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Review: Giant Trance X Advanced - Not Your Parents' Volvo

Apr 26, 2024 at 10:29
by Henry Quinney  
The Giant Trance needs no introduction. In the several decades of service, it's seen both refreshes and more significant redesigns. The latest generation is probably more about the former. Naturally, it being a Giant, it has the brand's Maestro system at its heart.

The Trance range is trail-focused, but that doesn't mean that they don't try to cover several bases. In the family, there are three bikes: the trail-ready Trance, the slightly longer travel but still full 29" Trance X, which is reviewed here, and the Trance SX, which uses mixed wheels and has slightly longer travel. The Trance X and SX use the same frame and make use of geometry flip-chips to tweak the angles and a different stroke length on the shock.
Trance X Details
• Carbon frame
• 140mm travel / 150mm fork
• 29" wheels
• 64.8° head tube angle
• 76º seat tube angle
• Reach: 430, 460, 480, 510
• Chainstay: 439 (middle)
• Weight: 13.9kg (30.6lbs)
• Sizes: Small - XL
• Price: $3900 - $8000 USD
giant-bicycles.com

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The rainbow-trout colourway looks great.


bigquotesWhether plumbing along seated traverses, turning on a dime, or pointing and shooting through rough and committing chop, the Trance is well executed and composed.Henry Quinney



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It's a sharp looking bike.

Frame Details

The Maestro 3 system on this bike includes a flip chip, but its function extends beyond just adjusting the bike's angles. This chip, with its three positions, also allows for the previously mentioned switching between 29" and 27.5" rear wheels. Due to the extra travel of the SX, it can't accommodate larger wheels. Giant recommends using the mid or low positions with larger wheels and the mid or high positions with smaller wheels. Although using other configurations is possible, it may adversely affect the geometry. That said, horses, courses and personal preferences shouldn't be totally discounted.

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The headtube features easily removable headset cups that provide a +/-5mm reach adjustment from center. Models with Giant's Contact SLR Trail one-piece bar offer even more adjustability. A common issue with one-piece bars is the lack of flexibility in changing stem length or handlebar roll. However, this setup includes a large chip under the top cap, allowing for three different lengths: 40, 45, or 50mm. Additionally, it uses headset spacers to offer a +/-3 degree handlebar roll adjustment. While this addresses a problem introduced by one-piece carbon handlebars, it's a beneficial feature. The top cap also supports GoPro, light, or GPS mounts. Giant has effectively addressed many criticisms of the concept while still achieving a weight saving of around 200 grams when compared to their own range of handlebars and stems.

Other frame features include internal frame storage, Boost hub spacing, tool mounts under the top tube, and an angular, asymmetric rocker.

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These pieces sit beneath the stem to rotate the bar position by +/- 3 degrees.

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The Trance has adjustment at its core.

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Frame storage is a win for any bike in my opinion.



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Geometry

The full 29" test bike has a head angle of 64.8 degrees. The seat tube angle of 77.2 degrees is amply steep, and combines well with the near industry standard 480mm reach for a large well. The bike has an effective top tube length of 623mm, which I think gives a good balance between seated maneuvrability and an open-yet-extended position.

All sizes use the same 439mm chainstays across all sizes, which change 1mm depending on the position of the flip chip.

Overall, the bike has no real geometry outliers, and seems to be about presenting a well executed and balanced concept, rather than something that is trying to challenge out notions of how a bike should ride.

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The asymmetric rear end and one-piece rocker certainly look the part.

Suspension Design

The Maestro 3 system uses a swingarm and two co-rotating links to drive the shock. The bottom shock-eyelet hardware also doubles up the mount for the lower link to connect to the front triangle. Giant seems to be all-in on trunnion mounts, and this Trance X is no different.

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The Maestro bikes tend to give a neutral and easy-to-live with predictability, and the Trance looks to be made in a similar vein. Anti-rise is relatively flat, hovering between 55-60%; anti-squat floats between 105 and 85%, giving a higher reading at the start and end of the travel, and the leverage progression is linear-progressive. This means that while it does more force to get the bike to move through its stroke at later stages, the change the leverage undergoes is relatively consistent.


Much like the geometry, it's eggs-over-easy. Although there might not be any strange outliers, I think that's part of the charm of both the Trance and the Maestro 3 system. It's carefully considered and controlled. I also like the fact that its anti-squat values are lower than what some brands might be tempted to incorporate into their mid-travel trail bike's suspension. At 30 lb, this bike was never going to be sluggish on the climbs, but the slightly lower anti-squat values set it up to be a good technical climber too.

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Specifications
Price $8000
Travel 140
Rear Shock Fox Float X Factory, 185/52.5
Fork Fox 36 Factory, 150mm, GRIP 2 damper
Cassette SRAM XO, T-Type, 10x52
Crankarms SRAM XO, T-Type, 30t
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB, press fit
Rear Derailleur SRAM XO Eagle AXS, T-Type
Chain SRAM XO, T-Type
Shifter Pods SRAM AXS Pod
Handlebar Giant Contact SLR Trail Integrated
Stem Giant Contact SLR Trail Integrated
Brakes Shimano Deore XT BR-M8120, [F]203mm, [R]180mm
Wheelset Giant TRX WheelSystem
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF, 29x2.5, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO / Dissector 29x2.4, 3C MaxxTerra
Seat Giant Romero SL
Seatpost Giant Contact Switch Adjustable


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Test Bike Setup


The test bike was a mixture of SRAM X0 T-type, Shimano brakes and a healthy slew of Giant's own brand parts. That's not to say it wasn't without its quirks. While I have always enjoyed the XT brake pads, the one-piece steel rotors did seem to manage heat noticeably worse than the more expensive IceTech range. While they're still respectable, this bike isn't exactly cheap.

Henry Quinney
Location: Squamish
Height: 183cm / 6'
Inseam: 82 cm / 32.5"
Weight: 79 kg / 174 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @henryquinney

The Giant own-brand kit was, across the board, well spec'd and proportioned. The integrated handlebar might put some off, but thanks to its adjustments in both roll and effective stem length, it was easy to get into a position that suited. Typically, I run my bars relatively rolled forward, and I found that there was ample adjustment to replicate this position. The dropper post, which was 200mm in length, could also be reduced by 30mm. I didn't make use of this, and found 200mm to be ample.

The EXO casing tires were suitable for a 140 mm bike. That said, while the DHF is a good tire, there are better options for an all-rounder front tire.


Testing Info

Similar to my suggested test route for the Druid I reviewed recently, looking out for SORCA's race loops is always a good bet. Something like this would be a great day on a bike in the woods like the Trance.

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The low weight of the Trance makes it feel very fast.

Climbing

Different trail bikes climb in different ways, and luckily enough, there are enough different flavours that anyone can surely find their preference. There are stomp-heavy diehards with enough anti-squat to give you something very efficient, even if perhaps not particularly supple over roots and edges. There are the honey-I’ve-shrunk-the-enduro-bike types which have a shortened stroke but are essentially the same bike as their longer travel cousins, which can suffer from particularly steep seat tube angles and seem more about giving an enduro bike more pop and support than about making a bike that thrives in rolling terrain. Then there are outliers like the Forbidden Druid and Norco Optic, which try to combine low weight and a high pivot to give a bike that is a lot of fun, even if hard to define.

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There is also grip aplenty, with easy tracking over bumps and lumps.

Then there are bikes like the Trance. True trail bikes that somehow feel pure in their remit. Bikes such as the Trance feel like they’re about being the absolute best at riding singletrack and natural tech terrain, all while doing so with efficiency and balance. A huge part of that is how the bike climbs on mountain bike trails, rather than worrying how it climbs on pavement or on steep fire roads.

The Trance offers very well-balanced geometry, which excels on flowing trail climbs. The seat tube is amply steep yet slack enough that you feel you can canter along without having too much weight channelled through your hands.

However, at the heart of the Trance’s climbing composure is the Maestro 3 system. Whereas typically, a trail bike might have an anti-squat value in the range of 110%, the Trance's is much lower. In fact, the only part of the Giant's travel where the anti-squat is higher than 100% is at the very start, which isn't somewhere the rider spends a lot of time. Furthermore, the high-leverage rate at this same point should help to offset any harshness felt should the drivetrain try to inhibit suspension movement.

Where the rider spends most of the time when climbing, usually around 15% on either side of sag, is far closer to 80-85%. This change might not seem like much, but the effect in the real world is large. The Trance offers excellent tracking while climbing, all while being efficient and being able to handle surges in power.

And how does it handle pavement? Well, a 30 lb 29er is never going to be exactly sluggish. While it might not offer a massive platform when compared to some other bikes in the category and suits a rider who spins more than one who stamps, it is a very quick and spritely bike. Besides, should you be faced with a long climb, you always do have the option of the lockout lever. I never found the need, though.

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Descending

The Trance has two things at its core - balance and consistency. Everything about this bike is well-measured, and it's a bike happily bereft of any quirky geometry features or strange sizing dimensions.

It's seen Giant climb down from the larger reach of the previous version and also knows which key dimensions have worked in the past. At 439mm, the stays are slightly longer than many of its competitors and combine well with the 628mm stack, which is also slightly higher than what one might expect from a trail bike from even a year or two ago. This doesn't seem like much, but placing emphasis on balance for these dimensions (the previous Trance X, in its shortest slackest setting, had a reach of 486mm). This gives a bike that is very composed and able to build on the concept of modern geometry instead of trying to reinvent it. All this, and you still get the headset cups to add or subtract a further 5mm of reach. For the record, I'd personally be more likely to go for 475mm than 485, and I found this bike rode best with the stem in the 50mm setting.

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Flow-loam is my, and the Trance's, favorite type of trail currently.

Whether plumbing along seated traverses, turning on a dime, or pointing and shooting through rough and committing chop, the Trance is well executed and composed. Again, the predictable nature of the suspension plays into this. There is no ramp severe ramp-up to fettle and tune or a fear of falling through the midstroke when really pushing. Everything about the platform is consistent, easy and settled.

Nothing is perfect, though, and it could sometimes hang up on square edges that took the bike deeper into its travel. That said, it didn't seem to provide any particularly adverse pedal feedback. On faster chatter, whether the bike was taking small yet high-frequency hits, you could get initial feedback through your feet as the bike broke into its stroke. That said, it was largely quite calm, and it didn't come to the fore on the singletrack trails that it was designed for. All around, I'm a big fan of the Maestro 3 system for shorter travel bikes. Packing as much as possible into 140mm is no easy task, and I think Giant has chosen their features well - it's consistent, efficient and blends great support with very adequate small bump sensitivity.

In regards to stiffness, the bike feels direct and stiff, all while being comfortable. This stiffness, coupled with the carbon wheels, which do an excellent job of keeping the bead of the tire locked in place, can mean the tires really take the brunt of any lateral flex. During testing, I often rubbed the tire on the stay. While burping a tire is no good thing, I do wonder if there could have been a better compromise of rim flex or give on the bead to stop the tire from leaning over so much. Better yet, you would just make the frame with more tire clearance.

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The Trance is a bike that can really handle being pushed hard.

And what about the handlebars that look like a prop from Stargate SG1? Well, retrieve your sick from out of your cornflakes because they're actually okay. They have a very middle-of-the-road feel and have enough adjustment to make their weight benefits well worth it, to my mind. That said, I think my curiosity for carbon bars has long since died a death, and I am always happy with alloy. The stem does come with neat integrations, though, be it for Garmin or action cameras. In some ways, the bar represents the entire bike - light, adjustable, well proportioned, and far more suitable for your average rider than you might initially think.

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Giant Trance X Advanced
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Forbidden Druid

How Does It Compare?


In the pink corner, we have the ridiculous kit car of your dreams, and in the blue corner, we have your parent's retirement present to themselves - a Volvo saloon that is as pristine as it is sensible. Well, when you get out on the open-trail, these bikes aren't so different after all. Both are rad. Whatever that means.

The Giant is a better trail bike, if only because it's better at doing what a trail bike does - riding single-black trails and dark blues with confidence and precision. The Druid is a more exciting prospect... but better? That's harder to say. There is a section of riders, who want enduro-features without enduro-travel, that the Druid will suit better. However, if I want the classic trail bike, albeit very well executed, I think the Trance Advanced X has a far wider potential audience and would probably be what I went for myself. It just feels sharper on mellower terrain and can still handle some very wild sections of trail.



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Prices in USD.

Which Model is the Best Value?

Although Giant is a huge company, its presence in North America is somewhat checkered, and only three models of the Trance X are available in the country. Realistically, however nice the carbon bike is, $8,000 is such a huge amount of money. I would go for the sensibly specced Trance X1, and take several life-changing mountain bike holidays with the spare change. Shimano SLX is more than enough for me, and the alloy frame has the same features as the carbon one.



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Giant parts have gotten a lot better in recent years and shouldn't be sniffed at.

Technical Report

Giant Finishing Kit: Yes, you read that correctly. Giant has done a very good job not only with the bike but also with the whole ensemble. Everything from the adjustable stroke dropper, bar, stem, and wheels didn’t put a foot wrong during the test period.

Mismatched Spec Comes Good: Some people might be irked by the mix of SRAM and Shimano, although it personally doesn't bother me too much. I would happily have XT brakes over Codes RSC. In fact, I would rather have a mechanical XT groupset than a T-type, but that's maybe a story for another time. All that said, the cheap RT66 rotors seem a little low-end on a bike, so expensive.

Adjustment and Frame Tech: Giant made some ripples with the last generation of the Trance by offering a flip chip that actually offered a serious swing in the numbers. They pale in comparison to what's offered on the new bike, though. If I was picky, it would be great to see them integrate the same brake-mounting system from the Glory that enables easy chainstay adjustment. However, that would probably also entail an increase in weight. Either way, the more adjustments on offers that go beyond 17-way flip chips that are give with one hand and taken away with the other, the better.




Pros

+ A true trail bike, at a low weight
+ Neutral and consistent suspension inspire confidence
+ Geometry that is the product of years of refinement
+ Plenty of adjustment.
Cons

- North America doesn't see the full range of models
- Can hang up deeper in the stroke




Pinkbike's Take

bigquotes
The Trance is both extreme and extremely sensible. The suspension does a fantastic job with the 140mm on offer, combining grip and support that could make longer travel bikes blush. The damped support will let riders push hard, and the geometry is proportioned, adjustable, and balanced enough to keep up. Its features and sheer performance represent everything a rider could want. Plus, it's a 30 lb trail bike that, for once, actually weighs 30 lbs. I thoroughly enjoyed riding the Trance X, and came away very impressed. Your parents' Volvo, it is not.
Henry Quinney


Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
346 articles

267 Comments
  • 237 4
 " In fact, I would rather have a mechanical XT groupset than a T-type, but that's maybe a story for another time." This is the story I need.
  • 70 2
 XO is great, but the prices are almost twice the cost of XT. I’ve had both, XO is not twice as good as XT. Just my opinion…
  • 22 0
 Agreed, mainly because I am in the same boat but lacking the echo chamber to really cement my opinion.
  • 23 44
flag dresendsit (Jun 24, 2024 at 9:39) (Below Threshold)
 I have one bike with XT and another with T-Type. The bike with T-Type is mullet which has caused one issue - because smaller rear wheel and huge mech cage I've destroyed one cage so far ($100 cost, easy fix at home).

Even with the cage being bigger which can cause issues, T-Type is a clear upgrade IMO. So far needed zero adjustments and the shifting is spot on which is huge. With XT you're constantly fussing with alignment, and the shifting under load is good but not as good as T-Type.
  • 80 3
 @dresendsit: If you're constantly fussing with alignment then something is wrong, doesn't matter if it's Deore or XTR.
  • 50 4
 It never got better than 11spd SRAM XO/XX1.
  • 46 1
 @dresendsit: I ride 4-5 times a week, and the only time my XT derailleur needs alignment is if the derailleur has gotten bent from some sort of impact.
  • 12 58
flag dresendsit (Jun 24, 2024 at 10:50) (Below Threshold)
 @HollyBoni: I love these types of comments.

Yes, it's my fault for riding my mountain bike through rocks which inevitably hit my derailleur and cause alignment issues.

If you ride real trails 3x a week (real trails, not talking about blue flow) then you're probably hitting it on something at least once a month. Let's say the derailleur hanger comes out every other month? Gets pretty annoying over time, and less consistent over time. With T-Type the shifting stays crispy. And again, T-Type is better under load.
  • 19 27
flag PHX77 (Jun 24, 2024 at 11:09) (Below Threshold)
 T-type, in my experience, is so much better than mechanical. For me, it is worth every penny.
  • 21 2
 @dresendsit: Well, you didn't specify why your RD needs constant fiddling.

I think once a month is a bit of a stretch and certainly not true for everyone. Sure, T-Type is nice, sure you can replace the cage for a 100 bucks, but you can also buy 2 Deore/SLX or 1 GX rear derailleurs for that.
I have nothing against change and new stuff, but I feel like people like to overhype T-Type, and act like "normal" rear derailleurs are suddenly not suitable for mountain biking.
  • 11 46
flag dresendsit (Jun 24, 2024 at 12:30) (Below Threshold)
 @HollyBoni: definitely pulling out the hanger every other month in the summer. If you ride three days a week and don't need any adjustment on your mechanical XT after two months i'm calling BS. Or you're in a part of the world with less rocky terrain than the Western US. Or you're riding your MTB on paved trails.

The downvotes for simple facts is hilarious. It's so cool on PB to hate on the expensive stuff.
  • 18 5
 I've just bought a bike (in the big 'S' sale) with XO T-type. Meh. No better than my 11 speed xt/xtr set up. Ergonomics are inferior, shifting isn't better and at rrp its way, way too expensive. I'm just hoping its durability is all its cracked up to be.
  • 17 1
 @dresendsit: Been riding 1-2x per week year-round in nasty rocky, loose-over-hard terrain in the western US, including bike parks. And only needed to tweak the XT barrel adjuster a turn every couple months. They just work until direct rock smashes, barely an issue since Shadow. But I suppose that's all BS.
  • 21 0
 @HollyBoni: 100%
It's not that T-Type is inherently bad at all, just a poor value right now compared to well-executed cabled setups for 1/3 the price.

I'd much rather replace a bashed hanger + XT derailleur with fresh parts for less money, than diagnose and replace pieces of a T-Type to restore it to almost-but-not-quite-like-new condition.
  • 11 14
 @dresendsit: You are getting recklessly down voted for a pretty reasonable stance. Years ago I swapped out an XT derailleur for an AXS. Low and behold, the AXS derailleur lasted 3.5 seasons before being bent and needing replacement.

Like you, I ride rocky terrain and bike park for my whole season. Smashing your derailleur into rocks is just a fact of life. I found the AXS derailleur, with its "move outta the way!" feature to be very very durable, and it scarcely ever needed to be adjusted or indexed, despite being mated to a shimano cassette.

I am happy to spend a bit of extra money on parts that are inherently more durable. Even when the derailleur was finally smashed (due to a crash) I was able to trail-side index my 1 and 12th cog on the AXS system and finish my ride.
  • 10 1
 @dresendsit: Sounds like you need a gearbox
  • 14 0
 @dresendsit: I have a mechanical XT ride around 3-4 times a week on extremely gnarly terrain (I’m talking double black and sometimes pro line tech and similar massive jump trails) in the PNW and I race enduro and have not had to replace a hanger once this season and only had to tune it maybe twice. Some people just arent as hard on parts as others.
  • 8 0
 @dresendsit: if you're constantly fiddling with your xt derailleur I have to ask if you've checked your B limit screw? I find that a lot of people run their b limit too far out, and that can cause slow and inconsistent shifting. That's across the board with all derailleurs with the exception of transmission since they don't have a B limit adjustment. Number 1 fix I do for people who bring in their bikes to the shop I work out with poor shifting and poor shifting under load.
  • 7 8
 Unpopular opinion: The proportion folks criticizing AXS in the comments is inversely correlated to the proportion of people who've actually used it.
  • 9 10
 @rirkby: 100%. Look, I am not arguing that mechanical drivetrains are obsolete - but AXS and T-Type are, by and large, better performing and more durable.

Lots of people are happy to pay for the convenience and durability of the Sram stuff, and it seems that lots of people are offended by its very existence - or the existence of those of us who are happy to pay a premium for premium products.
  • 4 0
 @eae903: This is true of most derailleurs. If your b-limit is off, it will shift terribly. Just fixing this can turn a shifter from one that shifts like shit to nearly flawless shifting.
Had this with a new bike: high and lows were done properly, b-limit was dramatically off. It was shifting terribly both up and down, to the point that I wondered if they had damaged the hanger or derailleur. Got the SRAM tool on it, brought it into spec, and it was flawless shifting.
  • 1 0
 My story is that the AdventX gen 2 is significantly cheaper than XT and works really well.
  • 2 0
 Top level suspension and brakes with mechanical drive train.
  • 11 1
 Perhaps I'm living in crazy town but I cannot understand anyone running a T-type. It's a 500 gram part because of the battery. Shimano XTR is a 240 gram part. That's half a pound of extra suspended weight- and you're paying double to strap a half pound onto the most weight-vulnerable part of your linkage. XTR is $180 right now as opposed to $376 for GX T-type. What do you get when you pay double to double your suspended weight? You get the ability to shift under load - well, no, XTR has that too. You get... IDK, you get nothing. You get double the weight at double the price, at the one point on your bike where weight makes a difference in suspension performance. Try losing a half pound off your rear wheel if you think there's a cheap way to mitigate this. Someone help me make it make sense for anyone other than golfers on ebikes who don't know how bicycles work.

bikerumor.com/sram-gx-eagle-transmission-t-type-review
www.worldwidecyclery.com/blogs/worldwide-cyclery-blog/shimano-drivetrain-comparison-xtr-vs-xt-vs-slx-vs-deore-video
  • 4 0
 @Mtmw: lol. Couldn't agree more.

My new bike came with GX T-Type and it's nice, but I'd have checked a box to "downgrade" to XT if I could have, and saved a few hundred bucks and grams.

"underwhelmed" with T-Type AXS so far. It's fine..... Shifting under load is infinitesimally improved, haven't smashed any rocks, so I can't comment on durability. But when I do need a new chain, or blast the derailleur I expect to pay more for the pieces than a new full mech+hanger. Charging a battery is easy, but not easy enough to override the grab-and-go convenience of a cabled setup which have never taken excessive fiddling to maintain.
  • 3 1
 @Mtmw:

I would tell you that T-type was never designed for bikes. It’s really designed for motorcycles( e-bikes)…
  • 1 0
 @chrod: Curious,
whyd you keep it?
New bike came with it, I've never had so many people interested on PB buy/sell on anything before.
Could have sold it for 10 times for $1300, XT/GX group would have been $600
  • 1 1
 @Saidrick: And I would agree with you! T-type is so clearly for people who don't care about weight and don't want to have to learn how to shift. For the dying breed of pedal cyclists with light trail bikes it is ruinous for suspension performance. Seeing the disaster of a chainline on the new ripleys with offset compatibility for these boat-anchor battery-powered RDs is maddening.
  • 2 0
 @onawalk: Good question.
Bike is a Capra Uncaged 11 Ohlins, without frame ports for a rear derailleur cable. (or seatpost cable for that matter)
I co-opted YT's remote lockout port to run a 210 OneUp (the 170 Reverb AXS was way too short). But I didn't feel like running an external cable with zip ties all the way to the rear axle. For me deleting the AXS dropper was the better choice, given the single port. Saved nearly $400.
Now that you mention the demand for used T-Type GX that has me thinking.... Didn't know they were worth that much.
  • 2 0
 @KJP1230: I think you get downvotes when you try to push your isolated personal experience as a universal fact. Especially when we're talking about something like smashing derailleurs which can be completely random when it happens.
I have zero problems with premium components, i've spent plenty of money on them. But I don't understand why we have to act like normal rear derailleurs are suddenly not suitable for mountain biking just because SRAM came out with something new.

BTW all mechanical rear derailleurs have a "move outta the way" feature.
  • 3 0
 @HollyBoni: I am not trying to push my isolated experiences as universal facts. My last comment on this thread: "Look, I am not arguing that mechanical drivetrains are obsolete - but AXS and T-Type are, by and large, better performing and more durable."

I do not think that mechanical drivetrain systems are no longer relevant. Plenty of people will pick them because of price, weight and wanting to avoid having a battery to charge. Great! It's good to have options.

That said, the SRAM AXS and T-Type stuff does seem to be significantly more durable in the event of rock strikes. I, like many mountain bikers, strike rocks somewhat regularly. Its unavoidable in some parts of the American west/southwest - especially at speed. My SRAM AXS derailleur lasted me 3.5 seasons before I smashed it beyond repair (and even then, I could index it to shift well in all but 1 cog!). For me, I would've certainly replaced ~2 XT derailleurs in that time. At ~$115 per derailleur + bike setup/wrenching time, I am back to price parity with GX AXS system.

I get it. T-Type is expensive, and certainly adds 200 grams to the rear axle. But its also durable as hell, fully rebuildable (I think a T-type derailleur can be broken down into like 6-9 indiviudal replacement parts), offers digital cassette mapping for improved shifting performance, and it is completely mindless to setup and install (no limit screws or B tension adjustment at all). This thread is full of people with pitchforks who won't admit that there is any such advantage to T-Type systems.
  • 5 0
 @chrod: Shame on YT for producing a frame without ports to run cable operated stuff.
Yeah, prices for T-Type stuff on the PB buy/sell were great, like I said, could have sold 10 of them at $1300, made it a no-brainer.

You might be the first person i've heard of not "loving" the T-Type, everyone I know that has it, loves it.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: for shame! Smile
I thought I might really like AXS, but in the end it's just kinda nice. And ditching 3/4 lb off the rear axle is still appealing. If the derailleur is still crisp after 5 chains and the 13th rock strike though, maybe AXS deserves a 2nd honeymoon.

Some of YT's current AXS Capras have the routing provision, some don't. No non-ported main frame Jeffsy AFAICT. YT may have decided to reuse the non-AXS main triangle for AXS builds of the Capra Core 4 and 5 in a pinch to extend the lineup with current stock, is my suspicion.
  • 2 0
 @chrod: Quick hole drill with a 1/4" bit, and presto, youve got a cable port
  • 3 0
 @onawalk: Unfortunately, more brands will be joining the "no drivetrain routing" thing in the near future. I don't know why brands feel the need to alienate a good chunk of potential customers just because AXS is being shoved down their throats at an OE level. I think 80% of consumers probably don't want the electric shifting given the choice. Leave the routing and let the customers decide if they want to stick wireless or swap to mechanical.
  • 2 0
 @leon-forfar: simpler, potentially more reliable/lighter frame design without ports, and cost savings. I can see why manufacturers are incentivized to go that route. The big brands will go fully portless sooner, AXS will get a little cheaper with popularity, and folks who'd opt out are also potentially flexible enough to buy a bike from one of the brands still willing to support cables longer.
  • 1 0
 @chrod: I think the opposite will happen. Especially if a cable actuated T-Type is launched. Many people want bikes to remain analog devices.
  • 1 0
 @chrod: No doubt it's cheaper for them to make, and they can market that as weight savings. I just don't like that wireless electric shifting is being forced on us when the masses don't actually want it.
  • 1 0
 @BuntyHoven1: I'd bet if cabled T-Type launches it'll be spec'd on alloy and some downspec ported carbon builds, til the ported tooling is exhausted, and the wireless T-Type will be new design unported carbon only.
  • 1 0
 @chrod: Possibly. I think forcing electronic shifting be omitting ports will be about as popular as headset routing.
  • 1 0
 @BuntyHoven1:
Love it or hate it it's already here complete with justfication:

www.laufcycles.com/product/uthald

"Wireless shifting only
We dislike complicated and/or rattle-prone routing, so all Lauf bikes (gravel, and now road) have full length tunnels built into the frame to make sure the right things pop out in the right places and nothing rattles.

However, the luxury of tunneled routing isn’t entirely “free”. The tunnels don’t weigh nothing. So, realizing that we would only ever build our Úthald with wireless shifting we decided to optimize it for SRAM AXS and wireless-cockpit Shimano Di2. We spent no extra grams* on shifting tunnels that generally wouldn’t be used.

*That cost would have been somewhere close to 50g"
  • 1 0
 @Mtmw: You may be right but considering a few brands still have external brake hoses I’ll be surprised if adoption is 100%.
  • 1 0
 @BuntyHoven1: Oh I can't stand wireless but I'm just observing the industry doing its thing. I'm sure somewhere some schemer is trying to make wireless brakes happen, and has a concept bike drawing on their desktop of a bike made of 100% carbon with a battery sealed inside and no ports for anything that can only be serviced at a dealership.
  • 91 0
 You never buy the Volvo Saloon, You always buy the Volvo Wagon. Preferably off old retired people for 600 dollars.
  • 33 0
 Literally just did this over the weekend
  • 11 0
 I drive a Volvo 240 wagon (245) and approve this message.
  • 2 0
 Volvo tried to stop selling estate cars in the UK in favour of SUVs and there was an outcry and they backed down!
  • 1 0
 @GreenLineSlayer: Name checks out. The green line is the safe line, amirite? Wink
  • 95 8
 Giant is so uncool it's cool again. I'd rather ride this than an S-Works.
  • 38 0
 When everyone and their cousins dog rides a specialized or Santa Cruz, I’d happily show up at the trail with a Giant that is technically huge but rare in the wild and just as good.
  • 26 11
 Like Creed
  • 18 13
 Like Nickelback!
  • 68 0
 There is no need to compare a totally functional bike with Creed or Nickelback.
  • 6 18
flag iamamodel (Jun 24, 2024 at 16:23) (Below Threshold)
 I've owned 14 Giants and just bought my 3rd Specialized. I'd take the S-Works in a heartbeat. In fact:

Anyone: "Would you prefer an S-Works or a..."
Me: S-Works!
  • 10 0
 THIS^^ The last model TranceX may have not been "told" it was cool by anyone, but it was probably about 90% as good as this version and it got pretty lame reviews almost everywhere because so many people were against the electric suspension they put on the high-end models they sent everyone to test out.

Which is funny for how much electronic suspension you see at every race course these days... SO, it must have not been that bad of an idea? Smile (jumped the gun I guess?)
  • 11 0
 @laksboy: my arms are wide open for a Giant.
  • 1 0
 @IntoTheEverflow: I rode a Giant hardtail until I graduated college. 21 years later, the only concert my son wants to go to is Creeds Summer of '99 Tour. It's a fitting comparison. What's uncool is cool again and I don't love my STEVO.
  • 3 0
 @laksboy: Ride a Giant in New Balance sneakers on your way to Nickelback record burning. Wink
  • 67 3
 This bike is so unbelievably well thought out: simple suspension, no outrageous geometry, no stupid cable decisions, and nice weight. Even with the one-piece bar and stem I would consider it. The days of having 34 lb trail bikes should be over.
  • 14 1
 I agree with all that but at $8k USD, it better be light.
  • 2 0
 Evolution over revolution.
  • 14 0
 @AndrewFleming: FWIW, the Trance X 1 comes in at 32lbs
  • 13 0
 @AndrewFleming: Then get the X1 at $3900. Every company has overpriced flagship models. Thankfully most companies also offer lower priced/spec'd options.
  • 6 4
 Considering they just surveyed the weight of DH (39lbs avr?) and Enduro (37lbs avr? - range 34-41) bikes, it is crazy trail bikes are/were ever 34 lbs, under 30lbs should be the target (without going crazy). My 2017 Intense spider 27.5c w 130 rear, 150 front is around 26.5 w XT 12 spd drivetrain (RFnext carbon cranks and bars) and perf elite susp - so you really have to ask where the extra 4+ pounds is coming from and if it's necessary on a trail bike? I know they're overbuilding for warranty, but does it have to be built to near the same standard as a full on enduro bike?
  • 4 1
 @islandforlife: I have no issues with high priced bikes. I'm simply pointing out that if you want a trail bike under 30 pounds, then get ready to pay for it. (I could lose 5 pounds myself, so I'm not willing to pay an extra $4k to drop my bike weight by that much.)
  • 6 0
 @AndrewFleming: was looking at nice 140mm trail bikes last fall and Santa Cruz Hightower, Trek Fuel EX, Yeti SB140, even the slightly smaller/lighter Transition Smuggler seemed to be all at or over 31lbs. We’re paying more money for heavier bikes, but in fairness I guess they’re far more capable with better warranties….
  • 6 0
 @trillot: I'm with you here. Interesting factoid: The frame weights of my 2018 Slash and 2022 Top Fuel are exactly the same. WTF?! Holy overkill engineering!
  • 4 1
 @shortcuttomoncton: 29-inch wheels, big burly 2.5+ wide tires, bigger suspension, disc brakes, durable drivetrain and dropper post, all adds up. Bikes are remarkably more indestructible than they were 20+ years ago too. Comes at a weight penalty but it’s amazing how rare it is to break stuff nowadays. And a $5k now is better than a $3k bike 20 years back and that’s probably in line with inflation.
  • 1 0
 @AndrewFleming: Problem is... 150mm/36mm forks aren't light. About 1/2 lb havier vs. an equivalent 34mm fork. T-type adds about 3/4 lb over Eagle AXS...which is a bit heavier than mechanical. And 2.5" Exo+ tires in soft compounds...

You could easily build this to be a 27-28lb bike...but then we'd complain the fork was too flexy for the task, and the tires not grippy / puncture proof enough. Dropper isn't long enough, etc.... It would end up being a 150/140mm travel downcountry bike.
  • 1 0
 @neons97: It’s all about the purpose of the bike. Do we really need a light trail bike that we aren’t using for races? What’s a few seconds here and there? Relax and enjoy the climbs knowing that you have a burly bike for the downhill. Or slap an xc race plate on and get a light weight bike and get ready to feel the trail!
  • 2 0
 @AndrewFleming: I misunderstood you. I thought you meant 30lb bike is too heavy for $8k. But you're stating the same thing as me. Bigger/burlier parts = more weight. there isn't a lot of places to shave weight off this bike without significantly affecting it's intended purpose/rideability.
  • 1 0
 @neons97: Exactly! We are saying the same thing because we are both smart and incredibly good looking.
  • 42 1
 Holy shit, a 30-second preroll advert AND a 30-second midroll advert on a 53 second suspension movement clip?

Business Daddy Outside is getting hungry.
  • 2 0
 I wanted to watch the suspension clip, but was confused when someone started riding a bike, then I paused it and kept scrolling.
  • 20 0
 You watch the videos…?
  • 11 0
 REALLY feels like suspension videos shouldn't have ads. I can understand nearly every other video on here but suspension videos are 50-60 seconds MAX and rarely something interesting enough that people will watch the 60s unskippable ad for
  • 39 0
 Pinkbike can you please join the 21st century and make it so when I click a picture it enlarges instead of sending me to an album of 1 photo.
  • 4 0
 Second this! Or when you hover your mouse over the pic it zoom in like also quite a number of bike brands do on their websites.
  • 28 0
 ” That said, while the DHF is a good tire, there are better options for an all-rounder front tire.”

-And surprisingly, it’s called the DHR-II
  • 9 15
flag sfarnum (Jun 24, 2024 at 9:55) (Below Threshold)
 This is everyone’s daily reminder that the R stands for “Race”.
  • 12 1
 @sfarnum: A look at the original DHR will convince anyone that the "R" stands for "rear". All knobs were designed and positioned for braking traction and nothing else. Version 2 catered for directional stability on top of the braking traction and turned out to be a much better design overall. Good enough to ride as a front.
  • 5 1
 @sfarnum: I suppose if you repeat something often enough...
  • 1 0
 @sfarnum: What does the F in DHF stand for?
  • 5 1
 @hllclmbr: At the time it was the hottest tire around, so it was branded “Down Hill Fahrenheit”, or DHF.
  • 3 0
 @sfarnum: and the F stands for "f*ckoffyourewrong"
  • 3 0
 @boozed: exactly. The engineers and designers from Maxxis around the same time confirm that it's front and rear, not freeride and race.
  • 1 1
 @toast2266: Wow imagine getting this flustered over tires.
  • 3 0
 @sfarnum: So you're saying the F stands for flustered?
  • 1 0
 @hllclmbr: The F is for Fast.

Honest.
  • 1 0
 @gaberoc: I tore a Dissector rear at Snowshoe and only had a DHF as a spare. The difference in ramping up speed on hardback was great. Wet roots, manageable. If I find a DD DHF I’m going to use it as a rear tire with an Assegai or DHR2 up front!
  • 24 0
 This is Giant's MO...don't be the first to do it...wait a few years and let the other brands feel it out....then show up 3 years late to the party with all of the options and in a practical package.
  • 21 1
 "This pieces sit beneath the stem to take it rotate the bar position by +/- 3 degrees."

so true
  • 6 0
 Haha! That's amended now.
  • 6 0
 @henryquinney: “ it's seen in the range both refreshes and more significant redesigns have been seen.”
Suggest another proofread? Multiple phrases I am scratching my head over. Love ya but
  • 5 0
 @81aUcqxx: Very fair. Thank you.
  • 1 0
 @81aUcqxx: Yoda grammar it is
  • 22 7
 All these pinkbike keyboard jockeys that do more commenting than riding. The bottom line is that Giant is and always has been the best price point per the frame and components. No need for "elite" brands and their atmospheric pricing.
  • 15 0
 TBH they kinda lost the plot on their price point for a couple of years there. The base models had some truly cheap parts on them and weren't accordingly priced. Looks like its getting again which is good to see
  • 18 0
 WHen I use to sell Giant, Scott, Rocky Mountain and Salsa it was REALLY hard to sell the other 3 LOL. Giant was I think the only brand that came with carbon wheels on a carbon frame entry build. Under 5k CAD always got you carbon wheels (apart from the Reign sometimes). Meanwhile Scott gave you an aluminum rear triangle until you spent 8-9k on a Spark 910 or more and STILL gave you in house aluminum wheels AND a Fit4 or Grip damper.

Rocky would give you DT370 rear hubs on WTB rims all the way up to $10,000+ (sometimes Raceface trace hubs and Arc rims). But still Grip dampers until $8,000+.

Meanwhile Giant out here speccing premium builds for thousands less. They have gotten closer to the competition since when I started working for a bike shop in 2020 though.
  • 5 0
 Your comment makes it sound like we do more commenting than shopping, not riding. Which is also true.
  • 3 0
 Yeah, they always been really good bikes with value. But PB bros prefer buying Santa or Spe because it looks cooler
  • 1 2
 @mtmc99: Giant was terrible at supplying product during the pandemic. They are just recovering from that now, but they have a lot of work to do to reclaim their previous market share.
  • 13 1
 Stack height on the large and xl is still very low for the reach. Seems like some companies have figured it out (forbidden druid, norco fluid, gen 6 trek slash...). Would be nice to see more get with the program, it is tough to find a trail bike for a tall guy without needing 75 mm riser bars, or losing reach with a ton of spacers...
  • 3 0
 @handsomedan: I think they do it to satisfy the shorter people who really want to size up.

Gonna take Giant another couple models to sort it out.
  • 1 0
 They’ve been doing this since at least 2018. My large 2018 Reign had a 480mm reach, but the stack was under 600mm. The head tube could have been 10-15mm taller. The stiffness would’ve been a nice addition.
  • 2 0
 The Trance has always prioritized pedaling performance more than other trailbikes, so the low stack kind of makes sense.

@TurboDonuts
The newest size large Reign has a 635 stack in the low position. My 2018 Medium O.T.O.H is mulleted with 90mm rise bars/50mm stem and feels pretty comfy.
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ: absolutely. Giant's entire line is a textbook bell curve. The XLs aren't even proper XLs, they're for 6 footers who want a longer reach.
  • 15 2
 These new trances are the first Giant bikes I've ever been interested in. The Alu models look sweet and are pretty good value.
  • 9 5
 You’ve been missing out in years past then bud
  • 3 2
 @angryWaki: meh, not really. Lots of great bikes out there. Bigger brands are often slow to move on new trends, leaving their geo less exiting than many others. They've always had value down, but now that geo innovation seems to have plateaued a bit (or I've just decided what I like) Giant is looking better and better. Their big ebikes look hilariously bad, though, haha
  • 10 0
 “It just feels sharper on mellower terrain and can still handle some very wild sections of trail.” This the magical part of a good trail bike. Henry did a great job on this review, this is an excellent bike for anyone that doesn’t have crazy steep riding conditions. The modern trail bike is a beautiful thing.
  • 11 0
 I have to read all of Henry's reviews in his voice. Its the only way to make the idioms make sense.
  • 6 0
 I enjoy Henry's reviews. 'That said', he's got a peculiar style and generally points out what the bike doesn't have. It's still constructive and I think the Volvo comparison is accurate
  • 9 0
 @johnny2shoes: Ha. Yeah, I definitely have a strange style. I'm still learning, though, and I definitely want my reviews to be readable for all, not just British misanthropes.
  • 3 0
 @henryquinney: I have a lot more time for British misanthropes than the "Yeah boi" squealing you seem to get all the time these days
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: tapioca my good man
  • 8 1
 Integrated handlebar / stems are a hell of a way to save 80g. Not worth the hassle of being locked into a stem length/bar geometry. Despite the attempt with plastic shims. We'll take the 80g weight penalty.
  • 5 6
 A few years ago I would say the same and agree with you. As I get older, I find myself enjoying streamlining. I own too many stems and bars. Too costly to experiment varying bar and stem lengths. I find Giants implementation welcoming.
  • 8 3
 A classic stem + bar combo also affords you the ability to not change anything, at even lower cost.
  • 5 0
 Nice to see Giant offer a higher spec build without Live Valve .. Haven't ridden Live Valve to know if I want it or if the price it justified. Sounds like a GX or XT build with the rest of these parts would be a sweet spot.. I have several years on a Trance and could see a Trance X being a sweet all around ride..
  • 6 1
 I have the 2021 version of this bike (SLX 29-2) which is alloy but I've upgraded the wheels (i9 Enduro), hubs (Hydra), front bar (e-thirteen carbon), Shimano ICE brakes, and dropped almost 2lbs off the base weight (those stock wheels/hubs were heavy!). I ride it all over Pennsylvania (lots of downhill rocks) and it has never failed me. Very smooth and climbs like a goat. As mentioned, the alloy version is the sweet spot with this bike and it looks like the wheel/hub package is an upgrade on the alloy model for 2024. This bike continues to get great reviews so before you hate on it, go ride one and compare it to others in the same price range. I'm sure you'll be surprised.
  • 6 0
 Do you know what I really hate about this bike?


That I don't have one sitting in my garage. ;-)
  • 3 0
 Furthermore, I'm not seeing any hate here. It looks like most here are very positive about the bike.
  • 8 0
 “Well, retrieve your sick from out of your cornflakes.. “

You’ve outdone yourself this time, Henry.
  • 5 0
 Haha. Thanks!
  • 8 0
 Are there ANY bikes that -are- my parents' Volvo???
  • 5 0
 yeah, they weigh 60 lbs and go whiiir whiiir whiiir
  • 3 0
 That should be more like my parents Tesla these days
  • 9 4
 Volvo would know putting 430-something chainstays on an XL bike isn’t safe - front wheel will drift and understeer through corners.

Again, you’re testing the L that the manufacturer designed without any idea how the unbalanced geo at either end of the size spectrum affects the performance.

“Geometry that’s a product of years of refinement” needs to have “…in the M and L sizes only” added.

You can all find me whining on this soap box with my (size specific) crutches for the next 4-6 months.
  • 4 0
 @mi-bike: 2022 and later V60/V90 wagons are some of the best looking cars on the road. Unfortunately nobody in the US buys them so used inventory is almost non-existent.
  • 1 1
 What are our parent's Volvos like?

mid 2000's cars - classy bordering on bland styling, comfortable, efficiency over performance, great ergonomics, crappy tech integration, sensible in a nutshell but not cheap. Great everyday cars, when they worked which was most of the time. And you could ditch mpg for their bonkers Polestar versions. Toyota won on price and reliability, Mercedes won on luxury, and BMW won on performance.

So the bike equivalent of an S60 might be like a 2017 Trek Remedy.
  • 4 3
 @Blownoutrides: short chain stays aren't safe lol? what?!
  • 3 0
 @Henchman21: if it's a 2005 V70R manual then I'm in
  • 1 2
 @tkrumroy: Let’s pretend for a second that a 439mm chainstay on an XL is exactly the right call. That would equate to a 409mm chainstay on an M to maintain the same F/R center ratio. Do you see anyone making an M with 409mm chainstay? Nope. Probably because it would ride like garbage without enough weight over the front to maintain proper traction. That’s what companies have been feeding taller riders - garbage disproportionate geo that nobody tested cause it’s cheap to just carry over the rear ends from the sizes they actually designed and tested. And because we’ve never had a chance to ride something with the same front/rear center ratio as the M/L geo that companies actually design and tested, we don’t even know the difference. But boy are they easy to manual…
  • 2 0
 Good point. ^
And I'm not picking on your analysis, just wanted to mention that FC:RC also should not scale linearly with size.
(Assuming 439 is right for a Medium, that'd put an XL chainstay at 471mm.)
The ideal is somewhere less than linear, and not "shared chainstay across 2 or more sizes".
There's a realistic "maxiumum" chainstay length too just based on the physical layout of trails - tight switchbacks are indifferent to your height, so to clear the same stuff you can't go too long.

The "right" length and FC:RC ratio depends a lot on preference and rider style too.
IMO nearly all bikes should come with size-specific and adjustable chainstays so the fit is really close from the factory w.r.t the bike's intended use, and can be tweaked +/5, 0, -5mm to dial in the handling per rider.

Good on Giant also, for providing adjustable headset hardware.
  • 2 0
 @chrod: Yeah it is totally true that big bikes start to not fit in tight corners, especially on older trails designed for smaller bikes. Your math re 439mm chainstays translating to 471mm on an XL is spot on. Forbidden has took that math very literally in their current lineup. Their XL dreadnought has a 495 reach and a 475 chainstay - stoked to find out how that feels as soon as I’m off these crutches Wink .

I do wonder about using F/R center ratio as the basis for proportional geo since the BB is not rider’s COG. From what I can figure out, rider’s weight is distributed approximately 84% BB and 16% bars, so center of mass would be 16% of the way forward from BB. Not sure how that affects the ratio / scaling up or down from a tested “ideal” geo on an M or L.
  • 5 0
 To be fair, Giant has always been more Toyota than Volvo.
  • 4 0
 “ That said, while the DHF is a good tire, there are better options for an all-rounder front tire.” @henryquinney what are your suggestions? And thanks for an informative review!
  • 10 3
 Assegai
  • 8 16
flag mbl77 FL (Jun 24, 2024 at 10:02) (Below Threshold)
 I stopped reading after that comment. Complaining about a DHF, really?!
  • 17 0
 I prefer something with more of a shoulder. I think there is a large degree of personal preference in it, but anytime I see an Assegai or DHR2 on a bike I'm stoked - ha.
  • 16 20
flag HeatedRotor FL (Jun 24, 2024 at 10:46) (Below Threshold)
 @mbl77: the DHF has a lean spot that is there, then suddenly gone and you're on the ground.
Probably OK for the Bumblers who mostly keep the bike upright and dont exceed 30kmph.
  • 6 1
 @mbl77: believe or not, there are better tyres out there.
  • 5 1
 @henryquinney: I know I've never quite found the sweet spot for the DHF.. But, I've been really happy with the Assegai..
  • 8 6
 @HeatedRotor: perfect for people who lean the bike not their body.
  • 6 3
 @PhillipJ: what? The issue comes when you lean the bike.
  • 15 2
 @HeatedRotor: I think tires like the Assegai are far better for bumbling since they work at a lot of different lean angles so if you corner upright they will still corner.
  • 7 1
 @HeatedRotor: That's been my experience too. It tends to very suddenly let go and, bam!, you're on the ground.
  • 13 5
 @HeatedRotor: nah if you're cornering on the channel you're not committing hard enough to engage the cornering knobs.
  • 7 2
 @PhillipJ: Except that not all corners allow you to lean it far enough to engage those knobs. I adjust my lean angle to fit the radius of the corner (and avoid leaning into a tree) that I'm into and if the corner dictates a lean angle that doesn't match that of the DHF, then you end up on the ground rather quickly.
  • 8 10
 @NWBasser: it's one of the most popular tyres ever. I'm not claiming there's nothing better but if thousands of people are riding them successfully yet you and HeatedRotor are face planting in corners maybe the problem isn't the tyre.
  • 5 3
 @PhillipJ: thats not always possible and the side knobs are not 'shouldery' enough so they dont dig, on the maxxgrip version those same knobs move around and make it uneasy - in dust it all gets much worse.

The DHF is Kinda falling back as bikes have gotten so good.
  • 7 8
 @PhillipJ: I can catch the slide normally but when you are railing corners and push into the front it moves.

Phillip, it's OK if you dont ride fast enough.
  • 11 5
 @HeatedRotor: It's ok if you don't corner hard enough!

DHF needs more commitment and better dirt to corner well. They both have their place. The Assegai is better when there is less grip available and brakes better, but the DHF diggs harder in the corners when good loam is on tap, rolls much faster and is significantly lighter. I pick DHF for the trail bike.... and that's why editors commenting on a reasonable tire that they don't prefer is out of place in a bike review.
  • 6 11
flag HeatedRotor FL (Jun 24, 2024 at 15:59) (Below Threshold)
 @davesc: You'll have to tell all the Pro's You are faster than them!

"It's ok if you don't corner hard enough!" Interesting, My problem is cornering too hard and fast that the DHF is struggling compared to better tyres.

DHF has vanished off pretty much every Pro's bike because there is now better tyres available.

We rode 100's of laps of Skyline QT during Nz summer, I cant remember seeing a DHF on any decent riders bike, never Saw one on any of the Pro's and there was alot here.

Assegai/DHR 2 or shorty and dhr2 was basically all we seen.
Lots & lots of conti tyres , oddly enough, none look like a DHF, Most Brands dont copy the DHF for one solid reason... its just not that good anymore.
  • 1 1
 @PhillipJ: The 2.3" non WT version of the DHF is probably the best feeling, the 2.5" WT iteration is far to floaty and exacerbates the tendency to understeer when leaning.
  • 9 0
 @davesc: We, as many other teams have stopped using the DHF due to It's Trait when loaded of 'slipping' or becoming uneazy as it moves on the edges, the Assegai has a very controllable slide according to our riders.

I understand your point, its been a popular for years and many still like it but as others have said, tyre tread has evolved and the DHF is often not the 3 or even 4th choice now.

You mention the DHF requires "more commitment and better dirt to corner well" - It's actually the opposite in our testing, you cannot push it hard or it lets go, the only time it seems to be a choice is when its super hard clay that hasnt got any dust, More like a 'blue groove' but then you need to run it hard so it doesnt move around.

This is probably not the answer you're looking for but we Have better options available now.
  • 1 7
flag davesc (Jun 25, 2024 at 2:00) (Below Threshold)
 @mtbtrekracer: and your racers aren’t riding trail bikes.

Next you’ll tell me what saddle my ass likes.
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ: I guess you're right. I completely suck as a rider and bow down to your supreme skills. I'm just a lowly worm in your presence. Maybe you should change your username to "The Annointed One".
  • 2 4
 @HeatedRotor: FWIW before switching sponsors to Continental Vali Holl was choosing the DHF over the Assagai. She's pretty fast.
  • 5 3
 @gnarnaimo: She also crashes alot come 'push time' - always the same crash, washes the front.
  • 2 4
 @HeatedRotor: That never happens to riders on Assagai tires? Not sure you're argument is saying anything. People make mistakes under pressure. Vali has made the same mistake on Continental tires, which are also winning a lot of races.
  • 5 3
 @gnarnaimo: Which proves my point that she is a terrible example lol.

This convo is Getting Funnier, Hey if you cant even get to the limit of DHF, you do you and ride a DHF - the rest of us will use better treads that we need.

People are so stuck in the past its incredible, maybe I need to bring Ebikes into this convo
  • 2 4
 @HeatedRotor: She was consistently one of the best riders on the planet on that tire. What's laughable is you actually believe you can push a tire beyond it's limits that some of the best riders on the planet put down some of the fastest times on world cup courses. It was the most popular tire in DH until pretty recently and for good reason. I don't ride the DHF personally. Since first trying the Assagai it's been my choice, that's just my preference which not everyone shares.
  • 5 3
 @gnarnaimo: This convo is getting funnier again, You dont even ride the Tire your arguing for.

The number of DHF's on bikes and convo's ive had with people who've changed back my own experience.

1 Pro female rider used a DHF, which said rider is well known for washing her front in runs....

This convo is dumb, Low IQ commenters will never change their mind.
  • 2 5
 @HeatedRotor: lol Rhys Vernier was out practicing the Haute-Savoie Enduro world cup running a DHF on the front today. I suppose you push corners harder than him too hey? lol The tire has been abling riders to reach insane speeds for decades, just because other good tires came out doesn't make it suddenly not work anymore. Nice little ad hominem sprinkle there. Really it's good look.
  • 7 2
 @gnarnaimo:
I dont think you understand entirely what is going on, When the mass amount of people move away from a product to a better product, What does that tell you?

As I said a few days ago the Tyre(dhf) isn't normally the choice of many riders nowadays, Yes some still use it because of how they ride etc... does that mean its still the best ? NO.

This is why voting and polls are a thing, someone who got 1% of the votes isnt going to win vs the person who got 67%.

Yes the DHF was a good tyre, it still is but the way many ride modern bikes now with The front axle so far out infront and the rider much more rearwards It just doesnt offer the same performance as some other tyres.

Vali is Not a good example as mentioned above, she rides very different to others.
  • 3 5
 @mtbtrekracer: Nah man, I agree there are better tires out there and I understand it's been vastly moved away from. It was these arguments from @HeatedRotor I didn't agree with "Interesting, My problem is cornering too hard and fast that the DHF is struggling compared to better tyres" and "This convo is Getting Funnier, Hey if you cant even get to the limit of DHF, you do you and ride a DHF - the rest of us will use better treads that we need." As if he is a stronger rider than the world cup pros of past and some of the present. The rich part was when he suggested I had a low IQ because of my stance lol
  • 7 3
 @gnarnaimo: I've Read through The comments here and Honestly It would surprise me if Any of the PB commentors Have over 50, especially when talking about bike geo etc.

I agree with heated's comments, it does not take much riding skill to find the limit of the DHF, You dont need to be a strong rider as you seem to assume - I dont understand where you're coming from with that statement, I would happily guess MOST average riders Could possibly have issues with that 'snap-gone' feeling the DHF can have.

I can see why hes getting frustrated, people will argue for the sake of arguing - it gets to the point of being funny.
  • 3 0
 Nice review, I really get a feel for the bike. One comment about the review and one about the bike:

— Your explanation of tire rub makes no sense to me. How could it be that a very stiff frame and very stiff wheels combined to make it more likely the tire contacts the frame?

— While the angle adjustment built into the handlebar is clever—- OMG the complexity is bonkers!? Regular setup - loosen 2 or 4 small faceplate screws a couple turns, then rotate your bar to the preferred sweep. Could even try out several angles throughout the ride to see what you liked! Now the top cap comes off, stem comes off, swap around a bunch of creaky nylon spacers and shims, then reassemble, preload headset, center bars to wheel, just to get a few degrees change!??
  • 2 0
 "We made a bar-stem combo the least worst it could be!"
  • 3 0
 Too bad there's no mention that in Canada there is a Trance X Advanced 2, a $5899 (Canadian dollar) no BS version with regular handlebars and a pile of components that do their job really well without attracting any ooohs and aaaahs at the trailhead - just a really well spec'd real-person's bike. I've been on one for a couple months and it is so so good. All I've upgraded is handlebars for more rise and flex (One Ups) and a stem that looks purdy to look down at. I'm so friggen stoked on the bike.
This bike has come after riding a bunch of bikes worth nearly twice as much... and you know what, there is no noticable downside to saving a pile of money. From ride quality, suspension feel, shifting, braking... it just works.
Also, In Canada, is a second, cheaper alloy option with a well thought out pile of parts and still has downtube storage.
This range of bikes is the biggest sleeper series of bikes right now if you ask me. Everything works so well, geo is dialed, frame sculpting on the carbon bikes is pleasing on the eyes...
  • 5 0
 More short travel mullet bikes! (with in frame storage)
First Giant I'd buy...
  • 2 0
 The shock stroke shrunk from 55mm to 52.5mm yet the travel went up 5mm. How and why?
Also, why buy the latest model when last year’s Trance X models are 50% off? Asking for a friend,
  • 6 0
 how: increased leverage ratio
why: gotta ask the engineers. my guess is because they use the 55mm stroke for the longer travel SX model (145mm). this way they can spec the exact same shock for both models, just with a 2.5mm spacer installed for the 140mm version
  • 3 0
 @twonsarelli: I was hoping Henry would find out. I wonder it last years model had issues. They seem to be well received.
You can get the top end se with flight attendant and carbon everything for $4500
  • 4 0
 @Bondseye007: this is just the new model. storage, more adjustable, tweaked geo, etc.
i am sure last year's is a totally good bike, so if you can do without the updated bits, it is a hell of a deal
  • 6 1
 Yay! No cable tourism through the headset!
  • 2 0
 Yep, a great reason to not take a hard pass on this bike.
  • 6 0
 #VolvoGang
  • 2 1
 Weird that they claim the bar adjustments only change backsweep, but upsweep somehow always stays the same...

Also isn't there an internal sleeve that is needed for the angle adjustment? It's not just the upper and lower spacer thingies.
  • 3 0
 He forgot to mention there also a 0 degree option also. There are internal flipchips inside the stem along with the lower cap to change angles. These bars are super compliant. They are by far the most comfortable bar I have ever ridden.
  • 1 0
 Had the last iteration of this bike ('21 X Advanced 1) and now this new version. Both great but I do feel I like the old one better. It had a slightly longer stroke shock that allowed for low air pressure. The bike thing however is the new wheels. I was stoked to get these but now that I have them, there are some misses: they are flexy! (two-cross, skinny straight pull spokes) an the hub, while quick to engage, is so noisy.
  • 2 0
 I have this new Trance X but in the SX version and I thought the new wheels were stiff and solid. However my rear wheel is a 27.5 on the SX model.
  • 3 0
 I really liked the Previous Trance X, we ran an angle set in them which really helped with the HTA & shortening the reach a tad, killer bikes with that one change.
  • 4 0
 30lbs sounds great for a trail bike like this. Sounds like fast, fun, and snappy bike!
  • 4 1
 "combines well with the near industry standard 480mm reach for a large well" - today on PinkWell I learned the industry standard reach for a large well is 480mm.
  • 1 0
 @xciscool: noticed a few of those. Guy doesn't seem to go through a couple drafts on his way to the paycheck. Real positive review of the bike, nice.
  • 1 0
 @flaflow: at the current rate of comment section corrections to 'editor' re-writes theres a chance we could have a fully functional article here in just a few short days after it went live. Gotta have hope
  • 1 0
 When you think about trail bikes today, is Henry wrong?
Stumpjumper S4 - 480 mm
Hightower L - 475/472 mm
SB140 L - 485 mm
Druid S3 - 480 mm
Sentinel L - 476 mm
Instinct L - 474-483 mm

Seems like most cluster right around 480 mm.
  • 3 0
 @toooldtodieyoung: we're talking about wells here. Wells.
  • 1 0
 @farkinoath: ohhhhh, *whoosh*. LOL. My bad.
  • 2 0
 I suspect I'd love this bike. But at 8k USD, it should be weighing in at 28 pounds. And, despite what @henryquinney thinks, a 140 mm trail bike is just more fun 95% of the time if its got a bit more anti-squat.
  • 4 0
 Ha! It's such a personal thing. I have to say I absolutely disagree but it's only an opinion.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: I agree how an abundance of traction is really fun. I just compared a S-Works Epic to my 140mm trailbike, and efficient pedaling is very alluring, but traction is fun.
  • 2 0
 Absolutely love my Trance X Advanced Pro 1. The bike does very good on highly technical trails which it is on the majority of its life. Can't say enough good about the machine.
  • 1 0
 "Additionally, it uses headset spacers to offer a +/-3 degree handlebar roll adjustment. While this addresses a problem introduced by one-piece carbon handlebars, it's a beneficial feature."

Do these not just change the head angle which also changes the roll, if you want 1 head angle with a different roll... new bars and stem?

If you want a different sweep and rise (one of the most important things in your cockpit) new bars and stem.
If you want a different bar feel (common, look what one up have done, carbon v alloy etc), new bars and stem.
If you want to rider Innerleithen and need to cut your bars for the many trees which are too tight, once your done new bars and stem!!!

Seems like a completely pointless thing (I dont care about an extra few g on a bar and stem combo as it isnt getting me what I need from a bar and stem.
  • 14 10
 Giant makes the nicest bikes that I will never desire to own.
  • 3 0
 I'd like to see how it compares to the hightower, or sb140, fuel ex. I'm interested, well done giant.
  • 4 0
 My 2021 Trance X Advanced which I built weighs 27lb 8oz.
  • 2 2
 Seat tube length to size ratio is way out again.

I'm 5ft10/178cm and I'd need to ride a medium to have a decent length dropper of 150mm or more.

Yet the reach is a good 40mm less than it should be. My XC hardtail has a longer reach for that equivalent sizing.


Long leg guys can put the seatpost up or run long drops on bikes with short seat tubes.

But geo like this preclude anyone like me with short legs/long torso from buying it.
  • 1 1
 Exactly, I thought we'd solved this problem. I was quite keen on testing a Jeffsy but if my calculations are correct I'd have to put a 150mm post in a large
  • 1 0
 I'm a hair under 5'9" and running a 210mm OneUp dropper on a medium of this new model (one model down from the one on test). Seat tubes are a little on the tall side, but seatpost insertion numbers are good.
  • 1 0
 I'm so annoyed by the frame storage latch. On the previous generation Trance X you could use a Wolf Tooth b-rad to mount the water bottle cage lower for a larger bottle. The latch on this new generation inhibits this.
  • 4 0
 I love old Volvos
  • 5 0
 New volvos on the other hand are the new audi's - always up your ass on the motorway going 90
  • 2 0
 @browner: sounds like you need to move over?
  • 2 0
 @venturavin: nope, sounds like you need a bmw hun
  • 2 1
 "...Plus, it's a 30 lb trail bike that, for once, actually weighs 30 lbs..."

Unless you buy the alloy one that is highlighted as best value...
  • 2 2
 And replace the EXO tires you'll shred instantly.
  • 2 0
 Hey, Henry! Great review. Curious if there is the ability to add a bash guard?
  • 5 0
 I have a regular Trance, and there is.
  • 2 0
 Yes, it can take one. Thanks!
  • 2 0
 "near industry standard reach" without a "near industry standard stack" is not a standard.
  • 2 1
 Those Rotors are what came on my $10k+ Trance X E+ Advanced 0 as well. Totally insane they spec'ed such an awesome bike with such garbage rotors.
  • 2 0
 in general braking terms, They offer the same on local trails compared to the rt86 for e.g the difference is in big runs, Ie not really what this bike was for.
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: They're stamped and not machined flat. I've had terrible trouble breaking them in with brand new metallic pads because so little of the contact area actually makes contact with the pads out of the box.
  • 1 0
 @boozed: I've never ever had that issue haha.
I currently have issues with hs2/r1 rotors that if they come from new out of true, you true them, go for one ride and its out of true again. so annoying.
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: I don't know if it's relevant but that sounds like what happens to steel that wasn't properly annealed before machining.

I should have added that I had been using third party (Nukeproof) pads, which had worked very well on the previous RT64 rotors, but for some reason when changing to RT66 rotors it became a disaster that was improved – although not fully solved – only by switching back to Shimano pads. Even now after over 1000 km there are still significant low spots that haven't ever seen pad contact. Maybe they're really intended for the softer resin pads? Either way, as you suggested it's adequate for the trail riding that bike is doing.
  • 2 0
 If I remember, I few years back a handful of Giant Factory Racers were running the cheaper Shimano rotor because it ended up having more consistent heat dissipation so they got better consistency top to bottom on stages that didn’t always heat the brakes up the whole time. Probably a happy board meeting since the racers were using a cheaper part, Giant could readily justify speccing the cheaper part.
  • 1 0
 Anyone else noticed that the chain had slap the hell out of that chainstay?
Seems odd that they haven't protected that spot at all.
  • 1 0
 Yes it is odd for the factory to not have a barrier here. I use a short piece of cable housing in the spot where there would be a cable on a mechanical bike. Works fine. Also if you use a bigger chainring such as a 34t it is a non issue.
  • 2 0
 Give me a metal bike with 11 speed GX, XT Brakes, OneUp dropper and i'm happy
  • 1 0
 So the shock was down stroked to 52.5mm from the 55mm on the prior version. Wonder if this can be upped to 55mm for an extra ~5mil of travel without running into issues.
  • 2 0
 But did it full travel or was it limited by the bottom out bumper?
  • 1 0
 I’m just here to listen to all the stem complaints everyone has on a bike review ;p
  • 1 0
 Here for the Stargate SG-1 references. I instantly understood what this bike's handlebar looked like.
  • 2 0
 Seems great but I just don’t want it, you know?
  • 1 0
 "Both are rad. Whatever that means."
Rad means bike in German actually. There you have it - happy to help Wink
  • 1 0
 I wouldn't quite call that leverage ratio linear-progressive; it has some noticeable shape to it
  • 2 0
 Good looking rig there Giant
  • 2 0
 Love the berm pic with the rear tire just barely clinging to the rim!
  • 1 0
 Before I bought my current Norco, I looked at a few Giants ... it's not a design I love, but could tolerate if needed.
  • 1 0
 Getting this if my 2018 Vitus Sommet ever stops working.
  • 1 0
 Me getting genuinely excited and then you compare it to a Volvo…
  • 1 0
 Bottom bracket appears to be PF. Anybody know for sure?
  • 2 0
 Giant website says PF
  • 1 0
 These are knocking around HEAVILY discounted in the UK
  • 1 0
 Feeling pretty attacked as a parent who drives a volvo.
  • 11 14
 I'm surprised that Giant is still alive.

In the last 5-7 years i haven't seen a single Giant bike in Switzerland.
MTB, Road, etc. Not a single one!

How is this in the other countrys?
  • 15 0
 Giant has a massive presence selling entry level mountain bikes, commuter bikes, and ebikes. They also do a lot of manufacturing for other companies. Giant is alive and well as far as I have heard. They have good dealer support and make bikes that are middle of the road and very practical.
  • 7 3
 @Chondog94: thx for the info!

Why the downvotes? This is a normal question for me that im interested in.
And why i don't see them here in Switzerland
  • 7 1
 @Hamburgi: you don't see them because you are filthy rich.
  • 2 0
 They have a medium presence in Western Canada. In my area I would say it was the dominant brand until a few years ago when the local bike shop pushed SC more as their go to brand. No one here would see a Giant and think its rare now, but numbers seem to be decreasing further.
  • 8 0
 Giant is one of the largest bicycle manufacturers if not the largest manufacturer in the world. Definitely don't expect them to go under anytime soon.
  • 7 0
 @Hamburgi: They make many of the bikes you do see: “Considering that Giant counts Trek, Scott and Colnago as clients – but that combined they amount to less than a third of Giant’s revenue – helps put into context the sheer size of the Taiwanese corporation.”
www.cyclist.co.uk/in-depth/size-matters-how-giant-became-the-biggest-bike-maker-in-the-world
  • 3 0
 @sfarnum: oh thx for that link!

Thats really interesting!
  • 2 0
 @maestroman21: yes SC is as well, really common here in Switzerland... it feels like every second person is riding an SC
  • 3 0
 @Hamburgi: "I'm surprised that Giant is still alive." Is just... a mind-boggling statement about the world's largest bike manufacturer.
  • 1 1
 @maestroman21: giant largely disappeared from the Western Cdn marketplace because they couldn’t deliver during the pandemic. Was basically 2 years without bikes.
Coming back now, but it’ll be an uphill climb.
  • 1 0
 @WavisOShea: That aligns with my observations. Interesting.
  • 1 1
 @maestroman21: they couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver bikes to retailers during Covid. Favoured their Giant Stores over other retail partners.
Their post-Covid bikes were unimpressive offerings.
Just getting back into the game now, but playing catch-up is going to be tough.
  • 1 1
 1 piece bar and stem = trash
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