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The Ideal Galbraith Mt. Bike?
Giant Reign

Apart from the Toby Henderson Enterprises front fender, this is a stock 2005 Giant Reign 3, with Manitou Splice Elite 5.5 inch travel fork, Manitou Swinger 3-Way Air rear shock, Hayes SOLE XC hydraulic disc brakes with 6 inch rotors, Shimano LX front and rear derailleurs, Hutchinson Bulldog AirLight wire beaded 26 x 2.3 inch tires, Easton EA30 low rise handle bar and Easton 6061 alloy stem, Race Face SRX ISIS bottom bracket, Time ATAC Alium flat pedals and WTB Rocket V saddle.

Model: Giant Reign
Category: All Mountain
Suspension travel: 5.5 inches front; 6 inches rear
Ideal for:

The Reign feels at home just about everywhere on Galbraith.'s Usual Suspects found it equally delightful on mellow trails like the Ridge Trail and stunt fests like Cedar Dust. It was crisp and responsive ascending Darrell's Death Climb and confidence inspiring coming down the Big Drop on Bob's Trail.

Over all performance:

The Reign is a very deep cross country bike, along the lines pioneered by the Ellsworth Id. Thanks to its cross-country geometry, it climbs exceptionally well -- both in and out of the saddle -- and feels quick for a six-inch travel bike. And it's high bottom bracket means you don't hit your pedals on roots and rocks (in fact, we didn't hit once during our tests, which is a really noteworthy accomplishment for an XC bike on Galbraith).

Front end: The Reign 3 -- the least expensive Reign model -- comes stock with the basic Manitou Splice Elite coil 5.5-inch travel fork, which features pre-load and rebound dampening adjustability, but not travel or head tube abjustability. To change the stiffness of this fork, you have to get your bike shop to switch out the spring. None of the Usual Suspects were wild about this fork. As one of our bike testers said, "I'd ride the fork for a year until it wore out, and then upgrade to something better." A Fox 36 six-inch travel fork with the TALAS adjustable travel feature would be a super upgrade for the Reign.
Rear end: The new virtual pivot point (VPP) rear end on the Reign -- which Giant dubs the Maestro -- is an excellent rear suspension. Every one of our bike testers raved about the performance of the Reign's rear end. It's firm under power yet plush in the rough. It easily absorbs big hits and small ones alike, and doesn't suffer from any pedal resistance in rhythmic rollers, like you find on the lower Ridge Trail. All our testers also loved the Manitou 3-way Swinger rear shock. "A Cadillac from start to finish," is how one of the Usual Suspects described the Swinger / Maestro combo.
Brakes:  The Reign 3 comes stock with Hayes SOLE XC hydraulic disc brakes with 6- inch rotors.
(The devil is in the) Details:

To achieve its relatively light weight (for a bike with this much travel), the Reign has a lot of machined-out parts in its virtual pivot suspension, which are hard to clean. The shaft of the rear shock, in particular, is hard to get at and clean, which is a bit of a problem since it is fully exposed to trail muck, and Galbraith can be pretty mucky much of the year.


This is the first year for the Reign design, so it's a little hard to say how durable the bike will prove. Looking at the big vertical weld (rather than a stronger diagonal or biased weld) where the rear suspension meets the down tube above the bottom bracket, though, we feel that this is basically a deep XC bike, NOT a freeride rig, and we wouldn't recommend it for someone who's going to go big a lot.

Geometry and sizing:

The Reign's 69.5 degree headtube angle gives the bike a decidedly cross-country feel, as does the 18 inch frame's 23.2 inch top tube.

Weight: 32 pounds as pictured.
Reviewed: February 2005

Check out this video of the Reign in action on the White Board Jump on the Karma.

David Waugh rolling the stump near the Big Gnarly on the Ridge Trail on the Giant Reign.

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