PINKBIKE FIELD TRIP
GIANT TRANCE X 29 3
Loves slow speed technical trails.
Words by Sarah Moore, Photography by Tom Richards
The next full-suspension bike we reviewed in the Field Trip value bike series
is the Giant Trance X, an aluminum 29er with 135mm of rear travel and a 150mm fork. We tested the top of the line Fox Live Valve equipped version at the last Field Test, and were curious about how the value version stacked up, without a carbon frame and that pricey robot-controlled rear suspension.
The Trance has been in Giant's line up since 2005, but this latest version, the Trance X, has an additional 20mm of travel over the standard Trance. It also has adjustable geometry, making it the only value bike here with that feature.
Giant Trance X
Travel: 135mm (rear) / 150mm (fork)
Wheel size: 29"
Frame construction: aluminum
Head angle: 65.5 degrees (Low) / 66.2 degrees (High)
Chainstay length: 438mm (L) / 435mm (H)
Reach: 456mm (L) / 464mm (H)
Weight: 33.1 lbs / 15.1 kg
More info: www.giant-bicycles.com
The aluminum frame has room for a water bottle, fits up to 2.5” tires and has Boost 12 x 148 spacing. Other details include internally routed cables for a clean look, a press fit BB, a bashguard on the downtube, and a ribbed chainstay protector.
The adjustable geometry uses a flip chip like many other brands, allowing you to run the bike in either a High or Low position. The change the flip chip makes is actually quite substantial at 0.7 degrees. That head tube angle can either be set at 65.5 or 66.2 degrees while the bottom bracket changes by a full 10mm. The reach sits at 464mm, or shortens to 456mm in the other setting.
The Trance X’s 135mm of travel is controlled by Giant’s Maestro dual link suspension design that creates a single floating virtual pivot. Giant says that makes it independent of both braking and pedaling forces, but then that’s what everyone says, isn’t it? One neat thing to point out is the co-pivot lower shock mount that does double-duty as the main pivot for the lower link. This saves a bit of weight as you don’t need two sets of hardware.
The aluminum Trance X ranges in price from $2,500 to $3,300 USD and there’s also the “Advanced” (ie: the carbon model) that we had in the last Field Test, that retails between $4,300 and $8,500 USD. Our test bike here is the Giant Trance X 29 3 that retails for $2,500 USD. It comes with a 150mm RockShox 35 Gold and a metric trunnion-mounted 140mm Fox Float DPS Performance rear shock. It's also got a SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, Shimano Deore 4-piston hydraulic brakes, a Giant Contact Switch dropper post, and Maxxis Minion DHF and Dissector tires in 2.5 and 2.4" widths. Climbing
The Giant Trance X feels like a more compact bike than the Devinci Marshall or the Polygon Siskiu T8, which makes it an easier bike to get through tight sections. Another similarity with the Polygon Siskiu T8 is an active suspension platform, which means it's an easy bike to pick a line with and stick to without getting bumped off.
That being said, the active suspension means that it doesn't feel like the most efficient or sporty of bikes on the climbs and you can see the rocker link moving as you ride. It is, however, an excellent option if you're faced with long, technical climbs where you can sit down and let the bike claw up the difficult sections. There's less get up and go than the Devinci Marshall or the Ibis Ripley, but the supple suspension makes the Giant Trance X extremely comfortable to pedal on rough climbs and provides ample traction.
Mike Levy tested the fancy Live Valve-controlled version in the last Field Test, and we joked that this is actually a bike that does benefit from Live Valve on the climbs, although an upgrade would be about the same price as the entire Giant Trance X 3. While there isn't fancy robot-controlled suspension, there is a lockout that you can switch to Climb mode when you're faced with a long, smooth climb. We ended up riding with less sag on the Giant Trance X but overall, it's still a bit too active for our liking. Descending
On the descents, the Giant Trance X is a very forgiving bike and it is a great option if you have a lot of rough, slow speed trails. You can really let the bike go on rougher stuff and it will absorb all the bumps for you. As a result, it's less tiring than some of the other bikes on rough descents.
However, this isn't the poppiest bike out there, and while the rear suspension did a good job of tracking to the ground, it also made the bike feel a little less lively than the other bikes on test. It also doesn’t feel like a bike that is made for rallying on the descents; it didn't feel as solid as the Devinci Marshall or the Polygon Siskiu T8 when things get fast.
It's also not the quietest bike - the dropper post, fork damper, and the chain slapping against the chainstay all make it hard to fly under the radar out on the trail.
Overall, the Giant Trance X is best suited to someone who values traction and forgiveness over efficiency and all out speed and who doesn’t mind reaching for the pedal assist switch when they're heading uphill. It's a good option for a rider who faces rough, rocky terrain that can beat you up over a long day in the saddle.
Good traction and comfort on technical climbs+
Flip chip on a value bike
Not much support from the suspension, especially while descending-
The 2021 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible with support from Toyota.
Video: Jason Lucas, Max Barron
Editing: Max Barron