Review: Giant Trance 2

Jul 2, 2018 at 0:12
by Richard Cunningham  
Giant's Trance has been the brand's go-to trail bike for decades. The secret to the longevity of this 140-millimeter-travel all-mountain bike is a long string of improvements, which have made the Trance as reliable as a three-pound hammer.

The aluminum-framed Trance 2 is the subject of this review as a continuation of my search for top-performing all-mountain bikes with MSRPs at or below $3000 USD. Giant's sticker price for the Trance 2 is $2890, and it is very well spec'd, with an emphasis upon durability. After riding it for a number of months, I'd say it's a great value for riders (with or without skills) who want an affordable "needs nothing" all-mountain bike that can be trusted on any trail short of a DH run.
Giant Trance 2 Details

• Intended use: AM/trail
• Travel: 140mm rear / 150mm front
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Frame construction: Aluminum, dual-link Maestro suspension
• Head angle: 67º
• Chainstay length: 435mm
• Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 29.8 lb (13.55 kg) size large, w/o pedals
• Price: $2,890 USD as tested
• More info: Giant Bicycles

bigquotesGiant's Trance 2 doesn't wow you with zesty parking lot acceleration and manicured pumptrack pop. It has a steadfast feel that plays well in the real world of ever-changing terrain and uncertain line choices.




Giant Trance 2 2018
A look at the bottom bracket area of the Trance 2. The lower shock mount and the bottom rocker link pivots are concentric. The lower rocker hinges well forward of the BB center - a Maestro suspension hallmark.


Construction and Features

Giant's Trance cuts such a familiar profile that many readers will probably skip this description, but stay with me for a while, because it still checks the boxes. To begin with, there's room for a downtube bottle, which is a contemporary issue. Its Maestro dual-link rear suspension is tucked low in the chassis to keep the mass closer to the bottom bracket, and its upper rocker link is carbon fiber, which maximizes stiffness without adding bulk where the rider's shoes, the crankarms, and the rear tire are competing for space.

Giant makes and shapes its frame tubing, which is evident everywhere, especially in the rear of the bike where every pipe that makes up the swingarm has been slenderized, ovalized, or squeezed into a rectangular profile to eke out the last millimeter of tire clearance. It works. There is room for tires up to 2.6 inches, and the standard 2.4-inch-wide Maxxis High Rollers look skinny inside the stays. Giant's mastery of aluminum construction is also evident where double pass welds smooth tube junctions, and brazed reinforcements around the internal cable and hose ports add a professional look.

Giant has no plans to return to a threaded bottom bracket shell but, hold your tears, the Trance uses Shimano's BB92 system, which is by far the most reliable, quiet, and easily serviced press-fit bottom bracket on the market. I wouldn't consider that to be a deal breaker, especially when one considers that the Trance chassis carries a lifetime warranty.

Giant Trance 2 2018
Carbon fiber upper rocker link uses a special "forged" process.
Giant Trance 2 2018
Creative tube forming offers plenty of room for wide tires out back.


Geometry & Sizing

Giant offers the Trance 2 in five sizes, from X-small, through X-large, with ample stand-over clearance between models to allow customers to trade up or down a size in order to shop reach or top tube length. That may be a good thing for riders who have made the jump to steep seat tube angles. The Trance has an old-school, 73.5-degree seat tube. By pushing the saddle forward, you can steepen the effective seat angle by one more degree, but at the expense of a proportionately shorter reach. Shopping up a size can remedy that.

Measured by modern rider-forward geometry, which is quickly taking root in the upper echelon of the sport, Giant's 67-degree head angle seems cross-country steep, but it still slots into the all-mountain/trail category. Its bottom bracket drop is 15 millimeters, which lowers the Trance into the pedal bashing club. I'm not a fan, but it should corner well. Most bikes with low bottom brackets do. I found that the reach was ample, but once again, on the conservative side of new-school enduro bro numbers.

Trance 2 geometry


Giant Trance 2 2018


Suspension Design

Giant staked its future on its Maestro dual-link rear suspension, which has earned a strong fan base for its ability to track the ground under power. The kinematics minimize chain growth and, as that suggests, the suspension does not rely on loads of anti-squat for its pedaling efficiency. Instead, Maestro does a good job of separating pedaling effects from the suspension action. The result is a softer feeling under acceleration than you'd expect from its dw-link cousins, but with superior efficiency over choppy terrain. Need a firmer feel at the pedals? Switch the low-speed compression lever to suit.

Like most short-link four-bar designs, the Trance's swingarm is a stiff, triangulated structure, which is a major plus, The downside, however, is there are a lot of tubes and bridges between the rear tire and the bottom bracket area that cramp tire clearance, and also can add length to the chainstays. Giant mitigates those negatives with a forward-mounted lower pivot and with a lot of metal trickery that stems from its in-house hydro-forming magic. As a result, its chainstays are short enough, at 435 millimeters (17.1 inches), to keep the rear tire weighted up climbs, and there is enough room for tires up to 2.6 inches.

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Trance 2 models are outfitted with a 150-millimeter-stroke Fox 34 Rhythm fork. Its GRIP damper system gives this enthusiast-level slider impressive performance. Out back, the Fox Float Performance trunnion-style shock is an adequate performer, but definitely not the equal to the fork. Where the Rhythm fork delivers smooth damping and support across a range of speeds and amplitudes, I had reservations about the ability of the simple in-line shock to be able to handle the same Performance range. My previous experience with the Trance was that I had to set the shock to favor one side of the performance envelope. To keep from blowing through the travel on big hits, I had to kill the small bump sensitivity and vice versa.


Components
Specifications
Release Date 2018
Price $2890
Travel 140mm
Rear Shock Fox Float Performance, Trunnion mount
Fork Fox 34 Rhythm, GRIP Damper, 150mm
Headset Generic
Cassette Shimano SLX 11x46, 11-Speed
Crankarms Shimano SLX, 30T
Chainguide NA
Bottom Bracket Shimano press-fit
Pedals NA
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX 11 speed
Chain KMC X11
Front Derailleur NA
Shifter Pods Shimano SLX
Handlebar Giant Connect Trail, 780mm
Stem Giant Connect 50mm
Grips Giant lock on
Brakes Shimano SLX, 180mm rotors F/R
Wheelset Giant Performance Tracker,
Hubs Giant
Spokes Sapim Race, 14/15g
Rim Giant XC-1, 23mm IW
Tires Maxxis High Roller II, 2.4" EXO
Seat Giant Contact, Neutral
Seatpost Giant Contact Switch dropper, 150mm



Giant Trance 2 2018
150-millimeter-stroke Fox 34 Rhythm fork







Setup Notes

Getting the Trance 2 ready for action is a simple affair. The only suspension adjustments are air pressure and low-speed rebound damping. The Trance comes setup for tubeless, with two bottles of sealant in the box. Its 780 millimeter wide house brand handlebar is just right for most all-mountain riders, so all that is necessary to get the bike rolling is to set the suspension sag, get the rebound in the ballpark and choose a tire pressure.

My initial settings? 22psi for the front tire, 24psi for the rear (2.4-inch tires); 175psi in the shock with the rebound six clicks out; and 62psi in the fork with the rebound four clicks out. Those suspension settings resulted in 20-percent sag for the fork and a little more than 25 percent sag for the shock, and were great for trail riding and technical climbing.

At speed, however, and when pounding down gravity trails, the shock was easily overwhelmed. (For the record, I weigh 170 pounds.) I experimented with higher shock and fork spring pressures, eventually settling on a compromise: 180psi in the shock and 70 psi in the fork - low enough to maintain the suppleness that makes this bike roll so well in the rough stuff, and high enough so that I wasn't bottoming the shock too much at speed.

Giant Trance 2 2018
Low gearing and Maestro's decoupled rear suspension favors rock crawling and technical climbs.


Climbing

The Trance's 11 by 46 eleven-speed cassette is powered by a small, 30-tooth chainring, which results in a low gear that is within a percentage point of a SRAM Eagle 50-tooth cassette, powered by a 32-tooth chainring. Kudos to Giant for spec'ing a climbing gear that doesn't require pro-level fitness. The Trance 2 weighs about 30 pounds even and its Maestro suspension does not feel very snappy under acceleration, so the decision to err on the climbing side of the gear range makes long, tough climbs digestible - sometimes pleasant. The Trance does not reward frenetic, out-of-the saddle attacks. Stay seated, choose a low gear, find a steady cadence, and it will make short work of significant climbs.

Technical chunky terrain is where the Giant impresses most. Its calm handling and supple rear suspension help maintain momentum where many trail bikes would be stalling on sharp-edged steps or scratching around for traction. Its rear wheel seems to get up and over the chunk without upsetting the rider's cadence, and I found tat I was choosing straighter lines and making fewer errors. On the subject of steeps, I think its technical climbing could be further improved with a steeper seat angle.

The downside of the Trance's stump-puller low gear is that you'll spin out that Shimano SLX 11 by 30 top gear in less than a dozen pedal strokes on the flats. You'll need to practice your aero tuck if you want to stay with SRAM-equipped riders on a fire road descent.

Giant Trance 2 2018


Descending

After I got used to it, the Trance became very trustworthy on the downs. The steering felt loose initially, and I had to be careful not to over-correct in the turns, and to steady the handlebar anytime I needed to hold a tight line (trying to stay left of a long, deep, parallel rut comes to mind here). I've ridden a number of 27.5-inch-wheel bikes with similar head angles and Fox's 44-millimeter offset that did not feel as loose. Ultimately, it was not a concern. I can't say what I did to make the adjustment, but after a week, the Trance and I found some middle ground and the sensation nearly vanished.

With its relatively conservative, 67-degree head angle, the Trance flies around berms but gives up a little stability around flat corners, where slacker head tube angles are more favorable. Armed with 2.4-inch Maxxis High Roller II tires, the Giant likes to edge its way around a turn with both wheels gripping about the same. Where the rear tire of a slacker bike will almost always break traction first, the Trance breaks more or less evenly, which is the faster way around a corner, but less confidence inspiring. The up-side of the Trance's neutral break is that it gets from left to right and back again with great precision, which makes it a joy to ride on narrow, fast paced singletrack. Riding forest tracks is guaranteed to keep a smile on your face.

Giant Trance 2 2018
The Trance likes to track around corners rather than steer with its rear wheel.


As mentioned, it's not too hard to use up all 140 millimeters of wheel travel at the bottom of drops and G-outs, but the sensation is never harsh enough to break your stride on a steep descent. The Trance 2 lands smoothly from any jump you'd find on a blue line trail and the bike stays composed on black-line descents as long as you pay attention and pick your lines with care. What I liked most about its technical skills was that, as long as there was a clean run-out, I could let it fly down chunky drops with a degree of confidence. The bike stays straight and composed under braking, and its front suspension is very forgiving.

Most of the bikes I have been riding lately have rims around 30 millimeters inside-width. Giant's aluminum XC-1 rims measure 23 millimeters and the reduced stability of the tires can be felt, both while cornering and when holding a line through off-angle rocks. Additional pressure is required to boost the tire's lateral stability, which would be unnecessary with a wider rim selection.



Diamondback Release 3 review
Diamondback Release 3
Giant Trance 2 2018
Giant Trance 2

How does it compare?

The best bike to pit Giant's Trace 2 against would be the recently reviewed Diamondback Release 3. Both sell for the same money. Both bikes are targeted at aggressive all-mountain/trail riders and both are well-spec'd, need-nothing designs.

The Release edges out the Trance for pedaling and acceleration, and the two bikes are on par for technical climbing. Both fall short with old-school, slack seat angles (Giant - 73.5 and Diamondback - 73 degrees), which is something I hope both brands will address. In the steering department, the Release wins with a more precise feel and a modern, 66-degree head angle. Both models have lower gearing, which is a plus, but the Giant's Maxxis High Roller tires trump the Diamondback's less than stellar Schwalbe Hans Dampf rubber. If you need a water bottle, you won't like the fact that you'll have to store it under the frame on your Release, but there's plenty of room inside the frame on the Trance.

Weighing suspension and handling together, the Diamondback may suffer with only 130 millimeters of rear-wheel travel against the Giant's 140, but the Release's RockShox Monarch Plus reservoir shock is the better performer. That said, if you upgraded the Trance's shock, you'd have more and better travel... In the handling department, the two are evenly matched as all-mountain trail bikes, with the Release being the better choice for more aggressive riding.


Technical Report

Maxxis 2.4" High Roller II tires: At one time, these were my favorites for Southern California's loose-over hardpack soil and rocky terrain, but there are better options now. The additional volume is a noticeable improvement, but the extra grip that the more supple casing adds to the mix can overwhelm the once mighty edging blocks in a hard corner.

Giant Control Switch dropper: The 150-millimeter version of Giant's house-brand dropper was a little slow to extend and its radial remote lever, and a little rough in its action, but it never failed to do its job.

Frame quality: Giant built the Trance 2 chassis to last. If you are the type who keeps a bike until its recycling value exceeds its blue-book price, this one is for you.

Fox 34 Rhythm fork: Sweet performing fork with simple, effective adjustments. The GRIP damper surprised me with its wide-range damping and support.

SLX drivetrain: I liked the even shifts across the smaller cassette cogs, but the last three jumps to the largest sprockets were awkward when I was pushing hard up steep trails. I'm looking forward to the next gen Shimano. Until then, I'd rather ride SRAM's wide range drivetrains.
Giant Trance 2 2018
Giant's 150mm Contact Switch dropper Seatpost.

Giant Trance 2 2018
Shimano's SLX drivetrain was trouble free.
Giant Trance 2 2018
Fox's 34 Rhythm fork put in an impressive performance.



Pros

+ Well made, good component spec
+ Good technical climber
+ Fits a water bottle inside the front triangle
Cons

- Pedal smacking BB height
- Narrow rims
- Conservative geometry



The Trance 2 Rider:

Giant's Trance 2 doesn't wow you with zesty parking lot acceleration and manicured pumptrack pop. It has a steadfast feel that plays well in the real world of ever-changing terrain and uncertain line choices. If you are searching for an all-mountain bike, only have $3000, and you know that you will be riding this bike for the foreseeable future, Giant's Trance has solid, all 'round handling, a durable and capable parts selection, and a chassis that will go the distance without a whimper. If you are a new-school rider who goes big and wants a bike that can double down for longer trail rides, the Trance 2 may fall short on the pointy end of your expectations.



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotes Giant rarely disappoints when it comes to quality, performance and price. The Trance 2 lives up to all three of those attributes, and while its profile may be iconic, its suspension and handling still check all the boxes. It's the kind of bike you throw on your car rack and road-trip the pilgrim trails with - Moab, Squamish, Mammoth, Pisgah, Downieville - the stuff you need a real mountain bike for. RC








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155 Comments

  • + 94
 I think these kind of bikes are perfect for most riders, not too aggressive and well balanced. I have finally come to the conclusion that slacker is not necessarily better for where I ride and a bike with these kind of geo numbers would be up my street, a kind of go anywhere bike. A mountain bike!
  • + 22
 For years I’d been up-forking bikes and putting in offset bushings. I think a 67 degree HT angle, give or take a degree, is great for an all-round rig that’ll spend more of its life picking through right, choppy terrain than killing park days. Just gotta be realistic with what you’re actually spending most of your time doing.

I reach for my trance or habit near the end of any day I spend in the park anyways. Flow trails are a ton less work on a bike like this!
  • - 34
flag fecalmaster (2 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 Did they make more than 30 bikes this year?
  • + 14
 Totally agree. I chose this bike over going all out on a Reign Advanced and don't regret it at all. The Reign is an amazing bike at what it does but my riding would limit the bike! The Trance is still a beast at descending but is still a strong climber. Best bike I've had in a long time. Volume spacers are a must though!
  • + 6
 I've had a Trance 2 for four years. Bulletproof bike which has done everything from 50km road races to all day epics to full seasons of gravity enduro, and everything in between. The way the tires break evenly actually makes cornering a grin-inducing and incredibly quick exercise. Takes a little while to get used to, but once you've got it in your system that it will do it consistently every time, it's all go from there. RC is right about the low level shock, they have done that on every Trance 2 model for about the last century and it is a weak point which you can spend a lot of time on finding a compromise that works. It is the only thing you would really need to upgrade though!
  • + 3
 Love my 16 trance sx. 66 ha, wider rims, better fork and shock, etc. With trances you need to run less sag to make it more poppy and better for charging. The fact that the reviewer had bb height issues and said it stuck to the ground kind of confirms that. I run mine at around 20 percent sag and it feels very efficient, yet still supple enough.
  • + 3
 @samjobson: Holdup. Road races on a Trance? Did you swap the tires?
  • - 14
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 K DEN
  • - 16
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 59 OF YALLL HAVE BIG DUMB
  • - 15
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 @samjobson: BOIIIII DDIS BIKE AINT BEEN OUT 4 YEARS
  • - 2
 @Joelukens00: mate the Trance has barely changed for about 10 years. Same ride characteristics for the last 5.
  • + 1
 @AvidTrailRider: yeah nicked the 2.1 Ikons off my hardtail. Was still hard work though!
  • + 1
 Frame looks like it got dipped into hot boiling water for 10 minutes. Like a spaghetti.
  • + 1
 @chyu: the large alu looks dumb. the medium and the composite look way better
  • + 23
 For ‘19, giant has been speccing wider rims on their bikes for increased tire support - they air up tubeless even easier. All their carbon models come with in-house ~1600gram 30mm internal wheels, with DT Star drivers on the top spec options. On this particular model, I’d worry about the wheels only if you’re going for that 2.6 size, and the cockpit if you’re particulars tall.

I feel that the rear suspension is valved for people 160 on the smaller sizes, which may not be perfect, but there’s a good level of support at 20-25% sag for me to do plenty of flow or properly technical dh trails. Having ridden this exact model with a super deluxe rc3, it didn’t blow me away, so I think the fox unit in the rear isn’t a bad choice. DVO topaz with the bladder/negative spring adjustability would be a good fit for the rear as an upgrade down the line.

SL seatpost is a reliable enough cartridge unit, and I’ve found that under proper cable tension, every unit has been overly fast to extend, never a slow option unless there was a sticking plunger or kinked cable.

I have 5-6 guys who ride this exact spec or a different trance from the same year...all agree that this is the best “one bike” they’ve used. I think I feel extra comfortable on the trance since the geometry and handling characteristics are really similar to the 2008 reign I ran for a while, which was the bike I progressed on the most.

One used this for a full season of park riding while his gf used his DH bike to get into the sport. Pretty much no maintenance done, never really taken care of, and at the end of the season the B.B. bearings were frozen and the purge/bath oil in the 34 was a bit dirty (please stop hosing down everything on your bike)

Another taco’ed the rear wheel wheel landing completely sideways (and flat). Giant helped him out with a crash replacement wheel for 150$ - their top level aluminum trail wheel, with a side of extra tubeless tape.

A third rides the 5k midspec Carbon model. Legitimately zero complaints about it as his sole mountain bike.

#4 had the stock deluxe r model with a knock in it on his trance3. Damper unit had come unscrewed inside and blew up upon disassembly, SRAM had a super deluxe rc3 on the bike in 3 days.


The pivots are built to last, the frame is burly, and giant has excellent customer service. Giant may be conservative on parts spec and geometry numbers, but their bikes slowly get better year to year. Never really cutting their teeth on the newest of trends, but all their bikes show a careful attention to detail on the spec and value for money standpoint. And, here’s hoping that their partnership with DVO continues in the coming years...them, giant, and sram have the easiest customer support to deal with in my experience - professional, insightful, and generally up-spec their replacements when needed.
  • - 8
flag SeaHag (2 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 GIANT has excellent customer service? Not in my experience. When two out of three frame replacements took over four months to complete, I call it a failure. Now part of that may be the poor support I got from my local GIANT dealer, ultimately it comes down to the factory and how fast they pull the trigger on shipping that replacement out. I had to call repeatedly to check in with my dealer; who then would call corporate and remind them we were waiting....

I'm done with the brand for good now.
  • + 12
 @SeaHag: Giant have fantastic customer service.
  • + 2
 @Grealdo: Maybe in the Uk, here in Oz it is shocking. Dealers here are shit and the distributor sucks too. I will never buy a giant again for that reason.
  • + 14
 Giant replaced a mate's well-used 2011 Reign frame replaced a couple of months ago... after some cracks appeared in the welds at the chainstays. 7 years and they stood behind it - can't ask for better.
  • + 8
 You are just wrong. Giant has amazing service. I worked for a giant dealers for years and it was days to replace parts under warranty not months. Sounds like user error or aditude had a big part in your issues @SeaHag:
  • + 4
 @SeaHag:
Hate to say it, but it has a lot more to do with your shop if it’s components/frame.

Their warranty turnaround time in terms of initial response to a claim has always been 24hrs. For accessory warranties or crash replacement stuff, it can be quite a bit slower. So much of the claim service is dependent on the shops relationship with giant and in what kind of standing they’re in.
  • + 4
 @Grealdo: Giant just warrantied the carbon rim on my '17 Reign Advanced no questions asked. Might have helped that I had a fairly innocuous incident captured on GoPro but they still got a new wheel out to me pronto. Pretty sure I was technically outside of the wheel warranty too. Third Giant bike and I'd definitely get another. PS love the Reign but if I'm totally honest it's too good and too fast for me.
  • + 0
 @SeaHag: snaggle tooth sea hag lips all blistered
  • + 19
 'narrow rims' - same width as the hope enduros I run. It's amazing my bike is even rideable!
  • + 6
 @milanboez: The push for/to wider rims by the marketing departments is utterly laughable. Verging on criminal in some cases
  • + 5
 They could have just put 2.3" tires on this bike and it would have been perfect.
Of course 2.3" tires are unrideable....
  • - 8
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 wELl iF yOU REaD tHE pInKBIKE aRtICLe On wIdE rIMS u WOuLD kNOW U r wRONG
  • + 12
 I rode this bike and the carbon SC 5010 back to back over 3 days in Sedona.

Both size small, similar build, with same front Rhythm fork (but different travel).

On my scale (.2 lb increments, same heavy pedals on both bikes), the 5010 weighed 29.8 lb, the Trance weighed 30.2 lb. A small carbon Switchblade weighed 30.4 lb.

The OE-compound HR2 tires were awful--for my second day on the Trance I swapped out the front tire for my own maxxgrip DHF. Other than that, the bikes were really quite similar. The 5010 was a hair more efficient and the Trance a hair more compliant. The Trance killed it in the rain on the Hogs (with the DHF), but I had to walk the 100-foot crux section on Hiline (too scary from behind the handlebars).

If the bikes were the same price it would be a coin toss. At their actual prices, you'd have to be sponsored, a lunatic, or a fanboy to choose the SC over the Trance.
  • + 4
 I’ve had a similar experience with the 5010...the respective 5000$ mid-tier builds are totally different after riding both. Carbon wheels, dpx2, fit damper on the giant. If you’re looking for a dual-link bike, can’t go wrong with the giant. At this point, I don’t think the SC frame is worth the extra $$. Giant does keep the cost down by keeping the alu rear end on the 27.5 trance though

The build here honestly doesn’t give up a whole ton in performance to the higher spec carbon models either, which is great
  • + 1
 @parkourfan: you would have to compare the Trance Advanced I think
  • + 2
 @madmon:
5000$ is the trance advanced.
  • + 0
 @parkourfan: this bike is alu
  • + 3
 @madmon:
Like I said in my first comment, the “respective” 5k builds. Aka the trance advanced and the Bronson c from giant and SC, respectively
  • + 10
 This is a Call for Giant:
Where Is all your 29ers?
Accept for the anthem, i haven't seen any. which is a real pity considering how many people love 29ers...
what's up?????????????
  • + 17
 I think a reign 29er would be badass
  • + 9
 Easier to market 650b(s) than design a 29er with chainstays under 470mm
  • + 1
 I guess they believe their own corporate pseudoscience claiming 27.5 is all you need. I was a long time Giant customer but switched brands because of this.
  • + 10
 29er Trance will be released within a week. Expect it's 130 front/115 rear... Was hoping for a 140front/130rear.
  • + 4
 @CertifiedUser: Giant gonna be joining Spesh with a new bike standard... backpedaling! Big Grin
  • + 1
 @CertifiedUser: How do you know ?
  • + 1
 @Whipperman: forums.mtbr.com/giant/giant-bikes-2019-rumors-predictions-discussion-1073341.html Giant trade shows are on this week, normally release is straight after.
  • + 2
 @CertifiedUser:
If you’ve ridden any of the ‘18 carbon anthem 29’s with 90mm of rear travel, I’d thought that those bikes with an inch more travel, tire clearance, and a dropper post would make close to the perfect trail bike. Those bikes feel straight up plush and bottomless compared to any other bike in that travel bracket. Really sensitive off the top, and theyre always let down by the fork no matter what. Giant nailed it with the suspension on the anthem so I bet the new trance will be a killer ride!

Also, somebody on that site really doesn’t know what an embargo is huh...
  • + 2
 Jeff Lenosky hinted to me that a Trance 29er is in the works. At least that's what I interpreted, haha!
  • - 1
 @Spark24: What have Specialized backpedalled on?
  • + 3
 @jclnv: Dear god. For example - they were the loudest anti-29er mfgr right up until they weren't.
  • + 0
 @CarlMega: Actually they were one of the first mainstream manufacturers to build 29" bikes. They were also the first to make an aggressive (Stumpjumper Evo) 29". And they also had the Enduro 29" years before other manufacturers had a long travel 29".

I think you might be thinking 650b which they were vocally critical of.
  • + 2
 @ashfuel: They never said that did they?

Oh... m.youtube.com/watch?v=pHDEzZ6u2ps
  • + 0
 @jclnv: they were the last big guys to adopt 27.5"... They believed 26" or 29" was they way... Till they succumbed!
  • + 3
 @Spark24: Which is what I said.

They had no option to use 650b when fork manufacturers began discontinuing 26" options.

29" are winning WC DH races, the best riding trail bikes are 29". Seems Specialized were bang on.
  • + 11
 Can't beat a classic. This is the bike I advise to my friends who want to leave XC bikes and try some AM.
  • - 23
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 This is literally a rental bike. People like you make me question my own existence
  • + 6
 @Joelukens00: Do you only ride park with your Ellsworth ?
  • + 8
 My mate has one and it’s awesome. Just as good as my slightly older reign. Aaaaaaaaand you could trust the spec all day long.
  • - 18
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 No way. I DO NOT trust that spec all day long. Only for about an hour a day
  • + 4
 @Joelukens00: just ride it for 45 mins a day, then you’ll accrue loads of spare 15minute slots which you can whack together for an epic ride every now and then. Hope that helps! :-)
  • + 4
 @Joelukens00: All day, every day, for 4 & 1/2 months in the Caribbean.. no problems.
  • - 11
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 @madmon: stop
  • + 7
 Did you save it in that last photo RC? I'd be headed fora dirt nap there....
  • + 1
 Looks so gnarly!
  • + 2
 Will be checking the MTB fails here and GMBN :-)
  • + 1
 Sometimes you just gotta send it
  • + 3
 I’ve owned two Giants: two Reign Xs ‘09, ‘11 and my current Trance 1.5LTD. All I can say is, in terms of value, it punches way above its weight! Only gripe I have with the Trance is the low BB height but that’s what the bashguard is for right Wink
  • + 3
 Spot on with the low BB complaints. I own a 2017 Trance 2. Loads of technical granite trails where I ride. Within the first few weeks I broke the original chain slamming it into granite. I realised you HAVE to run a bashgaurd. There's no getting around it. I've kinda learned to unweight the bike at the right times to help make it over technical stuff without scraping my bash guard. But I'll be looking for a bike with a higher BB whenever it's time to replace.
  • + 2
 I had the same issue when I went to a Transition Scout...same trails I would normally ride but suddenly having pedal strikes. I raised the fork from 140 to 150....problem solved
  • + 2
 so, in essence, you learned to ride properly?
  • + 2
 @nvranka: yep..you know it all. I suck. Thank you
  • + 0
 @GlassGuy: wasn't talking you guy
  • + 7
 WTF is he doing in that last photo?!?!
  • + 3
 I don't want to know. Is that how all tests are performed? Do this line 20 times to know if a bike stacks up?
  • + 3
 @makripper: I'd hope the people writing bike reviews are more capable riders than he appears to be from that photo.
  • + 3
 @skelldify: WTF is he doing in that corner? God I miss Team Robot. He would tear this review to absolute f*cking pieces. Its like my Dad who has biked 5 days in his life decided to write a review...
  • + 6
 Clean, Under 3k. This is much more of what people will be riding out on the trails... I would give it a shot.
  • + 3
 I really liked the previous Trance - same geo, but with 140mm fork, so you were able to slacken the head angle and lift the BB slightly by extending the fork to 150. You can't do that any more with the 150 (and the 160m 36 a-c is the same as the 150mm 34, meaning you end up lower and steeper when sagged). I really rate the Trance, but reckon Giant missed the opportunity to be a little more progressive here.
  • + 1
 Wish I could lift the BB on my current 2018 Trance 1, sits too low. Pedal strikes are an issue even changing to 170mm cranks and the chainring striking on slow log rollovers.
  • + 5
 @CertifiedUser: Putting 175's on medium sized and up is ridiculous, trail bikes should come with 170mm or even 165.
  • + 1
 @heinous: Totally agree.
  • + 1
 agreed, i've got a 2016, threw on a 150mm pike, DHR2's, bigger brakes and its a super fun do-it all bike.
  • + 3
 >With its relatively conservative, 67-degree head angle, the Trance flies around berms but gives up a little stability around flat corners, where slacker head tube angles are more favorable.

Um, what now?

Slack is not favorable for flat corners. XC bikes, that are design to handle flat corners all have steep head angles. You want more weight on the front to grip and turn.
  • - 13
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 IM SORRY I DIDNT REALIZE YOU WERE A FLAT CORNER GENIUS. PLEAAASE WRITE THESE REVIEWS FROM NOW ON BECAUSE YOU ARE SOOOOOOO SMART.
  • + 1
 @Joelukens00:

Dude, you just plain suck.
  • + 6
 Yes sure a capable bike, that most would discount for no good reason other than not cool?
  • + 2
 i wonder if they think about how my uncool my bike is when they're trying to catch meSmile
  • + 3
 I bought one in December and rode the shit out of it in Jamaica for just under 5 months.
I am buying a lot more of them.
EVERY rider who rode this bike on my tours adored it including sponsored riders on sweet machines. NO complaints and ZERO tech issues over the 4 & 1/2 months on the trails and in the jungle.
I did replace the rear tyre with an Aggressor after extracting the HR2 rubber and it had 20 thorns in it and still holding air.
I am a Shimano dude and the 11 speed was spot on along with the SLX brakes. The Fox Rhythm fork is off the hook for the price point. The wheel set impressed me and I have been a dedicated SX rider for as long as Mavic has been building them.
9.5/10 Giant!

here's a link to my Jamaican Touring Trance 2 rental.
www.pinkbike.com/photo/15893389

ZionBikeJamaica.com
  • + 2
 If you hitting your pedals on obstacles and blaming your BB height.
You might try improving your riding skills.
Paying attention to foot position is very important.
My spesh Enduro has. 12.5 BB height.
I don't bash the pedals .
Sitting on your bike for teck climbing?
Good luck with that.
  • + 1
 The trance has a slightly higher BB than that and I don’t have an issue with B.B. or chainring strikes. The occasional pedal clip when I do something stupid, and the New England rocky tech here has plenty of small gaps and big rocks to get through.

Plus, the iscg tabs and direct mount front der. on this bike give you options for chain retention or a bash guard that other bikes don’t.
  • + 2
 I am sure Richard has plenty of "riding skills" and does not need a 12.5" BB to be able to corner a bike :-) LOL.
  • + 1
 This Test area being one of my favorite places to ride, I’ll tell you hitting your pedals has little to do with riding skill. RC picked a place that will run any bike thru the gauntlet of attracting rock hits or not. A great test selection for sorting out the bikes for us. For me, my Santa Cruz TBLTc had constant pedal strikes there, but my new Ibis Ripmo (with custom 170mm cranks) is vertualy free of pedal striking.
  • + 4
 Love my 2014 Trance, but disappointed to read that RC likes the bike's climbing chops. I guess I have to stop blaming the bike.
  • - 9
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 PLEASE be quiet
  • + 2
 @Joelukens00: no u
  • + 2
 " Pedal smacking BB height" Does not even list the BB height? Sure it's in the very low 13" range or lower.

I just don't get having such a low BB on a "trail" bike?? Get a very small cornering benefit and completely sacrifice all technical pedaling capabilities??
  • + 3
 BB height is right around 13 unsagged.

I really don’t have issues pedaling through technical stuff with this frame.
  • + 2
 It sounds like very little has changed since my 2013 Reign. Rear suspension requires more air than you think it will, seat angle too slack. Bike is shorter in the reach department and steeper in the head angle than the competition. All that said, I loved that bike.
  • + 1
 Happy to see a review on this bike. I can atone to the low BB in relation to pedal strikes. After getting thrown OTB's three times I had to make some changes. Put a 160mm Fox 36, DPX2, and 5mm shorter cranks on. Since those changes problems solved. The Trance 2 is a solid all around bike that's for sure.
  • + 1
 Having demoed one recently in Valemount, on a mix of technical and flowy jump trails, I don't really get this catergory of bike. It was so much less capable than my Patrol and yet didn't offer up much for weight savings or enhanced climbing ability. Why not go for the extra travel and ability to kick ass when you want?
  • + 1
 Got the wife last spring when they brought out the new frame when she was ready to graduate from basic hardtails to something with some more flavor. Her's is an "Canadian Market Only" Trance 4. (Its a Trance 3 with SR suspension and no dropper), For her that splits time between road riding and trail riding she loves that bike. Shes not a biking feen and won't stress over things and is a big fan of if it is not broke then don't replace it. That bike checks ever box for her, it was cheap, capable, and is ready to grow with her skills.

For people that would just like to hit the trails and don't need Gucci grade parts and just want the bike to work I think the answer is the Trance.

Also, FWIW, The Trance was the first bike she has ever kept for more than a single season... So if there an extra points for that..
  • - 7
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 GUCCI GUCCI GUCCI ERRYTHANG GUCCI. P.S. can you tell me more about your wife? seems like a nice woman
  • + 1
 Exactly, I love my Trance. High volume production of light weight alu frame that I can source parts for anywhere basically, if I would need to (compared to boutique frames, where on one occasion I was stuck without a working bike in the alps...). However, I only needed to check alignment after being hit by a car... still holding up after two seasons, with around 150 riding days per year. Running coil both rear and front, maintenance free almost (open bath fork)!
Maybe it would be cool with more of a rearward axle path, but I kind of like being able to compress into turns feeling the bike tracking a sharper radius. Plus, external cable routing of brake line, for easy swapping.
The only gripe I have is that the seat tube is a bit long, and now it seems they've made it even longer?! I think I will cut mine down actually, finally.
  • + 1
 SLX drivetrain, Fox, nice wide bar combo, wheels are ok, dropper worked sweet and NO side play, Tubeless HR2..................................................priceless
  • + 1
 Perfect timing on this review.

Coming off a 2010 Giant Reign (L). Getting into a 2018 Trance 2 (L).

Got two demo rides under my belt. Don’t have the bike yet.

Couple of initial impressions:
-stock grips need to go. Got big hands so like them fatties (Rouge)
-stock seat has no cushion. Unless you like rectal exams, WTB V saddle coming right up
-50mm stem and low rise bar need to be swapped out. Find myself way to far over the front
-did not spend a lot of time fine running the suspension but felt adequate. Was running Grip “engaged” about half way rotation and rear shock was in the middle lock out
-160mm fork maybe in a couple of seasons (?)
-I am pushing 240LB. No complaints on the tire width
-Not sold on the High Roller. Minion type of guy
-Going to run 185 rotor

Excited for the bike.

S
  • + 1
 Make sure you buy one with an aluminium frame. I say that because I've had 14 Giants and no carbon one lasted more than a few months.
  • + 1
 Love all of my Trances. I believe it is the perfect step into a "trail" bike for most people. This was my first step off of an XC bike 4 years ago. Today I still reach for my Trance with a 160 fork more than any of my other bikes. Most of us have to pedal to get to any sort of fun ripper sections of trail. This bike is very capable from XCish long days in the saddle to some moderate bike park days. Never had an issue with any of them and I believe this latest trunnion generation is the stiffest yet. Also looking forward to the new shorter travel Trance 29er.
  • + 1
 I had both an original 105mm travel trance (with a 130mm fork) and a 150mm Reign (with a 160mm fork)
Both fantastic, I had similar issues with the rear suspension on the reign, but got the shock retuned to a harder compression and it fixed it beautifully. endless travel on the descents, but climbed like a goat.

the bearings were a bit of a pain to change (not that difficult, just 10 of the buggers and it was time consuming), the last time I changed them I swore to myself I would buy a single pivot next.
In the end I got rid because I made the step from 26" to 29" wheels, which warranted a whole new bike rather than a parts swap.
  • + 3
 It seems to me that the review implies the Diamondback Release is actually a better bike than the Trance.
  • - 2
 That because it is....
  • + 4
 @RichardCunningham thank you for reviewing an alu bike! Much appreciated!
  • + 1
 Love my 2018 Trance 2! First and best upgrade was a DVO Topaz shock. Like butter. Now I've got wider rims, shorter cranks, carbon bars, and am pretty dialed. All my old parts are being used on a new hardtail build!
  • + 3
 Legit question: why is the top tube so high?
  • + 2
 I'm not sure I've ever seen a Giant bike in the wild..... at least not in my SoCal area.
  • + 4
 Everywhere in Canada.
  • + 2
 RC, did you prefer the geometry of the large over the medium that you tested last year?
  • + 1
 Love my 2014 trance 2. Does everything I need it to. Wish they would allow to buy aluminum frame only because a 34mm fork just aint going to cut it for where I ride.
  • + 1
 34 chassis is pretty stout...and I’m sure if you got the full build, sold the fork and got a 36/helm/diamond or whatever, you’d save plenty of money over building fresh.
  • + 1
 Forged carbon fiber?
I'm guessing recycled carbon fibre compressed in a mould.
Forging would be impossible after the epoxy has cured.
  • - 9
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 The carbon is not what needs to be cured. What does does need to be cured is the cancer I developed after reading this comment. Frown
  • + 4
 @Joelukens00: omg what are you like 8? Delete your account before your parents catch you.
  • + 0
 Lmao says the boi who brags about riding a bike from 2007 @jahroo:
  • + 1
 I’ve owned a few giant bikes. My only gripe. Maestro sucks on square edge hits.
  • - 8
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 No more talk for you
  • + 2
 I have one... And this is the best bike if i ever had! Big Grin
  • + 2
 Damn, RC! Way to throw down on some steep rock faces!
  • + 1
 So good to see bikes return to a reasonable pricepoint... the last few years were crazy
  • + 1
 Wants progressive geometry but complains about the low bb height. I'm confused...
  • + 1
 For the record; which trail/all mountain bike is it that, "reward(s) frenetic, out-of-the saddle attacks."...??????????? Smile
  • + 0
 Giant's bikes look a solid 10 years out of date at this point. Every generation looks worse than the last.
  • + 1
 Awkward position on the last pic. Not enough speed sir RC?
  • - 1
 I've owned 1 Trance and 2 Reigns. All were great bikes but as far as estetics... Performance may be getting better but they are getting uglier.
  • + 1
 The designers were very passionate about this one.
  • + 1
 What are the better options than High Roller 2?
  • - 6
flag slimjim1 (2 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 Wild RockR2
  • - 2
 anything else
  • + 1
 High roller over a hans???? You've got to be kidding
  • - 8
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 Please use more question marks you didn't get the point across. forreal tho shhhhhh
  • + 5
 @Joelukens00: why don't you have any Pb friends????.... Shhhhhh, no one cares.
  • + 2
 Ur right. Pinkbike really is the pinnacle of social clout. I sure wish I had more friends on pnkbike! @ProChargedZ28:
  • + 0
 The DB is a better looking bike as well.
  • + 6
 ick no...
  • + 0
 @Otago: what!? No way the db is way better looking..you cray
  • + 0
 + is that it fits a water bottle, says it all really..
  • + 0
 Sorry, but I HATE curved frames...
  • + 2
 You forget how ugly it is when you are riding it!
  • + 0
 only holds one water bottle.
  • - 7
flag Joelukens00 (1 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 I doubt you go on long enough rides to need two bottles
  • + 0
 @Joelukens00: you realize a 100mL camelbak is the equivalent of 4 large water bottles, right? Anyways, check my profile, and you'll see that your doubts are not only unreasonable for pretty much any mountain biker, but also for a mountain biker like me, who literally needs a water FILTER due to months long excursions. So two NALGENES is less than the bare minimum when water is scarce.

On that note, my point was to make fun of the pinkbike style of always expecting more. people complained about zero water bottles being super inconvenient for the longest time. logic would be, might as well complain about only one, once that wish is satisfied.
  • - 2
 @VTwintips: Stop being so crusty and go drink 100ml of water
  • + 1
 @Joelukens00: fair.
  • - 2
 dammit those Trance's are ugly AF
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