Field Trip: Giant's $1,800 Stance 1 - More Traditional Than Trendy

Mar 26, 2020
by Mike Kazimer  


PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Giant Stance 1



Words by Mike Kazimer, photography by Anthony Smith


The Giant Stance 1 is billed as “the perfect entry to singletrack fun,” and with 29” wheels, 120mm of rear travel, and a sub-$2000 pricepoint it sure looks like it could fit the bill, at least on paper.

It's built around an aluminum frame that uses Giant's 'Flexpoint' suspension design, a link driven single pivot that does away with chainstay or seatstay pivot and relies on the flex of the frame to allow the suspension to go through its travel instead. It's a fairly common design on shorter travel trail and XC bikes, and eliminating those pivots does mean there are fewer bearings to maintain.

The 29” Stance is a relatively new addition to Giant's lineup, so it was surprising to see that the frame still has a front derailleur mount, and uses a quick release for the rear wheel rather than a thru-axle. I can't think of the last time I headed off-road with a quick release rear end – more on that in a bit.

Giant Stance Details

• Travel: 120mm rear / 130mm fork
• Aluminum frame
• Wheel size: 29"
• Head Angle: 67.5°
• Seat Tube Angle: 75°
• Reach: 454mm (L)
• Chainstay length: 438mm (size L)
• Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
• Weight: 31.6 lb / 14.7 kg
• Price: $1,800 USD
www.giant-bicycles.com

As far as components go, the Stance is right in line with what you'd expect at this pricepoint, and there's even a dropper post, in this case Giant's Contact Switch post. A 130mm RockShox Recon SL fork is paired with a RockShox Monarch R shock, which is about as simple as it gets when it comes to adjustments – air pressure and rebound are the only two things to worry about. SRAM's SX 12-speed group handles shifting duties, and Shimano's two-piston Altus brakes try to slow things down, with mixed results. Maxxis' fast rolling Forekaster tires are found on both wheels, and they're tubeless ready. Taping the rims and making that conversion early on is a highly recommended step.

The Stance's geometry is on the more conservative side of the spectrum – it has the shortest wheelbase the shortest reach (454mm for a size large), and the second steepest head angle (67.5-degrees) out of all eight bikes that we had in for the Field Trip. The chainstays measure 438mm on all sizes, and the seat tube angle is 75-degrees.



Giant Stance 1 review
Giant Stance 1 review

Climbing

The Stance is a fairly quick climber, thanks to those fast rolling tires and the relatively light weight. It does have a bit of an old school feel to it; there's a sharpness to its handling that requires more attention to keep it on track. The climbing position itself was comfortable - the seat angle isn't the absolute steepest, but the front center of the Stance isn't that long either, which means that the 624mm top tube length is fairly typical for a size large frame.

There's no compression dial or climb switch on the Monarch R shock, but I never found myself wishing for those adjustments. The Stance's 120mm of travel is well managed, and it felt plenty efficient when standing up and cranking. However, it's definitely not the stiffest frame, a trait that became more apparent when descending.


Giant Stance 1 review

Giant Stance 1 review
Giant Stance 1 review


Descending

The Stance's conservative numbers don't hinder it too much on the climbs, but the steepish head angle and short reach are much more noticeable when gravity takes over. There's a distinct lack of stability at speed, especially on rougher portions of trail. It was in those chunky sections that the Stance's limitations really showed up – the frame felt flexy and tall, and when the low-powered brakes are added into the mix it's not a recipe that inspires confidence.

More than anything, spending time on the Stance underlined the importance of good geometry. Yes, the Stance is aimed at cross-country and light trail riding, but even so, a slacker head angle, longer reach, and lower standover height would go a long way towards helping riders of all ability levels feel more comfortable in technical terrain.
Timed Testing


Our timed lap for the trail bikes was around 11 minutes long and split into three distinct sectors. First, a smooth, twisty singletrack climb topped out along a technical traverse that tested the bike's slow-speed handling and traction. After that, we dropped into a fast descent that began with rough, suspension-testing corners before some fast berms, flat corners, and a few fun-sized jumps. Nothing too rowdy, but representative of the terrain these trails bikes were intended to see.

Mike Kazimer: "I had my second fastest overall time on the Stance. Most of that time was gained on the climb and traverse, since my descending time was 7th out of 8.

Mike Levy: "I also had my second fastest overall time on this bike, and, surprisingly, my fastest descending time. My climbing time was 7th out of 8, and my traversing time was right in the middle of the pack."

When it comes to the parts spec, I'd say the brakes are the weakest link. The levers are gigantic – there's enough room for using three fingers, which sort of makes sense, since you'll probably need to use all three fingers in order to generate enough power to slow down in the steeps. I was surprised to find that the difference between the M310 brakes on the Stance and the Acera-level brakes on the Kona Honzo was very noticeable. Neither brake offers a massive amount of power, but at least on the Honzo it was possible to slow down in a semi-reasonable amount of time.

The RockShox Recon fork's performance wasn't really anything to write home about either. It gets the job done, once you inflate it well past the recommended pressures printed on the lowers, but that requires trading out traction for more support.

The final note has to do with the quick release rear end. That's a potential deal breaker, in part because it limits the number of replacement options. It's also one more thing to worry about. Most of us spent years riding bikes with quick releases without too many issues, but a broken axle or a wheel that slips in the dropouts is much more likely with a quick release compared to a thru axle.

Who is the ideal candidate for the Stance? Aggressive riders on a budget should look elsewhere, but beginners or cautious riders looking for a traditional-feeling trail bike may find that the Stance has everything they need.

It's worth taking a moment to mention the Giant Trance 29. It's priced at $2,100, but for that extra $300 you get several significant upgrades, including a Marzocchi Z2 fork, Fox Float DPS shock, Maxxis Minion tires, and Shimano MT400 brakes. That frame uses Giant's Maestro suspension design, and it's a little longer and slacker than the Stance. $300 isn't insignificant, but it could be worth it for riders looking for better performance at a still-reasonable price.




Giant Stance 1 review


Pros

+ Relatively light for the price
+ Quick and efficient climber
+ A dropper post and tubeless ready tires are nice to see at this pricepoint
+ Available from a bike shop

Cons

- Quick release rear end, flexy frame
- Conservative geometry
- Underpowered brakes






The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible by support from: Smith, 7mesh, and Over The Edge Sedona.




Photos: Anthony Smith
Additional footage: Lear Miller



173 Comments

  • 121 3
 Why are manufacturers still putting quick release on any mountain bikes????
  • 50 3
 less expensive frame parts, less expensive hubs, less expensive QR's/axles... PRICE.
  • 64 0
 So you can drop the rear to fling sparks down the trail like a boss.
  • 17 7
 @ctbiker888: less revenues from me not buying this bike because of this
  • 4 3
 @ctbiker888: You'd think that only having one dropout (two if you make a DH bike) in your factory would make things a fair bit more streamlined and cheaper, even if the part and hub is slightly more expensive. Ah well, I'm no corporate controller, just someone who thinks a beginner should be able to get a solid bike to grow on for less than $1,000.
  • 14 4
 @ctbiker888: 12mm dropouts cost roughly the same as QR, 12x148mm axle costs ~2,5$ when you order 3000pcs, think how many Giant orders.
12mm hubs manufacturing isnt more expensive either with the amount Giant orders.

The main reason they put QR is for you to buy/consider Trance instead - so basically marketing reasons rather than price
  • 8 0
 @BrutalSyl: You are not the target market on this bike anyway most likely.
  • 2 1
 Probably a hardtail groupo they used. More than one way to save money.
  • 8 6
 It's not any cheaper to make a qr wheel and bike than a through axle, but Giant likely has a bunch of leftover parts. Early Trance and Reign 27.5 bikes all had silly-long 70mm stems-not because they were cheaper, but because Giant a a crapton of them in a warehouse.
  • 19 2
 y'all saying a QR is the same manufacturing cost as a through axle DO NOT know manufacturing processes.
  • 40 2
 Dick Pound
  • 2 0
 dupe post, sorry
  • 2 1
 @ctbiker888: I get it but I prefer it they save money on something I can easily upgrade like seatpost or tubeless tires.
  • 5 1
 Looks like a recycling down their range of past and previous MY OEM parts that were overstocked or overproduced by either Shimano or Giant. Pretty sure Shimano discount these dated bits heavily in order to get rid of it.
  • 5 2
 The cruiser bike engineer got the nod to design the bike.
  • 3 0
 @NorCalNomad: thank you.
  • 8 0
 @freebikeur: and anyone else saying that it's not any cheaper and they're just running old parts:

While giant certainly does this, the hub is a "new" product. QR 141, which is boost spaced QR, as opposed to 135QR, based off of the old 142 standard. Boost is used here for chainline/tire clearance.

Supposedly, plenty of manufacturers were "hoping" a few years back that everyone would move to superboost and stay there, but clearly that hasn't happened yet.

Also of note is that the rear triangle has been redesigned to avoid that weld that was a problem area on past model year bikes (about time). They certainly could have put a thru-axle on here as it's not like they're reusing the exact frame from years past. And on the shop side when these first came out, I can vouch for it NOT being a small amount of $$ saving with this being a QR instead of a thru, since that was one of my questions about this year's lineup as well.

In summation, buy the trance 3, I refused to even stock the stance 1.
  • 3 0
 @NorCalNomad: Overall, yeah. Frame may cost more, but wheel is cheaper to build. And Giant is vertically integrated so they build all of that stuff.
  • 1 3
 My buddy just got one of these, $1800 hahahaha more like $1450. Having a non Maestro Giant felt weird, a bike that heavy and big with no travel seem weird. He end up returning it, his DH bike weighs a couple pounds more and way more fun.
  • 3 1
 @NorCalNomad: How much cost difference? To me, for an $1800 bike, I'm guessing it wouldn't change the price that much to add rear thru-axle. If you look at the Vitus Mythique, the build is better (better brakes and fork) and it has a rear thru-axle for $2000. The Vitus Mythique looks like a much better bike for a little more.
  • 3 1
 You all could "easily upgrade" yourselves into a Trance. Seems a pointless thing to debate.
  • 1 0
 --or front derailleur mounts?
  • 27 7
 Used QR 135 for years. No issues. Stop crying about a QR on an entry level bike none of you will ever ride...
  • 2 1
 @BrutalSyl: I'm pretty sure giant can get along fine without your money anyway lol I know a lot of people that ride more xc oriented trails and have no problems with the stances 9mm qr axles.
  • 1 2
 @headshot: I have had QRs "quick release" like the name implies many times while riding. Not a good situation.
  • 1 0
 I feel like the QR is a benchmark of who the bike is for. Ride harder than a QR can take? This bikes not for you.
  • 5 0
 @headshot: I have 135QR dropouts on my dh bike. It sure didn’t implode on my first run lol.
  • 2 0
 @headshot: Ya never a problem putting it down on 135mm rear. If you find the right hub can put a 10mm bolt on axle easy.
  • 1 4
 WTF, that's probably the worst part of my bike, I literally have to carry a wrench because the rear axle isn't quick release.
  • 1 4
 @headshot: If you rode them hard enough, the rear wheels would slip and gouge the dropouts turning the frame to scrap.
  • 8 1
 @peleton7: anyone who is ruining a frame because of qr either had junk qrs, or didn't take care of them. There're problems with qr, lack of stiffness chief among them, but a wheel falling off and damaging the frame is user error, plain and simple. I still have some beautiful hope qrs in the parts bin that have seen things, and never let me down.
  • 1 0
 @headshot: Me too- on a hardtail..and that 141QR "standard" is plain stupid when it comes to upgrading.
  • 3 0
 @peleton7: or perhaps you're just fatter than me dude. Sorry about the KFC...
  • 1 0
 @mgrantorser: True some QRs are better than others, but with thru-axle there is no trial and error. They are just better. In the past, the Santa Cruz QR lever I had disengaged on me several times. It was only in extremely rocky technical downhills. I'm 150lbs geared up. With thru-axle, you never have to think about it.
  • 46 2
 The true affordable standout in Giant's lineup is the Trance 29 3. It's a very solid build for the price and more importantly has good geo.
  • 18 0
 They say as much in the review.

"It's worth taking a moment to mention the Giant Trance 29. It's priced at $2,100, but for that extra $300 you get several significant upgrades, including a Marzocchi Z2 fork, Fox Float DPS shock, Maxxis Minion tires, and Shimano MT400 brakes. That frame uses Giant's Maestro suspension design, and it's a little longer and slacker than the Stance. $300 isn't insignificant, but it could be worth it for riders looking for better performance at a still-reasonable price."
  • 2 12
flag jeremy3220 (Mar 26, 2020 at 8:23) (Below Threshold)
 @freestyIAM: Haven't had a chance to watch the video yet
  • 8 2
 Agreed - why didn't they review the Trance instead? Seems like an odd decision given these negative attributes could have been predicted on paper.
  • 43 3
 @aschohn, the Trance wouldn't have fit into our sub-$2000 category. We wanted to try different bikes at this price point to see how they held up, and we also wanted to have a mix of consumer direct and traditional brands.
  • 5 0
 @jeremy3220: it's in the write up...
  • 12 0
 Sold 4 of those the first week they came in stock. Everyone loves them, it's great value, needs nothing, comes set up tubeless as well. Only nitpick I'd have is that the rims are a bit skinny and the hub is pretty low engagement, even for the price.

I've always sold the $1500 stance (no dropper, suntour raidon suspension) and the trance 3 this model year. I'll literally throw in some cages, grips, half priced pedals/helmet, couple bucks on a gift card, whatever...just to get people on the trance 3 instead of the $1800 stance. It's one of the worst value bikes in their MTB lineup and I've always managed to talk people out of ordering one this year and straight up refuse to stock it.

I get that it's fair game to test, and the trance 29 3 is a bit short on travel compared to what they were reviewing on the high price end, but not one of the 3 competing giant shops around me stocks this model. There's a giant concept and partner store that will forced to sometime this season, but that's about it in a 100 mile radius.
  • 5 1
 Ya stance=junk
Trance=good
For just a few hundred more.
  • 4 0
 I agree, good bike/build for the money. In fact some of Giant prices in Canada are very competitive compared to other bike manufacturers. For example, the 2019 Trance Advanced Pro 29 0 build was CAD $8,699 or USD $8,715. Go figure, it was actually less expensive in Canada and usually bikes here are about 30% more than in the U.S., due to the exchange rate. If you wait till Giant's year end clearance sales, even better deals can be had. Although this is not an affordable standout, I paid CAD $6,000 out the door (including taxes) for a new Trance Advanced Pro 29 0. For example, compared to a Trek Fuel EX 9.9 and other similar builds from other bikes manufacturers, this type of bike would retail for at least CAD $10,000-$11,000 CAD, so I never hesitate to recommend Giant bikes.
  • 1 0
 @RowdyAirTime: out of all the big manufacturers of bike I always tell people to look at giant they have good specs for the money. Compare prices from the big companies the giant will usually come ahead in some ways while they may be behind in others. But good reliable bikes with a lbs to help
  • 1 2
 @parkourfan: I was hoping someone would mention stock Giant wheels are some of the worst bike products I have ever seen. And a few years ago I bought my wife a Trance so it got some take off X9's. (and xt brakes/rotors, slx 11spd, lev dropper, diety bars, seat, grips, tires, pedals) Works great.
  • 2 0
 @shotouthoods:
Aluminum ones have gotten decent in the last 2 or so years, but the SUPER cheap ones are definitely a place where they save money. I remember the stock trek and specialized wheels being total garbage not so long ago either, but all three companies have shaped up in a big way.

Their new carbon wheels are great, warranty too. You do have to pay top dollar before getting a nice hub though, which almost defeats the purpose, if you're a snob.
  • 2 0
 @parkourfan: Bontrager Duster Elite anyone?
  • 2 0
 @shotouthoods: Not sure about Giant's cheaper aluminum wheels, but I have Giant's TRX 0 29 hookless carbon wheels, and they have been great with absolutely no problems. They are light, strong and still as true as ever.
  • 28 0
 So it feels like a noodle, they hated how it handled from the flex, yet it still put up way fast times descending despite the most XC tires of the tested bikes.

So is this wha the Starling Cycles guy is always saying?

www.facebook.com/593631864070674/videos/1380399148727271
  • 4 1
 Starlings do flex but they are so composed at speed as they have great geo. There is a difference between the frame flexing and it being a noodle. It sounds like this is a noodle.
  • 10 0
 Maybe it's more down to how Mike and Mike were feeling at the time than the inherent ability of the bike. Mike noticed the bike felt wobbly and adjusted accordingly, other Mike went full IDGAF and came away with his best time of the day.
  • 3 0
 Probably the tires as much as anything. I’m running a forekaster front and rekon rear and it’s an amazing “trail” setup. Had a DHF front/Aggressor rear before that and to be totally honest the grip is damn near the same but these “XC” tires roll WAY faster and are substantially lighter.

Reality for most people is a faster rolling tire that still grips really well is gonna be faster than a DHF or whatever.
  • 45 0
 @hamncheez, Levy had a fast descending time, but mine was 7th out of 8. More than anything I'd say that illustrates that timed testing isn't the metric that you should be basing a purchasing decision on. Think of it as an interesting footnote rather than a determining factor as to if one bike is better than another.
  • 3 0
 Good video! When he referred to Ducati engineering I became a believer!
  • 11 0
 Brakes didn't work.
  • 3 0
 @BamaBiscuits: Forecaster front, Agressor rear is a pretty fast combo as well. set up my hardtail that way and no shortage of grip. When things dry out, or if I feel like destroying my legs in a race I throw a Minion SS on the back end.
  • 2 0
 @adriemel83: ah, yeah that’d be a great combo. Rekon definitely lacks some braking traction compared to the Aggressor.
  • 5 3
 In summary:
This bike is shit get the vitus
Low end Jeffsy all day over this relic
  • 3 0
 @hcaz: Believe, he makes a damn fine bike.
  • 4 0
 Compliance can help, but has to be the right amount. Obviously too much it is like a noodle and too little is bone jarring. That is why many component companies like OneUp and Crank Bros are starting to build specific compliance into their carbon handlebars and wheels.
  • 1 0
 Remember Jared Graves was having his wheels built soft for lateral compliance.

www.pinkbike.com/news/pinkbikes-ews-pro-rides-jared-graves-and-his-yeti-sb5c.html
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Another great video review. Keep them coming and keep them "real" just like this.
  • 2 0
 "So it feels like a noodle, they hated how it handled from the flex, yet it still put up way fast times"...

that's what she said?
  • 24 0
 Bikes are fun.
  • 14 1
 True.
  • 21 0
 I get so giddy when PinkBike reviews an affordable bike
  • 4 0
 I think it is cool too. Because affordable bikes are the gateway to a lifetime of fun and adventure. And Giant has always been the value leader. The bike that first gave me the bug was a 5 spd cruiser-y thing that I used in college which I rode that crap out of until I eventually bought a used Cannondale mountain bike (this was in 1996) and a used 1980-something Trek touring bike. I rode the crap out of both of those too. Whenever anyone new to riding wants a bike that isn't expensive, I point to Giant.
  • 14 0
 My wife use to have one for 2 years so I know how it works, it's a perfect bike to start montainbiking: neutral, light, easy, forgiving.
But don't put any $ (or else) in this bike with upgrading in mind: sell it to a new mtber and buy something with a better frame.
  • 17 1
 I wish that guy on Levy's leg would stop starting at me in every video..... STOP STARTING AT ME!!!!!
  • 8 0
 @mikelevy @mikekazimer how much of the brake under performance do you guys think is due to the resin pads and stamped rotors? For $50 bucks you could get some RT66 rotors and metallic pads and i do wonder if that small upgrade would make the braking perf acceptable.

Also, i rented last year's model version of this and I have to say my biggest gripe was the front tire. Not having good grip on the front is a way more noticable detriment to the ride than just about all the cons you guys found, imho.
  • 2 1
 Can attest- wish I could have Forecasted the washout I had using this tire on the front in Sedona.
  • 3 0
 @PinkyScar: The dual compound and tread pattern wasn't enough to give you advance warning that it should probably only be a rear tire? Might want to brush up on your metireology.
  • 5 0
 I can't believe how much metallic pads made a difference on my XT's. Don't think I'll use resin pads again.
  • 3 0
 @mnorris122: A case of "run what ya brung".
  • 1 0
 Shimano doesn't make a metallic pad for that caliper. I do find it interesting that the Kona used the same rotor and pad combo without incident. Maybe they needed a decent bleed?
  • 1 0
 You have to look pretty closely at the lower-end Shimano brakes to see that you get. All 3 bikes reviewed so far use calipers that only take resin pads. The MT-500's and MT-400's have 22mm pistons and the lower end versions (like on the Giant) have 21mm. 22mm is the same size as on the SLX and XT 2-piston calipers and in theory should feel similar with the same levers and resin pads. The MT-500 also has the servo-wave levers (single-finger) and is the clear winner of the budget brake bunch. I put a set on my backup bike. Not too different from my XT brakes in feel and power.
  • 2 0
 @gomeeker: It really is a shame Shimano doesn't make metal pads for those lower end calipers. Luckily, Kool Stop does.
  • 9 1
 I can't understand why a company would design a structural part of the bike (chainstay/seatstay) to flex, and then make it out of a material (aluminum) that doesn't have an infinite fatigue life. It is literally designed to fail at some point. I'm sure they picked a tube size that will meet some threshold of what they consider reasonable life, but it just seems like an unnecessary and overly cheap way out to save one pivot.
  • 3 0
 This ^. The tube size doesn't really matter, because the virtual pivot needs to flex a certain amount. And in metals, stress-strain is linear proportional, irrelevant of cross-section. So it'll reach an important level of stress, and thus a limited fatigue life.

It's basically a disposable rear triangle / bike. A much bigger problem than the QR axle if you ask me.
  • 13 0
 Does anyone that buys it risk running past the fatigue life? Seems like a FS bike someone buys to get into MTB, rides on a few gravel trails then parks in their garage where it gathers dust until they find it under a pile of crap 5 years later and post it on Craigslist for 10% off MSRP.

"Awesome bike, like new, paid $1800, $1600 firm"

Ad will definitely not contain brand, model, size or model year (let alone any specs).
  • 5 1
 @CTtrailpig because aluminium fatigue is reasonably well understood. Do you have the same complaint about all the aircraft made from aluminium that flex hugely on every takeoff, landing and in any turbulence?
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ: Bro, you gon' die.
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ: To be fair, I don't imagine most mountain bikes will see anywhere near the same level of scrutiny and planned maintenance an aircraft does; most people see a bike frame as a piece of engineering they just expect to work indefinitely.

(Until that fateful bump over the curb, 15 years from now when this Stance is ferrying a drunk student back from the pub...)
  • 5 0
 This is their 2014 higher-end aluminum frame recycled down-market. My wife's first year Liv Lust is almost identical, but the rear triangle is the Maestro linkage. Still, for the price and targeting entry and only-a-few-times-a-year offroad riders, this isn't a bad deal.
  • 5 0
 the timed runs VS the bike/geo so far kind of just make it seem like a crap shoot... Levy has his 2nd fastest time on a bike with old school geo? Does that mean he just about killed himself on the way down. OR that all this new geo is more in our heads than on the trail? (which is hard to believe because I have access to some of my old bikes and they feel 2 sizes too small, inefficient, and super twitchy. I think it's more apparent being a taller rider, but my old bikes are ENDO machines...)

I mean unless Levy's fastest time is like WAY faster...?

I wish they would have run a 10 thousand dollar XC, downcounty, trail, and enduro bike each on the same timed runs for comparison.
  • 4 0
 I had one of these for my first mtb after getting back into the sport. To follow the point of nicfugere, I'm 220lbs and did snap it like a noodle. They are really good about backing it up. LBS replaced the frame and reassembled for 50 bucks. Since then 2 years use as my primary bike and now used as my backup if I have a mechanical or last summer when my bike was stolen. Put a dhr2 in the back and it really improved the performance.
  • 3 0
 I know that Giant Anthems and Trances of years previous (Maybe 2014-16) had a 135mm skewer to 142mm thru axle conversion kit you could buy for like 25 bucks which was basically a matter of switching the drop outs. Is this available on the Stance or no?
  • 4 2
 It isn't.
  • 2 0
 From my armchair I would say maybe. If I understand correctly, this actually uses a boost spaced hub with QR end caps. DT did make end caps for a 9mm RWS thru-bolt so if you can find the right length bolt then it is possible. My conclusion is that if you have a Stance already and you like to tinker and you can get shit cheap then go for it. I don’t see any other reason to do it though. Not one...
  • 2 0
 The hub “standard”... is QR141 which is a 148 minus 3.5mm of end cap nipple that sits in the frame on each side. At least that’s what I have read. Why I would even look into this is questionable.
  • 7 1
 I'd say for an entry-level rider you would be better off to get a hard trail
  • 7 1
 Solid review. For people who do green and blue trails only, it might be perfect for them.
  • 2 1
 exactly
  • 1 0
 Mate, you want see some of the blue trails in Queenstown.
  • 2 0
 @ChasingPhotons: I hear what you're saying, but remember that exceptions prove the rule.
  • 3 0
 looks like my 200 lbs would break it on a 3 feet drop, but still a very good budget option for someone looking to get into trail riding. Good job Giant for making a good accessible bike, it helps developping our sport
  • 3 1
 I rode the lower spec version of those bike as a rental a few years ago, and I would whole heatedly agree with the review. On the flip side for a beginner, at the price point it's a great bike. For someone who doesn't know what great suspension feels like it is miles ahead of a hardtail with an equally low end fork.
  • 3 1
 I bought this bike for my son at my LBS and he loves it. It all matters how hard you ride and what your intentions are. My son is not looking at this sport like me he just wants to ride out with me but his main focus is school and navy so shred on
  • 2 0
 Giant has been putting the handlebars in aggressive riders laps for ages, I assume that they haven't retooled in a decade. But, if you consider the new rider going for a test ride in the parking lot, sitting upright feels pretty comfy, and if your trails aren't very aggressive, there's a good chance you'll consider the saved weight and extra flex combo.
  • 2 0
 Idk, I'm just not feelin' a bike with such conservative geometry, outdated parts and a quick release rear end. Its 2020 after all, a time where there's just too much good alternatives out there for this to be relevant. I'd rather have the Vitus Mythique from a couple of days ago or a Norco Fluid FS or a Polygon Siskiu T.
  • 2 0
 Too bad Giant, you have the lightest and least expensive and almost the quickest bike in the test, but unfortunately not a great review. Upgrade that old school geometry and take some flex out of the frame with maybe some slightly better brakes and front tire, and call it a day...
  • 2 0
 I know that we are supposed to not put too much credence into the 'timed loop', but the bike reviews really really really poorly. Basically a "do not buy" for lots of really good reasons (on paper). But then they both bang off their 2nd fastest loop time on what seems like one of the worst bikes of the bunch. And Levy gets his 2nd fastest descent time on a bike that should descend like poop given old school numbers.... I think at 11 minutes the loop is too short for consistent feedback. One small error, especially on a climb, and the time can be impacted significantly that is irrelevant to the actual performance of the bike.
  • 5 4
 Whats interesting is that the Kona Honzo has most of the same issues (same fork, weak brakes, steep HTA, short wheelbase). But the Honzo gets a lot of praise in the review. Because a hardtail is measured by a different yardstick? Or because the Honzo has some history and is considered cooler than a Giant?
  • 5 0
 The Honzo's steep-ish HTA is mitigated by a longer reach, and we mentioned in the video that we aren't sure why the Honzo's fork felt better than the same fork on the other bikes. The Honzo also has better brakes that, while still not powerful, are more powerful than the ones on the Giant.

We're fans of Giant and really liked the Trance Advanced 29 we reviewed in the 2019 Field Test: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fpva_uxuYBg
  • 1 0
 Maybe thats just Giant's marketing strategy though: Making a terrible cheap, entry level bike to trick people into thinking cheap bikes aren't worth it so they come back to buy one of Giant's super expensive carbon trail bikes.
  • 1 0
 It is cool to see proper bikes with lower prices. I guess the bike industry got the memo that cycling market is saturated and declining in popularity. This will hopefully stop six month "innovation" cycle. Good days ahead of us.
  • 1 0
 nice for entry riders, 10 years ago everyone were hitting doubles on bikes with QR without any problems, so from project perpective - bike is not so good, however just as entry level for couple years of riding - why not;


there are more pricy or value oriented bikes, however giant have huge network of bike shops where new customers can try bike, and get even more discount to buy helmets etc.

My Opinion for absolutely new to MTB person - this is probably nice option;
  • 1 0
 I bought the Stance 1 2020 29er last Aug. Great bike for Utah's Crest trail, Pinecone/PCMR area. Upside is the price, support fr the local bike shop, and it flies compared to a 26 Giant older Trance. Replaced the rotors, now 200 front, 180 rear simple swap as I burned out the initial brakes in 3 weeks! Went tubeless, no issues. Added my own Deity bars.For those of us non tech weenies on 6k bikes, the Stance has come a long way in five years. Comparing it to an online bike is hardly fair, I value a relationship with my shop, as once you bond with them, they inspect and save you heartache by recommending say brake service before you burn out rotors etc. Kudos to Giant for continuing to offer a solid lineup, it's a buyers market out there and a great time to be riding.
  • 2 1
 For a beginner, climbing performance is a much bigger deal than descending ability. Generally first time riders are going to be walking difficult features and taking it slow. The high-speed limits of the Stance are unlikely to be hindering for beginners. Whereas the ability to fly uphills is confidence boosting for first-timers.
  • 1 0
 Giants got it figured out.

They make a lot of other brands frames . . . .I think and so they cant make their entry level bike any better than their "clients" frames who are saying they have all these innovative bullet points.

plus they probably had a ton of qr parts laying around an had to do something with them
  • 1 0
 Mike... the bike was pants, frame terrible, dated, scary to ride....but did his 2nd fastest lap on it. Wait for th review of the slower bikes saying they are better and more capable. But they went slower. Mmmm interesting. The time never lies.
  • 1 0
 What would be cool in the future, is how to transform these low end builds to a usable, decent bike. So for each bike in the test - list 3 lowest common denominator parts that would change the package substantially. So for example, I buy a Honzo. Put a Yari, decent rims and slx brakes on it. Boom.
  • 1 0
 I notice that manufacturers tend to lower and lower the quality of their build in order to propose a bike with the lowest pricepoint. IMO, those cheap bikes are killing the second hand market..
  • 1 0
 nah it's bike shop employees that churn bikes that kill the 2nd hand market.
  • 1 0
 Id like to see a test where you don't know what bike you are about to ride. True blind testing of bikes. I wonder how different the results would be if the testers did not know the brand/specs/etc.
  • 1 1
 So 29 inch wheeled bikes that climb easy and go fast down hill are the trend. 29 inch wheels a way heavier than 26 and not any where near as strong. Thus the frame must be heavier to handle the extra load created by large diameter wheels. You all want heavier bikes that go fast. You want to race be the first to the bottom. I want to feel the trail. Dance down teck sections not monster truck. Glad your enjoying your 29 inch race bike.
  • 2 1
 Is anyone reading this article actually in the market for a bike like this?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Why even comment on the weaknesses of an entry level bike? It’s all weaknesses, duh!
  • 3 0
 The photos show the STA to be about the same has the HA.
  • 1 0
 I just picked up a xtra-small women's version of this (Liv Embolden II) for my 10 year old boy. A great value and makes for a great kids mountain bike.
  • 2 0
 My daughter will be 11 in June and she has a Liv Intrigue 2 in XS since Christmas. It cost 2400€ but with a discount at my bike shop I had it for around 2100€. Honestly, it's a very good bike for her. Fox34 fork, Fox shock at the reat, Shimano 4 pistons brakes (but they squeal with the OEM pads, I had to change them it was just too much to bare), Maxxis HR2 EXO front and rear. For the transmission it's SRAM NX. I'm very impress by the bike for the price.
  • 2 3
 WOW, Just WOW WOW WOW. I can't believe how far Giant has fallen from being a good bike at a good price! Just what the crap! Just don't do it! Get a bike with modern standards and swap/upgrade as needed. Don't get stuck with this frame.
The end.
  • 1 1
 Fallen? Compare this to the ~2012 Yukon FS and tell me the Stance isn't a better bike.
  • 1 2
 @PhillipJ: Yes Fallen. Majorly Fallen. I'm glad the Stance is better than a ~10 year bike. A bike that was at least competitively priced, as Giant used to be once upon a time.

But a better example is to compare Giant to other bikes right now. I shopped giant last year. For the same price that I could get Sram SX, and Marz suspension, I ended up with an intense with NX, a charger fork, and carbon wheels.

Thats a pretty major fall from where Gaint used to be.
  • 2 0
 @alexisfire: Intense anything would be double the price of a similar Giant where I shop. Maybe you're suffering some Trump tarrif?
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ: in the usa intense is direct to consumer good value.
Now if I wasnt over the weight limit for their carbon and no Aluminum...Frown
  • 1 0
 Anyone else have issues with the sound? The interviews are too low and the music interludes are really loud. Makes watching at work hard lol
  • 1 0
 QR rear? Hell no. No excuse at this point to not include a thru-axle, as that has been the standard for mtbs for at least 10 years now.
  • 1 0
 Big fail for Giant IMO. Pinkbike: What are you going upgrade first? Answer: The frame!! LMAO. Um, that's the actual bike itself!
  • 1 2
 Seriously! So many comments about a Giant Stance??????? No shit it's not a real modern mountain bike. I own a bike shop, we sell Giant. This is not a real mountain bike by today's standard...we tell that to any one looking to buy one. It's for cull de sacs, and people who park it in the garage, permanently. But hey, there's a market for that. WTF Pink Bike I can't believe you wasted the space on this, because no one in the market for a Giant Stance even knows what Pink Bike is!

I get it, you're trolling us....nothing better to do with your time in COVID World!
  • 1 0
 Still think that you should have tested Giant Trance 29 3. 2100$ is still way more than 3000$ test limit but the performance of the bike seems to be way better.
  • 1 0
 Once again...a GIANT company like GIANT cutting costs on a bike when they make big bucks in the industry...no excuse..dont like them.
  • 6 4
 Polygon and Vitus have tremendously better value than this.
  • 1 0
 True, but both are direct to consumer and most beginners will have no idea they exist. If you know nothing of suspension designs/part quality etc this will look like a good price. My local giant shop talked me out of one they had marked down from the previous years stock.
  • 2 0
 Is that a slight tan I see forming on the Mike(s) arms?
  • 1 0
 Traditional AKA When 29-ers still sucked ( for the PB crowd's style of riding at least).
  • 1 0
 So what made you ride faster on this one mike? Bad bra kes, noodly frame or qr???
  • 1 0
 I've got serious cabin fever, and all my local trails are closed due to them being closed. Shit.
  • 2 0
 Lol. Why would anyone buy this?
  • 1 0
 I like the comments - why dont you review some affordable bikes?


Not this one it has parts on it I dont like!
  • 1 0
 This so called "fork" is piece of shit. Suntour Aion or RST Rogue are way better.
  • 1 0
 Love the facial grimace on the drop-to-flat!
  • 1 0
 Where Ru guys getting your music I love it!
  • 1 0
 Easy going fast when the brakes don't slow you down..
  • 1 0
 Compare this to a $1800 motobecane
  • 1 0
 why is giant so attached to legacy geometry?
  • 2 2
 QUICK POLL:

this?

or a slightly used higher tier bike?
  • 18 3
 Certainly not this
  • 3 0
 If you're savvy enough to find a good quality used bike (and understanding sizing, components, suspension,etc)...definitely. But for people that don't really know what bike/size/etc, a new Giant would be the ticket. What I hate to see is someone buy a bike that doesn't fit them and is overpriced for what it once was...then realize they spent $800 on something that was worth $300.
  • 3 6
 Used all day. Or hardtail. Or. honestly, a steel baby carriage may hold up better / be more upgrade-able.
  • 1 0
 Slightly used higher tier. I bought a 2018 Commencal meta in its highest spec that year, for $550 more than this....
  • 2 0
 the slightly used bike for sure.
  • 2 0
 Higher tier used bike all day with the caveat of having someone you know that knows what they are looking at to assist you in the purchase. There are several SC Hecklers (27.5 actually too; one of the best intro bikes for used, period) on the Buy & Sell here for under $2K.
  • 3 0
 Tricky question as this doesn't seem to be the best new option at its price point. But if people are getting their first bike, I'd go for a new bike at around this price unless they have someone to really show them the ropes of used bikes and help them evaluate what they need/are buying. There is way more that can go wrong with buying a used bike that outweighs the potential for getting a spec bump. Plus, most new bikes bought from shops come with at least one free tune up.

Now that calculus totally changes once the person gets some experience and knows what they want/need in a bike and how to service them. Then used bikes become more attractive.
  • 1 0
 slightly used higher tier bike. maybe a last year's trance, that's what my brother did.
  • 1 0
 You are new to mtb? This.
  • 1 0
 @Shafferd912: ahahah 30% pricier. (not even considering you can easily save 15% at your lbs)
  • 1 0
 My wife was in this very dilemma. We ended up finding a used Liv Pique SX, vs. a brand new entry-level model of Giant or Liv. Fox fork, Maestro suspension, proper 4 piston brakes, all for a little less than this bike. And, it was only about 6 months used, 4 of those months were winter - so hardly any riding hours. There are good deals on used, if you can wait for the right bike.
  • 8 0
 We will have a video at the end of the series that takes a look at two used bikes in our price brackets!
  • 1 0
 @jasonlucas: That would be helpful for sure. I had a lot of experience to draw on, but a buyer looking for an upgrade from a $600 hardtail "first bike" would certainly benefit from that kind of content.
  • 1 1
 @fracasnoxteam: Doesn't matter what percentage it is, its only $500. That's nothing in the world of mountain bikes, considering brands like Mondraker sell bikes for $12k.
  • 1 0
 @Shafferd912: only $500 + 1800. Do you remember when you bought your first bike with your hard earned money?
  • 2 0
 @Shafferd912: @Shafferd912: I advise my friends to buy BMW X3 Series over a Honda Passport because - afterall - what's $10,000 when a Bugatti is 3 million.
  • 1 2
 @fracasnoxteam: Yes, I knew exactly what I wanted, and I worked hard for it. I'm saying 2.5 grand is nothing in the biking world. If you disagree with that, idk what to tell you.
  • 1 0
 @MarcusBrody: We arent talking about cars.....
  • 1 0
 @Shafferd912: I'm saying that your metaphor makes no more sense. Just because some versions of something are WAY more expensive doesn't in any way mean that differences at lower levels are meaningless.

Maybe you have a great job and bill $500 an hour so a $500 difference doesn't matter to you. But it's 2 weeks full time work for someone making minimum wage in the US (assuming they have some taxes taken out). If it took someone a year to save up the $1800 for the Stance, it's arrogant to say "just spend another $500 on better components. It doesn't mean anything because some people spend 12000 on bikes!"
  • 1 0
 @MarcusBrody @Shafferd912 : I could manage a week long mountain bike camping vacation for $500, I'd say that's not nothing. I'd rather a slightly worse bike with memories of riding it in an epic location than a slightly nicer bike but being stuck at home riding laps around the hood. At the end of the day, the difference in experience between a $1,800 bike and a $2,300 bike is very minimal as compared to actually getting out there and riding vs not.
  • 1 0
 ride on
  • 1 1
 @jasonlucas: could you get your shit together and make the audio levels more equal?
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