The trails I rode the Reign Advanced 1 on weren’t steep enough to let me test the bike in the ways I wanted to. (Bootleg Canyon has its share of steep, rocky trails that would be a great test for the Reign, but unfortunately it was late in the day and I didn’t have the opportunity to get into that more interesting terrain.)
With that said, I can say that the Reign Advanced 1 doesn’t hide the fact that it’s big, long bike. While it wasn’t horrendously inefficient while pedaling, it doesn’t feel like a bike that wants to scamper uphill. The slack head angle is quite apparent, and among other bikes with similar travel, it certainly wouldn’t be my first choice if I was faced with a long climb.
I commend Giant for putting some legitimately meaty tires on the bike—I’d be pretty excited about them if I were riding somewhere in British Columbia. But the tires on the Advanced 1 felt sluggish on the faster-rolling XC trails at Bootleg.
When I was able to hit some descents on the Reign, it performed as expected. It was very smooth and stable, and it took quite a bit of rattling before I even had to start paying attention to what I was doing on the bike. Of the bikes I rode at Interbike, the Reign Advanced 1, along with the GT Sanction, were the most stable and felt the most like mini-DH bikes. Both bikes felt big and stable, and took a fair amount of rider input to get them to deviate from a straight line.
Compared to the Sanction, the Reign Advanced 1’s suspension felt a bit more supple and did a better job of smoothing out smaller bumps along the trail without getting overwhelmed on larger hits. The Advanced 1 was more inclined to plow through chunder, while the Sanction was a bit more poppy.
The Giant Reign Advanced 27.5 1 is a strong contender in the all-mountain category, and will definitely appeal to someone who spends a lot of time running gnarly descents, particularly those that don’t require a difficult climb.
The Reign Advanced 27.5 1 would also make sense if you’re looking to do the occasional day of lift-served riding, in addition to some everyday, easy pedal-accessed riding.