2014 Giant Glory

Giant Glory, ‘Whistler Edition’

Size Tested: Medium

Geometry: (Here)

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

Noah Bodman reviews the Giant Glory for Blister Gear Review
2014 Giant Glory 0

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 Build

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 Ride   

The Giant Glory was the last DH bike I rode in my time at Whistler.

Noah Bodman reviews the Giant Glory for Blister Gear Review
Noah Bodman on the Giant Glory, Whistler Bike Park.

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:

  1. The rear shock topped out, which is really annoying off of jumps.
  2. The rear wheel felt like it hung up in holes worse than any other bike I’ve ever ridden, ever.
  3. The rear suspension felt harsh. Glory is apparently an antonym for plush.
  4. The front end felt very un-planted. The front wheel would push out frequently and unpredictably.

Some more about those issues:

9 comments on “2014 Giant Glory”

  1. Noah,

    I’ve spent about a year doing DH now. I built a transition bandit prior to starting DH so it has been the Bike I use for my rides. I’m now ready for another bike, purposed specifically for DH. my question is for someone who is decent at this style of riding, but not good enough to know exactly what I want. is this a good bike to start off with? You can buy these bikes for 1700 that spent a year in their rental fleet at whistler.

  2. Noah!

    Spectacular in-depth review! Thanks!

    I’m here because my friends & I have a long distance, first time trip to Whistler planned this Fall, and I want to spend my money on a rental bike that will be the most fun. I love everything downhill, but get the most enjoyment from freeride and jumping. Most often you will find me riding a trail bike on all-mountain and DH trails, favoring being more active on the bike over sledding.

    You may be the best authority on my question: what bike should I rent / demo?

    Thanks again for the fantastic review of the Giant Glory rental experience in Whistler!


    • Hey Bryan,

      That’s awesome – the first time going to Whistler is kind of an eye opening experience; that place is really, really fun. And the upside of renting / demoing a bike at Whistler is that there are tons of different options. Whistler’s rental fleet is still comprised of Giant Glorys, but they also have their Demo Center which has DH bikes from a bunch of different companies. The Demo Center bikes are more expensive for a single day, but if you do a multi-day rental, they don’t end up being too much more. There’s also quite a few shops in Whistler that rent bikes for around the same price as the Demo Center. A few weeks ago, we spent some time on a Trek Session 9.9 and a Rocky Mountain Maiden from Summit Sport in Whistler (the review of the Maiden was posted a few days ago, and the Session review will be up shortly).

      I’d recommend trying a couple different bikes if you can. If you’re looking for something poppy and active, take a look at a Devinci Wilson – it handles high speed rough terrain with the best of them, but it’s happy to leave the ground too. The Trek Session 9.9 was also pretty fun in the air, mostly because it’s so light. The Rocky Mountain Maiden was a good jumper as well, and it’s a bit cheaper to rent.

      Hope that helps, and I’m sure your trip will be awesome!

      • Your recommendation on the Devinci Wilson was spot on Noah. We demo’d a pair from the demo centre and it was the most fun we’ve had on any DH bike over the years. The bike isn’t remarkably light, but it does everything well, and was easy to jump, huck and maneuver in the air. I was always glad to be on it!

        I would have tried out a Session as well but they were all broken. Seems they have an issue with the rear triangle snapping at the chain stay. But to be fair, the folks at the demo centre said half of their inventory is broken by this time of the year.

        Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for the great reviews and for pointing us in the direction of the Wilson.


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