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Giant Reign: Best Budget Long Travel Bike of 2021

Best Budget Long Travel Bike of 2021

  • Climbing Ability 70% 70%
  • Downhill Ability 80% 80%
  • Overall Fun 80% 80%

Travel: 146mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 64.6

Seat Tube Angle: 76.4

Reach: 488mm (large frame)

Weight: Varies With Frame Material

Price: $3,499

What We Like: Maestro Suspension Platform, Price

What We Don’t: Could Use Some Better Brakes

Giant, though late to the 29” party, have produced some impressive 29ers. The Reign is their second 29er after the Trance, and they are definitely dialing it in. The Reign is a solid climber with the Maestro system and a steep seat angle to keep the rider in a good position. Turn the bike downhill and prepare to bash through anything in your way. The 170mm fork is composed and all-business, while the fairly short rear chainstay with the snappy rear shock keeps it lively and poppy. At the prices Giant is offering on their carbon and alloy frames, it was a fairly easy choice to name the Reign as the Best Budget Long Travel Bike of 2021, though you can still splash out if you so choose.

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See Our The Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes of 2021

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  • Climbing Ability 90% 90%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 90% 90%

Pros

All-around Ability in a Variety of Terrain

Cons

Weight of Some of the Build Options

Travel: 145mm rear/ 150mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 65.2

Seat Tube Angle: 76.3

Reach: 470mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting at 29 lbs

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Giant Reign 29” - Gear Hacker
  • Climbing Ability 70% 70%
  • Downhill Ability 80% 80%
  • Overall Fun 80% 80%

Pros

Maestro Suspension Platform, Price

Cons

Could Use Some Better Brakes

Travel: 146mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 64.6

Seat Tube Angle: 76.4

Reach: 488mm (large frame)

Weight: Varies With Frame Material

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  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 90% 90%

Pros

Really Playful Bike

Cons

Expensive Build Options

Travel: 150mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 64.5

Seat Tube Angle: 76.9

Reach: 480mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting at 31 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
  • Downhill Ability 100% 100%
  • Overall Fun 90% 90%

Pros

DH Bike That Can Climb

Cons

Needs Steeper Seat Tube, Price

Travel: 170mm rear and fork

Head Tube Angle: 63.9/ 64.3

Seat Tube Angle: 76

Reach: 487mm (S4 frame)

Weight: Starting at 32.5 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
  • Downhill Ability 80% 80%
  • Overall Fun 90% 90%

Pros

Climbing Ability, Ripmo AF Option

Cons

Stock Shock Not Being Fox Float

Travel: 147mm rear/ 160mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 64.9

Seat Tube Angle: 76

Reach: 475mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting at 28.9 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 90% 90%
  • Downhill Ability 80% 80%
  • Overall Fun 100% 100%

Pros

All-around Performance

Cons

Price

Travel: 142mm rear/ 160mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 66

Seat Tube Angle: 75.5

Reach: 470mm (large frame)

Weight: 30.2 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
  • Downhill Ability 80% 80%
  • Overall Fun 80% 80%

Pros

The Shapeshifter

Cons

Also The Shapeshifter

Travel: 150mm rear/ 160mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 66 - 67.5

Seat Tube Angle: 73.5 - 75

Reach: 470mm (large frame))

Weight: Starting at 31.2 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 90% 90%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 80% 80%

Pros

Amazing Climber, Custom Paint Job Option

Cons

Short Reach and Cost

Travel: 160mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 65

Seat Tube Angle: 75.5/ 76

Reach: 455mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting at 30.95 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 60% 60%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 70% 70%

Pros

Chainstay Chip Makes A Difference

Cons

Sluggish At Slow Speeds, Super Long

Travel: 161mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 63.5

Seat Tube Angle: 78

Reach: 490mm (large frame)

Weight: 32.8lbs (large frame)

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  • Climbing Ability 90% 90%
  • Downhill Ability 80% 80%
  • Overall Fun 80% 80%

Pros

Strong Climber, Stable Descents

Cons

Not As Playful As Older Versions

Travel: 150mm rear/ 160mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 63.5

Seat Tube Angle: 77.7

Reach: 480mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting at 32.23 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 70% 70%

Pros

Made For The Downhills

Cons

TWINLOC System Needs Some Work

Travel: 170mm

Head Tube Angle: 64.5

Seat Tube Angle: 75

Reach: 466.5mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting Around 30.20 lbs

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  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 90% 90%

Pros

Now Comes With A Water Bottle Mount, Sportier Geometry

Cons

Climbing Could Be More Efficient

Travel: 160mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 64

Seat Tube Angle: 78

Reach: 480mm (large frame)

Weight: Heaviest Build 34.2 lbs

Giant was slow to the 29” wheel bike party. They held strong in the 27.5” world waiting for everyone to regain their sanity. Sadly for Giant, the 29” party was just too much fun, and I don’t think we’ll see a majority return to 27.5” for some time, if at all. Giant does have a 27.5” version of the Reign that has longer rear travel, but this review will focus on the 29” Reigns. Some think that the delay in getting to 29” wheels was because their Maestro rear suspension system wasn’t developed for the larger wheel, and it took some time to get the chainstays sorted out and everything up to spec. This may also explain why most of Giant’s 29” bikes have shorter travel than their 27.5” counterparts. I digress—let’s talk about the Reign 29”.

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Giant Reign 29” - Gear Hacker

The Bike

With 146mm of rear travel in Giant’s Maestro system attached to a trunnion pivot, the rear suspension is quite supple for how (relatively) short it is compared to others in the trail/enduro class. The 170mm of travel in the front does pair with the rear shock to create quite a hard-charging duo, even if slightly unorthodox. In 2021, Giant is releasing a more expanded line of Reign bikes that includes three carbon-framed options.

In terms of geometry, Giant has gone with a pretty modern set up. The reach is 488mm of a large frame, pretty long, but paired with a 76.4-degree seat tube angle, it works. The head angle is a steep 64.6-degrees to get that downhill control. Giant has also opted for a 44mm fork offset, which is quickly becoming an industry standard.

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Giant Reign 29” - Gear Hacker

Climbing

The Giant Reign alloy models are heavy. The carbon frames are a snappier climber, and the alloy frames seem a bit more sluggish. The entire rear suspension setup does keep the rider in a good climbing forward position and high in the rear travel to improve pedaling efficiency. The Maestro suspension system helps to keep rear wheel traction through choppy terrain even when you are out of the saddle and pedaling hard over bumpy stuff. The rear shock has a lockout switch, and thanks to the vertical shock mount, it is very easy to get to when you’re pedaling up smooth fire roads to get to the fun stuff.

Overall the climbing of the Giant has been a pleasant surprise. There is a noticeable difference between the carbon frames and alloy frames in terms of liveliness while charging uphill. Thanks to the Maestro system, it is a competent pedaling platform that everyone will be able to enjoy.

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Giant Reign 29” - Gear Hacker

Downhill

You would think that with only 146mm of rear travel things wouldn’t be that tidy while plummeting down trail chunder. Well, you would be wrong. The Giant Reign seems to come alive when the trails get really nasty—like real nasty. The 170mm of front travel helps to keep everything buttoned up, and the short chainstay paired with the “shorter” rear travel helps keep things lively. Basically, Giant has created a mullet bike with two 29” wheels. There’s some kind of witchcraft going on.

The geometry of the bike does keep the wheels planted a bit more than some riders will prefer. The fork and reach keep you in a hard-charging downhill position ready to crash through anything that gets in your way. The Maestro again shines as it keeps the rear wheel on the ground. Now as you’re flying through some spicy single track, the brakes are one thing that may be in the back of your mind. Giant has gone with some less than spectacular brakes on their lower-cost models, and with the style of riding the travel and geometry promotes, you’ll want some beefier brakes. You know, because it’s really cool to be able to get the bike to stop when you want—or need—it to.

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Giant Reign 29” - Gear Hacker

Build Options

As mentioned earlier, there are three new carbon frame Reign options in their 2021 line. The Reign Advanced Pro line consists of all of the carbon frames and range from $9,999 to $4,799. The $9,999 model of the Advanced Pro comes with a coil shock made by FOX for the Trunnion system.

The two alloy framed bikes are the SX 29 ($4,499) and the Reign 29 2 ($3,499). As of right now, there is no frame-only option, but the Reign 29 2 comes in under the cost of some stand-alone frames. While there is a fairly large gap in some of the pricing, the ability to get on a carbon framed build for under $5,000 is pretty good in today’s biking world. Sure, it may need some upgrades, but it’s a good starting point.

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Giant Reign 29” - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

While it took Giant some time to get behind the whole 29” concept, they have created a sweet bike! It climbs well and crushes the roughest downhills with agility and composure. The Maestro suspension system helps to make the 146mm of rear travel a smooth feel and a longer stroke. The rear suspension has been set up really impressively, and it can handle Enduro style riding without much complaint. On the downhills, it is really composed with the 170mm fork and a long reach to keep the rider in a central position to bash through rock and other detritus.

Overall, we were really impressed with the Giant Reign. All of the models of the Reign are great, and obviously, if you go carbon, the climbing will be easier on a lighter and snappier frame. At $4,799, it is pretty easy to get onto a carbon-framed bike, and for that reason, we have named the Giant Reign our Best Budget Long Travel Bike of 2021.

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!