TeamRutland Ambassador Chris Teagles got his hands on a brand new Giant Trance just before the Coronavirus pandemic swept the world. With time on his hands during lockdown, Chris has been putting the bike through its paces and let us know how he's getting on with it after the first few months.
The Giant Trance is a really contemporary mountain bike, produced by the biggest name in the business. Giant has never really felt like a massively desirable brand in the world of mountain biking. Lacking those carpark cool points and never really pushing the limits when it comes to mountain bike design. However, it has really come good these last few years, putting out some really well sorted bikes. This Trance is a great example, modern geometry, not dissimilar to the Whyte S-120 which is regarded as a pretty revolutionary approach to short travel XC bikes. It feels like a really great recipe, paired with some solid no nonsense components it's a great package.
I have been riding it (a lot) for the last three months and I have been absolutely loving it. Though I'm still trying to figure out quite where the bike sits, is it an aggressive XC bike? Or a fast trail bike? It honestly feels like it can do anything you throw at it. Swapping out the Specialized Stumpjumper for this feels like a great call so far, the Giant is far more suited to the typical local rides and doesn't seem at all out of its depth in some steep Peak District tech.
Giant Trance 29 2
With the Trance 29 2, you can climb technical steeps and rail descents with confidence and speed. This short-travel 29er trail bike features re-engineered rear suspension and progressive geometry to help you up your game.
- Frame - ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminium
- Fork - FOx 34 Float Rhythm, 130mm travel
- Shock - Fox Float DPS Performance
- Drivetrain - Shimano SLX 12-speed
- Brakes - Shimano MT520
The tyres set the tone with what this bike is aimed at. Aggressive 2.3 inch Maxxis DHF and DHR respectively are mounted tubeless (out of the box no less!) on the Giant own brand rims. It's nice to have aggressive tyres without the huge volume that seems impossible to avoid meaning for a fast rolling yet grippy set up. I would usually run a less aggressive set up for local riding but these roll well on the 29inch hoops and feel plenty fast enough.
Stopping is taken care of by Shimano's MT520 4 piston brakes - something that seems to be spec'd on electric bikes and more aggressive bikes - they seem to offer good consistent stopping power not dissimilar to a set of SRAM Guides. Teamed up with Shimano's new SLX 12x drivetrain and this bike has a really good honest set of components on it. The shifting, even under power from the SLX gears is incredibly smooth and for me it's a sweet spot between reliability and price. Nothing on the Giant is bling, its just good solid kit.
Suspension is taken care of by Fox, with a 130mm Rhythm upfront paired with a 115mm DPS out back. I will admit getting the pressure right on the rear has taken some work down to having much less room for error but its set up nicely now and pedals very well and soaks up the bumps nicely. I'm running it at quite high pressures both front and rear but it gives lovely trail feedback and still absorbs the big hits nicely. Charging down a rocky technical Peak District bridleway descent or peddling the flat local trails of Northampton it feels spot on.
Less travel, more fun?
Less travel equals more speed, but do you suffer when the going gets rough? Yes is the simple answer, but it has to get a lot rougher than you might think before it starts to get scary. Honestly I haven't felt like I'm missing travel on the Trance at all. What it does do however, is make me feel like I'm far closer to the limit, and that's where the fun is to be found.
It's just enough bike; it feels alive - keeping you on your toes, popping over roots and rocks and encouraging you to pedal harder and faster. it can make even the more mundane trails fun. That's where I think this bike really shines, its going to be far harder to ride down the steepest and most technical of trails compared to a big Enduro rig. Its not quite as fast or as hardcore as an XC whippet. But its got just enough of everything in its DNA to make sure you have fun wherever you are riding.Shop Giant Trance 2 >