2009 Giant Anthem X2 First Impressions…

So, I finally have my new bike. When the new Giant catalogs came in we threw them in the corner and didn’t pay much attention to them. When we finally did get around to opening up the dealer kit we found that:

1. Prices had gone up. We knew it was going to happen, but actually seeing the prices was a little bit of a shock. Be aware that bike prices, and prices on specialty outdoor equipment are going up… roughly 20-25%. You’ve been warned.

2. Giant has changed up their line quite a bit. I had heard about the new road bikes and the loss of the OCR and the addition of the Defy. But a new Anthem… that was news to these ears.

Anyway, it looks like Giant has chosen to consolidate their line a little bit. The old trance and anthems are gone. In their place is a new, lighter, 4 inch travel bike dubbed the Anthem X. The geometry falls somewhere in the middle of the two bikes it replaces with a 71 degree head tube and a 73 degree seat tube. This should make for a very fast ride that won’t cringe at the site of a bump or two. Oh yeah… and the fork went from 80mm to 100mm. I couldn’t wait for mine to come in.

Fast Forward… bike arrives, gets built… this bike went together quite easily. The xt brakes set up super easily, wheels were true, not too much to complain about. There was a slight dent in my top tube. I don’t know if you can see it in the pics, but I suppose that’s the risk or getting things through employee purchase programs.

Anyway, today I got it out on the trail and it is one fast bike. It climbs amazingly well, just screams down the straights, and on the downhills has plenty of suspension to open up your choice of lines. It definitely doesn’t have that cadillac feeling of the Trance X, and there were a few sections of trail that felt a little sketchy going into them with so much more speed and a little less travel. But overall I’m really pleased with the bike. The cockpit feels good (I’m 6’1″ on a large frame), it’s light, great suspension, and the ride to and from the trails has never been quicker.

Anyway, if you would like to know more about the bike drop me a line. I may or may not post a follow-up once I’ve had the chance to get a few more rides in.

Later.

Here you can see the little ding that came with the bike… (click to see larger)

[Update] After getting some additional riding time in and remembering how to ride a bike and not just run over things, I’ve really grown to love this rig. So much so that I’m seriously considering getting another one in the spring when it’s finally time to bike again. Just thought you all should know. This is one very capable bike. You can’t be as lazy as you can on a 5 or 6 inch travel bike, but if you get out of the saddle there isn’t much to complain about.

13 thoughts on “2009 Giant Anthem X2 First Impressions…

  1. quez13

    how long have you had this bike? I am thinking about getting one and i am debating between this bike and the GT marathon 1.0

  2. Greg

    I’ve had the bike for just over two weeks now. I prefer to do more trail riding than racing. Now after having had the chance to ride a little more, I don’t think that this bike is right for me. It’s very fast, climbs great, but just doesn’t descend as well, or is as comfortable as some of the 5 inch travel bikes out there… and it shouldn’t be.

    However, if I had the money and was looking for a bike to race on… this would be the one I would purchase. When compared to other “race” bikes out there it doesn’t seem to give up anything in climbing ability or quickness yet the longer travel makes it a prime choice for technical trails.

  3. Greg

    My previous bike had been a Trance X0. Next spring when I get a new bike, it will either be a Trance X from Giant or a Blur LT from Santa Cruz. Both great bikes. I am leaning towards the Blur LT only because I haven’t had a chance to ride it since the redesign.

    Working at a shop isn’t all bad…

  4. Greg

    If your budget is around $3000 than YES, I would recommend this bike. There are a lot of other great bikes out there, however the maestro suspension system works quite well and when it comes to bang for the buck… it’s hard to beat Giant.

    I would also recommend the Blur XC from Santa Cruz. It’s very similar to the Giant, but you will pay more.

    Don’t forget to check out the options from Trek, Specialized, Marin, Cannondale, etc…

    There are a lot of good bikes out there… make sure you test ride before you buy. Different manufacturers use different geometries and you will find that some fit better than others.

    Fit should always come first.

  5. psycho_dad

    Hi Greg. Do you still have your X2? I’m looking to buy a used one. Saw your last comment that you wanted to buy a new bike in the Sping. Let me know if you are interested in selling it.

  6. Greg

    Well… I do still have an Anthem X2. However, I sold the one I had last fall and the one I have now I actually just built today. By the end of last fall I had really fell in love with this bike and it was an easy decision this spring when I had to decide what to get.

    Anyway, get back with me towards the end of August. I’ll probably be looking to unload this guy when the 2010 stuff becomes available.

  7. CRVTEC

    Great blog. I also have the Anthem X2 and it is seriously fun to ride. I have been riding a 2001 Cannondale Jekyll 600 for years and finally decided to get a quality bike. I test road a Cannondale Rize 3 and couldnt make myself like it. Once I test rode the Anthem X2, i knew this was the one for me. I changed out the tires to Kenda Excavator and the bike weighs in at 26 lbs. I love this bike when on the trails. Its very capable and makes riding so much fun. Highly recommended if you want a seriously good bike for under 3K.

  8. CRVTEC

    Robert,

    I think at your size a LARGE is the way to go. However, the best way to find to find out is to go test ride one. Thats the only way you know how the bike feels.

  9. Greg

    Robert at 5'11" with a 33inch inseam you would probably be a large. When fitting a bike you most people go to the inseam first to help get them in the ballpark, but I believe that your torso length is a much better guide. Being 5'11 and having a longish inseam I'm guessing that most of your length is in your legs. That being the case the large is probably your best bet. But, like CRVTEC mentioned, you really should test ride it first. That really is the best way to go about this.

    I hope this helps.

    NOTE:
    It's about that time again and I'm starting to look to sell my current bikes which are the 2009 Anthem X2 and the 2009 TCR Advanced 2. If Anyone is interested just shoot me an email at greg@juskuz.com.

  10. robert

    Thanks for the input. I rode my buddies 2009 Large Anthem yesterday, and we measured ourselves.

    My buddy: Me
    L frame
    6'2" 5'11"
    33 inch inseam almost 34 in.
    Ihave longerreach

    His large felt much better, i'm trading in my medium. The medium felt like there was not enough wheel in front of me.

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