2015 Giant Glory 27.5 First Impressions

Last week I picked up my new downhill bike for the 2015 season, this year the Banjo Cycles DH team will be on the 650b Giant Glory 0. The first thing I noticed was how light is was, it weighs in at about 34lbs which is pretty impressive for an aluminium framed DH bike. It comes really well specd with SRAM X0 carbon cranks, carbon chainguide and a ti spring to keep the weight down and it really notices. I had to get rid of the lairy blue grips as soon as I got it home, I also swapped the brakes for some Shimano XT’s. I’ve heard really good things about the new guide RSC’s but really like the feel of the XT’s on my Enduro and liked the idea of having the same set up on both bikes. I might swap to Saint callipers if the XT’s turn out not to be man enough on the longer tracks, but for now the XT’s feel awesome.

Having ridden my Enduro so much over the last few weeks I had started to think that I didn’t really need a DH bike, the Enduro just does everything so well and I wondered how much I’d really use a DH bike. My opinion changed after about 30 seconds of riding the Glory! I took it out to a couple of local DH tracks over the weekend but just pedalling up the road I really noticed how much difference a light DH bike makes, it felt so easy to pedal, unlike any DH bike I’ve ridden before. As I set off on the first decent it obviously didn’t feel as snappy as my Enduro and it took a bit more effort to get going, but when I hit the first rough section of the track any comparisons to the Enduro were long gone! It absolutely motored over the bumps and was unbelievably quiet, it felt silky smooth and was still light enough to be able to throw around anywhere I wanted it to go. I was grinning from ear to ear after the first run and couldn’t get back to the top quick enough.

After a while, I went to the roughest section of track I could find, it’s a section that used to really rattle my old bike, but the bigger wheels on the Glory just ate up the bumps and I could even pump through it to pick up speed, which had never felt possible before. The whole chassis feels so stiff that it gives you so much confidence to hit the corners as hard as you possibly can, and want to hit rough sections faster and faster. I was constantly trying to find all the roughest and most difficult lines to test it out but I couldn’t get it to anywhere near its full potential, I felt like I was just scratching the surface of what it can do. I had a few moments of getting really out of shape but somehow never felt like I was going to come off and the bike managed to gather it up every time and keep it rubber side down! The vivid shock feels pretty plush but does lack the almost endless adjustment of a CCDB, every click on the vivid changes the feel of the shock quite a lot and I almost feel like I need to wind on/off half a click at a time to get the setup I want. But with beginning and end stroke rebound adjustment as well as the compression adjustment I'm sure I'll find the right setup in there somewhere, just need a bit more time to get used to it. The bike jumps pretty well too, and luckily enough there were some good photographers on hand over the weekend who got a few nice shots of Gloria getting some air time down at Rogate. Thanks to Time Capture Photography and Coyote Pictures for the snaps.

Race season is just around the corner now and I can't wait to test the bike out on some bigger, rougher, faster and gnarlier tracks. But before the season really gets going there are a couple of FoD races to have a go at, so we'll see how Gloria fares there in the next few weeks.

Joe