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Blue Giant is family friendly now

posted Jun 26, 2015, 1:19 PM by PJ Im   [ updated Jun 26, 2015, 7:54 PM ]
I haven't been riding Giant Anthem as much as I used to ever since I got my Lynskey 650B Ridgeline hardtail couple of years ago. So, I decided to make small changes so that my pre-teen son, a teenage daughter, and my wife can feel more comfortable riding Giant Anthem. Yes, we're all about the same height. 

I install a shorter stem to give more upright riding position as well as more immediate handling feedback. Also, I added flat pedals to the mix so the rest of the family doesn't have to deal with SPD pedals. The total cost of family-friendly modification came just under $90.

Flat Pedal
I swapped out Shimano M647 DX pedal for Shimano PD-MX80 Saint Flat Pedals, which cost me around $60 (including sales tax) from Jenson USA. Shimano Saint seems to be a good beginner flat pedal. It's very grippy especially after I took out the washers and added the remaining screws. With a flat pedal, one can run an errand just as well as ride a trail with any old shoes. By replacing my SPD pedals, the rest of the family can just hope on pedal. No special shoe, no learning curve that comes with SPD pedals.


Shorter Stem
I swapped out a generic 90mm stem for Truvative Hussefelt Stem 40mm. This effectively reduced the reach of the bike by 50mm (~2 in.), which allowed my son standing a shade above 5 feet to ride Giant Anthem. My wife, who stands 5'5", and my daughter, who is slightly shorter, can be seated in a preferred more upright riding position.

Tires Update
Initially I had 2.3 Kenda Nevegal in the front and 2.1 Kenda Small Block Eight in the rear. While Kenda Nevegal performed fine in a trail, riding on a pavement felt slow and was noisy. In spite of its flaws, I still like Nevegal for its predictable grip. Small Block Eight worked well enough most of the time, but during the driest part of the summer slipping during the steepest climb wasn't uncommon. I tried Slant Six, but surprisingly it didn't perform must better than Small Block Eight. 

After few trials, I settled on 2.3 WTB Bronson (below left) in the front and 2.1 WTB Weirwolf in the rear. Bronson felt almost as grippy in the trail, but it had the added advantage of rolling slightly better in trail and MUCH better in pavements. Bronson represented a better choice for the trails that I rode. I tried Weirwolf as the front tire, but absolutely could not get used to the drift mid-turn before the grip. So off it went to the rear, where it performed remarkably well. I'm sufficiently happy with WTB tire combination. Funny enough, my times climbing and descending is no better than Kenda tires. Go figure.