I took up a offer to demo ride an XC bike today. I strolled into Local Ride and chatted with Barry (the shop owner) and walked out with a Giant Anthem X1. Once I was home with this shiny red bike I slapped my clipless pedals and seat on it and adjusted the suspension to my liking.
I decided to hit up the trails in Golden Ears Park to see how this XC machine performs. I figured the Eric Dunning trail would be a good test of it's climbing ability and man was I ever impressed. This bike hooked up in spots that I would not even consider in the past. Given that it is Giant's top end XC bike one should expect that it would climb well, but it was shockingly good.
Once at the fire access road I ripped along to check out the access of the road at a few different spots and then it was time to test out how well the bike descended. To say I was surprised would be a massive understatement. I have never been more impressed by a bike after one ride than I was riding this Anthem X. Considering how little front and rear travel the bike has and the XC aggressive 71 degreee head angle the bike the Anthem descend far better than I expected and was a trail shredding machine. After riding the kinds of bikes I've had over the past 8 years, calling a 4" bike plush is something I never thought I would say. When it came time to hand back this bike it was a very hard thing to do and I am seriously considering adding this bike to my quiver by dropping one of my existing rides.