This Giant Reign 1 is a cross country (XC)
mountain bike which came to me in September 2020. It was previously owned
by a work colleague of a fellow Model T owner. He is an experienced bike
mechanic and had upgraded many of the components. Some spare parts and
some of the original components came with the bike. Since most of my mountain
biking experience has been from the Trek Y series, the Giant was something
quite different. Apart from the frame design, the technology was somewhat
newer. With the Trek Y bikes being from 1995, the Giant is 12 years more
The frame design is fairly typical of the next generation of mountain bike, with a steep top tube giving a lower centre of gravity.
The Reign 1 uses a pivot to actuate the vertically mounted rear shock. This has been standard rear suspension design on any serious bike since around 2000, and apparently reduces the energy lost in pedal bob, which is a characteristic of the more simple design.
Perhaps the most unusual aspect of this
bike is the single chain ring. This is not original, but was installed
by the previous owner. Apparently, having a single chain ring is a 'new'
trend. The question was of course is, would there be sufficient gear ratios?
To compensate for this a 10 speed cassette is required. An immediate advantage
is the elimination of the front derailleur and its sometimes tricky adjustment.
The tubeless tyres are another piece of new technology that I haven't experienced before.
Along with the 10 speed cassette comes a longer chain path, and to keep the chain under tension all the time, a Shimano Dyna-Sys rear derailleur is fitted. This contains a one way clutch in the chain tensioner to prevent chain suck.
Left side adjustments control lockout and rebound; right side contains the Schrader valve for connecting the air pump.
The forks are Fox Float RL32. It is an air shock with lockout and adjustable rebound.
Only one shifter is used.
Seat post height is simply adjusted with the lever. No need to adjust clamps.
Rear disc brake caliper.
Also new to my riding experience are the hydraulic disc brakes.
How Does it Ride?
Put simply, it's a better ride than the Trek Y bikes. This isn't meant to be a criticism of their old design, but merely demonstrates the improvement in technology over 12 years. I found the 10 speed gear ratios quite adequate for anything from fast highway riding, to steep climbing. In fact, I haven't found any limitations with it yet. With the exception of the YSL200, all my other bikes are 24 speed, and the Reign 1 certainly does not appear to be lacking in comparison. I'm actually quite sold on the single chain ring, if not only just to simplify things, but to eliminate one set of indexing adjustments.
The suspension is a vast improvement. For the first time, I've felt a front shock work as it should, with a decent amount of travel. I haven't noticed any pedal bob with the rear suspension, and haven't felt the need to lockout the rear shock. Obstacles which I'd be hesitant to ride over on a Y bike, are handled without loss of control with the Reign 1.
The disc brakes work well. There is less effort required for braking, and there is the advantage of no rim wear.
With my long legs relative to my height (6'2"), I found the geometry of the Reign 1 suits me well. The Trek Y frames are in comparison less suited, with their standard set up, since the handlebars are much lower than the seat height. Riser bars and a higher angle stem, as fitted to my Y3 are really needed to avoid neck and shoulder pain.
I haven't had to do anything with the tyres yet. Despite being tubeless, they don't seem to have any leakage problem. I've only put air into them once over nearly six months.
|Frame||20" Aluxx 6000|
|Brake levers||Avid XO|
|Fork||Fox Float RL32 (140mm travel)|
|Seat||SDG Bel Air|
|Seat post||Crank Brothers|
|Rear shock||Fox Float RP2|
|Cranks||Race Face Evolve XC|
|Chain ring||Wolf Tooth Components 104BCD 34T|
|Brakes||Avid hydraulic disc|
|Rims||Fulcrum Red Metal 3|
|Tyres||Maxxis High Roller UST tubeless|