This is it folks. If you still had any notion that 27.5 was just a fad, forget it. Giant is going all-in with the middle wheelsize and 26 and 29-inch wheels are being pushed to the margins.
This isn’t an April Fools post. There are only three 26-inch models left in Giant’s lineup: the Glory downhill rig, the Reign X, and the STP dirt jumper. Our bet is that said gravity bikes will also adopt the new wheels in the next development cycle. Just like we saw in the 2014 Scott lineup, the middle wheels are taking over. Even price-point bikes are 27.5. Giant is hinting that 29ers are on the outs for all but its cross-country race bikes.
There are essentially four new 27.5 models for 2014 in addition to the women’s specific LIV models which includes hardtails and full-suspension.
Swedish national champion Emil Lindgren raced a prototype XTC Advanced 27.5 in World Cups and other XC races throughout the early part of the 2013 season.
XTC Advanced 2
The XTC is a race hardtail, designed for Giant’s World Cup level athletes. It is available in alloy or carbon fiber. The XTC bikes have a 69.5 degree head tube and 16.9 inch chainstays.
Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Adam Craig won an early round of the 2013 Oregon Enduro Series on a prototype version of the Anthem Advanced 27.5.
Anthem Advanced 0 Team
The 100mm Anthem is a race-ready XC bike with Giant’s popular Maestro suspension. It is available in alloy or carbon fiber. The Anthem models have a 69.5 degree head tube and 17.0 inch chainstays.
The 140mm Trance is a capable trail bike that can climb as well as it descends. It is available in alloy or carbon fiber. There is also a Trance SX model that pairs the Trance frame with a longer and stiffer 160mm Fox 34 fork. It too is available in carbon or alloy. All Trance models have 17.3 inch chainstays, while the SX models kick the head tube angle out from 67 to 66 degrees.
Australian enduro racer Josh Carlson in a product testing session in Oregon on a prototype version of the Trance Advanced 27.5.
Trance Advanced SX
The Talon is the price-point bike that brings the middle wheelsize to the masses. It’s built around a 100mm suspension fork and has a 70 degree head tube and 17.3 inch chainstays.
What about the ladies? The 27.5 wheels are a great fit, since many women want the advantage of larger wheels but have trouble fitting on a 29er. Giant meets their needs with the Obsess Advanced hardtail, the 100mm travel Lust, the 140mm Intrigue, and the Tempt price point hardtail.
The Obsess is available only in carbon fiber, the Lust is available in both alloy and carbon, while the Intrigue and Tempt are alloy-only. It’s safe to make comparisons to the men’s models with the same travel, but the frames are completely unique to the ladies lineup.
Marianne Vos of the Rabobank-Liv/giant team, the current world and Olympic champion on the road, helped develop the Obsess Advanced. She rode a prototype version at several World Cup events this year as she begins her bid to race cross-country at the next Olympic Games.
Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Kelli Emmett has been racing her prototype Intrigue at pro enduro events in Europe and North America this summer.
Kelli Emmett and Swiss rider Jolanda Neff, the current women’s XC Under-23 world champion, both provided valuable feedback during the development phase of the Liv/giant 27.5 lineup.
Lust Advanced 0