PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
Giant Trance Advanced 29
115mm of travel coupled with a progressive geometry and aggressive component spec.
Words by Daniel Sapp, photography by Trevor Lyden
Now in its seventh generation, the Giant Trance has been reimagined with less travel, 29" wheels, and much more progressive geometry than the prior version.
The bike delivers 115mm of rear travel that's paired with a 130mm fork, which gives it a 66.5-degree head angle, 74.5-degree seat angle, 435mm chainstays, and a reach of 442mm (size medium). The Trance still uses the Maestro suspension layout that was found on the 27.5" version, but there's now a carbon upper link, which is said to save weight while increasing stiffness and strength.
There is an aggressive component spec that, on the top of the line build, uses DVO suspension, and throughout the line riders will find Maxxis Minion tires, wide 35mm diameter handlebars, and SRAM 1x drivetrains.
Trance Advanced 29 Details
Intended use: trail
Rear wheel travel: 115mm
Wheel size: 29''
Frame construction: carbon fiber
Head angle: 66.5-degrees
Chainstay length: 435mm
Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
Weight: 26.7 lbs / 12.1 kg
Price: $8,715 USD
More info: www.giant-bicycles.com
In addition to frame and geometry updates, Giant partnered with DVO suspension on the top model of the Trance Advanced. It's rare to see a company, especially a large brand like Giant, go with a suspension company that's not Fox or RockShox on a high-end bike. This relationship stems from their race team partnership, and Giant say that it allowed them to be very hands-on and involved in the development and tuning of the Trance Advanced's suspension.Climbing
A 115mm bike should pedal uphill exceptionally well and feel more like a cross-country race bike than a 160mm travel enduro rig, and the Trance does just that. With that being said, the seat tube angle is a little bit slack at 74.5-degrees. For me, with a long inseam, I found myself a bit over the back of the bike and squatting into the travel just a little when I had the pedaling platform wide open. There was enough support to keep the bike from going too
deep into its travel while pedaling, although that compression switch can come in handy on longer, smoother climbs.
While I did at times wish I was a little more forward on the bike, I always found generous amounts of traction while heading uphill. The suspension stays very active, and with the short 115mm of travel, the Trance is easy to put right where you want it without feeling bogged down. For a bike that can handle some pretty aggressive terrain when pointed down, it doesn't feel held back at all when you're going up. It's a confident climber and a bike that won't wear you out in technical, undulating terrain.Descending
Descending is where the Trance Advanced 29 really stands out. As a 115mm bike, the geometry helps it ride as if it has a little more than that in terms of travel. The other factor in keeping it a confident and capable descender is the parts spec. A Minion DHF/DHR II combo on wide rims, 800mm wide handlebars, and good brakes give the Trance some bite. The bike is stable and quick. It manages trail feedback well as long as you stay light and ride with some finesse over the top of the trail rather than going for the 'plow and pray' approach.
The Trance's small bump sensitivity is excellent, and the bike does a great job of smoothing out small and medium-sized hits. There's plenty of end-stroke ramp up - that last little bit of travel takes some work to get into, which is a good trait given that there's only 115mm of travel to work with.
As far as turning and picking lines goes, the relatively slack angles, short chainstays, and a 44mm offset fork help the bike corner impressively well. It's fast in and out of turns, when carving from one side of the trail to the other, and while pedaling up and over obstacles. The bottom line is that this is one lively and fun machine.
The Trance is for the rider that wants to ride a variety of terrain on a bike with the ability to get in the air and play around. It's totally capable of taking on more technical terrain (withing reason), but still efficient enough to prevent former XC racers – who finally realized that riding bikes for fun is better than vomiting and cramping on a weekly basis – from feel like they're slugging around a bike built for dude-bros that shuttle short climbs and wear goggles with half shell helmets. It's a versatile bike I would choose for a large number of locations and variety of terrain.