Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Bike Day: My 2012 Giant Anthem X-29 0...

Here it is... The bike I'll campaign in 2012 - a Giant Anthem X-29 0. To say I'm stoked is an understatement!
Aside from the difference in frame color compared to the 2011 bike I raced, my new Anthem is running a SRAM XO/X9 drivetrain. The 26x39 crankset and 10sp. rear derailleur come from the premium XO inventory, while cost is saved by an X9 front derailleur, shifters and cassette. The hollow-pin PC1070 chain is a quality spec.
Giant has not changed the design of the Maestro suspension design for 2012, nor did it need to. It has, however, swapped dampers, this year going to a RockShox Monarch RT3 from last year's excellent Fox RP3. While the initial ride feel is decent, the jury is still out on the Monarch's performance vs. the RP3. I have to admit I'm quite fond of the Fox, but am trying to remain objective. For now, I like the ease of setup the Monarch provides.
Major metalwork... Giant's hydro-formed alloy tubes create a distinctive appearance. It's easy to see the investment Giant has made in world-class manufacturing when perusing the Anthem X-29 0 in-person. It's a stunner...
Avid Elixir 9 brakes (180f/160r) with Matchmaker perches place the shifters on common clamps for uncluttered bars and maximum adjustability between brake and shift levers. It's an awesome setup... and light too! I've (to-date) primarily used Shimano drivetrains on my mountain bikes, but I have to say, this Matchmaker setup with the Avid brakes may be the most ergonomic brake/shift lever setup I've ever used. It's truly possible to brake and shift simultaneously. Very cool...
Great spec... With Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires as a stock spec, the Anthem X-29 0 even came with my favorite treads. And unlike in 2011, Giant nailed the bar/stem spec, so I won't be needing to swap out the stock items (unless of course I want to). That said, the stem is Giant's "Overdrive 2" size, which is to say, it is a 1 1/4" diameter, so there are a limited number of aftermarket stem options available. The benefit is increased front-end stiffness when compared to traditional 1 1/8-to-1 1/2-inch tapered steerer designs. Since it fits me now and I'm confident of Giant's support of their "standard", I'll roll with it.
Revisiting RockShox... It's been a long time since I've had a SID on the front of my bike, but it's 2012 and the rules have changed. SID is a new creature! This SID RCT3 is one incredible fork, with its 32mm uppers and QR15 "Power Bulge" lowers, yet it's the one part that's largely responsible for the weight loss the 2012 bike experienced. Plus, it feels very nice right out of the box, and it's super adjustable. I like this fork.
The one thing I was disappointed to lose from my 2011 Anthem was the DT rear hub from the rear wheel. My 2012 Anthem X-29 0 saves cost with a less expensive rear hub, but likely gives the cost saved to a more expensive drivetrain (crankset, shifters, derailleurs), when compared to 2011. Time will tell if it was a fair trade, but I'm a big fan of DT Swiss hubs... Where last year, I raced on the stock wheelset, I'm thinking about different wheels for this year's bike. We'll see if I end up having the budget to do anything about it... Keep your fingers crossed.

Thanks to Kris and the crew at Cycle Works in Lincoln for their support of my racing, and for giving me the opportunity to race this incredible Giant bicycle in 2012. Look for the my Cycle Works/Moose's Tooth teammates and myself at mountain bike, gravel and adventure races this season. We'll be the ones in the rasta jerseys. Jah mon... Rasta!


kevin said...

Excellent ride! Seems to be a common drivetrain choice for frame manufacturers - my Spec Epic 29 will have the same.

MG said...

It's true. SRAM definitely has made some headway this year with their 2x10 setups. And the performance is really good, so it stands to reason.

It'll be cool to see that new Epic too!

Roger77 said...

Very nice ride. Still happy with the sid and monarch?
What size is your bike?
I want to buythe same bike but don't know what size.
I'm 1.83 m (that's 6'00" i think)

MG said...

Hey Roger,

Thanks for checkin' in. Yeah, I'm liking the Monarch more and more every day and the Sid continues to impress me. RockShox suspension definitely has a different 'feel' on the bike for those (like myself) who have spent significant time on Fox suspension, but it's good stuff once you dial it in. Primarily, what I'm noticing, is that it's really adjustable. I'm running it a little higher in the travel than my '11 Anthem currently, which should (in theory) alleviate some of the pedal striking issues I had with that bike on trails with cupped-out singletrack with corners you pedal through (think Wilderness Park here in Lincoln).

I'm diggin' the whole bike, actually. It could perhaps use lighter wheels, in this day of carbon wonder wheelsets... But for a $3750 dualie 29"er, it leaves little to want for. It'll be a great partner to toe the line with.

Roger, I think you should do a large. I'm only an inch taller than you, and I'm on the tall side of a large.

Have fun!


Roger77 said...

A large would be possible. Even when it seems 20" infact is more of a 19" if i'm correct.
By the way what is the weight of your bike?
I also like the 29r 1 (white version) but the fork/damper add about 260 gramms of weight.
Still in doubt.

MG said...

My bike weighs 26.5 lbs with a King cage and Time pedals, with the tires converted to tubeless, but otherwise stock.

As far as going with the 1 instead of the 0, I don't think the weight of the damper is the only part that's going to be heavier on the less expensive bike. Most of the drivetrain components are going to be incrementally heavier, if only by 10 or 20 grams a piece, but in total, those pieces add up.

You do save in price, so it's one of those things that you'll just have to do the math and decide what it's worth to you, and what kind of rider you are... It's really the same as it ever was. Giant just makes a very compelling 'value' bike, regardless of price point.