Today we’re talking about the 2022 Giant Trance 29. It’s fast, efficient, and has looks that can kill. If you’re the type of rider that likes big days and covering lots of ground, stick around —this is the bike for you.
Giant trance 29 Geometry and Build Details
Be a little careful when browsing Giant’s website for the Trance 29. There are two listings for “Trance Advanced Pro 29.” One is the older model (the one with the small point behind the seat post), and the other is the current one we’re reviewing here. They don’t have any model year information to differentiate between the two. Let’s dive into some of the essential updates with the 2022 model.
The Trance 29 saw a 5mm bump in rear travel to bring it up to 120mm. The front end is designed around 130mm of fork travel. The frame has a flip-chip to switch between two different geometry settings. I did all of my riding in the low mode. I’m not an XC racer or have any delusions that I’m fast uphill. I didn’t feel the high mode was necessary. In the low mode, the head tube angle is 65.5° paired with a 76.3° seat tube angle. I’m 6’2,” and I fit nicely on the XL with a 507mm reach. The wheelbase is a well-rounded 1263mm with 439mm chainstays. All these numbers add up to a proper trail bike on paper but does it ride that way? Let’s get into it.
The build I’m testing in this review isn’t an off-the-shelf option. We built this from the frame up. I have a 130mm RockShox Pike up front a Fox Float X for the rear. The drivetrain is a Sram AXS setup with a RockShox Reverb dropper. For the stopping duties, I have a set of Sram Code RSCs. The wheels are a set of Enve M6 with 2.4” Kenda Pinners. I won’t focus on components when I do this review as I’m focusing on the bike as a platform in general rather than the specific build.
Giant Trance 29 Review
Giant knows how to make a bike that climbs exceptionally well. Per category, I think they’re some of the best climbers out there. The Trance 29 is no exception. It goes uphill very well. I think it leans more toward uphill performance than it does downhill capability. On the climbs, it does all the things you’d expect out of an XC bike, except it fits and feels a bit more like your standard trail bike.
The Suspension feels very firm and efficient. There’s little to no pedal bob, even when standing up and chopping at the pedals. It certainly has that XC bike feeling suspension platform on the climbs. It does seem to have a bit more traction than a standard XC bike, though. However, that could be the tire selection as much as the suspension design. I couldn’t get the rear wheel to break loose even on steep, loose climbs. I purposely stood way too far forward and mashed the pedals on a few climbs, trying to find the point when the back end no longer stuck to the ground. I never saw that point.
The climbing position feels like the Trance X—centered to maybe a little forward-focused. The stem on this bike is shorter than the stock 50mm stem. Even with the shorter stem, I still felt my weight was slightly forward. It’s a great body position for steep climbs as it keeps the front end weighted properly. There’s no wandering or wheelieing here.
Overall the Trance 29 is one of the better climbing bikes I’ve ridden. It’s fast, efficient, and easy to maneuver through tight corners and technical sections. I remember the Trance X being one of my favorite climbers in technical terrain —the Trance 29 is as good or better. Its endless traction and firm suspension platform make it deadly on the climbs, whether smooth or technical.
In the right terrain, the Trance 29 is an incredible descender. The key here is “in the right terrain.” It’s not a bike made for aggressive descents and steep trails. It’s at its best on fast, rolling, and mellower trails. On said trails, it’s one of the more fun descending bikes I’ve ridden recently.
The firm suspension that I love on the climbs makes the bike feel very lively and agile on the descents. It gives you an excellent platform for pumping, cornering, and jumping. It’s easy to unweight the bike and jump over trail obstacles. I think most of the bike’s magic is in how lively that suspension feels. The Trance doesn’t feel plush by any means, but it doesn’t feel like there’s a lack of traction either. It sticks to the ground just fine in the corners. The shorter wheelbase and steeper head tube angle make it feel precise and snappy. It’s effortless to get it around all types of corners—wide-open West Coast style corners as well as tight New England style ones. On the flip side, the bike doesn’t offer a ton in terms of forgiveness. If you’re going to ride the bike aggressively, you will have to bring your A-game. The great thing about a bike like that, though, is that if you want to fart around and take it easy, the bike isn’t going to feel slow and sluggish like some longer, more stable options would.
One of my favorite things about the Trance 29 is its ability to accelerate even downhill. It’s like those videos of two cars driving side by side at 80mph on the freeway, and suddenly the one accelerates impossibly fast and disappears into the horizon. That’s how the Trance feels—throw in a couple of pedal strokes, and it just takes off. Out of a corner, it gets back up to speed quickly. On a straightaway where you’re already doing 20, it somehow has more in the tank to go faster with a couple of pedal strokes.
Overall, the Trance 29 is a quick and snappy descender. It’s not my top choice for steep and rough trails, but on smooth, fast, and rolling terrain, it’s one of the best out there.
Giant Trance 29 Comparisons
Giant Trance vs Giant Trance X
I wish Giant would pick a different name for either this bike or the Trance X. They’re not similar enough to share the same name. This one blurs the lines between XC and trail, while the Trance X is a trail bike with all-mountain travel numbers. I’ll stop complaining, though, because both of them are fantastic bikes. It does make sense to compare the two, though. In my opinion, they both sit in the trail category. Let’s start with some similarities. They both are some of the best technical climbers around, with tons of traction on offer. They both have quick and lively handling on the climbs and descents. I think they differ the most in their ability to maintain speed through rough and rocky sections of trail. The Trance X is much more stable, especially at speed. The Trance 29 is quicker in and out of corners and a little easier to get off the ground. If your riding style leans a bit more toward the climbs, the Trance 29 is the bike for you. If you want a more well-rounded choice, go with the Trance X.
Giant Trance Vs Transition Spur
I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Transition Spur while riding and filming aboard the Trance 29. They’re very similar both on paper and the trail. Now, it’s been a long time since I owned a Spur, but I’ll do my best to compare them. The Spur rides a bit lighter. It has more of that XC feeling than the Trance. The Trance feels solid and stiff—you’d never think of it as flexy. I believe both climb very well, with the Trance having the edge in technical uphill terrain. On the descents, it’s tough to differentiate them. The Trance is a bit longer and slacker, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a better descender. They both shine on mellower and flatter descents. The Trance’s suspension platform feels more firm and supportive for better pumping and cornering, but the Spur feels a little plusher for better control through the bumps.
Who is The giant trance 29 for?
I see the Trance as an excellent option for two types of riders. The first is the rider who wants to knock out a ton of miles in mostly smooth and rolling terrain. They occasionally find themselves on some rough, steep, and rocky trails but aren’t trying to push the pace or take the scariest lines. They value speed and efficiency over capability.
The second group I see liking the Trance is endurance event racers. I raced the True Grit Epic on the original Trance 29, and think this current version would be even better suited to that riding style. It’s a bit faster uphill with better geometry and suspension for climbing. Endurance riders are looking for efficiency and comfort over long days in the saddle. They’re looking to toe the line between the fastest bike on the climbs and something that can handle the rough and rugged descents. The Trance 29 fits the bill.
One-Line Giant trance 29 Review
The Trance 29 makes little work of big miles.