Back in 2014 Giant made the decision to fully embrace the 27.5” wheelsize, save for a few select models, in the process eliminating the Anthem SL, their purebred race whip, from the lineup. After a three year absence the Anthem 29 is set to return, and Carl Decker showed up ready to race at the Sea Otter Classic aboard an early version of the bike. The final details are still being kept under wraps, but Giant did say that the bike has 90mm of rear travel and a 100mm up front, and a full carbon frame.
In addition to the full carbon rear end, the new Anthem's uses a carbon fiber rocker link.
We're starting to see more and more XC racers experiment with dropper posts, typically ultra-light options with a scant 40 or 60mm of travel, but the Anthem was designed with a rigid seat post in mind. That's not to say you can't run a dropper – you can, but it'll need to measure 27.2mm, which isn't as common of a size. Full details about the Anthem should be announced in June, with availability beginning sometime in the fall.
On the other side of the spectrum of riding styles, Giant has two new shoes in the works aimed at all-mountain and DH riders. Along with the the typical goal of finding the right balance of comfort and sole stiffness, Giant is working to make the shoes as water resistant and quick drying as possible. Nobody likes to have shoes that weigh twice as much after a few laps in the rain, which is why hydrophobic materials are used wherever possible. According to Giant's Jeff Schneider, the weight of the DH shoe only changed by 30 grams after it was soaked in water.
The DH shoe is a lace-up affair, with a velcro strap over the top of the foot, and an asymmetric cuff for extra ankle bone protection. The all-mountain version currently uses two velcro straps and a ratcheting upper strap, but the final design isn't set in stone – Giant may tweak it a little bit before the official unveiling later this year. Both models are designed for use with clipless pedals, but a low top flat pedal version may end up being added to the mix.