The Trance is a mainstay in Giant's line as their best-selling mountain bike. The trail rig is now in its seventh generation, and for 2019 the Trance gets 29" wheels, modernized geometry, a composite rocker link and a trunnion mounted shock. The bike uses Giant's Maestro suspension platform to deliver 115mm of travel.
Giant's goal with the new Trance, according to MTB Category manager Kevin Dana, was to "create a bike that is fun and accessible for everyday trail riding that could handle rough, steep, fast and gnarly trails while still being able to climb well. Basically, we just wanted to make an awesome mountain bike." For those riders who are sold on
Giant Trance 29 Details
• Intended use: XC trail
• Wheel size: 29"
• Rear wheel travel: 115mm
• Boost 12x148
• 1x specific
• Carbon frame (aluminum build options)
• Size: S - XL
• Weight: 26.9 lbs (12.2 kg) Advanced 0 build, size XL, no pedals
• Price: $3,050 - 8,300 USD
Giant's current 27.5" wheeled Trance, fear not - that bike, now in its third year of the current design, will continue to be in Giant's line for the foreseeable future. The new 29er Trance isn't meant to replace the 27.5" bike but rather, complement it, and offer another option for riders.
The last 29" wheeled Trance was the Trance X, which saw its debut about five years ago. Since then, a lot has happened with mountain bike technology and everything has progressed substantially since then. Why the long hiatus from having a 29er trail bike? The team at Giant say that it wasn't a matter of them not wanting to bring a modern 29er into the mix before now, it was that they were limited by the available technology and couldn't create a bike that performed up to the standard they wanted. With reduced fork offsets and other advances in suspension and design, they now feel confident that they have developed their version of an "ultimate trail bike".
Frame Details 1x drivetrain:
|We really started with fun in the development of the bike. As silly as it sounds, we just wanted to make the bike fun."—Kevin Dana|
The new Trance is designed as a 1x only bike. Giant's development team feel it is the best option for the bike and what the vast majority of riders are using. Also, by eliminating the front derailleur, they were able to free up space in the rear end to increase tire clearance and let the geometry and suspension work exactly how they wanted, without restrictions.Carbon upper link:
The Trance's new carbon upper link for the Maestro suspension platform saves significant weight over previous alloy versions. It's also said to be stiffer and stronger.
Frame Options / Build Kits
Modern Geometry: Giant claim the Trance 29's on-trail prowess is dues in large part to its geometry. With 115mm of rear wheel travel paired with a 130mm fork, the bike has a 66.5-degree head angle, 74.5-degree seat angle, 435mm chainstays, and a reach of 442mm (size medium); the bike has angles that more closely resemble many longer travel bikes than what 115mm travel bikes have been known for.
DVO Suspension: In addition to its geometry, the suspension on the Trance 29 is another piece of the picture that makes the bike do what it does. Giant have partnered with DVO Suspension on some of their race teams and have brought that relationship into the development of the new bike.
Giant TRX Wheels: Giant have re-worked their off-road wheel line for 2019. The TRX wheels found on the Trance 29 have a 30mm inner width, 28 spokes laced to DT Swiss 240 hubs, and weigh 1662g. They're said to have improved impact resistance over Giant's previous carbon mountain wheels and have a two-year warranty.
The Trance 29 is available in five different build kit options. The Trance Advanced Pro 29 2 is $4,300 USD and features a composite front and rear triangle. It has a Fox 34 Rythm fork, Float DPS shock, SRAM NX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain, Guide T brakes, 780mm x 35mm handlebars, Giant dropper post, and Giant's new TRX 1 carbon wheels.
The top of the line Trance Advanced Pro 29 0 comes with a DVO Sapphire D1 34mm fork, DVO Topaz 2 shock, SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain, Guide RSC brakes, an 800mm x 35mm TruVativ Descendant carbon handlebar, and Giant's TRX 0 carbon wheels and sells for $8,300 USD.
There are also two build options with aluminum frames, the Trance 29 1 and Trance 29 2. The Trance 29 1 has a Fox 34 Float Performance Elite fork, Float Performance Elite Shock, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, Guide R brakes and Giant TRX 1 carbon wheels. The Trance 29 2 shares the spec of the Advanced Pro 2 but with aluminum wheels. It sells for $3,050 USD.
The Trance 29 is also available as a frame only for $2,800 USD.Suspension
|The relationship with Giant and DVO isn’t such that we’re just buying forks and shocks, putting a decal on it, a spacer in, and calling it good...we’re engineering suspension to work with the bike.—Bryson Martin Sr|
The new Trance 29's suspension relies heavily on a partnership between Giant and DVO. From the new 34mm, 44-degree reduced offset Sapphire fork to the new Topaz 2, the suspension on the Trance was engineered specifically for the Trance to help the front and rear end of the bike work in unison. Throughout the development process of the Topaz 2, there were over 100 different variations and tunes. The Sapphire now has 34mm stanchions, new damping, and a new air spring profile. According to Bryson Sr, getting a big bike feel out of a shorter travel bike places extreme demands on the suspension and small changes that may be unnoticed on a longer travel bike make a bigger difference.
Although the DVO suspension is only found on the higher end Trance 29 bikes, that doesn't mean that the rest of the line gets the shaft. Giant carried what they learned in the development process over to the suspension they engineered with Fox and spent a considerable amount of time testing and developing with Fox as well in order to ensure that all riders, whether they purchase the entry-level aluminum Trance or the top of the line model can have the same quality of ride. Those that want to have the best of the best, with the most tuning options, can opt for the DVO-equipped bike. The DVO bikes also have a lighter shock tune on the small sizes.
The rear suspension of the Trance 29 uses Giant's Maestro system and a trunnion mount shock with a low leverage ratio. The Maestro system does a good job of isolating pedaling forces as well as preventing brake jack. Dana says, "In working with shorter shaft length shocks, keeping the air pressures down helps the shock perform better and it's also easier to tune the compression and rebound. The suspension is more effective." While the leverage ratio is low and the shock is mellow and linear throughout its stroke, it's well supported in the mid-part of the travel and it does ramp at the end in order to avoid a harsh bottom out. Giant recommend running the shock with about 11mm or 30% sag.
The fork on the Trance is not off the shelf. Whether the bike is spec'd with the new 34mm DVO Sapphire - created in part for the Trance 29, or a Fox 34 - depending on what model you're looking at, the fork has 130mm of travel. It also has a 44-degree offset. Giant worked with DVO in this project as well, creating forks at different travels with different offsets and then taking the bike to the trail to see how the set up performed. It was determined that a 130mm travel, 44-degree offset fork was ideal.
Riding a new bike in completely unfamiliar terrain on minimal sleep after spending nearly 24 hours traveling doesn't seem like the best way to test its capabilities, but could it be? This is a conundrum that I have had lately, just about every other week. While there's certainly no substitute for getting a bike out on familiar trails or my go-to test loop, if I can be comfortable on something new, somewhere I've never ridden, that speaks volumes for the bike.
Santa Caterina, Italy is a bit of a paradise for remote and rugged trail riding. There are no "new school" flow lines, just amazing and rugged backcountry trail. There's everything from a lift accessed "bike park" (I use the term loosely) trail to high alpine glacier fields laced with techy singletrack and pristine hiking trails. The area is just starting to get more "riding" trails built at the resort, and there is a strong local community pushing the scene, but Santa Caterina's trails are best accessed by either pedaling for hours or shuttling up rugged mountain roads in Land Rover Defender 110s pushed to their limits.
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Using shuttles and the local ski lift to access world-class backcountry riding - with almost as much "bike-over-the-shoulders" hiking as steep punchy uphills didn't lend to an extended amount of time to get a great feel for the Trance's climbing prowess. However, I snuck away at the top of one shuttle and climbed an extra 1,000 or so feet up the famous Gavia pass - if you follow road riding, you may know what I'm talking about, and if you don't, just know that the views are amazing and the trails off the side are without a doubt where you want to find yourself on the way back down.
With the DVO Topaz shock fully open, the Trance pedals exceptionally well. You can feel some motion, but everything is well supported and I didn't find much pedal induced bob or loss of energy happening. The shock's low leverage and linear feel were apparent but not in a way that sacrificed pedalability. On flatter rough terrain, the bike was easy to maneuver. It didn't sink or bog down and the suspension seemed to help keep traction when going uphill and in rolling terrain.Descending
If I didn't know that the Trance 29 was a 115mm bike, I would have guessed it was more in the neighborhood of 130-140mm. It manages the suspension it has incredibly well. In addition to the portages, sketchy lines, and trails that weren't built for mountain bikes, we also had some great fresh trail, high-speed descents, steeps, roots, wet rocks, and tight switchbacks that were closer to what most people ride on a more regular basis.
On steep terrain, the bike was very comfortable, easy to steer, predictable, and the suspension never felt overwhelmed. I think that the shorter travel made the bike easier to maneuver and finesse into and out of situations that a longer travel bike would feel bogged down in. It soaked up larger hits, and while it is evident that you don't have 140-150mm of travel, it's not in an uncomfortable way and was stable and balanced.
On higher speed sections of trail, the bike felt very smooth and the suspension felt active. It has a lot of small bump sensitivity, yet when it came to managing larger sections of chunder at speed it kept its composure. The 800mm wide bars, Minion DHF/DHR tire combo mounted on wide rims, and brakes that are up to the task of stopping the bike made me forget at times that the Trance 29 is a shorter travel trail bike than I typically would have chosen.First Impressions:
Forget about the Trance 29 for a moment and think about choosing the appropriate bike for the place you're going to be riding. If I was traveling to Santa Caterina and needed to choose a bike to bring, I would have chosen a 140-150mm all mountain bike, with little debate. Even if I'd seen the Trance 29's spec and geometry ahead of time I'm not sure it's a bike I would have picked for the trails we rode...
But that's why it's best to actually ride a bike before writing it off based solely on its numbers, and I can attest to the Trance 29 being a very versatile and capable bike, one that I would choose for riding in a large variety of locations on diverse terrain. It was a complete afterthought that the Trance had just 115mm of travel. It's nimble, quick, and yes, fun.
A couple days of riding is never enough to form a full opinion of a new bike, so there's a Trance 29 on the way for a long term review. I'm looking forward to getting it out on some familiar terrain to really put it to the test, so look for some updated thoughts once that happens.
There are lots of tire/rim and suspension options out now that cater to 29 and it makes more sense now.
It's just too bad about their marketing angle. Nothing to do with the product.
Giant's attempt at a29er trail bike sucked - I had a Trance X 29er, and man, going to a Process 111 was a big step up. Those bikes overlapped in the market by a bit. So when Giant abandoned 29ers because they wanted to standardize on 27.5, it was clear to everyone they were full of shit. The problem wasn't that short/mid travel 29ers necessarily sucked - it's that Giant seemed unable to make one that worked. Whether that's because of their suspension platform, or some other issue - fact is, others did it, and their response was a bunch of marketing BS. Color me unimpressed by them now telling us that two whole generations of ripping short travel aggressive 29ers only happened in our imagination...
The was when the Stumpjumper Evo 29 was around BTW. Giant made excuses for shit bikes then and they're doing the same now. "Oh we couldn't build a fun 29" without short offset". What a load of crap. Go ride a Evil Following, Stumpy, Fuel EX etc with 51mm offset and tell me they aren't fun.
I'm not surprised it's taken them this long to make another, given how bad the first one was.
"So, there are no 29er XC racing bikes for 2014?
· Anthem X 29er, XtC Advanced 29er and XtC Composite 29er will still be offered.
Will Giant follow this path throughout its DH range next year?
· Can’t answer that question directly, but you can imagine that if we believe so strongly in 27.5 for the majority of our range in 2014, you can guess what might happen in our future…
Can we expect to see 29 and 26-inch wheels eventually disappear in Giant's consumer-priced bikes in the near future?
· 26-inch for sure, but 29-inch will be dependent on market feedback. That said, if the market progresses the way we believe it will, 29-inch will be phased out in approximately two years....again, totally dependent on market feedback."
here's the link to the fateful Giant Press Release saying how much better 27.5 is!
But the gripe I have most, is that the top spec is priced at $8300USD, for DVO, X01 Eagle, RS Reverb and Giant Composite wheels (the crackers).
First Giant I've ever seen miss the pricing mark by such a margin!
Specialized hasn't changed its 'mind'.
They said point-blank that they're simply making 27.5's to meet customer demand, but they feel(know) that 29" is the better wheel size
and this one:
we love the sport we like to ride and have fun out in the bush.
we all have our favorite make / brand of bike, tiers, grips...
we had fun on 26" on 27.5 (we still do, funny but most EWS racers still use it and many normal riders too) and we have fun on 29ers
to put toxic words for evolution of products its a waist of riding time.
And no we don't have shares in the bike brands we like or ride.
Giant has made many legendary models and few shity models too, as any other brand. this is the way technology developing.
Go out and ride
Giant: "We built the bike around suspension kinematics and geo rather than travel. Blah blah blah..."
I'll still buy their road bikes even with OD2.
Remember the OD2 "take-over" on the MTN bike side of things?
Writing this was pure xtc....
Sorry, couldn't help myself
This bike actually looks like a well thought out mountain bike that you could bring to 90% of the trails you ride and have fun. Shame on Giant for making something that isn’t pigeonholed into PinkBike commenter’s “need” for (insert whatever geo degree or travel number or cutely color matched whatever here).
Another boring Giant that takes steps in the right direction, but stops short...to ensure they're not too edgy. Maybe my mom will like it.
Guess what camp I'm in???
The largest (and probably most advanced) frame mfg company should be able to do better than make a poor imitation of another brand’s bike.
Lots of other much more expensive brands look like they were welded together by a drunk horse in a garage by comparison.
Small boutique brands will always be the ones pushing limits and trying new things, some will work, lots will fail. brands like giant cant afford to try out new unproven tech when they sell more bikes than all the small brands combined. a lot of people (myself included) dont necessarily want a bike with a 50 degree head angle and 3 meters of reach, we just want a solid bike that's fun.
Feel that Giant get a unjustified hard time on here. Well made, light, fairly simple bikes at a decent price. Isn't that what many PB commenters are asking for after the latest review of a £6000 super bike?
Does anyone proof read around here?
Everyone else seems to have done just fine...
Mostly though, I'm excited to see a Sapphire 34 in the wild. Will the fork get a full stand alone review?
What was this technological breakthrough that finally allowed them to manufacture this pinnacle of 29" bike design?
These smaller companies come and go while Giant remains the largest bike manufacturer on the planet. Most companies would kill an intern to have the kind of numbers Giant enjoys. They also don't make anything they won't stand behind for a decade or more, so yes, technology plays a part in making a bike you are happy with that you will also back for life. Trunnion mount shocks, carbon layup, forged carbon rockers, weight to strength ratios that make it worth it for them and us to make and ride.
I imagine Giant sits back and watches all of the companies that build bikes in Giant's factories and lets them make their mistakes and waste their money and time on chasing trends, and NOW they are ready to put out a bike like this.
Alu model with carbon wheels 30mm inner 1 X.....for 3K US
I am now after last years 2 purchases of Trance 2 and Talon I am a total Giant fan and my Jamaica tour stock will the growing in a Giant way!
My guess is Giant's distribution network allows them to do some things others can't and the bean counters take that into the equation.
Also, the spiel about short shaft length on the rear is bogus. We all know that it is optimal to have more travel in the shock to have smoother suspension.
Do you know who makes the "component brands" wheels, bars, stems, etc? I can in fact tell you they mostly come from the same few factories.
Guess I picked the wrong week to stop sniff'n glue.
Aside from that little nagging issue with geometry, the rest of the bike looks good like a shiny Evil. DVO fork +++
Too fat and cheap for carbon hoops...
IMO 25mm rims fit 2.3-2.4 tires just fine, and I don't see myself going for bigger rubber on this kind of bike.
I'm really just butthurt that bikes are so expensive and if you go lower end you make sacrifices I don't think you should have to on a $3k bike.
I also know from experience the upgrade to a wider rim is very noticeable as soon as you start pedaling!
All article who start with the word 29" is bullshit
--Giant has a 66.5 deg HA, the Process has 68
--Giant has longer reach across all sizes (except the XL size, which is indeed strange that it flip-flops there)
--Giant ST angle is 1/2 deg steeper
--Giant wheelbase is longer across all sizes
--Giant fork offset shorter by 2mm
This Giant is much more "modern" than a 2014 Process 111.
still not buying it. i'd rather reward the companies that take risks on pushing the geometry in new directions instead of sitting back like giant does and waiting to see which way the wind is blowing, then attempting to compete simply via price
You can't be less fit than me so whats you're excuse?
You climbed 4800m in 1 day on your Reign.
Or you descended 4800m with your saddle up.
Neither makes much sense.
4800m?!? Hmmm, that’s a heck of a lot for one day even if you are fit, strong and on a road bike. You must quite an athlete.
plus i love that bike with exception of the 1 degree too slack seatangle.
The bike probably rides well but it’s kinda ugly.