The first round of the 2023 UCI Downhill MTB World Cup kicks off this weekend in Lenzerheide, and is set to be a thrilling weekend of racing. Numerous exciting stories are developing with the return to action of six times DH world champion Rachel Atherton and also Tahnée Seagrave who has had a Fox Racing kit drop released to celebrate her return. Giant has now also released a fully redesigned downhill bike, the Glory Advanced, one of the best downhill mountain bikes of all time, with a pedigree of results that has seen previous models ridden by some of downhill mountain biking's greatest riders like Rob Warner and Danny Hart.
The new Giant Glory Advanced will race this weekend at the Lenzerheide DH WC but already has a title under its belt with Luke Meier-Smith riding the Glory to the Australian DH National Champs earlier this year on a pre-production model. Meier-Smith isn’t the only rider that’s been involved in the redevelopment of Giant’s downhill bike, with the Giant Factory Off-Road Team involved in the design and development. Remi Thirion has also ridden the prototype model on the downhill circuit for two years and has taken several top 10 finishes.
The latest incarnation of the Glory is built around a lightweight Advanced-grade carbon composite structured frame (3,200g for a size S/M frame), and is a far cry from the burly original aluminum framed model from 2006. There are also three flip-chip frame adjustments allowing for multiple choices for geometry, handling and wheel size, so even the pickiest of downhill mountain bike riders can dial in the perfect settings. We had a look over some of the details, drooled over the spec and the stunning paint job on the Legends Edition of the Glory.
Why have one flip-chip when you can have three?
As mentioned, the 2023 Glory Advanced comes with three independent flip-chips that allow riders to adjust the bike's dimensions, angles, and wheel size according to their preferences.
The suspension system has a flip-chip adjustment on the upper rocker arm with three positions, High, Medium, and Low that will give different handling characteristics, and settings also change the bottom bracket drop in 5mm increments between 13, 8, or 3mm, as well as the head tube angle between 61.6, 62, or 62.3 degrees and the seat tube angle between 78.4, 78.8, or 79.1 degrees.
The second adjustment is a two-setting flip-chip located on the rear dropout which changes the wheelbase and rear-center measurement to either Short or Long by shifting the axle forwards or backwards. Giant says the Short position is ideal for tight and twisty terrain as it provides a faster and more agile ride quality with responsive steering and handling. The Long position, on the other hand, is better for high speeds as it extends the wheelbase and rear center, providing better control.
The final adjustment is a three-position flip-chip at the headset area that lets riders adjust the reach in 5mm increments to Short -5mm, Mid 0mm and Long +5mm for a customized riding experience. The brand says the Short position is best for technical downhill terrain and puts the headset closest to the rider for a more upright position. The Mid position offers a balanced reach for versatile handling on various terrains. The Long position stretches out the rider's position for a more stable and comfortable ride.
The new version of the Giant Glory bike uses Giant's own Maestro rear suspension system with 200mm of travel in the form of a Fox DHX2 Factory shock. Giant says the suspension is designed with specific pivot points and linkages that work together to create a single floating pivot point. Additionally, the upper rocker of the rear suspension is made with Advanced Forged Composite, which increases strength, and stiffness, and reduces the overall frame weight. These improvements they also say should result in better handling on rough trails, improved cornering at high speeds, and faster acceleration out of corners. Up front, the rear suspension is paired with the proven Fox 40 Factory fork with 203mm of travel.
The Glory can accommodate either 29-inch or 27.5-inch rear wheels, and retails as a mixed wheel setup for fans of the mullet wheel mountain bike. The Glory can also be configured as a 29er, however, as it retails as a mullet, a 29-inch rear wheel would also need to be purchased. Giant says that riders sticking with the mullet setup will have a bike that will deliver a quick, nimble riding performance and more space between the saddle and rear tire, with 29-inch giving a configuration that should give a more stable and planted feel.
Legends Edition frameset
Giant also introduces the new Legends Edition Frameset that tips a hat to the vintage days of downhill mountain biking. It comes in a stunning retro-bright colorway of yellow, red and blue, and harks back to the classic livery while offering the same spec as the fully built bike with the retro eye popping paint job.
Pricing and availabilty
The Giant Glory Advanced is available now as either a fully built bike priced at $8,000 / £7,499 / €8,000 and $6,200 / £5,999 / €6,500 for the Legends Edition frameset. All the details can be found at giant-bicycles.com.
Giant Glory Advanced specification
- Frame: Advanced-grade composite carbon
- Fork: Fox 40 Factory, 203mm
- Shock: Fox DHX2 Factory, 200mm
- Crankset: TruVativ Descendent DH
- Cassette: SRAM GX DH, 11-25
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle DH
- Shifters: SRAM GX Eagle DH, 1x7
- Seatpost: Giant Contact
- Saddle: Giant Romero
- Brakes: Shimano Saint M-820, F 220mm, R 203mm
- Wheels: Giant AM30, alloy
- Tires: Maxxis Assegai 29” F, Maxxis Minion DHR II 27.5”, tubeless
- Color: Gloss Shoreline/Carbon
- Pricing: $8,000 / £7,499 / €8,000