: 4 stars - Excellent

About the Reviewer

Mint Henk - Age: 34 // Years Riding: 20 // Height: 6'0" (1.83m) // Weight: 175-pounds (79.4kg)

Float like a neanderthal, sting like a mosquito. Fast is fun and fun is loose, Mint enjoys finding the fine line been completely out of control and just barely in control. When he finds this mystical magical line you can expect audible whoops and hollers. He has been testing bikes and giving feedback for ten years now. Working at a bike shop he is regularly offered the latest and greatest marketing Kool-aid, and this experience has honed his eye for things that truly work.

Photos by Sterling Lorence

Specifications

Product Giant Reign Advanced Pro 29 0 Bike
Model Year 2020
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 573 600 640 665
Head Tube Angle 65.0° 65.0° 65.0° 65.0°
Head Tube Length 100 110 110 120
Seat Tube Angle 76.8° 76.8° 76.8° 76.8°
Seat Tube Length 431 431 464 496
Bottom Bracket Height 30 drop 30 drop 30 drop 30 drop
Chainstay Length 439 439 439 439
Wheelbase 1188 1215 1258 1265
Standover 752 751 773 788
Reach 428 455 493 516
Stack 619 619 628 637
* Additional Info Fork rake: 42/44
Trail: 129
All measurements in mm unless otherwise noted
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Advanced-grade composite main and subframe, monocoque construction, raw carbon fiber and custom resin
High-pressure molded Advanced Forged Composite rocker links
Rear Travel 146mm
Rear Shock FOX Float X2 Factory
Fork FOX 36 Float, GRIP2 damper, 110mm x 15mm Kabolt, tapered steerer, 44mm offset
Fork Travel 160mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered 1.5"-1.125"
Headset Giant Overdrive, oversized headset bearings
Handlebar Truvativ Descendant Carbon, 800mm x 35mm, 20mm rise
Stem Truvativ Descendant, 35mm clamp, 40mm length, 0mm rise
Grips Giant Swage lock-on
Brakes SRAM Code RSC
Brake Levers SRAM Code RSC
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
Front Derailleur None
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG 05
Chainguide MRP AMg V2 Carbon
Cranks SRAM X01 Eagle DUB, Length: 165mm (S), 170mm (M-L), 175mm (XL)
Chainrings 34 tooth
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB, press fit 92mm
Pedals None included
Chain SRAM X01 Eagle
Cassette SRAM Eagle, 10-50 tooth, 12-speed
Rims Giant TRX 0 29 WheelSystem, carbon, clincher, 30mm inner width, 28 hole
Hubs Giant TRX 0 29 WheelSystem with DT Swiss 240, 6-bolt, sealed cartridge bearings
Spokes Giant TRX 0 29 WheelSystem with Sapim Super and alloy nipples
Tires Front: Maxxis Minion DHF 29"x2.5" WT, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR
Rear: Maxxis Minion DHR II 29"x2.4" WT, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR
Saddle Giant Contact SL (neutral)
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Standard single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 148mm x 12mm
Max. Tire Size 29x2.5"
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Chameleon Saturn
Warranty Lifetime to the original owner
One year for paint finish and all other original components
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous Updated Maestro suspension
Trunnion mount shock new for 2020
Advanced Forged Composite rocker arm
Megadrive rectangular downtube and oversized top tube for stiffness
Asymmetric chainstays for stiffness and stability
Giant Tubeless WheelSystem setup tubeless from Giant
Price $9,000
More Info

www.giant-bicycles.com

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