This bike might look a little familiar. I reviewed the Giant Trance X Advanced E+ last year. This time around the bike features a new motor and a carbon frame. How much does that change how it rides? Stick around to find out.
The geo remains largely the same as the alloy iteration. Let’s chat quickly about some of the standout numbers. The reach on an XL frame is a whopping 510/517mm depending on the flip-chip position. Paired with a steep seat tube angle the reach doesn’t feel overly long. It’s a touch on the big side for me at 6’2”, but I don’t think I’d want the large. The long reach and subsequent 1301mm wheelbase give this bike the stability it needs to hang with the impeccable suspension design. More on that later.
The chainstays remain pretty long on the carbon frame. They come in at a lengthy 473mm. They are the longest chainstays I’ve ridden, but I think the semi-steep 65.8/66.5° head tube angle keeps the bike from handling like a double-decker bus. It’s not the most agile bike I’ve ridden, but just from riding it, I wouldn’t guess the chainstays were this long.
Giant Trance X Advanced E+Ride Impressions
Right out of the parking lot two things stood out to me. The first is the lack of noise. I’ve grown accustomed to noisy eMTB. Between the whine of the motor and the rattling that oftentimes accompanies a battery-powered bike, I was caught off guard by how quiet this thing was. The motor itself is one of the quietest I’ve ridden. Apart from that, there are no rattles, clicks, pops, or creaks on this bike.
The second standout feature was the smooth power delivery of the Sync Drive motor. I’ve always been a fan of how natural Giant eMTB motors feel. The newest version of their motor improves on an already impressive system. The power comes on near-instantly without any jarring or jerking. There’s no lag to lurch that you get on a lot of other eMTB platforms. Kudos to Giant for designing a ride that makes you feel like you’ve just got superhuman tree trunks for thighs, rather than a kicky motor making the bike go. The battery performance was rather impressive. I did multiple big rides with quite a bit of climbing and distance covered. The biggest being nearly 20 miles and 3500” vertical. I finished the day with two out of five bars of battery left. This bike is going to let you get out and explore without fear of running out of gas.
The Trance X E+ geo and suspension design both do a great job on the climbs. The geo keeps you very well centered on the bike. It’s easy to keep the front end down, even on the steepest pitches. If I had to change anything about the bike, I’d make the rear suspension slightly more active while pedaling. I prefer traction over efficiency on an eMTB. I’m not overly concerned about pedal bob when I’ve got 85Nm of additional power at my disposal. Bikes like the yeti 160E and all of the Santa Cruz eMTBs do this very well. Traction is king for climbing on an eMTB. The Trance X E+ isn’t bad, but I did have the rear wheel break loose on a couple of loose and steep climbs.
Just like with the climbs, two things really stood out to me on the descents. Again, the first was the utter lack of noise. The bike is basically a ninja. The rear hub buzz and tires ripping into the dirt were the only sounds I heard during my test laps. If you’re a fan of quiet bikes, you’re going to like this one.
The second standout feature was the suspension performance. If I could design my perfect suspension feel it would be soft off the top for great traction and control. It would start ramping up fairly quickly to provide support for pumping and corners. It would then ramp up significantly near the end of the stroke to provide bottom out support for bigger hits and landings. Well, the Trance X E+ does exactly that. The Maestro platform offers a mind-blowing use of only 140mm of rear travel. The bike feels bottomless and buttery smooth. I was able to use full travel without too much fuss while also never experiencing a harsh clang when I found bottom. I have a suspicion that some of this is due to the mass of the frame, battery, and motor. The higher sprung to unsprung weight ratio certainly helps a bike feel a little better off the top. Either way, the Giant suspension feels incredible just about everywhere from bumps to jumps.
The Trance X E+ is the steepest bike I’ve ridden in quite some time. At 65.8° the head tube angle makes the handling feels pretty quick and lively. That’s a good thing too, because the bike is long, especially for only having 140mm of travel. The steeper angles help counteract the long feeling. I felt like the bike cornered great. If you can get it to lean over, it carves a nice arc while the suspension does its job and keeps the tires in the dirt. Some of the tighter corners required a little more effort, but overall the bike gets a pass in the corners.
Who is The Giant Trance X Advanced E+ for?
The way I see it, there are two eMTB categories at the moment. The first is the self-shuttle DH bike group. These are the big, burly bikes that are designed for the nastiest and gnarliest terrain. They basically replace the shuttle truck or chairlift. The second category is the adventure/trail/all-mountain group. These are for your everyday rides at your local network for the weeknights. On the weekends they’re the bikes for exploring all the ridgelines, valleys, and overgrown trails you’ve never had the energy or motivation to check out. The Trance X E+ falls into the latter category. It’s a great option for daily rides as well as big adventure missions. It’s up to the task.
It’s also a great eMTB option for folks who hate loud bikes.
The Bottom Line
The Trance X Advanced E+ offers a mind-blowing use of only 140mm of rear travel.
Check out the lightweight version of this bike – Giant Trance X E+ Elite review