Giant Trance Advanced SX - First Ride

Oct 7, 2013
by Mike Kazimer  
First Ride: Giant Trance Advanced SX

Giant has made it clear they are fully committed to 27.5” wheels, revamping their mountain bike line to focus almost entirely on the in-between size for 2014. We first caught wind of this change earlier in the year when Giant unveiled a prototype version of the Trance that their Factory Off-Road Team had been testing and competing on. Now, just about six months later, the bike has made it to production, with several different frame and component configurations available. To get an initial impression of the bike's capabilities we took the Trance Advanced SX model out onto the rocky trails of Moab, Utah.

Trance Advanced SX details
• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Carbon front triangle, aluminum rear
• Rear wheel travel: 140mm
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Weight: 28lb (claimed)
• Head angle: 66 degrees
• MSRP: $6400 USD

Frame and Component Details


The Trance Advanced has a carbon fiber front triangle attached to an aluminum rear triangle by two aluminum links, part of Giant's Maestro suspension layout. Maestro is a twin link, four bar suspension configuration that's designed to remain active even under heavy braking while being fairly resistant to pedal bob. No pivots are necessary on the rear triangle, which helps increase frame stiffness, as does the brace that attaches the seatstays to the chainstays.

All of the bikes in the Trance lineup share the same amount of rear travel (140mm), but the Trance Advanced models get a carbon fiber front triangle instead of aluminum. The bikes in the SX series are equipped with 160mm of front suspension, which slackens the head angle to a downhill-friendly 66 degrees. With suspension well-suited to a high end all-mountain rig, the Trance Advanced SX comes spec'd with Fox's 34 Talas CTD fork (adjustable between
140 and 160mm of travel) in the front and a Float X shock in the rear. SRAM's X01 1 by 11 drivetrain simplifies shifting by doing away with the front derailleur, and the front chainring's X-SYNC tooth profile means a chainguide isn't necessary, although ISCG 05 tabs are in place just in case. Schwalbe handles the tire duties, with the popular Hans Dampf 2.35 in the front and a Rock Razor 2.35 in the rear, although the bike we rode had a Nobby Nic in the rear. While the drivetrain, suspension, and brakes are handled by SRAM and Fox, we were a little surprised by how much of the build kit is comprised of house brand components - the bike's wheels, seat, stem, dropper post, and the handlebar are all taken care of by Giant.

Giant Trance Advanced SX
The carbon front triangle has internal cable routing, including stealth routing for the Giant's Contact Switch dropper post. SRAM's X01 drivetrain has a 32 tooth front chainring and a 10-42 tooth rear cassette, providing a wide enough range to conquer the steepest of climbs without spinning out on the way down.

First Impressions

Many of the trails around Moab are comprised of sandstone ledges of various sizes, like a flight of stairs out of a Salvador Dali painting. The Trance Advanced SX proved to be a nimble climber, digging in and clawing at the ground to provide the traction needed to propel the bike up and over the red rocks. The rear suspension is fairly active, especially when standing up and really powering down on the pedals, but flipping the lever on the Float X shock to Trail mode helped to calm things down. Although the Trance comes equipped with a TALAS fork, we didn't end up using the travel adjust feature, although we see it coming in handy on sustained, steep climbs.

On the downhills the Trance SX rewards a smoother riding style as opposed to the smash and bash, monster truck-like approach. That's not to say the bike can't handle rough terrain, far from it, it's just that a little more finesse and forethought will make for a much smoother and enjoyable ride. The bike handled well at speed, and it was easy to get airborne when necessary to clear little rock gardens or to transfer from one side of the trail to the other. Even though there is a 20mm travel difference between the fork and shock, the bike still felt balanced, and it never felt like the rear shock was trying to play catch up to the front, even on larger drops. With a well-rounded blend of climbing and descending abilities, it's not surprising that members of the Giant Factory Off-Road Team use this as their bike of choice for enduro racing, and we could see it being a popular choice for riders who put in the miles to earn their descents.



www.giant-bicycles.com


178 Comments

  • + 113
 $6400 certainly isn't $10,000, but still, could you please review a bike that is a reasonable price to most pinkbikers? No matter what specific bike it is, Bronson, Mojo, Trance: the top level model will almost always perform amazingly, this isn't news to us. But what about the $4050 version of this same bike, with SLX and other more value-oriented components?
  • - 48
flag Lilshredman (Oct 6, 2013 at 21:13) (Below Threshold)
 Dido
  • + 85
 This isn't a review, simply a preview with our initial impressions of the bike. We've recently reviewed the Felt LT50 ($2899) and the Marin XM8 ($3799).
  • - 51
flag Lilshredman (Oct 6, 2013 at 21:28) (Below Threshold)
 Hector The Rejector!!! (a.k.a the "girl" mfbeast12 tried to ask out)
  • - 50
flag mfbeast12 (Oct 6, 2013 at 21:38) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer thanks (forgot about those, my b)

lilshredman $10 says I get way more than you do. we can go by riding skill, # of followers, the bikes we own, intelligence, eloquence, social skills, anything... I win.
  • + 77
 Keep riding the expensive ones! I don't pick up a Car and Driver to read about the base model of a toyota Yaris. Joking aside, a lower priced bike will be limited by crappy components, particularly the suspension. As consumers (price conscious or not) I think we would be worse off if the tests all ended in the caveat, "we couldn't get a solid impression of the bike because the cheaply spec'd components prevented us from finding the frame's potential".
  • + 18
 Best bang for your buck if you want a carbon frame AM machine is the price valued Norco Range Killer B carbon 7.2 at $3600! Most new carbon frames are around $3000 alone.
  • + 5
 The frame is still going to identical between a $10000 and a $3000 model, the review is still going to give you and idea of how the bikes rides, bar the small difference in drivetrain and suspension.
  • + 39
 poor Mike. Preview/Review a high-end bike wah wah wah. Review a low end bike wah wah wah. Might as well just keep on doing what you think is right. Let us know how this thing does on the old drop to flat test
  • + 5
 This bike is supposed to be aspiration for you - not affordable, that comes later, though it will help to distort your concept of a "average joe" mtb pricing curve. Nowadays at $6500 it is hardly the most noteworthy offender to show up on this site. Enjoy.
  • + 33
 downgrade your car; upgrade your bike Smile
  • + 18
 just review a walmart bike for everybody who keeps complaining about bikes being too expensive.
  • + 5
 What bike company is going to give a reviewer the base spec machine? They want the best review, hence they give the best bike they possibly can give. All the measurements of the frame are gonna be the same anyhow. Take the important parts from the review, what you need and what you want are two very different things and that applies to at least 97% of the people on this site.
  • + 3
 @madmax650... Mongoose Fatbike from walmart, $200...

gearjunkie.com/walmart-fatbike
  • - 2
 I would say 96% is a more accurate figure
  • - 7
flag bonkywonky (Oct 7, 2013 at 2:09) (Below Threshold)
 Who needs a first look at a bike that's way above their budget anyway? Both these and real reviews serve to inform potential buyers.I bet the PB staff just likes to ride around on top level bikes which is understandable but because it is one of the leading mtb websites I do think they have a responsibility to inform the public.
  • + 2
 Top Gear is the most popular car TV show in the history. Their tests are 100% useless, and they are made just for entertainment. They test dream cars and for the contrast they put a star on a reasonably priced car. Now programs presenting practical features of affordable cars are boring and dull, desperately trying to mimmick some features of Top Gear, often with a pathetic effect. So I say keep those super bikes coming.

And once again (it's been said hundred times here) - journos test bikes, they are given to test, so if Giant decides to send 6k bike to Mike, or invite hom to a press camp with such bikes, he has no chance of testing a cheaper one aye?

The only thing I can complain on, is companies arranging test sessions in places like Moab or Sedona. Most people, including PB home area, live in places with terrain, surface and weather as far from the desert as it can be. Different horses for different courses right? Then dear industry invite journos to courses in temperate climate zones.

Thank you
  • + 13
 Top Gear is entertainment, nobody watches it to make an informed decision on what car to buy.

PB on the other hand pretends to be an informative site. Kids base their choice of equipment on what is said on here and with only high end models being reviewed they get the impression you need a 4k plus bike to have fun. Which is completely off, based on the budget of an average 17 y/o my advice would be to buy an SLX level bike with proper suspension and spend the rest of their paper route money on road trips and riding in general because ultimately that's what it's all about.

Ever read Dirt Magazine? Or Singletrack? Both of them regularly review bikes at any pricepoint.
  • + 0
 Good point! I haven't looked at it from that angle, thanks. Then the question is why is it so that companies provide PB testers with such bikes? At the same time I rarely see Dirt testing affordable bikes...
  • + 1
 Thanks. The last few issues they did feature quite a few mid level bikes.

The only reason I can see for that, and this might be a little cynical, is that they see it as cheap but effective advertising (how often do you see negative online reviews?). Often the entire range of a certain model is promoted through ads showing the high end build.
  • + 4
 They have put up more "affordable bikes" too. People just complain no matter what. I like reading reviews of high end bikes, and I know Im not alone. And to be honest, the info often pertains to lower end offerings of the same bike, with a lower spec. Honestly, I don't want to hear about the shortcomings of an x7 mech, or crummy tires when reading a review. I want the chassis tested with the best parts so I know what it's got to offer.... not "this could be a good bike but we wouldn't know because it's fitted with sh*t tires".... just some food for thought.
  • + 1
 Expensive bikes become affordable when you buy them at the end of the season. I just picked up a Trek Remedy 9.8 - MSRP $5,400, clear-out price to the dealer (bike shop) $3,180, price to consumer (me) $3,800. Of course there is tax on that but nonetheless, at full price there is no way I would spend over $6K, but at this price it's an awesome deal!
  • + 4
 All this affordable talk is pissing me off...

If you want affordable go to Walmart , if you want performance then get a f*cking job ?

When you get into the sport you are fully aware of this...

Do what every one else does who can't afford some thing , either save for it , get credit , or keep dreaming.
  • + 8
 Another thing is that entry level bike with X7, 34R and FloatR won't be much worse to ride than one with X01, 34 Factory and Float X.
  • + 4
 Exactly, it's the chassis and dynamics of the bike Im interested in. I can draw my own conclusions about spec and value.
  • + 3
 To be honest I get pissed off when I read a review of a bike and someone wrotes broadly about components... Because you probably read about those components in a last weeks test Big Grin
  • + 0
 Exactly.
  • + 1
 @bigburd with the salary of a 16 y/o you can work your ass off all summer or deliver a thousand newspapers a week in the pouring rain but a 4k bike will still be way above your budget, let alone buying it and being able to actually ride and maintain it. In that case you'll NEED a nice 2000-2500 euro bike. Or what about someone who's just starting out and isn't sure what he really wants. Should he suck it up as well and buy a high end bike even though chances are it'll end up on ebay after a few months? Or the XC guy who wants to ride a bikepark every once in a while? Or a student? Or someone with other hobbies that cost money as well but are equally important?
  • - 1
 Welcome to real life , if you think push bikes are expensive wait till you buy a car or a house. No one is forcing you to buy a high end bike , when I was 16 I saved up for 1 year doing dozens of shitty jobs to get my 1600 quid low end Marin ' dual slalom bike ' . Mountain biking is a luxury and non-essential , no one is forcing anyone to buy any bikes whether it's high or low end , live to your means , and if your salary does not allow you to buy some thing then you just go with out it. Yeah it does kinda suck but thats just how it is , and yeah a lot of bike stuff is over priced but they have us by the short and curlys in that regard ...
  • + 2
 Whether you could afford it or not, $6k for a bike is pretty ridiculous, forget about $10k. Its a bike, and I'm going to beat the piss out of it. Aside from the carbon, there is nothing new or unique happening here. And for $6k, I'm not aspiring to get a Giant, I'd rather get some boutique bike that's unique or beautifully constructed, like the Nicolai in the other review, not some mass-produced bike that comes out of a mold with house parts.
  • + 1
 That's called a false dilemma. 2300eu will get you a Scott Gambler 30 which I can tell you is a blast to ride. Deliver some more papers in the rain and snow so you can upgrade the stuff that breaks. Then wash cars all summer so you can upgrade the suspension and hey presto, after a year you have a bike you could race a WC with. All this for probably less than the price of a top drawer Gambler if you know where to find a deal and stretched out nicely so you can actually ride the thing as well.
  • + 5
 BTW, the entry-level Trance 27.5 4, made from aluminum costs only $1599, while still having not so bad components, and if you add $400 more you'll get a clutch derailleur and rockshox suspension
  • + 5
 There you go. 7 years ago you'd kill to have a bike that rode as nice as the lower middle level bikes on offer these days.
  • + 2
 Just take the review for what it is. Most people that complain about the bike spec will probably pick up the upgrades when the lower end components give out. So over time, you spend 5000 on a bike you spent 3000 on to start. It's cheaper to buy a frame and build it specced how you want it than to upgrade a complete bike over its life.
  • + 1
 Well..it's because AM/DH Mountain biking is a bit of a niche market. And when you have a niche market, or when you have a certain area of the market by the balls they'll charge these sorts of prices because they know you (or someone else) will pay it. It also has to do with overall demand. It's not like, say, BMX bikes or road bikes.
  • + 3
 When Specialized comes out with a really expensive bike nobody really cares. But Giant gets a really expensive bike and everybody goes against them?! $6400 is expensive but it's expected in today's society(biking society that is). I'm 15 and would love to get a 6 or $7,000 bike and that's why I got a job and I'm going to work for it. Also, carbon is no cheap material when done properly. I don't care if it's handmade or done with machines, it's going to be expensive. Same with aluminum. It used to cost a lot of money, but now it's a material found on the cheapest bikes and almost everyone is or has used it.
  • - 4
flag jlhenterprises (Oct 8, 2013 at 6:21) (Below Threshold)
 who would spend $6400 on a Giant?
  • - 2
 It sure is a GIANT price!
  • + 1
 All I read is a bunch of hamfist whining without riding said bike. I have no comment till it's saddle time
  • + 0
 Madmon - The wisdom and kindness glaring from your words surely will influence our behaviour. Indeed Internet would be 3 times smaller if people only shared opinions that are backed up with own experience. Now hamfist? Pardon? English is my second language so excuse my curiosity but do you mean someone who gets involved in fisting hamsters?
  • - 2
 it seems people here go off topic to discuss their own crap i.e.. components. I adore Giants and until I ride one of their 650s my opinions are like everyone else's.....useless. Sorry but I am a realist.
  • - 1
 Tell us more about your inside... Dude you are throwing troll snacks! Stop it!
  • + 33
 I ride baller shit. Please review baller shit. Thanks, Pinkbike.
  • + 4
 You're faster than me.
  • + 13
 Agreed on price. Giant charges 1500~ for their aluminum frame and over 3000 for their carbon. The only part carbon is the front triangle so you are paying an extra 1500 for a carbon front triangle? I remember when Giant had some of the best bang for the buck builds out there. Latest pricing is absurd.
  • + 2
 I bet the price of carbon frames will drop with time as technology and material becomes common place in the industry. Im guessing 5 years from now 90% of manufacturers will use carbon. Till then might as well buy the best alloy frame money can buy and ride it till its dead.
  • + 9
 In NZ the giant pricing is a lot better than overseas. we get the trance 1 for 3900 NZD and trance advanced 2 for 4400NZD with comparable component spec. which is thousands cheaper than the equivalent from specialized,trek, GT etc.
  • + 8
 It's not just the carbon though, it comes with the 11 speed SRAM setup which is insanely expensive
  • + 3
 I am talking frame only, not complete, the frame only is 1500 more than the aluminum version for front triangle only. They are very proud of their front triangle. And carbon prices will only drop when they stop selling at these prices. We are talking Giant here, they build a HUGE percentage of the bikes sold, way more than just what has their name on it. We are not dealing with economies of scale, we are dealing with charging the highest they think they can get away with.
  • + 1
 Not sure why everyone is complaining about the price. In Canada this bike is $5699.95. With this suspension , wheels (rebranded DT) and a great drivetrain, it is one heck of a smoking deal. Josh Carlson also shreds on it so you know its got to be good Wink
  • + 2
 A Yahama YZ450f has an MSRP of about $8.5k. We're talking about a full on motorcycle with complicated long travel forks with large stanchions. Titanium valves, large brakes, transmissions, large chains, and complicated engines etc. Way more parts to engineer provide materials for and such. Unless a bike is all carbon super high technology stuff there is absolutely no reason for it to cost what a motorcycle does or even close to it. The pricing on bikes is stupid high, and I don't care what people say about it being worth it. You can't justify a company producing a no carbon bike at over 6k when a motorcycle with fuel injection costs only 2k more.
  • + 0
 The thing is, when you are comparing motorcycles to bicycles you are comparing apples and oranges. Motorcycles aren't for everyone. There is a health benefit derived from mountain biking where as a motorcycle can be seen as means of transportation or a very expensive toy. You don't have to spend a ton of money for carbon frame since there is plenty of great aluminum frames sold cheaper. Plus MSRP is not what you usually pay in bike shops anyways. There is sales, seasonal deals, and second hand market. Mountain biking is a lifestyle just like motorsport. If you are fortunate enough and interested in both you can invest in both motocross and mtb. Most of us I'm sure just stick to just one.
  • + 3
 Try and get warranty on a YZ450f after you blow the engine. Wont happen. All the warranties that the bike industry doles out isn't coming from no where, its factored into the price. Say this Trance SX develops a crack 5 years from now because of regular wear and tear. Giant will give you a brand new frame and probably not the same frame but the newer equivalent of the SX. This WILL NOT happen in the moto industry.
  • + 1
 @Zachmozach I see what you're saying but motorcycles have been around a lot longer than "Mountain bikes". So motorcycles have had more time to develop technologies that suit them better. You also have to realize that this Trance Advanced SX is the equivalent to a moto-x racer's motorcycle which is $250,000! There are different types of riders out there and while most can't afford or won't buy this, there are many pros that want the benefits of the technology. P.S. While some moto-x racers don't have $250,000 bikes, there are many wannabe pro racers that have invested $50,000 into there bikes.
  • + 2
 They've both been around for many years now. One is 200 some odd pounds of aluminum, titanium, electronics, all sorts of technology with some of it similar to bikes but overbuilt for its own application. I know that it takes a lot of engineering for the great mountain bike designs and modern technology but if you don't think that Motorcycles are doing the same thing you're wrong no matter how much longer they've been making them they redesign and improve to stay competitive with other companies and improve their product. I'm just asking how they can justify charging so much when there's way less material expenses, and way less technology? I remember when a 5k bike meant you were getting one of the best bikes on the market. Sure there's always stuff that costs a lot of money for the super top end custom built stuff (motorcycle or bike), but if the prices keep climbing to the 10k mark I won't even be able to buy the couple years old bike like I do now. I do agree that the warranty is worth something, but only a few manufactures really hook up the warranty after a few years. I'd love to see how much it costs to produce these bikes all in compared to what they sell for. It's ridiculous IMO. You guys are welcome to keep buying the best bikes out there if you can afford it, but it seems more and more like I'm being priced out of the sport.
  • + 0
 @Zachmozach Keep in mind that most countries in Europe ,North America and all over the world experience inflation, i.e. increase in the general level of prices of goods/services in economy over time. So if 10 years ago you were able to buy the best bike on the market for $5k, today its more like $7k+. As prices rise so do wages, or at least the minimum wages do. So those who were able to buy a high end bike for $5k 10 years ago can in theory buy a $7k bike today if their wealth is the same. That being said manufacturers will always provide the lower priced product to consumer to capture most of the market. So you will always find a bike for your budget. There are plenty awesome alu frames that I would chose over carbon today.
  • + 1
 Also when comparing against motorbikes there is pretty much only 5 major manufacturers of mx bikes. ktm and the jap brands. That alone would help keep prices down.
  • + 1
 I totally agree about the lame price for a "front only" carbon frame. It is not a carbon frame if it is 1/2 carbon. I would not have bought my mojo if it had an alu rear end. At that price I would expect to see bearings like on a Turner that would last for a decade with little to no service. I also do not see Giant frames hanging in bike stores in Toronto like you see Santa Cruz or other name brands.
  • + 12
 Travel , Weight, Price, pick 2.
  • + 8
 length or girth…?
  • + 12
 I think its light, cheap, and reliable... Pick 2.
  • + 6
 Originally it was an engineering axiom... strength, weight, cost... pick two. But since all mountain bikes of this category are basically built equally strong (more so if its sold in europe, there's stringent EN standards testing to pass... the first year Salsa Mukluk frames for example DIDN'T pass those tests, so they could not be sold as mountain bikes there) so with suspension bikes it comes down to travel comparisons more than strength comparisons.
  • + 2
 That's an interesting axiom there deeeight and it got me thinking. Whilst many here (of which I am one) who do not have an engineering background, was it Tomac's/Bontrager's(?), axiom about strength, weight and cost is both quite easy to get one's head around and has been clear to see in practice, I am not so sure about the "Travel, Weight, Price" version. That is because there are an increasing number of very expensive, very light bikes at a range of travels. There are five figure bikes (or damned close to 5 figure) in the 10 inch DH (Enve V10 Carbon for example) end of the spectrum as well as the XC (Stumjumper FSR Carbon with XTR or XX1 for example) end too. I know what you are getting at with the idea of "travel/weight/price" however there are a significant number of bikes that buck that linear trend. What would you say to "Suspension Platform , Weight , Price , pick 2"?
  • + 0
 The pricing is all about the hunger of the market. Hard-core freeride and downhill were the most popular disciplines years ago and such bikes were extremely expensive. Years passed and nobody cares about freeride bikes - they are cheap as dirt. But AM bikes are now everyone's favourite, so the prices are getting higher and higher.
  • + 2
 Actually hardcore freeride and dh have never been the most popular... and never will be... 1% of a bike market doesn't amount to much in the great scheme of things. It looks good in magazines and on dvd's but there are more people riding bmx bikes around than ride FR/DH bikes. Outside of regions with mountains FR/DH bikes don't sell very well but BMX bikes can be ridden anyplace you have flat ground and dirt and some shovels.
  • + 1
 Not to mention urban/commuter bikes. In the Netherlands there are more bikes than people but 'only' around 30.000 mountainbikers I believe. If all of them have 2 bikes there are still way more 'functional' bikes.
  • + 1
 Where can I obtain a proper free-ride machine "cheap as dirt" .... do tell
  • - 1
 Do tell?

Why should I even bother answering your question when it's

a) irrelevant to the discussion and

b) impolite?
  • + 2
 I was referring to Auxx comment saying free-ride bikes are dirt cheap, which is not based in any fact whatsoever. It was perfectly relevant.
  • + 2
 Missed that comment. My bad.
  • + 1
 No big deal
  • + 2
 Auxx is your dirt made of gold? because dh/fr bikes are far from cheap
  • + 7
 Pinkbike, thanks for providing awesome content free of charge to your viewers. I enjoy your reviews for products that I can't afford and even those that would never touch. Because I love mountain biking. And I recognize that your site doesn't cater specifically to me. Because while I wait for closing time at work, I'm happy to read anything involving pedaling two wheels over dirt. Also, this bike looks amazing. I've been drooling over it since Giant linked some proto shots on FB.
  • + 5
 I think with all the standards the bike industy has come up with, its about time they came up with a naming standard. How can we even keep track anymore? The "Elite", "Pro", "Advanced", "Expert"...SRAM even has the "Apex" which even though an apex is the top of a curve, theres still a few groups above it. //rant
  • + 4
 Just rode this bike! It was super fun. The carbon was awesome, but I think the alloy at $4000 would be great as well with zee and slx components. The 27.5 wheels were more pronounced that I thought they would be, rolling over larger obstacles without having to work so hard, but a little bit less maneuverable in tight corners. I think it is actually a pretty good deal in comparison to Santa Cruz, Yeti, Pivot, and others, especially considering the build.
  • + 2
 Hi all. Just like to throw in my opinion on this one. bikes that get reviewed are usually one of 2 things. price point bike for comparison against other brands, or the top end product to show it off. personally i can say i was at giant UK headquarters 2 weeks ago and most of the lads there are riding the £2500 model of the trance. I have personally just bought the 3, £1500 version for one simple reason, it had rock shox not fox, this is simply personal preference. the bike rides amazingly and i dont think i would benefit from kashima coated forks and saving 50 grams on the weight of my chainset. i will be adding a dropper post of course but other than that i.ll be riding it off the peg.

take this as a overview of the trance range, and as people have said, even the 1300 quid model has a tapered steerer, 15mm thru axle front, press fit BB. its an awesome bike, the bits you want bolted to it are your choice, personally i ride pretty hard and if i smash a deore mech off its a bitch, but taking out a sram X0 would really hurt my wallet.

In all, whatever spec, i reckon they've got this years trance spot on and very happy with my cheaper spec.
  • + 2
 I pre-ordered one of these, and have been waiting anxiously for some reviews. I'm not sure what I expected to read, but it doesn't sound like it's going to be quite as capable as I thought.
Maybe I should have kept my Reign??

ROUGHLY WHAT DID IT WEIGH??
  • + 5
 My Trance 27.5 smokes my old Reign in every way i can think of. It does have 10mm less travel, but it has the same shock stroke, and it feels so similar. The climbing speed, cornering, jumping, descending, frame stiffness, all of it is improved.
  • + 1
 Thanks heaps for the confidence boost! I guess i will find out for myself in a few more weeks!
  • + 2
 I've ridden this bike a bunch since it came out, and if you liked your Reign (I also ride the Reign and Reign X a lot) then you will love the Trance SX.
  • + 0
 I have one on pre-order from the shop I work at. Can't wait to ride it
  • + 1
 Unless you ride some crazy shit this bike will be enough.
  • + 3
 Nice review,
I think the line "rewards a smoother riding style as opposed to the smash and bash" sums up this bike for me.

Have any recent bikes in 650b been smash & bash?
  • + 1
 Yeti I think?
  • + 2
 Smash and bash needs a fox 36 or lyric with uncomplicated functioning rear suspension. Neg prop me all you want but find me a carbon bike with 15mm axle that genuinely can plough?
  • + 3
 Santa Cruz Bronson with CCDB Air and MRP Stage fork.
  • + 2
 I think my Orange Alpine/Monarch RC3 combo will do just fine. Although that MRP stage fork does look interesting.
  • + 2
 The complaints about the price are hilarious to me. 80% of my friends ride bikes that retail for at least $5000. Most have 2 bikes worth over $5000. If you are riding a bike that costs less than $5000 new, you should have bought a used bike.
  • + 1
 Not that many people want to see reviews on cheap bikes, unless there is some unbelievable bang for your buck bike out there. Yeah this bike is expensive but its actually average price these days for a top level enduro bike. Why does everyone feel the need to complain
  • + 1
 Everyone complains about the price. From what I know, the bike industry is pretty competitive and the high prices actually reflect the cost of bringing a bike to market. Spec that $6k bike without the frame, and there still is over $3k in components.

PS I know the actual manufacturing cost for the frame is low, but shipping, marketing, R&D, warehousing, warranties, assembly, etc gets really pricey really fast
  • + 1
 I`m very curious what the manufacturers definition of "all mountain" is. I see all these new "all mountain" bikes coming with 34mm stanchion forks with 15mm axles, and can't help but wonder if their definition is significantly different than mine.

It's concerning to me that the forks that are intended for "all mountain" use use smaller diameter stanchions, lowers and axles than the fork I use that has undergone crown/stanchion unit replacement 4 times now.

Are these forks designed as "all mountain, but only for one season?" They seem to be throw away items. Maybe I'm wrong and as so many have said, the problem I've experienced "is not structural" (ha ha ha).
  • + 1
 This is a rip compared to 2013 models in nz. I could get a reign with slx everything, fox front and rear (float not kashima) for 3k nz. Admittedly there was a giant dropper bar and stem but come on all of you bi***ing about in house components, specialized does exactly the same. Also keep up high level stuff reviews I want to drool but a couple of top level vs mid level and bottom level would be good once in a while so we know if it's worth it.
  • + 5
 Not really, the Reign 2 RRP was $3000, but the Reign 1 with Fox and SLX was $4000. The 2014 Trance 27.5 1 which replaces it also has an XT rear mech and crankset, stealth routed dropper and is $100 cheaper. We're lucky in NZ when it comes to Giant.
  • + 2
 You are lucky in NZ, your much closer to Taiwan, less distance to ship (your local tax structure on imports probably helps too). Its not cheap to ship something half-way around the world. Your fishing kicks ass also.
  • + 1
 the maestro system pedals very well as do many of the 'vpp' inspired platforms. I have a reign built up under 28 lbs as my XC bike (also have a big bike for dh days) The Outland VPP 7 was a 7 inch frame built for XC use. the market is finally coming to understand that long travel and XC are not two separate markets. Buy a bike you can afford and go have fun.
  • + 2
 Went into my lbs the other day. They are a giant retailer. This is what the shop owner owns. I couldn't believe the specs for a stock bike. Black on black looks sick in person.
  • + 1
 I can see both angles here on what bikes to test, but ultimately most riders 80-90% are on bikes that are below 5k with the majority riding bike prob below 3.5k .. I ride a 2014 stumpy evo 26" and get ppl asking me all the time on the trail for my impressions. Prob with testing high end bikes is tge weigh significantly less then the top end models.

As for the car magazine articles, yes they test high end cars but there are tons of reviews on low end and average priced cars.
  • + 1
 I've read this same paragraph time after time in recent reviews...

"On the downhills the Trance SX rewards a smoother riding style as opposed to the smash and bash, monster truck-like approach. That's not to say the bike can't handle rough terrain, far from it, it's just that a little more finesse and forethought will make for a much smoother and enjoyable ride."

I'm pretty sure if smash and bash is your thing, you're not looking for a smoother ride...
  • + 2
 When I read that it says to me " the suspension is under par and sub-standard , not really an off road machine , fine on your local trail centre with it's disabled access style smoothness , but keep it off the natural trails "
  • + 1
 The reviewer just needs to swallow a few concrete pills. What enduro bike is comparably more smash and bash?
Yeti sb66 - very similar setup, Bronson might as well be identical, and single pivots, good luck with pedal feedback. Arguably the maestro design is better than all of the above. A Pivot/DW-link, that's a different story, but the maestro system is about as close to DW as it gets
  • + 1
 Oh and I own one and live in Australia (rocks, rocks and more rocks). After riding a DH bike for years, this is faster over almost every rough trail because it's lighter and you can gap sections mid rock-garden.
Nonetheless let's not forget it's a trail bike.
  • + 1
 I don't have an issue with the price of this bike per se. I have more of an issue with what you 're getting for the price: half of a carbon frame, mis-matched travel, house brand everything, except for drive train and suspension. It is designed with a slack head angle, but rewards a smoother rider.

This bike seems confused. On the one hand it has high end gear, but on the other it has house junk. Big travel bike, big wheels, yet rewards smoother line choices.
Half carbon, half aluminum.

Giant replaced the 26" bike with this?
Really...
  • + 2
 I don't dispute your reference to "... rewards a smoother rider." All bikes reward a smoother rider. However...

The rear is aluminium because the weight savings were something like 40-60 grams. Also, there are quite thin stays on the rear triangle that were susceptible to cracking on their original carbon rear triangles. I guess those are the reasons Giant only use aluminum on the rear.

If you want balanced suspension, the 'normal' Trance has the same frame but with a smaller fork. The big fork I expect is aimed at the Enduro crowd - who tend to run more travel on the front than the rear.

What "house junk" are you refering to? The Contact Switch is a good as any other dropper post - I've had one for years. I am waiting for the new internally routed ones to be available aftermarket to replace my dead Joplin on another bike. I used to buy aftermarket bar but the Giant bars are perfectly fine. We both know that most of those $150 aftermarket bars are because of the name and some green anodizing, not because one extruded alumunum pipe is that much better than another when made by folk who know what they are doing.
  • + 0
 House junk: heavy, cheap items that companies put on their bikes, usually at lower price points.

For example: my full carbon bike came with house junk, that I immediately replaced and upgraded( stem, dropper,seat, grips and carbon bar). Even with the upgrades and sales tax, the Mojo HD was cheaper than the Giant.
  • + 2
 Your bike may have come with 'house junk', but the Giant branded stuff is not junk. I used to change the Giant stuff for what I thought were superior components (stems, bars posts etc.) but then I started weighing things and the weights are similar or lighter than what I was replacing them with. So I was wasting hundreds of dollars every time for no reason other than to have a set of 'name' bars. None of the Giant components failed and I felt no difference.

When I lived in California I saw EVERY Mojo that went through my LBS crack. Full carbon is not always superior.
  • + 1
 House junk?
I own this bike (and it is surprisingly good value!)
The wheel set on this bike weighs 1640g! It also rolls on rebranded DT Swiss 240 hubs.
If you think that is house junk check the weights of ENVE, Mavic etc wheel sets and get back to me.
Also, try find another bike that runs XO1, factory kashima, 4-pot elixirs etc for this price.
The Giant frame designs are some of the most reliable, resilient, light and strong frames on the market. I've worked at a shop for years and we've sold SC, Yeti, Cannondale, Pivot etc. The least problematic bikes of all are the Giants.
  • + 1
 Mojo hdr with xo1 is 1k less. Add a good dropper post( Ks lev, reverb) and it's still $500. Less than your value laden bike...
  • + 1
 Been out for about 10 rides on the aluminum version and I've got nothing but good things to say. Both paint jobs look rad and the bikes are pretty bomb-proof. Perfect bike to take out all day and just go - no matter what you're riding. Ctd adjustments are pretty solid for longer climbs or flat sections, (I find the trail mode more than adequate,) and when you throw it into descend mode with the 160mm up front it feels nice and slack - never felt like I was getting tossed forward.
  • + 1
 I just bought one of these beginning of March 2014. Thing is SO SICK. It's my first new rig since 2010. I was previously riding a 26" Banshee RUNE v1 with 150mm front and rear as a 1x9 with a guide. The carbon frame , 27.5 wheels, and 1x11 XO drive train make this thing SO SICK. Love this bike. Climbs great; descends BETTER. 28lbs with a 5" reverb and pedals.

I swapped the 70mm stem for a 60mm. I swapped the 730mm bars for Carbon eastons at 750mm. I swapped the contact post for a stealth reverbs nd am going to upgrade to KS 6" integer post. Swapped the X9 trail brakes for XO trail cuz I already had them.

Best trail rig I've ever owned and I've had 5 trail-rigs in 8 years....I seem to break every frame I own.
  • + 1
 Reign X1-$3825
RS lyric front/ monarch plus rear
lower end sram drivetrain
dropper post
Same schwable tires

The reign x is still cheaper at $5800

I know its not carbon but more bike for less money.
  • + 4
 Why the hell didn't they call this bike the "Treign"
  • + 1
 I evolved fromntrance to reign, specifically for the extra travel, the difference between rear travel and front travel on this bike doesnt make any sense to me. Cheers
  • + 2
 This is the first Giant production bike I've seen that wasn't covered in dozens of gaudy logos in many years.
  • + 1
 Great package at a great price. The Giant branded wheelset is rebranded DT Swiss, which on this bike is a $1000 wheelset alone! Can't wait for mine!
  • + 2
 Plus the forks are over $1k!
  • + 1
 If you want entry level go read Mountain Bike Action, geez always whiny weaniers on here whining about price, whine about wheel size ok thats where its at!
  • + 3
 Well... It does look great. Maybe Batman's all mountain rig?
  • + 2
 maybe review both the top end and entry level models?
  • + 1
 my 2012 specialized stumpjumper frs comp weighs 27 pounds all stock for 2600 retail... enough said.
  • + 2
 Buy a used Rein-x for 2000$ and have at it!
  • + 1
 Well said!
  • + 2
 ... i'm enjoying the comments more than the article :o)
  • + 1
 Does the lower rocker link snap like the old reigns? Or is that coming in the long-term review?
  • + 1
 I've owned a reign for the past 2 1/2 years and am yet to snap a lower link.
  • + 2
 must not be as fat as I am
  • + 1
 I've put a 2012 Reign X over some seriously rough stuff and sketchy drops. The link was redone for that year and I haven't had any problems. For reference, it was on a medium frame and I weigh about 210lbs. with gear..
  • + 1
 Around 2011 they made the link slightly thicker for more strength (at least on the reign's) and since I haven't heard of any problems.
  • + 1
 correct. i broke mine (2010 Reign X1) every 6 months until i got the 2013. no problems since...and its been longer than 6 months. Smile
  • + 1
 2010 as well. Decent bike otherwise. But for this price, could they not do magnesium links?
  • + 1
 2011 no issue's with links
  • + 1
 What's the size of this frame ? Seems big for a M, but quite short for larger sizes ?
  • + 1
 Got me one of these on order....Can't wait!!
  • + 1
 Me too!
  • + 1
 me 3.... hurry up Giant!
  • + 1
 Ah, sorry just saw the claimed 28 pounds... Oops
  • + 1
 I'd like that fork for my Reign, otherwise they can keep it.
  • + 1
 and i still cant believe that i read all the comments :o)
  • + 1
 Wish I was in Moab test riding new bikes.... lucky bastards!
  • + 0
 Giant has made the leap! not bad. As always thanks for the review pb! Stay classy San Diego
  • + 1
 Photo of rockers won't pop up Frown
  • + 1
 目测烧饼又要给翻译成中文了。我是预言帝。
  • + 1
 Great bike....for a dental practitioner in implantology
  • + 1
 meh...........i think i've spent 10 grand on droppers.
  • + 1
 they should build a slope bike
  • + 1
 Roger that!
  • + 1
 i am a crack whore
  • + 1
 this thing looks amazing
  • + 1
 Looks like my remedy.
  • + 0
 Huh. For about two seconds I thought the first photo was a Slayer.
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