If you flipped through any of Giant's catalogs over the past handful of years, you might notice a distinct lack of 29ers, especially compared to most of their competition that has largely embraced big-wheelers. That's doubly true if you're looking at enduro and gravity bikes, with only 27.5" wheels to be found on their current Reign and Glory platforms.
Thing is, 29er (or mixed wheeled) downhill bikes look like the way forward and Giant, well, they don't have one of those... Yet.
Giant's aluminum Glory 29er prototype (left) leaves the gate during practice at this weekend's World Cup in Vallnord. Marcelo Gutierrez's 27.5" wheeled Glory (right) from the ProGRT race earlier this March.
Spotted in the Giant Factory Off-Road pits at this weekend's Vallnord World Cup, this black and blue aluminum Glory was rolling on 29" wheels and had Fox's 49 fork installed. It doesn't appear to be a one-off prototype built specifically for big wheels, however, as the front triangle looks like a dead ringer for Giant's production aluminum Glory, tube shapes and all.
But do you know what looks very much not production? Those shiny suspension linkages, of course. The layout is still Giant's dual-link Maestro system, and the lower shock mount still does double duty as a pivot, but the team-only links probably correct the geo change from 27.5" to 29" wheels. And speaking of geometry, there's what looks to be a flip-chip system on the inside face of the rocker link at the seatstay pivot that would let the team change how the bike handles. There's no word on any specific changes to the suspension action, but that wouldn't surprise me, either.
Big wheels, tweaked suspension, and an aluminum frame.
Companies go racing to sell bikes, of course, and there's no point in racing something that's drastically different to what customers think they're getting down at the local shop. It'll probably still be awhile, but don't be surprised to see a big-wheeled Glory in Giant's catalog.