Tom's Bike - Anthem X Advanced 29er
Having now ridden and raced this bike over the last 4 months, it's time to give a real review and let you know about my set up and why I like this bike. My initial reason for going to a full-suspension after 4 years on Giant's XTC 29er hardtail was for the comfort in endurance races of 6+ hours and also the added control of the rear suspension in the rough terrain. Once I had put the bike though it's paces, I was justified in my decision. Here are the main reasons why I like the bike.
Sram's 1x11 X1 groupset is in a league of it's own. Taking away the hassle of front chainrings and also adding a gripshift (this bike comes stock with a trigger shifter) has made gear changes lightning fast. No longer do I have to make a quick change at both the front and back in the varying terrain. A small twist of the grip and you can make large gear changes instantaneously in one motion. The 1x system also eliminates your gears jamming during these quick changes which are often under load. Having 11 gears with a 10-42 ratio and a 32 tooth front chainring means that I am covered for all terrain. With this ratio I have still had a gear left on 17% climbs and max out at around 53 kmh.
Having only owned hardtails since taking up mountain biking, I was keen to have a new feel to my next bike. I also wanted something that would help improve my riding. Giant's Maestro Suspension system hasn't disappointed. I am certainly faster on this bike as all of the smaller bumps are smoothed out allowing me to maintain my rhythm which is important in longer races. This especially helps me as I am not a punchy rider, so keeping a more constant pace helps. When it gets knarly I've got a lot more control as the rear wheel is always in contact with the ground allowing me to focus on maintaining speed through the tough stuff.
This bike comes with Giant's PXCR1 wheelset with pre-installed DT Swiss tubeless rim tape and Schwalbe Racing Ralph tubeless-ready tyres. What does this mean? Simply take your tube out, add the tubeless valves that come with the bike, throw a cup of Stan's sealant in your tyre and boom, you're running tubeless! I like to run different tyres depending on the conditions and length of race. The tubeless-ready wheel makes it so much easier and faster to swap between tyres as the pre installed rim tape doesn't move around and deteriorate over time like other rim strips naturally will. Simply pop off the old tyre and pop on the new one. As yet I haven't found a tyre that I have needed anything but a floor pump for also. At only 1750g per pair, they are a decent piece of kit.
The Anthem X Advanced 29er has definitely sold me on full-suspension bikes for the type of racing and riding I do. It's not often you have a bike you don't want to ride, simply because you love it so much and you don't want to get it dirty! I've started mixing up my commuting and riding this to and from work each day via the Ashley River single tracks. It just screams "ride me". In short, it is more comfortable, has more traction, and is just as light as my hardtail at 11.3kg. It is a killer bike!