The 2016 Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5 is engineered to give Giant's elite level racers every advantage on technical XC racecourses and Giant have produced what can only be described as a carbon rocket ship. Coming from a five-strong 2016 lineup of Anthems, the Advanced 1 is the second model from the top and there's a women's version too - the LIV Lust is the Anthem's sister, sharing the same appetite for fast cross country riding.
Blending the legendary performance of the Anthem with 100mm of Maestro Suspension, they've produced a stiff, superlight carbon frame that's your ticket to the podium. Flow Mountain Bike in Australia recently rode the Anthem Advanced 27.5 1 model and produced a comprehensive review on how it performed out on the trails.
Buzzing out of the showroom floor like a wide-eyed bumblebee hopped up on the finest EPO, the Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5 1 is a bright splash of fast yellow and slimming black, itching to set the quickest lap times you've ever done. The shortest travel dually in Giant's huge range of bikes is all about efficiency, so in the right hands this is the key to serious singletrack speed.
Flow Mountain Bike, January 2016 review
Commenting on the frameset, which combines a carbon mainframe with an ALUXX SL aluminum in the rear triangle, the Flow editors pointed out the carbon quality that sets the Anthem apart, while the Maestro suspension got top marks too:
"Big carbon shapes join slim aluminium lines out the back, tied together by two widely-set floating linkages. Giant are the kings of carbon (or composite) manufacturing, their Taiwanese facility is enormous, producing high grade carbon versions of all their performance mountain bikes, even the new Glory downhill bike comes in the light and lively Advanced carbon. And with a lifetime warranty on all Giants, they are a sure bet."
"Giant have been running with their tried and proven Maestro floating link suspension design for quite some time across their entire range, and our experiences have always been fantastic. Providing a stable bike with just the right amount of suspension activity whilst pedalling, the Anthem doesn't skip around when you're hammering down hard on the cranks."
The lower shock pivot and main suspension pivot share the same axle, providing a wide and remarkably laterally rigid junction between the front and rear end. A heavy shove of the back wheel into a corner will show you that despite its low weight, it's quite tough and feels super solid beneath you.
The 2016 Giant Anthem Advanced 1 is competively priced at £3,249.99, seeing as it comes equipped with 11-speed Shimano XT, top-end Fox suspension and Giant's super-light P-XCR 1C Carbon Wheelset. This seemed to impress the guys over at Flow, who were particularly impressed with the componentry that comes with this bike:
"Shimano's new 11-speed groupset won us over last year when we put it on long term review, the wide range single ring drivetrain and snappy brakes are a big jump up from the previous XT group, performing on-par with Shimano's mega light XTR kit."
"Straight from the first page in the FOX catalogue is the Factory level fork and shock, the top shelf kit in their category. With all the external adjustments and their finest dampers, the Anthem really is running the best on offer.
"Giant are clearly investing serious time and brainpower into their in-house brand wheelsets, their road bike carbon wheels are gaining loads of space in the peleton, and these PXCR 1C hoops are a mighty hot addition to the Anthem. They even sound fast (in a good way), with that whooshing carbon sound echoing through them when you give them a nudge through a fast turn. They may be subtle in appearance, but know you've got lively carbon wheels on your bike when it's time to pick up the pace."
"In one word - sharp. The Anthem knows its place on the trails and doesn't give the rider any mixed messages, it's a lightning quick handler and a rapid steering bike, that is best utilised in competent hands. Race you to the top! The Anthem is your express lift pass to the top of the mountain, a brilliant climber. It's the combination of the roomy and low cockpit shape, overall lightweight, compression adjustable suspension and fast rolling wheels that blend a perfect concoction of efficiency to propel you up the climbs."
"After a few weeks of riding we got to understand what this bike lives for, and we learnt to love the Anthem on trails that suited its competitive streak. But you really need to understand what you're getting into if considering one: if you're into racing, or riding buff trails you'll love it, it's an absolute rocket on fast race tracks. And the wheel size debate? Well, once on board, we soon forgot about the 29 vs 27.5 wheel size thing. Our time on the Anthem was spent ripping through singletrack so fast it was hard to believe we could have done it any faster, no matter what wheel size it had.