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  1. #1
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    Demoed new 27.5" Anthem Advanced XC Race bike......

    I went up to Duthie today (just outside the Seattle area) to demo the new xc bikes by Giant.

    (Side note: I ride/race an older model 26" Turner Flux. I absolutely love it. I don't catch a lot of air on it, but I can rip a xc trail pretty darn fast on it. I've used it to race the last 3 years---from local afternoon races to 50 milers to 24 hour team events. The frame is getting old though and so many of my top competitors race 29ers that I've been looking to go that route. The problem is I just haven't been that excited by the 29ers I've demoed.....Specialized Epic, Cannondale Scalpel, Santa Cruz Tallboy, several Niner bikes. The only one I have liked is the Rocky Mtn Element RSL 29er but not so much that I'd pay the money to replace what I already have. I can see the appeal of the big wheels for momentum and rolling over roots/rocks, but I also see the negatives too. I'm 5' 10" tall and weigh 150lbs with gear and I like the way my 26er feels. I just do. However, my latest thoughts have been to stick with a Turner bike, get the 29" Czar and call it good no matter what. That is until today).

    I rode the 27.5" XTC Advanced hardtail first. I have to say it was more fun than I was expecting. It's been a long time since I've owned a hardtail. Normally I curse the 29ers I've demoed and bring them back early (I only ride them when I'm waiting for the bike I really want to try). I have to say the 27.5" Giant hardtail was fun to ride as long as I was standing. It was rocket ship up a gravel road that I rode just to test it (and climbing is my strength). I even started thinking that it'd be fun to have one as a single speed for riding in the winter. However, in the end, it's a hardtail and my body and back don't want to deal with that style of bike anymore.

    I then rode the 27.5" Anthem Advanced F.S. bike. Wow. It's everything my current bike is + a lot of the advantages of a 29er. I was impressed with the Maestro suspension (my Turner Flux has the TNT suspension from the 2008 model). I didn't bother locking out the Monarch RL rear shock----the suspension felt solid even when standing. Obviously, it wasn't as stiff as the hard tail, however, I was able to stand the whole way up a steep climb and the rear wheel barely slipped as it dug in for traction. I was impressed. I definitely could not do that on my bike or the hardtail I had just rode.

    The front of the bike was about an 1" taller than what I currently have but it felt good. What was nice is that it was easy to manual (vs my Flux). I can see where this bike would be easy to J-hop over logs at speed. Overall, I felt very balanced on the bike (I rode a 18" medium). It had the fun factor of the 26" bike----accelerating out of corners and flicking it into the next one, but better on the obstacles and carrying momentum. For me, on a technical fast downhill, I could see where a 29er would be faster----just by reducing the "oh sh*t" factor from mistakes. However, the 27.5" wouldn't be far behind (whereas on my 26" bike, I've got a finger on both brakes way too much). Even though the Giant is a xc racer, I'd put a drop post on it---I like the lower center of gravity when flying downhill.

    The only negative I had with it is that the engagement of the rear hub is more degrees than what I have (I have Hadley hubs with 72 points of engagement). I could feel the crank turn a bit more before the chain started to turn. Not a big deal and something I could get used too, especially since the wheels on the bike are only 1400 grams and accelerate nicely. Overall they said the bike was around 22lbs.

    For someone who is looking for a xc race bike but isn't thrilled with 29ers, this is definitely a worthwhile bike to check out. I can see why Giant has made a big push with the 27.5" bikes. In my opinion, they have a real winner in the Anthem Advanced bike!

  2. #2
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    great review, thanks!

    i guess with ownership you can slam the stem and reverse the goosenecks, sharpen it up and lower the front.

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    What version of the Advanced? I currently own a Ventana El Bastardo that weighs in at 26.5 lbs and am thinking of replacing it with the Giant Anthem Advanced 1 27.5". I really enjoy my Bastardo but it is a 3 x 9 and I'd like to go 2 x 10 and have been jonesing for a carbon frame bike.

  4. #4
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    procos---it was the "0", top of the line model. It had the XX1 1x11 system on it which was pretty darn smooth. I know the "1" model has a 2x10 XT which I think gives you more bang for the buck (especially when you eventually have to replace components that have worn out or get broken).

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the great review. I'm also very interested in the Anthem Advanced 1. Curious if anyone has heard when these will be available? I've checked most of the LBS in CO and no one has a date, only "should be in the next 4-6 weeks".

  6. #6
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    Should be in the next 4-6 weeks.
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  7. #7
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    I've heard end of September.

  8. #8
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    but wait...

    Did you see Turner just released a 27.5 Flux? What are your thoughts on that v. Anthem Advanced?

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    BaconNation.....I'm going to be helping someone move from the NW to AZ in the next week and so I'm going to try and make arrangements to stop in Murrieta, CA at Turner headquarters along the way and see if I can't demo both the Czar and the Flux for a couple of hours. I really enjoyed the Anthem Advanced but my heart says go with a Turner again. I love my 2008 Flux---it's the only bike I've ever mountain biked on so to me "it's what makes riding great!"

    I want something now more for long distance endurance more than anything and the reviews of the Czar are too much to resist (I've never really enjoyed the 29ers I've rode other than the Rocky Mountain Element RSL 29er which I put on par with my bike in enjoyment----the Giant Anthem Advanced was better than mine. I corresponded with Lee L on mtbr here who did a review of the Czar up in B.C. and he thought the R.M was really good---like the Tallboy he owned---but thought the Czar was amazing. It's what he rides now). I'd like to demo the 27.5" Flux also. I'd like a carbon frame but for the extra $1000 saved I could use it towards a set of super light racing wheels for race day. Plus, a guy named Kosmo put a 120mm fork on his Czar and really likes it now and so the 120mm on the new Flux intrigues me too with that set up.

    I figure this moving trip is my one chance to demo these bikes and make a final decision on what to get. I will let you know what I think.

  10. #10
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    Flux

    Yes, please let me know what you think of the Flux compared to the Anthem. The Anthem Adv (FS) 27.5 and the Flux 27.5 are on the top of my list so I would be really interested in what you think after having ridden both. What I really want is a carbon Flux but that is a ways off from production. I am sure the Czar is amazing but I don't think a 29er is the bike for me right now. Anyway, I'd love a ride report if you make it to Murrieta.

  11. #11
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    Great review of the bike Southacres, I tend to agree with you on it as well. I demoed a 27.5 Anthem at Interbike Dirt Demo. Both the 0 and 3 versions. It was a good ride all around but I wasn't in love with it.

    I came from the opposite background, I ride an Anthem 29er and love it, so for me I thought that the 27.5 was a step backwards. I really didn't feel a difference in the acceleration nor in the turning. But it may have been because the trail was better suited to a 29er.

    I covered my thoughts on the level 3 version here if you're interested in seeing a 29er lovers thoughts on it.
    Giant Anthem 27.5 3 Review - Texas Mountain Bike Trails
    When I'm not riding I help beginner mountain bikers learn new skills at Texas Mountain Bike Trails.

  12. #12
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    BaconNation---I wasn't able to stop and demo the Turner bikes during my trip through So. Calif. I ended up getting delayed a day and so I passed through there on a Sat instead of a Friday as initially planned.

    Shawnskee22---I read your review. Good perspective from someone coming from a 29er. Since I've written my initial review, I've given the whole subject some more thought. Obviously each of us are different sizes and have different riding styles and have different opinions on what we want out of a bike. I loved the Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5" bike, but I won't be getting one. If I was looking for a fun all around bike, I'd get the aluminum version (approx $1600 vs $2200 for the carbon front/alum rear) and spend the extra money and put the best wheels on it I can and a Rockshox Sid fork on it. I'd actually go 120mm for the fork (nice thing is a Sid shock can go to 100mm to 120mm easily by changing the internal spacer. Just watch the YouTube videos). With the 17" chainstays, 73% seat angle, and a slightly higher front, it'd be a fun bike for 95% of anything I ride.

    However, I already own a great bike very similar to it. I think that's why I really liked the 27.5 Anthem. My 2008 Turner Flux has short chainstays and a similar head angle (I have a 120mm Reba XX fork on it). The Giant has a firmer shock/suspension (which I like--my bike has the TNT suspension, not DW Link) and 1400 gram wheels. It's like my bike but even better. It's why I loved it.

    My thoughts now (for me): I like to race. The 27.5" Giant Anthem Advanced doesn't give me much more than what I already have. The 27.5" Giant XTC Advanced Hardtail would make an awesome 1-1 1/2 hour racer. It'd abuse my body but make for a fast climber (I'm only 145lbs. As such, I try to win races on the hills). This bike still intrigues me, maybe even as a single speed. However, my current thoughts are that I'm going to focus more on longer distance racing and, as such, I want the 29er for that. In a 5-10 hour race I need to smooth the trails out, reduce down the technical features, and save energy. The 29er will help me be faster on the downhill (a weakness of mine) and momentum on trails is more important than acceleration in a longer race. I lean back to the Turner Czar as my main choice (because I like my Flux so much) but I still want to try out a 2014 Salsa Spearfish with the new DW Split Pivot suspension. The aluminum Salsa is $1300 cheaper but only .75lbs heavier than the carbon Czar. It also has shorter chainstays and a shorter stack height. With the extra $$ saved I could get lighter wheels (important for the 29er) and perhaps go with a 11 speed drivetrain.

    Without a doubt, I think the 27" Giants are great bikes. You couldn't go wrong with either of the ones I demoed.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the update, south acres. Too bad you missed the socal demo, oh well. In the meantime I have tried the Anthem 27.5. Actually, it was the women's version Lust Advanced 0. Wow, so much bling! I had a fun ride on it and felt right at home on the 27.5 wheel size. Suspension was firm but active. It is superior to what I am riding in every possible way. However, I am not yet convinced that it is the right bike for me. Besides some geometry misgivings, it had sort of an impersonal or mechanical feel. Not sure why. Guess I'll keep test riding.

    Best of luck on the 29er search!

  14. #14
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    Coming from a classic Steel 26" HT I am looking for active comfort, reduced weight, and increased rollover. I don't race anymore.

    I just borrowed a friends SC Carbon Tall Boy 29er. The biggest problem for me was trying to figure out the feel of the bike through 100mm of suspension and a carbon frame. I couldn't even tell if the tires were the right pressure. It took me 4 2-hour rides to find myself on the bike.

    Feel was, just like on my carbon Roubaix Road bike, dampened so much that the usual interaction with the ground was just not there. What I ended up understanding was not so much what I felt but what I was able to do. The geometry was similar to other of my bikes and I was able to do some of the tricky tech stuff on it which required balance and timing. I had to look uptrail, think, and really then commit. Once i got that everything else followed.

    What a solid bike. That said, I am still not sold on the 29er wheel with all the revving up to get it going and the heavy torque forces back into the bars. The Anthem Advanced 1 really has my attention. I just wish I had access to some 650bs to really ride here in the SF Bay Area.
    I don't rattle.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucifuge View Post
    great review, thanks!

    i guess with ownership you can slam the stem and reverse the goosenecks, sharpen it up and lower the front.
    Haha, this is funny
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by procos View Post
    What version of the Advanced? I currently own a Ventana El Bastardo that weighs in at 26.5 lbs and am thinking of replacing it with the Giant Anthem Advanced 1 27.5". I really enjoy my Bastardo but it is a 3 x 9 and I'd like to go 2 x 10 and have been jonesing for a carbon frame bike.
    procos... I just took delivery of my Anthem Advanced 27.5 1 size medium and it is 25.15 pounds -stock weighed at the shop.

    Been raining cats and dogs here for 3 days straight so I haven't had a chance to get out on it and rip it up yet.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertGayo View Post
    procos... I just took delivery of my Anthem Advanced 27.5 1 size medium and it is 25.15 pounds -stock weighed at the shop.

    Been raining cats and dogs here for 3 days straight so I haven't had a chance to get out on it and rip it up yet.
    Any chance you can snap some pics of that bike and post them? I am pretty close to pulling the trigger but my local dealer only has the Anthem 3 in stock and I want the Anthem Advanced 1. Would love to see pics of that bike.

    Thanks,

    Chuck

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    Coming from a classic Steel 26" HT I am looking for active comfort, reduced weight, and increased rollover. I don't race anymore.

    I just borrowed a friends SC Carbon Tall Boy 29er. The biggest problem for me was trying to figure out the feel of the bike through 100mm of suspension and a carbon frame. I couldn't even tell if the tires were the right pressure. It took me 4 2-hour rides to find myself on the bike.

    Feel was, just like on my carbon Roubaix Road bike, dampened so much that the usual interaction with the ground was just not there. What I ended up understanding was not so much what I felt but what I was able to do. The geometry was similar to other of my bikes and I was able to do some of the tricky tech stuff on it which required balance and timing. I had to look uptrail, think, and really then commit. Once i got that everything else followed.

    What a solid bike. That said, I am still not sold on the 29er wheel with all the revving up to get it going and the heavy torque forces back into the bars. The Anthem Advanced 1 really has my attention. I just wish I had access to some 650bs to really ride here in the SF Bay Area.
    Mike,

    My Anthem Advanced 27. 1 is here and I'll be picking it up Monday. I ride Redwood and JMP regularly, if you wanted to meet up at Redwood you could try it on an accompanied ride. Pm me if interested...

    Oliver

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    Nice to hear that the Anthem Advance is finally hitting the stores, I am waiting on my store to get the 27.5-1 in so I can buy it. The store manager got his 27.5-0 demo bike in, he wants me to ride it and get one that one but it is way out of the range I want to spend.

    Sounds like setting up the 27.5-1 tubeless with some Maxxis Ikon tires, carbon bars and carbon seatpost should get someone really close to the 24lb range. I plan on ordering the Stans carbon wheels after the new year and shoot for 23lbs.

  20. #20
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    TJay74---for carbon wheels, look into NOX's new carbon rim. It's brand new and getting good reviews (they will be coming out with a 27.5" xc rim soon). The price is good (for carbon) and they are WIDE. I got thinking about how much I really enjoyed the 27.5" Anthem Advanced and it made me think "why get a 29er xc race machine that reduces the fun factor for me. I ride because I want to have fun first, then I will worry about 30 seconds/hour faster." As such, I'm looking at the Giant again with a lot of interest. This then got me thinking about wheels and, I too, got thinking about the new Stans carbon wheels coming out. I started researching others and this lead me to NOX. They are used by Speed Dream (great wheel builders) and you can put a hub on it with faster engagement (I use Hadley hubs now. I see where Speed Dream uses Industry 9, Hope, or CK hubs. I like the 72 points of engagement. It's one thing I pointed out in my review I didn't like is the slight delay in the hub on the Giant wheels).

    On Review: NOX Composites XCR-29 Carbon Rims | Singletracks Mountain Bike Blog

    Also, I'd love to hear what others think about having a 120mm fork up front and how it handles. For longer endurance events, I think the extra travel would be nice on the arms/hands. I know a SID fork can easily be switched from 100mm to 120mm.

  21. #21
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    Giant uses DT Swiss 240 hubs with the upgraded star ratchet in all of their carbon MTB wheels. FYI.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by procos View Post
    Any chance you can snap some pics of that bike and post them? I am pretty close to pulling the trigger but my local dealer only has the Anthem 3 in stock and I want the Anthem Advanced 1. Would love to see pics of that bike.

    Thanks,

    Chuck
    Yeah most dealers on have the 3 if they have any at all. The dealer I bought mine from where just as excited to see the bike as I was! I will try and post some pics for you.

    So far... The bike rides awesome. Very fast, very comfortable, light. You won't regret buying this bike.

  23. #23
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    I have an Anthem Advanced 27.5 frame built up to 23.5 lbs.
    xx1, Giant carbon bar, stem, post. Magura brakes. Crank Bros egg beaters
    Stan's Crest, Knobby Nic tubeless.
    Size med. This is the true weight, no BS
    Ridden 3 weeks and love the bike. Coming from Anthem 29

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by happycatnow View Post
    I have an Anthem Advanced 27.5 frame built up to 23.5 lbs.
    xx1, Giant carbon bar, stem, post. Magura brakes. Crank Bros egg beaters
    Stan's Crest, Knobby Nic tubeless.
    Size med. This is the true weight, no BS
    Ridden 3 weeks and love the bike. Coming from Anthem 29
    How do you find the Anthem 27.5 compared with the 29? Was your 29 Al or Carbon and what did it weigh?

  25. #25
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    Both bikes carbon. 29 weight 25.5 with similar setup except 2x10.
    The only aspect the 29 excelled was steep rocky climbs. Wheels did
    roll over rocks better at slow speeds. The 27 is much more fun, quicker, lighter,
    descends great. Glad I made the switch. Plan to put Ardent 2.4 on in the Spring.
    Now riding Knobby Nic 2.35 tubeless.
    Good Luck

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