Giant Glory, ‘Whistler Edition’
Size Tested: Medium
Complete Build: (Here)
- Fork: RockShox Boxxer World Cup
- Shock: RockShox Vivid R2C
MSRP: $6400 (for a Glory 0)
Reviewer Info: 5’9”, 155 lbs.
Test Location: Whistler Bike Park
While riding in Whistler, I spent a bit of time on a Giant Glory from Whistler’s rental fleet. And though Whistler calls the bike a Glory 1, it’s more accurately described as the ‘Whistler Edition’ Glory. The parts spec on the Whistler Edition bears more in common with Glory 0, which I’ll get to below.
This Glory was straight out of Whistler’s regular rental fleet, and I did nothing to it other than dial in the brakes, bar position, and suspension settings to my preferences. So, to some extent, this is also a review of Whistler’s bike rentals. It also means that this review comes with the caveat that I didn’t get to spend all that much time on the bike, basically just one morning of lapping the Whistler bike park.
As a side note, it’s interesting that Whistler calls the bike a Glory 1, because despite being Whistler’s primary high-end rental bike, you can’t buy it in Canada or the United States. If you want a Glory 1 in North America, you’ll have to go to Mexico. But all of the Giant Glorys do share an identical frame; the differences between the Glory 2, 1, 0, and the ‘Whistler Edition’ I rode have to do with the other build components.
The Glory frame is “ALUXX SL” aluminum, and gets 8” of travel out of Giant’s Maestro suspension design. The ALUXX SL aluminum is essentially a 6011 aluminum alloy that’s been double-butted and formed in a variety of ways. It’s Giant’s mid-grade aluminum alloy, with ALUXX SLR being the top end.
Giant’s Maestro suspension design has been around for quite a while, and (depending on who’s lawyers you talk to), bears some resemblance to a DW-Link design. It’s essentially two short links that work as a parallelogram, with the rear wheel’s movement swinging in a modified arc that has a significant vertical component.
Compared to many of the newer DW-Link bikes, as well as some other “dual link” bikes like the Santa Cruz V10, the Maestro’s suspension uses relatively long links. While this may allow Giant to play with the wheel path a bit more, it also makes it a bit more of a challenge to keep the frame stiff.
The pivots on the Glory ride on cartridge bearings, which is fairly standard for a bike of this type. It should also be noted that the Glory line of bikes will roll with 27.5” wheels for 2015, but the bike I rode still had “old fashioned” 26-inch wheels.
Fit and Geometry
The Glory’s geometry numbers come in on the long side of middle-of-the-road—none of the Glory’s measurements are the longest (or the shortest) among DH bikes, but the Glory errs on the side of being a bit longer. This is noteworthy, since the 2015 Glory is reportedly following the trend of “longer is better,” and is even more stretched out.
The Medium size Glory that I rode sports a 1211 mm (47.7”) wheelbase, 444.5 mm (17.5”) chainstays, and a 63.5 degree head angle. Giant (somewhat frustratingly) doesn’t list the reach for the Glory online, but I took a quick measurement and it looked to be right around 432 mm (17”).
From a fit perspective, I felt pretty comfortable on the Glory right from the start. It doesn’t have the super long, boat-ish feel of the GT Fury, nor did it feel as cramped as the Trek Session 9.9. Generally speaking, the fit felt most similar to the Specialized S-Works Demo 8, though the longer rear end on the Glory was noticeable.
Due to the nature of this test (a rental bike from Whistler), I didn’t have a chance to throw the Glory on a scale. That said, it felt fairly light, and the Glory 0 comes in a bit under 37 lbs. without pedals.
The ‘Whistler Edition’ Glory I rode was built with parts that are similar, but not identical to, those offered on the bikes that Giant actually sells. Since this is essentially a custom build, I won’t spend a whole lot of time talking about the parts.
The bike I rode was equipped with a Boxxer World Cup, a Vivid R2C rear shock, and an assortment of higher end Avid and SRAM components (along with Giant, SRAM is a partner with Whistler for their rental fleet).
In my time on the bike, the brakes, drivetrain, and less consequential bits all worked fine, which is at least an indication that Whistler’s rental bikes are reasonably well cared for—at least well enough that they shift fine and the brakes work as intended.
The suspension, on the other hand, is a different story. I have a Boxxer World Cup on my personal bike, and while it’s not as stiff as a Fox 40, I’ve generally gotten along pretty well with it. The damping adjustments work as advertised, and as long as the fork gets regular maintenance, it runs smoothly. The Boxxer on the Glory I rode was consistent with this; it worked well, no complaints.
The Vivid R2C rear shock didn’t fare quite so well. I haven’t spent a ton of time on Vivid shocks, but I have ridden them in the past on other bikes. While I’d prefer separate high and low speed compression adjustments, the single low speed compression adjustment on the shock works like it should, and is effective for dialing in pedaling efficiency and small-bump sensitivity.
The separate beginning stroke and ending stroke rebound adjustments are generally a fantastic idea; they allow you to get a controlled ride that doesn’t buck you off of jumps, while still permitting the wheel to effectively track high frequency stutter bumps.
Unlike the Boxxer, however, the Vivid R2C shock wasn’t working well at all. It topped out pretty badly unless the beginning stroke rebound was turned all the way slow. And this wasn’t an isolated issue on the bike I rode. I played with three other bikes in the Whistler rental fleet, and they all did the same thing. The mechanics for the rental fleet said that this was a problem with the design of the Vivid shock, but I’ve ridden other Vivids that definitely didn’t have this problem. So how did that play out?
The Giant Glory was the last DH bike I rode in my time at Whistler.
In the prior week, I’d spent time on two different Specialized Demos, a Knolly Podium, a GT Fury, and a Trek Session 9.9 (plus a number of trail bikes). I get along with most DH bikes pretty well; some are more playful, some are better plow bikes, some are more fun on jumps, but it’s pretty rare that I get on a DH bike that I just straight up dislike. Out of the bikes I rode in Whistler, and of the bikes I’ve ridden in recent memory, the Glory was the only bike that fell into the latter category.
I got about halfway through one lap on the Glory, and couldn’t wait to get off of it. I spent the rest of the morning on the bike trying to diagnose the issues, and see whether I could make some adjustments to get the bike to work to my liking.
The short list of issues:
- The rear shock topped out, which is really annoying off of jumps.
- The rear wheel felt like it hung up in holes worse than any other bike I’ve ever ridden, ever.
- The rear suspension felt harsh. Glory is apparently an antonym for plush.
- The front end felt very un-planted. The front wheel would push out frequently and unpredictably.
Some more about those issues: