Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One Of the Best Things About My 2011 MTB Season -- My Giant Anthem X-29...

Dirtblog readers and folks in the Midwest mountain bike scene have gotten used to seeing me on my pretty polished silver Giant Anthem X-29 1 during the 2011 mountain bike season. It's a bike I dearly wanted to race, so I feel very fortunate to have been able to race it this season.
Racing my Anthem X-29 to 20th place overall at the 2011 Dakota Five-O (2010 placing was 63rd overall). Photo: Patty Wixon

The Anthem X-29 was a bike I first thought about almost exactly one year ago, while I was racing at the 2010 Dakota Five-O. At the time I was racing a very nice titanium hardtail -- a bicycle I continue to own and admire today -- but I was also on a course that brought out the distinct advantages of the full suspension bikes the riders around me were astride. I'd raced a Salsa Big Mama the season prior, so I understood the power of big wheels and full suspension, and the Giant's Maestro dual-link suspension design was one that 26-inch riders had acclaimed for its pedaling and bump absorbing efficiency. So when I learned the company would be launching a 29-inch Anthem X in late-August of 2010, I was quickly interested.
MG at the 2011 Dakota Five-O. Photo: Rory Stone

Thanks to my sponsorship by Cycle Works and The Moose's Tooth in Lincoln, in late-December 2010 I took delivery of a shiny new Giant Anthem X-29 1 and built it up for its inaugural ride on Christmas Day. Since that time, it's been a fantastic adventure together. And in the end, I won a handful of races, finished second overall in the 2011 Psycowpath marathon series, and recently finished 20th overall at the 2011 Dakota Five-O (out of 700 participants). And while I think I was overall in better shape this season than I have been in the last few, I also think the bike had a lot to do with the consistently high placings and victories I earned in my mountain bike races.
Riding to the check-in of the 2011 Dakota Five-O with Lis Reinkordt, one of Nebraska's finest up-and-coming endurance, cyclocross and heck, just all-around bicycle racers. Oh, and she makes films too. Photo: Nathan Swanson

What's really cool about the Anthem X-29 is it's not a specialist. For as incredible as it is at descending, it's equally good at making me a better climber. In fact, two attributes specifically that help me climb better are the bike's stiffness laterally, and the Maestro suspension's independence from pedaling input, which allows me to focus on powering the bike up steep climbs while the suspension soaks up bumps, roots, rocks... whatever is on the trail. This keeps the tire in contact with the ground, driving the bike forward with consistent traction. My former Salsa teammate, Tim Ek, described me as "having Velcro on my knobs" during one fast descent during the Dakota Five-O, and that's exactly what the Fox RP3-damped Maestro suspension feels like it gives you. That, and confidence.
Confidence... Priceless. Photo: Kyle Hansen

So I'm hopeful I'll be back on an Anthem X-29 again in 2012 (click the link to view 2012 specs on the Giant website), and based on early conversations I've had with my team, it sounds like I will. YEAH!!

One cool note about the Anthem X-29 is that, like many Giant bicycles, you can get much of the same performance as the bike I win races on for much less than the $3675 retail of the top of the line bike I ride. In fact, there are Anthem X-29 models starting at around $2000, and with 2011 models on sale, now is a great time to stop by Cycle Works and check one out!

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