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  1. #1
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    Giant Mistake??? Anthem 27 vs 29

    With all the hype, I have dying to jump aboard a 27.5 bike. My local shop just happened to be hosting a demo of Anthem 27 3's and Trance27 3's.

    Little background. I have been riding 29er's for over 3 years and have a good amount of local racing under my belt. I currently own a Large Anthem X 29 1 with all Fox/Shimano components. I am a hair over 6 foot and have a monster natural inseam of 35", so I always fall b/t Large and XL. The geo on the Anthem 29 allows me to get away with a Large.

    Showed up to the demo and sure enough they had a Large 27.5 Anthem ready to go… The color scheme and look of the 27.5 3 Anthem is sweet! especially with the internal cable routing. Very respectable build at the price point.

    First thing to mention, if you have long legs like me, the seat post runs much shorter on the Large 27.5 Anthem. If I was to buy a 27.5, I would go XL. Make sure you throw a leg over this bike if your a tweener before buying. When I first jumped on, I didn't feel like I was that overwhelmed in the difference in wheel size. One thing that did stand out was the slack head angle, definitely made the cockpit feel comfortable.

    Rolling out on a familiar trail, I picked the normal lines I ride on my Anthem 29. The first thing I noticed was that 100mm of travel front and back felt much shorter, almost like 80mm. The second thing I noticed is the handling was much more responsive. The relaxed geo was a welcome change. I have been drinking plenty of beer in the off season but I have to admit the bike just felt like it accelerated fast or maybe I was just rotating the pedals faster due to the smaller wheel size. Either way the 27.5 feels different in acceleration. I ride aggressive and I like how I could flick the bike with the short chainstays. Definitely another change on my Anthem 29 wish list… My trails are littered with roots and rocks and the bike seemed to handle all trail chatter comfortably. Throughout the ride I kept wondering would I like this bike over my 29er or just stuck in new bike trance.

    I brought my Anthem 29 for a direct comparison and had it handy to jump on right after my ride.

    The 27.5 good
    - Geo - slacker headtube
    - Short Chainstays
    - Handling is very responsive and just natural feeling
    - This is a purpose built race bike!!! I would give this a hard look over a Hardtail.

    Bad (personal thoughts)
    - Shock travel just felt short - kept thinking I would love a 120mm fork and maybe 110 rear shock
    - The bike just didn't seam to roll as fast as 29r

    So which bike did I like better???

    I really liked the Anthem 27.5 but honestly I just felt faster on my 29. Now there are a ton of things I loved about the Anthem 27.5 as outlined above, but I just love the way my Anthem 29 rides. In the perfect world, I would loved Giant to slack the head angle out and shorten the chain stays and honestly believe they would have the Holy Grail of 29ers. Come to think of it, the Turner Czar has a geo that I would love to see on the Anthem 29. I highly recommend everyone to throw a leg over a 275 bike, there is definitely plenty of positives to make the switch. I really think the wheel size will shine for shorter riders and long travel bikes.

    I think there is plenty of room for both wheel sizes but why Giant took the stance of abandoning the 29er this year, is a mystery to me!!!

  2. #2
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    Good thing they didn't abandon the 29er then huh?

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    Feeling faster on anything doesn't mean much!

    I've demoed the 27.5 Anthem, geo is a bit neutral for me.

    Anthem 29er geo looks odd if anything, long chainstay and wheelbase.

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    Point I was making is that Giant has really focused on the 27.5 wheel size especially in all the magazines. The number of 29er options in both the Anthem and Trance have been cut back. Meanwhile Specy and Trek keep expanding their lines. I was really hoping for a full carbon shorter chain stay offing this year...
    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Good thing they didn't abandon the 29er then huh?

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    You said it yourself in the first sentence, hype. 27.5 does nothing better than any other wheel size. I think wheel size should be scaled up and down with frame size, little 5'4" people have business on a 29er, just like I have no business on 26.

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    I guess we'd better give Giant the heads-up.
    I don't rattle.

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    I got the chance to ride an Anthem 27.5 for a longer period + one XC race and the result?

    Sold my AX29 Advanced 1 and placed an order for a new AX29 Advanced 1 that is going to be stripped down to frame and built with XX1 + Fox Factory for next year’s racing.

    Don't get me wrong, the Anthem 27.5 is a superb bike, but our terrain here contains a lot of roots and rocks so I'm faster on the AX29. It is a shame that Giant did not offer more models of the AX29er Advanced. Think about the new linkage, the new way of internal cable routing, same design as 27.5. Would make a great bike even better. If Giant not going to upgrade the AX29 till 2015 I probably will switch to another brand until they do something about it.

    The terrain is just not always suitable and better for 27.5.
    Last edited by plupp; 01-06-2014 at 08:39 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpastore22 View Post
    In the perfect world, I would loved Giant to slack the head angle out and shorten the chain stays and honestly believe they would have the Holy Grail of 29ers. Come to think of it, the Turner Czar has a geo that I would love to see on the Anthem 29.
    So, what you're saying is, you think the Trance X 29er is the perfect bike?

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    I have said before that the advent and promotion of the 29er got people of the dime and moved them to a bigger wheel. The advantages of "roll" and its subsequent "feel", especially where it impacts certain terrain, cannot be ignored. But it isn't the Grail.

    Previous posters cite the superiority of the Anthem 29 over the Anthem 27.5 for reasons of "feel", response to local terrain, and race conditions. "Feel" is a curious thing and relative success based upon this factor, as discovered by bike designers who measure these things, don't always match up to stop-watch measurements. Yet if the bike feels right who is anyone to challenge that? Local terrain is best understood by locals; who can argue with that? Does anyone here race or have race experience? Well then, you might understand that value. Fair enough.

    The 29er, in a sense, paved the way for the acceptability of the 27.5; the 26 was no longer seen as the only way to roll. Just as with choosing frame material, suspensions, componentry, tires/wheels/hubs, and accessories, wheel size is now a checklist modality. So looking at our personal riding experience, local terrain, how much we ride, whether we race, age, stamina and such, will effect how we make all of those choices. Oh, and cool factor; don't forget the cool factor.

    Both of the above posters/testers come from 29er Giants who rode the Anthem 27.5 once. I don't know if they have ridden any other 27.5s. Both of these guys seem to know what they are about on a bike; no doubt. Their perspective is based upon much time not spent on a 27.5 so their comparison will reflect the value modalities of a 29er that they have come to depend upon in exploiting the value of that platform and the lack of those present in a 27.5

    I, however, come from a 26-inch Bontrager Racelite , premier classic steel hartdtail, fully decked out. I rode that almost exclusively from 1998 to the present; racing, training and funning. I spent time, intermittently on a Stumpy Pro dual suspended 100 mm which I never loved, and a carbon Roubaix road bike. From that perspective I sought my next bike.

    5 rides on a Carbon Tall Boy, 3 on a Spot HT, and 2 on a S-works Stumpy, all hi-zoot 29ers, told me some pretty basic things: XC geometry in a 29er was very doable, dual suspension was nice, components are, well, components of a certain level, and fit is everything. No huge revelations but, still, it raised awareness for features which needed the most attention no matter what I bought.

    However I found 29ers sluggish, floppy in the front, and balky to handle but boy could they roll. Changing direction took more energy, missing flickability, it lacked the jackrabbit feel out of the corners and that snappy acceleration. Those factors in our local terrain were valuable to me. And that brought me to 27.5. Repeated rides on a Liteville 301 and a SC Solo 27.5 told me that longer-slacker geo did not handle the way I wanted and more than 100 mm of travel was wasted on me. Both robbed me of the sense of nimbleness. Yet even with the geo the 27.5 wheel made more sense to me when it came time to accelerate and lift the bike.

    One of my shops had the Anthem 3 27.5, which is the alu version. Out of the box suspension was quickly set up perfectly and it was crisp. After the second ride with the fit dialed-in I started to feel the center of the bike it was clear to me that the frame had a geo and balance that worked for me. Even with the weight the 27.5 handling was quicker than the 29er hi-zoot bikes I had ridden or the more AM geos. From there I had to decide. I knew I wanted a light bike with at lest XT components. The Fox Float CTD system was on a zillion bikes so, okay. The carbon version and that the componentry of the Advanced 1 would be superior to the 3. I had only actually seen the Anthem Advance 1 in a small version; cute, cute, cute and gorgeous. I ordered the Anthem Advance 1 without riding it. It would be due late in December.

    My shop found one in a week so I had it before Thanksfgiving. I replaced bars and seat post with Carbon Syntace and threw a leg over her. Right away it was clear to me that this was not my bike. I cannot imagine racing it on day-one while I would still race my Bonti that same day. My Bontrager and I knew each other so very well. Movements and decisions were made at a subliminal level, nearly instantaneously and without thought; we had danced many times together. The 27.5 Anthem was not that bike and not that relationship. 3x9 Shifting finesse was deep; where in the rotation I shifted, how much I pulled my punch under load, which gears I used. Between the carbon frame and the dual suspension I had a hard time feeling the ground.

    Just as with all of the other bikes I had ridden this one was not my bike and felt strange. Neither this one nor any of the other bikes had the controls dialed the way they were on my Bonti. But knew from the Carbon Tallboy that, as ground feel was illusive, simply committing the bike with its sophisticated suspension and smart geo would get me where I wanted to go. 2x10; I would figure it out. Hydraulic brakes (from XTR/ceramic rim v-brakes) were from God. I knew I would succeed with this bike.

    So here I am a month later with 20 rides, half on pretty technical terrain, tons of climbing averaging 150 ft per mile, riding with my buds. The bike is starting to disappear under me. The 27.5 wheel with its bigger contact patch allows a less knobby tire. That with its size makes for a nicer roll. The wheel is not floppy or heavy and the bike is much quicker to accelerate than the 29er and much more agile. I am flying over rough terrain that used to beat me to death on my beloved moribund Bonti. Huge success.

    So for those of you who come from the 29er I imagine that a certain portion will flow back to a 27.5 for the obvious reasons I value because now there is another large wheel choice. Some will flow to 27.5 kicking and screaming, and some will never change, all for great reasons. To date Specialized has no 27.5, nor does BMC. Giant is committed to 27.5. A line has been drawn in the sand. Whether that will or will not work for these accompanies remains to be seen. But what is clear to me is that 27.5 will be a very successful platform.

    The other thing, and that is what started me on this, is that making a decision on a bike after one ride is tough. There may be people out there who can read bikes quickly but I'm guessing that they don't pay full tick for their bikes and have dozens of bikes pass under them. That is so not me. That makes the process of bike buying really hard. I had the advantage of multiple rides on many bikes and the proof of that process is about to go under me in 15 minutes. How a rider, even a good one, can decided on a bike with one ride, especially when changing platforms, is beyond me.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Giant Mistake??? Anthem 27 vs 29-anthem2542.jpg  

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpastore22 View Post
    With all the hype, I have dying to jump aboard a 27.5 bike. My local shop just happened to be hosting a demo of Anthem 27 3's and Trance27 3's.

    Little background. I have been riding 29er's for over 3 years and have a good amount of local racing under my belt. I currently own a Large Anthem X 29 1 with all Fox/Shimano components. I am a hair over 6 foot and have a monster natural inseam of 35", so I always fall b/t Large and XL. The geo on the Anthem 29 allows me to get away with a Large.

    Showed up to the demo and sure enough they had a Large 27.5 Anthem ready to go… The color scheme and look of the 27.5 3 Anthem is sweet! especially with the internal cable routing. Very respectable build at the price point.

    First thing to mention, if you have long legs like me, the seat post runs much shorter on the Large 27.5 Anthem. If I was to buy a 27.5, I would go XL. Make sure you throw a leg over this bike if your a tweener before buying. When I first jumped on, I didn't feel like I was that overwhelmed in the difference in wheel size. One thing that did stand out was the slack head angle, definitely made the cockpit feel comfortable.

    Rolling out on a familiar trail, I picked the normal lines I ride on my Anthem 29. The first thing I noticed was that 100mm of travel front and back felt much shorter, almost like 80mm. The second thing I noticed is the handling was much more responsive. The relaxed geo was a welcome change. I have been drinking plenty of beer in the off season but I have to admit the bike just felt like it accelerated fast or maybe I was just rotating the pedals faster due to the smaller wheel size. Either way the 27.5 feels different in acceleration. I ride aggressive and I like how I could flick the bike with the short chainstays. Definitely another change on my Anthem 29 wish list… My trails are littered with roots and rocks and the bike seemed to handle all trail chatter comfortably. Throughout the ride I kept wondering would I like this bike over my 29er or just stuck in new bike trance.

    I brought my Anthem 29 for a direct comparison and had it handy to jump on right after my ride.

    The 27.5 good
    - Geo - slacker headtube
    - Short Chainstays
    - Handling is very responsive and just natural feeling
    - This is a purpose built race bike!!! I would give this a hard look over a Hardtail.

    Bad (personal thoughts)
    - Shock travel just felt short - kept thinking I would love a 120mm fork and maybe 110 rear shock
    - The bike just didn't seam to roll as fast as 29r

    So which bike did I like better???

    I really liked the Anthem 27.5 but honestly I just felt faster on my 29. Now there are a ton of things I loved about the Anthem 27.5 as outlined above, but I just love the way my Anthem 29 rides. In the perfect world, I would loved Giant to slack the head angle out and shorten the chain stays and honestly believe they would have the Holy Grail of 29ers. Come to think of it, the Turner Czar has a geo that I would love to see on the Anthem 29. I highly recommend everyone to throw a leg over a 275 bike, there is definitely plenty of positives to make the switch. I really think the wheel size will shine for shorter riders and long travel bikes.

    I think there is plenty of room for both wheel sizes but why Giant took the stance of abandoning the 29er this year, is a mystery to me!!!
    Nice comparison. as I have riden both sizes for many years it's pretty much what I would expect. In 27.5 I prefer slacker and more travel. i think the ax 27.5 is a very good option to a 29er racing hard tail though. the Ax29er is more comfort Endurance racing bike. Pity to see it go. I don't wish for shorter stays.Works great as it is.

    You can always slacken your Ax29er with a angleset or longer fork. IMHO 120 fork is always a good upgrade on any 100mm tarvel bike.

    Mine is currently set at HA of 69.3 degrees with a XMM120mm travel adjust fork and wide bar shorter stem set up [ HA was originally closer to 70 deg than 71 specd.].Add an offset bush and it's down to 69 degrees. Handles pretty similar to my slacker long travel bikes as a result, and the upright posn puts less pressure on the wrists for endurance racing.

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    Giant Mistake??? Anthem 27 vs 29

    I went from an anthem x29 to trance 29 for a lot of the reasons you mention. Slacker more comfortable cockpit, shorter stays and plusher suspension. I've riden a team anthem advanced 27.5 and despite the weight if the bike wasn't impressed. My mate who rides it(giant give them to him ) prefers his old anthem advanced 29.

    What it highlights is if giant updated the anthem to have shorter stays and maybe a slightly slacker head angle they would make a great bike even better.

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    I'm a little confused..... why are people saying the Anthem X 29er is gone? Its still on Giant's website in a 2014' model?

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    Quote Originally Posted by flynbryan19 View Post
    I'm a little confused..... why are people saying the Anthem X 29er is gone? Its still on Giant's website in a 2014' model?
    For now it is there, but based on comments from folks at Giant, it sounds like 2014 could be the last year of it. I suppose we will see later on this year with the release of info on the 2015's.
    "The true object of all human life is play" - GK Chesterton
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    I have said before that the advent and promotion of the 29er got people of the dime and moved them to a bigger wheel. The advantages of "roll" and its subsequent "feel", especially where it impacts certain terrain, cannot be ignored. But it isn't the Grail.
    Did you take lap times in various terrain for a equal AX29 and 27.5? Or is it more a guess that you are faster on 27.5? The feeling for me was that I was fast as hell on the 27.5" but looking at the clock was a disappointment.

    But with the new XCO-WC tracks trickle down to regular national races around the world with more easy train but with built rock gardens and jumps the 27.5" might be the thing. It is for sure easier to throw around stuff and jump with.

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    Giant Mistake??? Anthem 27 vs 29

    I think the thing to remember is that everyone rides differently and rides different terrain all around the world. If 29ers suit some but not others that's ok. There's choice out there. If giant puts all its eggs in the 27.5 basket they will definitely loose customers to other brands. The fact they manipulated their ranges around the world to give more choice in the 27.5 models than 29 or 26 is based on marketing to recoup their investment.

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    I think having many choices is a good thing. Look at the road bike market, they have
    regular ("performance") bikes, endurance bikes, aero bike, TT/Triathlon bikes, etc. Each bike is optimized for a given application. In the case of MTB, perhaps many people will feel more at home with a 27.5 vs a 29er. Some will still love their 26er. Perhaps 27.5 will phase out 26. The jury is still out, and the bike manufactures are trying to position the market in their direction. The fact that people win races in 26, 27.5, and 29 bikes (HT or FS) tells you that the rider wins races not the bike. In my my particular case, I switched from 26 HT to 29 FS. So far, I love my '13 Anthem X1 and see little incentive to change (plus I don't have the cash to throw around). The thing to note is sales volumes, not the magazine hype. I have asked several bike shops around here in Puerto Rico, and they tell me 27.5 sales are slow compared with 29er.

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    As Puerto Rico goes, so goes....

    On that note, this weekend on one of our group rides, which draw 80+ riders in numerous groups, I had a Trance 29er crash in front of me for no reason. That tells me unequivocally that Trance 29ers crash for no reason. My 27.5 Anthem managed nicely.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    I had a Trance 29er crash in front of me for no reason. That tells me unequivocally that Trance 29ers crash for no reason.
    What we're finding out here, by following the logic chain, is that Microsoft had a hand in designing the Trance 29er. Right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by plupp View Post
    Did you take lap times in various terrain for a equal AX29 and 27.5? Or is it more a guess that you are faster on 27.5? The feeling for me was that I was fast as hell on the 27.5" but looking at the clock was a disappointment.

    But with the new XCO-WC tracks trickle down to regular national races around the world with more easy train but with built rock gardens and jumps the 27.5" might be the thing. It is for sure easier to throw around stuff and jump with.
    My trails are steepish, somewhat rocky and rooted. Over the last 5 years I've owned and sold and timed myself on an Anthem X29 alu, carbon, Anthem 27.5 carbon, 140mm horst link carbon and loaned a mates trance advanced 27.5 for 2 weeks.

    Sure my fitness varied but even for 3-7 min segments the fastest was the carbon Anthem X29er - next was the alu bike.

    Most fun? Hard call. The cornering on the 27.5 bikes is so intuitive but you can't beat the comfort, cornering grip, sheer speed and stability of the 29er Anthems.

    I still have the original 2010 Anthem 29er which is normally set up for my girlfriend, has old flexy wheels and worn tires, but I took it out today for a "spin". Was as fast or faster than the 27.5 bikes I've tried recently.

    They have all been great bikes but the Anthem 29er just fits me so well and I suspect this is the main reason it works so well for me. Is this where I say YMMV?

    I initially didn't like the slow handling of the Anthem and started a long thread about it. I thought it was the long chainstays etc, etc. Sure the 27.5 bikes with short chainstays corner faster but the Anthem this morning was only slightly behind them and for me is not a deal breaker. I think my riding skills have improved as well.

    So after trialling all these other bikes I'd seriously consider getting another carbon AX29er...
    Love isn't blind... its retarded.

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    Sounds like your riding skills have developed around a 29er.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieDontSurf View Post
    If 29ers suit some but not others that's ok. There's choice out there. If giant puts all its eggs in the 27.5 basket they will definitely loose customers to other brands.
    You'll find bike mfg's already have their concept bikes two years out and have been polling market trends.
    I think you will find Giant Maestro had too many limitations to develop any further for longer travel 29ers. The future trend is for shorter chain stay 29ers so the rumours they are going to drop the Ax 29er may just be what they perceive the market wants and they can't deliver. Hence all the eggs in the 27.5 basket. No doubt some over paid marketing consultant has something to do with it as well.

    Lets hope they are wrong. I got a lot of bikes and my Ax 29er is still one of my favourites.

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    Not delivering to the 29er market is hardly a corporation ending move. How many 26ers did not buy into 29? How many of those 26ers will buy into a larger wheel that doesn't have what they don't like about a 29?

    The 29 is simply not the Grail. It was just the only large wheel option at the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post

    The 29 is simply not the Grail. It was just the only large wheel option at the time.
    I think this may depend a great deal on the individual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I think this may depend a great deal on the individual.

    That is the whole point.

    What do you think might have happened if 27.5 was pushed 8 years ago instead of 29? What would riders be saying about 29 after riding 27.5 for that whole time?

    A lot of the value of 29 to a rider cannot be argued with given grades, surfaces, geology, flora, preferences, styles. Then there is the value that comes from being accustomed to it. Not a bad thing, just not an inflexible investment. Include purchase timing and cost and the investment can be understood again. Toss in being in love with your bike....


    That sort of take s the absoluteness out of things.
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    I see your point. Having very, very little time on 27.5 bikes at this point, I have no idea what would have happened if they'd been pushed. But I can tell you that for someone my height, the 29er vs the 26" wheel was a non-issue. The 29er always felt better to me. Even when the bike in question was my brother's hair brained Titus Racer-X, which probably goes down as one of the worst 29er's I've ridden. It was just that....finally the wheel size felt proportional.

    I'm looking hard at a 27.5 AM bike right now. Will it be a sweet spot for me? Only time will tell.

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