Giant has gone 29" with the 2013 Trance X 29er, designed to be a wicked fast 5" trail bike for the Enduro, Super D, or epic trail rider. Giant's concept for the Trance X 29er spurs from a melding of the benefits of the 29" wheel with a more aggressive geometry, creating a fast and flickable chassis for the ultimate trail bike.
Trance X 29er 0 Details
• 29" Giant P-TRX29er wheelset
• ALUXX SL aluminum frameset
• 120mm Maestro suspension
• Fox Float CTD air shocks
• Overdrive 2 tapered fork steerer
• Shimano XT 2x10 drivetrain
• Shimano XT hydraulic disc brakes
• Giant P-TRX 29er 1 wheel system
• Giant 100mm dropper post w/ remote
• Full internal cable routing
• Weight: 28.2 pounds (w/o pedals )
• Sizes: XS, S, M, L (tested), XL
• MSRP: $4,250 USD
A Feature-Rich Frame
Trance X 29 has a highly integrated feature set, the most obvious of which is the fully integrated cable routing, which includes the rear brake line and dropper seatpost cable. Trance X 29's Overdrive 2 headtube utilizes taper-steerer technology, but takes it one step further with a standard 1.5" bearing in the bottom, and 1-1/4" upper bearing interface and stem, for enhanced steering stiffness. Giant's massive rectangular Megadrive downtube joins the oversized Powercore 86mm bottom bracket shell to further enhance torsional stiffness.
Giant employs their proven Maestro suspension platform into the Trance X 29er for a true 5" travel frame. In order to get the sharp handling prowess and flickability Giant was looking for with the 29" wheel, they developed a single-spar swingarm and stepped seat tube that tucks the rear wheel tighter under the rider. The drastic seat tube angle is mostly an optical illusion, as the effective angle is 73 degrees. Chainstay length is 17.8", 10mm shorter than Giant's Anthem X 29er. A 69 degree head angle promises climbing agility mixed with stability and control. Frame weight is 2,670 grams (5.89 lbs) for a size medium with shock and hardware.
A Fitting Destination
Tyax Lodge Wilderness Resort outside of Gold Bridge, BC hosted the debut of the Trance X 29. Surrounded by the vast, remote Chilcotin Range, Tyax proved to offer ideal terrain for the new Giant trail bike. With no motor vehicle access beyond the resort itself, epic singletrack is the only road for exploration into this Canadian landscape. Well, aside from Tyax Air, the lodge's float plane that transports guests from their hotel room straight to an alpine lake for extended kilometers of pedal-powered mountain cycling.
|We wanted to make a fun to ride twenty-niner. - Adam Craig, Giant pro enduro racer|Bike Fit
There's no avoiding the long feel of Trance X 29. After throwing a leg over the bike, it was apparent that we needed some adjustments on our size Large demo bike. We slid the saddle forward and swapped out the stock 100mm stem for something shorter, as did several other riders on the trip. Being a 1-1/4" stem, we were forced to stick with what Giant had on hand, which was a 90mm. At 6'2" in height, our size Large test Trance X 29 felt a bit reachy, even for trails of the absolute cross-country variety. If we were to spend an extended period aboard the Trance X 29, we'd mount something in the 70-80mm stem length for optimal comfort.
We opted out of a half day of climbing in favor of the float plane shuttle to a high alpine lake. Even still, the Chilcotins offer a few sustained climbs as well as several quick technical ones. The whole point of Trance X 29 is to have a bike that handles evenly across the board, so of course it excels at climbing. 29" wheels have the ability to plow through roots, creek crossings, and sandy dust holes that leave a 26" bike at the mercy of it's pilot. The Trance X 29er was ideal for the dusty, swoopy singletrack with mixed rock chunder found in the Chilcotin Range. If ever a bike was designed for a specific trail, it seemed like this was a match made in heaven.
Although the seat tube angle appears quite drastic, the relative location of the stepped seat tube creates a normal seat angle. We never got that off-the-back feel from the bike, and didn't feel like we were reaching for the pedals on long climbs. We also didn't feel a need to activate the CTD shocks on our test ride. Maestro is best left to do it's thing, as it's plenty efficient even on standing climbs at maintaining rear tire traction.
When trail speed opens up a bit, Trance X 29 certainly seems more impressive than on paper. The bike is more stable than it's 69-degree head angle would dictate. 17.8" chainstays probably add to the stability. On the contrary, Trance X 29 has less of the on-top-of-the-bike feel than many 29ers, which allows the rider to feel more stable in corners. We did notice the long cockpit in tight switchbacks, as it leaves the rider a bit high-centered. Other than slow-speed maneuvering, the Trance X 29 feels very stable.
A Practical Advantage
Considering the light and efficient Swiss-Army nature of the 'trail bike', there really is no reason not to go big in the wheel department. For those most at home on 26" wheels but still curious about the big-wheeled bug that has ravaged the trail bike genre, we can add that Trance X 29 feels the most at home to us of the 29ers we've ridden. Though we're not so quick to ditch our trusty 26" steeds, those in the market for a new bike can't ignore the smooth roll of the bigger wheel. Matter of fact, the most descriptive word for Trance X 29 is 'smooth'
. With a proven suspension platform that works great in nearly all situations and a geometry aimed to conquer the 29" stigma, Giant has certainly met their goal of creating a fast and flickable trail bike. As versatile as it sounds, Trance X 29 should be approached with definitive boundaries, as it's limitations when the going gets steep will push some prospective buyers into the less work, more play all-mountain category. We can't really say it's the 'ultimate' trail bike after one test session, but for an entree of smooth, fast trails with a side of bump and grind, Trance X 29 certainly fits the bill in the all-around maximum efficiency department.www.giant-bicycles.com