First up, we have the Giant Reign 2. Thankfully, Giant has decided that 29” wheels are cool again, because they’ve knocked it out of the park with the new Reign redesign. With 146mm of rear travel and 160mm up front, the Reign packs a punch.

Late last year, Giant announced the Reign 29. It served as a much needed update to the previous model — one that was only available as a 27.5” wheel bike. Giant was found wanting in the long-travel 29er category. This new Reign is a bit curious. Billed as their enduro race bike, it only packs 146mm of rear travel — most enduro bikes are closer to 160mm or more. But, when your 146mm of travel works so well, I guess you can get away with pushing the pace on nasty terrain. We’ll chat more about that travel and how nice it feels a little later. Keep reading.

Giant Reign 2 Build, Geometry and price.

The Reign 29 2 comes in at $3000 on the dot — not a penny to spare to make our $3000 cut off. You do get a heck of a lot of bike for your three large, though. The Reign tips the scale on one of our better value bikes in the test. Here are the quick hits: A Sram NX drivetrain makes it go, Shimano 500 series brakes make it stop and Rockshox controls the bumps with a Yari RC up front and a Deluxe Select + on the back. The wheels, dropper and cockpit feature Giant house branded components, which actually feel pretty quality — especially the wheels. Giant correctly chose Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR tires to keep you gripping the ground, no matter the terrain. Where Giant chose wrong, was the saddle. Instead of being a comfortable place to sit, it feels more like a device used in the Spanish Inquisition. That unholy contraption would be the first thing to go if I found myself owning this bike. Well, maybe I’d upgrade the brakes first — more on that below.

The Reign is by far the biggest bike in our test. It packs a walloping 516mm reach in XL. That’s one of the biggest bikes currently out there. To give you a point of reference, a XXL Santa Cruz Hightower measures 518mm. At 6’2” I wouldn’t go smaller than XL, though. It feels like a pretty comfortable fit, and for a bike that’s meant to ride gnarly terrain, the longer reach and consequently longer wheelbase help it to be more stable, especially considering it only has 146mm of rear travel. The head tube angle is a pretty standard (at this time) 65 degrees with a rather steep seat tube angle of 76.8 degrees. The chainstays measure 439mm, a pretty well balanced number — not too long and not too short.

Giant Reign 2 Ride Impressions


The Reign is not a super light bike — It weighs 33.6 pounds. That’s not terrible considering what this bike can do. On the climbs it doesn’t feel remarkable or overly energetic. It’s not inefficient by any means, but there’s no spark to make you want to push the pace. It’s happy enough to sit and spin its way to the top. The Maestro suspension platform does a good job of minimizing pedal bob. Unlike the old Reign that sagged into its travel and stayed there until you put the bike back on your car to go home, the new Reign 29 sits higher in the travel and wallows way less. It provides a much better pedaling platform.

On the smoother section of my test climb, the Reign felt pretty good. In the more technical bits, it became difficult to keep the pedals turning. It took quite a bit of effort to lurch the bike over rocks and roots. Not impossible, but not as easy as some of the other bikes in our showdown.


The Reign lives for DH. It becomes readily apparent the second you point this thing downhill. The suspension performance is outstanding. It eats up small bumps, big bumps and every size in between. It rides very quiet. The back end stays planted and controlled rather than skipping around amongst the rocks. On a few of the bigger hits, the bike made the landings so soft I wasn’t sure if I had actually landed yet, or just catastrophically blew up and was unconscious in the bushes, day dreaming about riding a cool bike. Either way, the Reign is fantastic at absorbing big impacts.

Here’s where I have one thing to complain about — the brakes. The low-end Shimano brakes are well below this bike’s capabilities. They are underpowered for an enduro bike. The bite point is inconsistent and frequently I had to pump the levers to get the brakes to grab — not necessarily confidence inspiring.

The Reign was easy enough to corner on the wider and faster bits of trail. In some of the tighter, slow-paced sections, the long wheelbase became more apparent. I wouldn’t say I really struggled to corner on this bike, but it wasn’t quite as quick around a bend as some of our other test bikes. Due to its planted nature, it was also a little more difficult to get this bike in the air. If there was a lip to do the work for me, it jumped just fine, but If I had to bunny hop or pull up to make extra height, that’s where I noticed the difficulty. I’d say this bike is more for smashing and less for pretending you’re Jeff Kendall-Weed.

Reign 2 Full


+ Great suspension platform and performance

+ Good Value

+ Quality feeling cockpit and wheels


– Brakes

– Saddle

– Harder to get in the air

Biker’s Edge $3000 Trail Bike Showdown Giant Reign 2

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