Field Test: Trance vs Sensor vs Habit vs SB130

Dec 20, 2018
by Daniel Sapp  


So it turns out we like riding bikes more than talking about bikes, and we ran out of time to film the Editors' Choice discussion on the trail bikes during this year's Field Test. Flights needed catching, and filmers needed sleep, so the question of what we'd choose out of the Trance, Sensor, Habit, and SB130 had to wait.

But don't worry, we'll answer that question now, albeit without the witty(ish) video banter.

We had four different bikes in our trail bike category, ranging from 115mm to 130mm rear travel as well as 65.5° and 66.5° head-tube angles. While they're all similar in travel and purpose, they are still very different bikes on the trail. After riding each of them, it's apparent that categorizing bikes based on one number or another is increasingly difficult. But hey, this is where we drew our lines and we hope the comparisons are useful for you.

Testing in Whistler, BC, where there are just as many pedally trails in the valley as there are lift-access DH runs, we were able to understand each of these bikes in a way no geometry chart or product presentation could ever convey. We debated their strengths and weaknesses relative to their intended uses, and although they're all good bikes, we each chose one that, personally, we would most like to ride.



Yeti SB130
• 130mm (R) / 150mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• Carbon frame
• 65.5° head-tube angle
• Weight: 28.6 lb / 12.9 kg
Field Test article

Pros
+ Versatile and capable
+ Excellent traction
+ Doesn't hold descenders back from climbing to the top

Cons
- Expensive
- Slightly tight rear tire clearance

GT Sensor Carbon Expert
• 130mm (R) / 130mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• Carbon frame
• 65.5° head-tube angle
• Weight: 29.5 lb / 13.4 kg
Field Test article

Pros
+ Efficient pedaling action
+ Light weight for this price point


Cons
- Rear suspension isn't all that plush
- Level brakes are underpowered
- Tires are sub par



Cannondale Habit
• 130mm (R) / 130mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• Carbon frame
• 66° head-tube angle
• Weight: 30 lb / 13.6 kg
Field Test article

Pros
+ True trail bike versatility
+ Component spec is dialed
+ Excellent small bump compliance

Cons
- Fussy suspension setup
- Low-ish BB
- Tall seat tube limits dropper post travel options

Giant Trance Advanced 29
• 115mm (R) / 130mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• Carbon frame
• 66.5° head-tube angle
• Weight: 26.7 lb / 12.1 kg
Field Test article

Pros
+ Supple, effective suspension performance
+ Capable parts spec
+ Progressive head tube angle & reach for its category

Cons

- Uncomfortable seat
- Seat tube angle could be steeper






Editors' Choice



Sarah Moore: Yeti SB130

If I had to choose just one of these bikes to ride on my home trails in Squamish, it would be the Yeti SB130. I like a bike that caters to my current weakness, the climbs, and the SB130 was the bike I felt quickest and most efficient climbing on. I liked the super stable suspension platform that didn’t wallow under power, but also maintained traction on steeper, technical climbs.

I’ve been dabbling in racing Enduro since retiring from XC, so I appreciated the SB130's confidence at speed. Of all the bikes we tested in the category, it was the most capable all-rounder, and felt like it could take anything I threw at it. While it's not an enduro race bike, I wouldn’t hesitate to ride any of my favourite trails on it.

The Giant Trance 29 would be my second choice. It was so light it almost had me inspired to train for a marathon XC race and get back into peak climbing shape. The best part was that it could also rally on the descents thanks to its forward-thinking geometry. Maybe the perfect BC Bike Race bike?


2018 Pinkbike Field Test
Sarah Moore
Discipline: Trail
Height: 5'7"
Inseam: 27"
Weight: 160 lb
Notes: Content manager, so nice it's almost concerning, and damn fast.

I enjoyed riding the Cannondale Habit, and while it's seat-tube length makes it a non-starter for riders with shorter inseams (or riders looking to size up in reach), it's a good all-round bike. As for the GT Sensor, I definitely didn't get along with its harsh-feeling suspension on technical climbing and chundery descents. It's worth noting that the shock tune was revised by GT as a running change after our testing in Whistler. That could improve the suspension characteristics, so while I walked away nonplussed after the Field Test in Whistler, I am interested to try it with the updated tune. We're organizing a long-term review to follow up.




Daniel Sapp: Yeti SB130

While all of the bikes in this category are solid choices, for me, it was always between the Giant Trance 29 and the Yeti SB130. The prowess that the Yeti SB130 has while descending has impressed me time and time again and right now, it wins out... ask me next week though and I could easily say the Giant Trance 29. The Yeti SB130 is a 130mm travel bike that is over forked in a way that makes it a trail eating machine. Since initially testing it in BC during the Field Test, I took it home to the rock-and-root-infested East Coast; I have yet to get it out of its comfort zone in the several months I've been riding it.

The SB130's steep seat-tube helps it climb efficiently and precisely, while the long reach and added suspension up front helps it feel stable and secure while descending. The true test of any test bike for me comes down to which one I want to ride when I don't need to necessarily be "testing" and the Yeti SB130 is consistently the bike I choose. I feel that it's versatile as a bike should reasonably be and it feels at home everywhere I've ridden it so far.


2018 Pinkbike Field Test
Daniel Sapp
Discipline: Trail, Trail/Enduro
Height: 5'9"
Inseam: 32"
Weight: 152 lb
Notes: Technical Editor, his southern drawl compensates for our Canadian accents.

Although I should only choose one bike and the Yeti SB130 is that bike, I would really like to choose two and have the Giant Trance 29 as well. It's lively and fun. It has a very capable spec and for someone who enjoys logging lots of miles in technical terrain without worrying about breaking themselves or a bike, like myself, it's an excellent choice. Where the Yeti SB130 is flat out fast and capable, the Trance will cover more ground and be an equally good (but different) time.





Cannondale Habit



Richard Cunningham: Cannondale Habit

Cannondale's Habit Carbon was my favorite in the trail bike category. First off, I like its simplicity. Carbon where it makes the most sense, in the larger frame members of the main triangle, and aluminum for the rear stays where the smaller tubes must withstand more direct impacts.

Yes, the seat-tube could stand to be a little shorter to accommodate 170mm+ dropper posts, and yes the suspension requires your setup to be more than an afterthought. But it's worth it. The choice of a Horst-Link arrangement may not score vanity points like proprietary wonk-i-link bikes do, but there is no arguing that a consistent leverage curve contributed much to the Habit’s no-nonsense feel and its balance of efficient pedaling and small-bump compliance. This bike doesn’t shout about its technology, it lets its versatile performance do the talking.
2018 Pinkbike Field Test
Richard Cunningham
Discipline: Trail
Height: 5'7"
Inseam: 32"
Weight: 170 lb
Notes: Senior editor, industry legend, builds and flies airplanes in his spare time.

Longer-travel enduro bikes have dulled the swords of trail riders with super-stable geometry and gravity-spec component selection that make riding all but the pointiest lines mistake-proof. The Habit pares off the excess from the enduro equation, without robbing the benefits of big wheels, up-to-the minute components, and trustworthy handling. In my opinion it offers up fast-paced trail riding as it should be: a blur of nature and technology, shared equally between rider and bicycle. The basic mountain bike, only better.





152 Comments

  • + 134
 The frames all lining up in the top image is so satisfying.
  • - 79
flag Bluefire (Dec 19, 2018 at 0:28) (Below Threshold)
 I agree, though it bugs me a little that we're only seeing two frames - plus a bit of a dropout and a bit of a 34. I get that Pinkbike is splitting the picture into four equal parts, but the frame makes the bike, not the wheels. Funnily enough, the GT in the back and the Habit in the front both have Stan's wheels, the Flow and Arch respectively, which are both so popular that they can be found on most any bike aftermarket.
  • + 97
 @Bluefire: You sound like a lot of fun at parties.
  • + 15
 @Bluefire: Total boner killer.
  • + 2
 And the "random pinkbike commenter's" choice goes to the SB Transorbit, a great all around bike with efficient but comfortable climbing, and descending almost like a full on enduro bike with excellent suspension performance
  • + 2
 *cries self-righteously*
  • + 69
 "Cons
- Uncomfortable seat"
seriously? That is important to be mentioned in comparison??..
  • + 15
 Yeah cos other seats might not be as uncomfortable. Duh.
  • + 29
 Stay tuned! Next up, GRIPS!
  • + 24
 @candidkumara: I agree with you, comments about saddle should be left out since this is one of the most personal bike part and any serious rider will change it anyway.
  • + 7
 If they mentioned it I'm sure its pretty bad. They know most people will change that out.
  • + 13
 Maybe it just shows that there's not much else wrong with the bike that they needed to nitpick on the seat...
  • + 3
 I'll add that it probably is a call out the the manufacturer of a "I can't believe nobody at Giant said anything during testing" - this screams the accounting department designed that part of the bike.
  • + 10
 @Dlakusta: The team at Giant say they are working on a better seat that's more appropriate for a trail bike. The current one is more suited to a road bike.
  • + 13
 They should review these bikes without seats, just the dropper post!
  • + 2
 @danielsapp:
I find that seat pretty comfy, I thought it was a step up from normal giant seats. For reference, I normally run a fabric scoop radius or shallow on my other bikes.
  • + 0
 Seat or saddle? I thought bmx had seat and mtb has saddles? Do I need to rethink my entire life?
  • + 4
 @danielsapp: "Upright" version of the Giant seats is waaay better on a mountain bike. Closest thing to a Devo still available.

Oh yeah-WTB bring back the Devo!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Yeah the seats that have come on every giant bike I have ever bought are the worst. I think this is worth mentioning bc your gonna have to buy a brand new seat after your first 20 mile trail ride and this is a “trail bike” ride@NRZ:
  • + 11
 Cons: Undesirable valve core seal color
  • + 1
 @kovaldesign: Same with tires. If I am buying a bike that is over $5000, I am going to put my tires of choice on it anyways. I almost think they should compare them all with identical tires since they make such a difference, but are also so easily changed.
  • + 2
 @iqbal-achieve: The reason they're called saddles is because while a seat is meant to take your entire weight a saddle shares it between the other contact points (2 pedals and 2 grips, or 2 stirrups).

They're used interchangeably because it doesn't really matter. I guess for BMX you might call it a seat because you're always standing on a BMX, and the seat is more for sitting on when you're stopped, preventing nuttings, and a guide for your inner legs.
  • + 3
 @drivereight: It’s how I ride the marathon races. On a hardtail, dressed in a silver leotard, black leather face mask and ball gag to make it more entertaining. Screaming all the way to the finish line...
  • + 1
 Damn. Just found out I’m not a ‘serious’ rider. ????
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: it's funny cause my 2016 Giant Defy had the most comfortable seat ever, but 'my 17 Trance and' '18 Fathom are horrible. Like I'm not a seat expert but shit they were bad. Almost unrideable.
  • + 1
 @parkourfan: I also find the Giant Contact SL saddle comfy. Perhaps pinkbike reviewers are a bunch of weak asses ;-)
  • + 29
 "Carbon where it makes the most sense, in the larger frame members of the main triangle, and aluminum for the rear stays where the smaller tubes must withstand more direct impacts" ~ some proper common sense there, nice one RC
  • + 29
 I have to agree with RC on the thought that so many of the new enduro style bikes flatten the terrain to the point that I find them kinda boring to ride. I’ve ridden a bunch in the last couple of weeks and you don’t even have to think about what you are doing. For instance I found myself thinking about random shit and looking around at the scenery while I was smashing down Dakota ridge on the Big SB150 last week. Did you know there is a big Brown cloud that sits right over Denver? On the tamer sections I felt the need to make calls and text while riding. Maybe that’s why Waki is always on PB talking shit. He can text and ride his 6” travel steamroller at the same time. But in all seriousness maybe I’m not a big bike guy and should stick to fast handling short travel trial whippets.
  • + 5
 " the new enduro style bikes flatten the terrain to the point that I find them kinda boring to ride."

That depends on what terrain and how fast you're riding. Places that call for DH bikes are going to be very rough on enduro bikes.
  • + 1
 @jeremy3220: apparently you've not ridden Dakota Ridge.
  • + 8
 @sspiff: I haven't and it doesn't matter. It's either easy/boring on an enduro bike like Bikethrasher says or you've made my point. Either way there are definitely trails/parks that are going to be anything but boring on an enduro bike. To say that enduro bikes make terrain boring across the board is either ego or ignorance. (or both).
  • + 2
 my favorite part of front range riding is seeing that doodoo cloud and being thankful i don't live in it.
  • + 7
 RC seriously overestimates my skillz. I can still wreck myself spectacularly on my Enduro bike.
  • + 4
 @sspiff: For those who haven’t ridden Dakota ridge. I’d say it pretty Technical. It’s all rideable if you have the skills. It’s not a super high speed trail but there are enough sections that you can go fast enough to fully realize what a Bike like the SB150, Pivot Firebird or Santa Cruz Bronson/ Nomad are built for. Damn they are good in their element. I can’t think any trial I have ever ridden that any of these bikes wouldn’t make a walk in the park they are all that good. But trails like Dakota are few and far between. Most trails only have a few sections of trail that I’d consider truly challenging. Take Horsetheif bench in Loma for example. The only really technical section is the drop in. Everything else is pretty straight forward and is easily ridden on a short travel bike. Shit I’ve ridden it on my DJ. Admittedly not the best idea but it was all I had and it was a family ride after all. Just my $.02. Maybe some day I’ll prefer plow over finesse.
  • + 2
 @jeremy3220: don't be fooled, Dakota Ridge isn't DH bike rated. Its chunky, but not steep at all. And I agree, that Enduro bikes get beat up pretty good at a proper bike park. But it all depends how fast you go. Ride slow enough, and a hard will do the trick...
  • + 2
 @Bikethrasher: parts of DR are Enduro bike worthy but like @rzicc said there's simply not enough sustained steepness and very to really get flying and get uncomfortable on a modern Enduro bike. Ride something like a Pro GRT track on a 6 inch bike and then you'll be pushing it's limits or getting past them; you'll feel like you're on a 110-120 bike on Dakota Ridge, parts will be more fun but some parts the bike will definitely be writing checks it can't cash. I agree with you that most trails, heck most riding areas entirely, are too tame, despite tech sections and steeps, for modern Enduro bikes. If you live in a place with plenty of DH worthy trails but don't want to push or shuttle every time, Enduro bikes are awesome and will be lots of fun. I think the 6" bike as the "one bike" is overkill, but on the other hand it makes sense for the guy who rides Apex or Dakota on the week days and does WP or Granby laps on the weekends and can't have two bikes.
  • + 1
 @trialsracer: Yes and even the EWS qualifier courses aren't going to feel flat and boring on an enduro bike. If any disagrees, they should be on the podium at EWS or UCI DH events.
  • + 1
 @jeremy3220: I completely agree and while Dakota ridge is definitely not a DH trail it was the only trail with technical enough terrain to get the big Yeti to wake up and show me what is was made for. I never said it would replace a DH bike. I do believe you’re underestimating how capable this bike is. It’s not a Dh bike and it’s not a trail bike. It’s a pure bred Enduro racer no doubt about it. It rides unlike any other bike I have ever ridden.
  • + 2
 I'm so glad I live in Washington!
  • + 2
 @JustinVP: me too! one less person here in CO! Smile
  • + 1
 @Bikethrasher: trust me I'm not underestimating. I haven't ridden that bike but I've ridden a dozen or so "pure Enduro" bikes (all the transitions - the patrol borders on super Enduro w/ a 180 fork -, Ibis Ripmo, Spez Enduro, etc) and I totally agree with you about most trails not being rowdy enough. You have to have the vert, the gradient and the tech. However, I was just saying that you can nearly replace a DH bike and nearly replace a trail bike, so I know that it's worth it for a lot of people. That being said, I live in a spot where I have two bike parks within 30 minutes (on barely counts but there's lifts....) And multiple 2k+ foot descents that can be shuttled and are worthy of a DH rig, and I'm going back to a 130ish bike just because I don't feel like I'm losing a ton thanks to modern geometry and beefy tires. If I still had 7 bikes, I'd own a DH rig and a big trail bike, but I'm trying to slim the stable and those big bikes are just not as much fun on trips where you can only bring one bike, and even rides where you want to ride more than one type of trail.
  • + 16
 I still maintain this - who feels the need to drop their post 170+mm and why is that, is it if you are super tall?

You are getting into saddle height below that of DH race bikes for trail bike riding ans surely a saddle height too low to be useful if you do sit down to put a few pedals strokes in without the time to lift the saddle up again.
  • + 26
 If I could, I’d take a 200mm dropper. I used to (and sometimes still) ride dirt jumps and street a good bit.
But when I ride anything distance (trail etc. ) I like the seat higher than probably average (otherwise my knee starts to complain). But when we session a trail with a bunch of jumps, I still find myself reaching for the tool and pushing my 150mm post down the 3 ish cm that it’s out of the frame when riding trails. But I may be the only one.
  • + 6
 I am used to riding BMX and Dirt jumpers and for this type of riding I need the seat as low as possible to move my body around enough to pump and jump effectively. The type of riding that needs my seat up for me is flat or uphill stuff. I would not buy a bike where I can't get the seat out of the way/ and the construction of the bike doesn't allow this.
  • + 2
 Oh and I may should add, that dj bike is very small and I like that small bike feeling on jumps (especially considering that I’m on a 29er now)
  • + 34
 @justanotherusername I said the same thing about 125mm posts, and then 150mm posts, and then 170mm posts... so maybe I'm just on a journey to riding a scooter?
  • + 4
 After you ride a bike with a bigger dropper for awhile, it gets tough to go back to a shorter one. Besides, you don’t have to ride with it all the way down.
  • + 3
 @AlanMcCrindle: @drjohn:

I suppose you guys are doing a completely different mix of riding on your trail bikes than I am.

@brianpark: I'm too much of a short arse to fit a 170mm dropper, maybe that's why I don't see the point ;-)

Different things work for different people & riding I suppose.
  • + 7
 36" inside leg. Any droppers below 150mm are like a cruel joke.
  • + 1
 I'd like a extra long dropper but I need to know it will be reliable. My previous bike (134 process) could only take a 125mm. Current Ripmo I chose the 150 fox transfer because I don't know about the option (kev?) 170mm. I need reliable, I upgraded the last bike to a Reverb and just want to burn it in a fire.

Fox needs to make a longer one. An interesting change I see on Ibis website is now they spec the Bike Yoke Revive Dropper, I wonder why they did this.
  • + 1
 @whambat: this. I don’t always slam my post, but I like to know that I can
  • + 3
 I use a 185mm revive on my 140/140 bike that goes up and down relatively steep gradients. And still could use a tad more either side. Never feels too low when descending. Nor too high when going up and there is plenty of room if I am out of the saddle climbing. Not a giant ... I'm just on 6 ft.
  • + 0
 "You are getting into saddle height below that of DH race bikes for trail bike riding ans surely a saddle height too low to be useful if you do sit down to put a few pedals strokes in without the time to lift the saddle up again."

You don't have to sit down to put in a few pedal strokes, especially since if the seat is dropped you're probably descending - the worst time to take a seat.
  • + 5
 Complete agree. I’m 5-10 and moved to a 170mm OneUp dropper this past spring because everyone on PB seems to say more is better. It was too much—even the extra effort of squatting down another inch was noticeable on long rides, and it actually seemed less useful when down, like it was so low I couldn’t even use it for the occasional leg english. Plus, as an FYI with a super long post on a 30.6 tube, it’s more finicky and prone to getting stuck when you tighten the seat tube clamp to recommended tolerances—you’ll notice Yeti has moved to 31.8 with their new 130/150 and made this exact point.

After three months I gave up and dialed it back closer to 150mm. Luckily, the OneUp dropper has those shims so it was easy and awesome to do....
  • + 10
 @Dlakusta: I wouldn’t call a Reverb an upgrade. Almost every other brand of dropper is better a Reverb. Everyone I have ever used on a demo bike was crap compared to every other dropper I have used.
  • + 1
 I thought the need for longer travel posts was down to steeper seat tube angles becoming more common.
  • + 2
 I'm 1,77m tall, with 84cm inseam. I've got three bikes with three different dropper post drops. 150mm, 125mm and 100mm. The 100mm is on a rigid bike, so not the bike to get super rowdy on. I think the 125mm dropper makes me ride more actively and somewhat better as I have to move around more. It also makes me keep my back more straight which helps too. The 150mm drop is nicer on rough descents. For sheer steepness I don't think there is much difference as my bum is way behind the seat on this stuff most of the time anyway.
  • + 9
 @Dlakusta: because the Revive is far and away the best dropper post available today.
  • + 3
 @hangdogr: No of course you dont have to sit down, but even if you are a pro athlete (which I am far from) there will be times that you just want to sit down to save a bit of energy and put some pedal strokes in - People even do it at WC dh level, e.g. fort william and the likes, just giving those legs a few seconds rest from the battering of the rough track while still pedalling and it happens absolutely loads in Enduro.

In these circumstances you wont want to mess about adjusting saddle height, by the time you have then next corner / section is there etc and you are back out of the saddle - My local trail is a good example of this, lots of tech and steep and then round a bermed corner to a flat section for 10 seconds which is pretty straight, I always take a seat and spin through there, I want to maintain speed, dont want to sprint (cant, im knackered and im not racing) and dont want to pop my saddle up as a few seconds later I know more tech is coming.

Hey, we dont have to all agree - thats why the clever post manufacturers are making adjustable posts to suit everybody - Just because almost every single DH racer at WC level doesnt need a saddle as low as modern trail riders doesnt make me any more right ;-)
  • + 2
 @tremeer023: I think there’s something in that. If I can tilt my saddle and have a slack seat tube I can run it way higher. On bikes with a steep seat angle (which I am 100% behind...or on top of..digressing) I need to drop it further, it of no use at half mast, just gets i the way. Better to sack it off completely. Pun intended.
  • + 8
 DH race bikes are all about going fast down hill, and there's a lot of travel there to keep you stable. Trail bikes are all about versatility and fun. Try doing a big bunny hop or getting "tricky" on jumps with a saddle around the "optimal descending" height. It just isn't as good as having it at "dirt jumper" height. Plus, the less travel you have the lower you want to be able to get your seat for going down, at least in my experience. I don't drop my post fully on bikes like the transition patrol if I'm just going fast down hill (leave it at "DH race" height), but on aggressivr hardtails I usually want the post as slammed as possible and often it's still high. The more the rear suspension is in your knees and ankles, the more you need to be able to drop the seat.
  • + 1
 @trialsracer: all good points there dude
  • + 1
 You don't sit down to put in pedal strokes when the seat is dropped. Maybe a lazy revolution or two on a smooth section where you're primarily resting your legs for a moment, but it's not like anyone fast is cranking hard while sitting on a dropped seat. You just pedal while standing if you need to get some acceleration in.
  • + 1
 @TucsonDon: we ain't all on the juice, someone us need to take a sit down once in a while.
  • + 1
 @drjohn: The greater the saddle drop, the more I can articulate the bike in a corner without having the saddle hit my inner thigh.
  • + 1
 @brianpark: scooters are awesome. When they invent long travel endure scooters its game over for the bike industry
  • + 1
 My Dh has a super slack seat tube, if I come into contact with it while bombing hills, the seat hits my seat, in the same riding position on my enduro rig, the back of the seat clips my nuts, so it must be slammed down.
  • + 1
 Tall guy here, 6'6" w/ 36" inseam so long drops are great for me. I've never felt the need for pedal strokes with my butt on the seat while it's low but when I need to stretch out for the steeps (especially rock rolls) or pumping big bumps I find I'm less likely to take a seat to the belly or have a hard time getting behind it like I have with a 150mm dropper. That said when riding tamer trail/xc stuff it's not nearly as big of a deal for me.
  • + 18
 That Habit looks so bad ass. Its the first Cannondale ever that I like the look of, mainly because it isn't a weird shape with a funny fork...
  • + 4
 Agreed. I was truly surprised to see something besides the Yeti as the top pic. My thoughts when I read the headline were, "Well, it will be the SB because PB staffers are homers for Yeti kit."

What I'd like to see is the "This is what my top pick would be if I had to spend my own money" contest...
  • + 3
 But it's gonna crack, at the front shock mount if I had to guess. And cannondales warranty is good but doesn't include labor, so when it breaks you are out 5ish hrs or $300 in labor
  • + 1
 @jewpowered:

I always comp labor to swap components on frames or build a warranty replacement. If it’s a crash replacement, I might do half price install. Not all shops are out to get ya
  • + 1
 @parkourfan: do you deal cannondale in san diego?
  • + 15
 Thank you RC!
  • - 16
flag Beez177 (Dec 19, 2018 at 6:26) (Below Threshold)
 Crack and Fail
  • - 13
flag stinkbikelies (Dec 19, 2018 at 6:28) (Below Threshold)
 Cracknfail Canofsnail I hope you're loyal Riders leave you hanging just like you did me with your ballistic Fubar warranty twice.
  • + 2
 I’m ordering a Habit
  • + 1
 In case you saw it, please ignore my M-rated joke a bit further up, it was not targeted at you and it’s just a bad habit of mine.

Anyway this is a great looking bike, however I wish you could offer the alloy model in a Habit 3/Bad Habit 3 version with GX spec and other components more in line with the Habit Carbon 2. You know how to create good aluminium frames and there probably are more people around who would enjoy a full aluminium model with better components on.

And provide a 27,5” in size Medium as alternative wouldn’t hurt either...
  • + 1
 @benderofbows: when you get it, quote the IG picture as "check out my bad habit"
  • + 1
 @benderofbows: let me know how that works out for you when it breaks and you find out it's a BADhabit crack and fail can of snail
  • + 1
 @benderofbows: enjoy your bad habit I see lots crack s in your future
  • + 6
 I'd take the Yeti or the Trance...but I'm still not convinced 115mm is enough rear travel for me. And I'd be on a lower spec bike, so it might be hard to beat the value of the Giant.
  • + 6
 I recently rode the Trance, and I think it's great for a short travel machine. Kinda weird to compare it to a 130/150 bike though, which I think would ride significantly different.

FYI, at the GX level most people are likely to buy the Yeti and the Trance are the same price.
  • + 5
 @dthomp325: I agree with the slightly odd comparison. As for as the price difference,Trance GX model has the same highest level carbon frame as the $8k model and you also get carbon wheels.
  • + 3
 @OzarkBike: yeah, I actually cross shopped with the SB100, but Trance falls smack in the middle between the SB100 and SB130.

I have a 160 enduro bike, but looking for something a bit quicker and more fun on tamer trails. Tried the SB100, but it was a little too XC for my tastes and seemed to get overwhelmed in tech sections. Trance hit the sweet spot for me.
  • + 5
 In my opinion, Sarah and Daniel are the best bike reviewers ive come across. Your skills and the way you explain the ride characteristics of each bike are second to none.
  • + 3
 Such a solid review format.. really enjoying it.

My only complaint would be that the best part, the direct comparisons, is much too small a sample size.

For instance.. the REAL hot-shit shootout for the SB130 should be: SB130 vs Ripmo vs Offering vs Sentinel... or maybe that would be the SB150, hell I don't know, I don't even like 29ers.
  • + 2
 I have the answer for you if you think a bike flattens oht the trail. Drop down in wheel size and still go mach chicken.

Most of the bikes reviewed here are 29er. It’ll do that.

I liked all the reviews for curiosity. Great job crew!
  • + 2
 Am I going crazy seeing the "progressive" Trance has the second shortest reach and steepest head tube angle?
Or are the reviewers trying to say that the Trance is in a different category than the other bikes in this comparison test?
  • + 2
 it's the most "under gunned" of the test bikes there.

It would be better compared to an evil following, santa cruz tallboy etc.
  • + 5
 @bruvar - It does, however, there's only 1-degree of difference for HTA in all of the bikes in this category, minimal. Categories are tricky to concretely define with the diversity of the bikes within them but, all of these bikes fit together and the have a similar intended use which is why they are in the same group.

The Trance is progressive for a 115mm bike and also progressive for Giant as a brand. If you check out the first ride - www.pinkbike.com/news/first-ride-2019-giant-trance-29.html - I go a little more into detail about how it, as a 115mm bike, fits in with 130mm bikes. Hopefully that clarifies a bit.
  • - 9
flag jclnv (Dec 19, 2018 at 8:11) (Below Threshold)
 @bruvar They just recycle the Giant marketing. Giant says it's progressive, Pinkbike says it's progressive. It would take a radical shift in Pinkbike journalism to actually look at the numbers and criticise a manufacturer. Paul Aston criticised the Pivot's rear centre length and it felt like a glitch in the matrix.
  • + 4
 @jclnv: no. Giant is known for conservative geometry, especially on the xc/trail side of things. We’re not down with the STA on the Trance, but the rest of the numbers are pretty forward thinking for a 115mm bike.
  • + 2
 @jclnv: This statement we made about the Trance, "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." along with what we said in the Field Test video must be another glitch in the matrix?

We're not going to be critical unless it's warranted but if it is, we'll call it out.
  • - 9
flag jclnv (Dec 19, 2018 at 8:51) (Below Threshold)
 @brianpark: Who cares what Giant is known for? Are you reviewing the bike relative to Giant's bikes or the other bikes in the test?

The SB130 wheelbase is 30mm longer than the Trance in a size M. So is the Trance "progressive" or is the Yeti?
  • + 7
 @brianpark: Thanks for the great reviews. With your point on Giant's STA... I'd say, based on the build and travel this is best suited for long pedally days in the saddle - like a xc/trail bike should be. Its not made to go straight up / straight down. And so, a more comfortable, efficient STA that gets power to the pedals, and weight off the hands is what this bike has. I'd also like to add that this bike should have been in a separate class and placed with something like "short travel 29ers" - with bikes like the Ripley, Smuggler, Pivot 429, etc... I do think a mistake was made by not creating that class of bike.
  • + 3
 @brianpark: I test rode the Trance 29 recently. I'd say the STA is quite reasonable, given it's reach. If it was much steeper the bike would be quite cramped. A steeper STA would need a longer reach and then wheelbase. I personally need a reasonable wheelbase given my local trails can be quite twisty and don't just straight-line down rock gardens. The Trance geo strikes a nice balance for me and its designed purpose. Its an capable all-day pedal machine - not a enduro shredder.
  • + 1
 @lifted-d: lol that's the 4-cross racing version, entirely different league lol.
  • + 2
 @tunnel-vision: The sb130 shreds any local trail tame or not, tight and twisty or not... Its that good.
  • + 2
 Is there validity to the earlier comment of the size of the testers? The mentioned testers are small compared to me. I'm 6'2, 230lbs. Would this difference affect a difference in how I "feel" a bike compared to them? @mikekazimer
Thanks
  • + 2
 I am sure size would make a huge difference, I am also a bigger guy, and I wonder if the suspension on that GT would feel plusher under someone who could weigh it down a bit more. Especially if they went to revalve the shocks after this test.
  • + 4
 @bplatte: It does make a difference, however, the suspension should be set correctly- (whatever that may be - whether it's adjusting air pressure or re-valving it), for the person riding the bike to give the same "feel."

Most companies are going to send their bikes out with a tune that works really well for the vast majority of people by simply setting the air pressure and adjusting the compression and rebound to the appropriate number of clicks, maybe adding/removing a volume reducer in the shock or fork at most.

For someone that rides at a "world-cup" level, is much heavier, or lighter than average, you may have to take other considerations but I say someone that's 6'2'' and 230lbs fits into the average category. Sure, you may be harder on parts and feel things move differently or need to run a slightly higher tire pressure, but overall, you should get a similar experience on the bike as I do, without diving too deep into the world of suspension tuning.
  • + 4
 @danielsapp: Thanks for the response Daniel. You, and PB team team, are doing great work here and I am quite looking forward to the videos as they're rolling out. After reading that question on a previous video I too was just curious on how much rider size affects setting, "plushness" and whatnot.
Chhers!
  • + 1
 @danielsapp:
I thought most bikes were targeted at the average 150 lbs rider? Would 230 lbs not be way outside the optimal weight for most stock tuning ?
  • + 1
 @Mac1987: 180 is average to most companies and it’s all relative to what brand and country you’re working with. Look at the air pressure recommendations on any fork- if you’re in that range at all then you’re in the range for stock tuning.
  • + 1
 @danielsapp:
That might be true for air pressure, but no way that the damping shim stacks (assuming it is a proper shimmed damper) are optimised for the entire range. The air pressure chart for Fox Float forks ranges from 120 to 250 lbs. Rockshox charts usually go from 140 to 220 (making 230 already just outside the range).
No single shim stack is optimised for these 200% ranges.
Adjusting basic air pressure for these ranges might be possible, and with the limited adjustability (usually just low speed compression and rebound) of the average fork, you might get acceptable damping performance if you're not at the low- or high-end of the range. But to get good or optimal performance, simply adjusting the knobs and adjusting air pressure will not do for people at either end of the range.
  • + 1
 Thanks Pinkbike for your reviews and this article. Did any of your tester had the opportunity to ride the Transition Smuggler and to compare it against the bikes in this test? I am on the fence of buying a bike in this category and the Smuggler is on my list with the new Trance.
  • + 2
 Buy the Trans for a lifetime warranty and a great ride. Buy the Smuggler for the coolest bike on the trail factor. Probably can't go wrong with either of them. And Transition is a nice small company with cool folks, so easy to deal with.
  • + 1
 I rode the Habit for a week in Jamaica and now own a Smuggler, and for me the Smuggler is a way better bike. The Habit's PF BB vs English on the Smuggler alone makes the Smuggler better, buts also just a better all around bike to me, except that it is heavier.
  • + 4
 I think i'd have to go for the Habit - havent considered a Cannondale in forever but that thing looks lovely.
  • + 3
 Great bikes, too bad majority of them have pf bb.
  • + 4
 It would be interesting if the aspects of the bike that come into play while actually owning it were also considered. It’s great to have a review of how the bike rides and handles for a few weeks or months. But what about how easy it is to live with for a few years? I’m not saying it should be the main factor when reviewing a bike, but maybe just some more notes on some of the design choices the manufacturer made, and maybe have them weigh on the overall score a little.

Does it have a press fit bb? How difficult is the internal cable routing (although most brands have this mostly sorted)? How difficult/expensive is it to change linkage bearings? And special tools needed for anything? Proprietary stuff? Weird bars/grips (Pivot)? Water bottle location? Oh wait, that’s covered.

Maybe most people only keep a bike for a year or two, or don’t ride enough in the time they do have a bike to require addressing things like bearings. Or maybe they just pay a shop to do everything. But for the enthusiasts that do, more info about those things would be appreciated.
  • + 11
 Stop living in the past. Most pressfit bb's are pretty damn reliable these days. I got more creaks from pivots or headsets that need cleaning.
  • + 3
 @Brdjanin I just built up the Yeti SB130 and installed a Wheels Manufacturing screw together bb. It's a high quality unit that should eliminate all pf bb issues.
  • + 3
 @lj17: I think those are good ideas. Those definitely way into my decisions when looking at bikes.
A couple years ago I was looking at an Evil Wreckoning and Nomad3. One of the big items was the frame warranty, the quality of customer service, and bearings. Evil used proprietary bearings (or maybe just much less common ones? I can't remember now), while SC did free bearings for life.

I also definitely prefer threaded BBs. It isn't a deal breaker to have pressfit, but I had such a terrible experience with pressfit and just zero issues with the threaded ones since.
  • + 2
 @pdxkid: My experience with Pivots and Enduro Torqtite BB as well - trouble- and creak- free.
  • + 2
 @allenfstar: Most pressfits might be ok, but they are still a hassle to work with. Pressing bearings, loctite, etc. compared to a socket and ratchet. And time has proven threaded is a better design, and it doesn’t have to be a compromise for the frame designer. There are many great frames out there with threaded.

Say what you want about Specialized (I’m not really a fan, never had one and not sure if I ever would) but the fact that the Stumpjumper now has a threaded bb and non-proprietary shock says something. They obviously thought those things were important enough to influence their design.

High end brands especially should be called out more for this. If you spend almost $4000 on a frame, you shouldn’t have to then spend more on aftermarket products to address the issues you might have with the bb.
  • + 1
 @lj17: they are slightly more work to install, I'll concede to that but that's the only real benefit.

I will say bikes above 3k should already be specced with thread together pf bb's
  • + 2
 PF are fine, especially in carbon. Less chance of frame failure where the aluminum threaded insert is bonded to the carbon frame. I've had it happen. I'll take threaded for aluminum, and pressed in for carbon every time.
  • + 1
 It would be nice to see all the frames tested using the same components so it comes down to just the frame and ride characteristics of its kinematics and suspension
  • + 2
 With fly weights like those, spec DD casings and be really ready out of the box.
  • + 1
 Great reviews as always PB.....Thanks! Still hoping you'll do a survey on how long people actually keep an MTB and how many do what type maintenance on their bikes.
  • + 1
 Those are great ideas!
  • + 2
 I still want a GT Sensor, really just the frame. Too bad the colors are ugly.. Bring us Ball Burnished GT jeez
  • + 1
 I am finally ready to get back into MTB and am looking at all the brands. I never thought it would be so hard! Giant have horrible colors and the geometry of the Reign would require a Boxxer up front. Every other brand has either the Mondraker-style top tube or the Polygon-style downtube..... Thank Dog for Commencal!
  • + 1
 Yes, make GT frames ball burnished again!
  • + 1
 @jollyXroger: Ball burnish the top tube with your man-orbs brah!!
  • + 2
 Trance? Sensor? As these bikes or shaving razors
  • + 2
 It appears that a Yeti has a Giant Habit?
  • + 2
 Check out niner.
  • + 1
 If you want a broken frame and a denied warranty claim
  • + 2
 Trance wins
  • - 1
 I have a 2019 Giant Reign, carbon, yes a carbon frame BUT...its not getting much attention like Santa Cruz, Yeti, Ibis get. SMH. Im constipated, I don't give a shit!
  • + 1
 My choice: 2019 Norco Fluid FS!
  • + 1
 Glad to see Cannondale making a comeback! Sweet bike.
  • + 0
 uhhh cost on the SB130 listed as a con, the trance tested is the $8700 model...
  • + 1
 Maybe review the Knolly Fugitive LT
  • + 1
 Give me the Ripmo over all the bikes they have tested thus far.
  • + 1
 Thats the bike I want to demo next!
  • + 0
 Top of the morning to everyone!
  • + 0
 Well hello there, good sir!
  • + 0
 Top of the box for me you can have the morning.
  • - 1
 Dentist bikes ..... way to expensive
  • + 2
 @torbenrider Stay in school son!
  • - 2
 Another review of a 130mm 29er, do they make any other bikes?
  • - 2
 Should be renamed "Downcountry field test"
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