When Eric and I first talked about Lunacycle bypassing Pedego as the biggest ebike dealer in the USA several months ago, I told him that I thought he should shoot high, but I didn’t honestly think they could really do it. After a week at the Three Ring Circus that is the Luna warehouse I’m realizing that I’ve got quite a bit of egg on my face. You better believe that this is really happening, and the reason Lunacycle is going to dominate the US ebike market is because of insane custom ebikes like this one. This is NOT your Grand-dad’s ebike.
I admit it, I’m a cheapskate when it comes to bikes. If you look at the bikes in my bike shed almost all of them cost less than $1000 for the bike alone (before electrification). The electric fatbikes I ride the most are built out of the venerable $400 Deadeye monster with the rear hub swapped out with an IGH. When you build an ebike out of a dirt cheap donor bicycle it frees up your capital to get a nicer motor and battery, at the expense of the bike’s performance. When I hopped on the Lunacycle BBSHD powered Giant Anthem 2 I could immediately tell that I was NOT riding one of my cheap, crappy, one foot in the grave ebikes that I generally ride. The Giant Anthem 2 (available now here for $3779) is the nicest full suspension XC bicycles I’ve ever thrown my leg over. Paired with a BBSHD this ebike is more fun to ride than TWO barrels of monkeys.
When you ride a fixed suspension bike you are pretty limited with how far you can jump in the air or bunny hop. Although most of my shocks on my bikes are Rock Shox, the Anthem 2 has a 34 Rhythm 120mm travel front fork and a FOX Float performance EVOL rear shock. Fox is taking mountain bike shocks to the next level and has whipped Rock Shox into submission in the US suspension mountain bike shock market. My 10-year-old Reba shock is on its last leg and I’ve heard that I can replace the internals with Fox parts when I do my next rebuild. I have to admit I am sorely tempted to give that a shot, as I much prefer the feeling of the newer Fox shocks to my old craptastic Rock Shox forks. The Reba was pretty much obsolete as soon as it was released.
The Giant Contact SL Switch-R seatpost is automatically adjustable and very similar to the Rock Shox Dropper seatpost. This option is amazing and I think it should be standard issue on all mountain bikes. The ride was so cushy that I didn’t feel like I even needed a Thudbuster LT seatpost. Even with my FS build My Little Bronie I find the ride with the Rock Shox Monarch 2.0 rear shock so brutal that I only ride that bike with a Thudbuster LT and a comfort seat. The Monarch 2.0 is the worst rear shock I have ever used and I don’t recommend it to anyone. The seat on the Giant was decent and I fell in love with the 27.5″ tires. The thought that kept going through my mind as I rode this ebike was ‘damn Giant makes some really nice bikes’.
Lunacycle has hired a new head bike mechanic named Kyle who used to work for Giant. Kyle is not only a really pleasant guy to talk to, he totally ‘gets it’ when it comes to ebikes and is something of an obsessive perfectionist. His ebike builds are better than any I have ever seen, and every time he builds a bike he tries to think of ways to make the builds even more attractive and functional. Kyle fits firmly into the category of ‘ebike fanatic’ and now has a hard time getting motivated to throw his leg over anything without a motor on it. The cables on the Anthem 2 are routed through the downtube and everything is hidden neatly out of the way so that you can’t see any wiring rats nest on the builds. Luna is also very excited about a new bell that they are installing on every prebuilt ebike. The new bell looks bling and it’s great to scare the bears away or warn people when you’re coming around a blind corner at high speeds.
The chainline on this bike was very clean and I had no issues shifting. The Shimano M615 hydraulic brakes were smooth and worked amazingly well. The Anthem 2 has a 180mm front rotor and a 160mm rear which are the sizes that I think are best. The SLX 11 speed shifter was very nice with a wide 11T-42T range and steel cogs. I’m not crazy about using an 11-speed chain with a BBSHD but that cassette pairs well with the 42T Lekkie BBSHD ring. As long as you’re not shifting under load you should not have too many problems.
The Schwalbe Nobby Nic 27.5 x 2.25 folding bead tires were great tires for singletrack and I would not swap them out. The gripped well on everything I threw at it and did not have an overwhelming amount of road noise. The main downside I could find on this build is the curved forward downtube mounts the BBSHD almost vertically giving it less ground clearance to clear logs and large logpiles. The good news is that this bike is solid enough that you can just pour on the power and jump over most anything that gets in your way, and have a smile plastered on your face while doing it.
- The bike just feels awesome when jumping it or bunny hopping like a pro
- One of the lightest ebikes I’ve ridden
- The BBSHD is a wheelie machine in the lower gears
- 27.5 tires are a perfect size for singletrack riding
- Enough shock travel that you can jump the bike a foot or two in the air with impunity
- The adjustable seatpost is awesome, just get your ass off the seat and hit a button and it automagically raises up with what sounds like an air charged shock
- Clean chainline
- Plenty of room in the triangle for a 50 Amp Cont soft pack (recommended if you opt for the Ludicrous controller)
- Decent seat
- Mosso suspension pedals
- For what you get, the price is cheaper than what you will find anywhere else for a comparable bike
- Having a motor on your Giant will void the manufacturer warranty
- Ebike is sold without any warranty (it costs extra)
- BBSHD hangs down like a cow udder, smashy, smashy
- Limited room in the triangle for a larger battery
- You have to pay extra for the 50 Amp Ludicrous controller (don’t get it with a 30 Amp cont shark pack, get a 50 Amp 52v continuous triangle)
- At $3779 this kind of awesomeness does not come cheap
I can’t imagine any serious singletrack trail rider buying this ebike and being the slightest bit disappointed. This bike beats any other full suspension ebikes I’ve ever ridden hands down for weight, performance, and durability. The bottom line is if you want a good trail ebike then you need to start with a nice bike. The Giant Anthem 2 is probably the nicest full suspension bike I’ve ever ridden, and the price is right. If you’re looking for an ebike to cruise around the streets with, get something else, but if you want the ultimate singletrack machine you should seriously consider the Luna BBSHD Anthem 2.
Eric and I talk about some of the features of the Luna Athem 2 at the Luna Warehouse.
|Frame||ALUXX SL-grade aluminum, Advanced Forged composite upper rocker, 110mm Maestro suspension|
|Rear Shock||Fox Float Performance EVOL, Trunnion mount|
|Fork||Fox 34 Rhythm, Grip damper, 15mm QR, Boost, OverDrive, 120mm travel|
|Rims||Sun Mulefut 50, 650B, 32H, Tubeless Ready|
|Hubs (F/R)||Giant Performance Tracker Disc, [F] Boost 110x15mm 28h, [R] Boost 148x12mm 32h|
|Tires||[F] Schwalbe Nobby Nic, 27.5×2.25, Performance, Folding [R] Schwalbe Racing Ralph, 27.5×2.25, Performance, Folding|
|Spokes||Sapim Race, 14/15g|
|Derailleur, Rear||Shimano SLX, Shadow+|
|Cassette||Shimano SLX 11×42, 11-speed|
|Seatpost||Giant Contact SL Switch-R, 30.9mm|
|Saddle||Giant Contact Neutral|
|Handlebar||Giant Contact Trail, 31.8mm|
|Handlebar Grips||Giant Stock Handlebart Grips|
|Brake Levers||Shimano M615|
|Brakes||Shimano M615, Hydraulic Disc, 180/160mm Rotors|