Words by #TeamRutland ambassador Chris Teagles
Riding Whinlatter on the Giant Trance 29
Summer in the lakes and a low cloud hangs over Keswick as we approach. We've only got one day to ride and it looks like the heavy rain should hold off. I've ridden Whinlatter before, many years ago and I'm keen to head back and see how it fares a few years on.
I last rode here in the wet and it's a strong reminder that the Lakes District is not to be messed with. The weather here can turn in an instant and the landscape is pretty brutal. Whinlatter offers one of the very best trail centre experiences as well as offering a gateway into more hardcore Lakes riding.
There's a big carpark at the trailhead with cafes, bike rental and a bike wash. You seem to gain a good amount of elevation on your drive up to the carpark, passing locals grinding up the steep road climb. From the start you can see there are several options and none of them are massively long. Short and sweet is the recipe here. There is a blue loop and two reds. The first red (The north loop) takes on a big climb and then after a small amount of traversing you drop.
With some rocky technical sections and fun little features to launch off on the way down it's a great descent that leaves you grinning from ear to ear. Blending that rocky more natural features with obvious bike park flow has been done really nicely. It's a really progressive experience. Much faster riders could fly down here and still be having as much fun as a beginner. Lovely rollers and mini tables allow you to boost off and go big, or just pump and build your speed - it's an epic ride.
The second loop, on the south of the trailhead is shorter still but offers up an even better view, (which thanks to the cloud we didn't see) passing the steep footpath up to Grizedale Pike on the way up you get a little glimpse at what natural riding round here might be like. Your climbing efforts are rewarded wholeheartedly with an epic descent once again. It's a simple one hit reward that leaves you grinning from ear to ear. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.
Short on Travel, Not Short on Fun
The Giant Trance 29 really felt in its element here, feeling perky and nimble on the climbs, dispatching short punchy technical sections with ease. Comfortably climbing without any complaints, when we levelled out and began to traverse pumping pedalling and twisting through the trees it held speed and felt effortless. Then as we finally began the descent it became a real short travel trail ripper. There are very few big hard-hitting features, which suited it perfectly, skipping and popping through the trail, rewarding you for staying off the brakes with plenty of speed.
It's really hard to fault this bike, it climbs effortlessly and for the travel numbers it descends very capably. 115mm of rear travel doesn't soak up everything but when you do reach the very limit it's not a harsh, and it doesn't unsettle the bike at all. Offering really progressive feel both front and rear. Those 29er hoops which I was very dubious about at first now feel perfectly natural and I feel very strange on a 27.5 bike now.
Since collecting the bike in February, Yeti and Transition have both launched short travel 29er trail bikes with very similar geometry and travel figures as the Trance. It feels very on trend. This does seem to be the direction that modern trail bikes are heading in; Maximum fun doesn't need huge travel figures. Just well sorted geometry and you can have a very capable bike.
Giant Trance 1 29 2020
The Trance 29 packs a punch far above its weight, with its short 115mm of travel being coupled with fast rolling 29" wheels and confidence inspiring geometry. Giant's Maestro linkage ensures this bike stays well composed on trails where 150mm+ travel would be the norm, all while the short travel allows you to reap the benefits on the flats and climbs.
- Frame: ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminum, 115mm travel
- Fork: Fox 34 Float Rhythm, 130mm travel
- Shock: Fox Float DPS Performance
- Drivetrain: Shimano SLX 12spd
- Wheels: Giant XCT 29�
- Brakes: Shimano MT520
- Watch this space for the upcoming 2021 model!
Chris's own ride is personalised with kit from one of the UKs finest component manufacturers, Burgtec. With their roots firmly in DH racing, Burgtec parts can be found on some of the world's fastest bikes, including those of the Santa Cruz Syndicate - the most successful DH racing team on the circuit! Want to learn more about Burgtec? See Chris's parts in more detail here.
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