It takes longer to say “Giant Trance X advanced Pro 29” than it does to crank out a whole bunch of miles on this versatile and adaptable trail bike. Giant has spent a whole lot of time making sure this bike goes uphill as well as it goes downhill. Their efforts have paid off with the Trance X. It’s fast just about everywhere.
We did a Trance X first look for the launch, so head over there to get even more juicy details. This is mostly going to cover our ride impressions.
GIANT TRANCE X advanced pro 29 GEOMETRY, SIZING AND BUILD KITS
Bikes have been getting longer and slacker for years now. Some new bikes seem to be bucking that trend, though. The Trance X geometry is long, but not overly slack. It seems as though Giant may have found a good sweet spot for a bike that’s meant to go uphill as well as it goes downhill. The head tube angle is 65.5 degrees. That’s on the slacker side of things, but not really in line with most of the trends these days. It’s something I really enjoyed about this bike. Pair that head tube angle with a seat tube angle of 77.2 degrees, and you have a bike with a very centered body position. That alone reveals the intentions of this bike. It doesn’t really lean towards uphill or downhill performance. In fact, it’s one of the most balanced bikes I’ve ridden recently.
The reach on the Trance X is very long. On the size XL that I tested, the reach comes in at 510mm. Because of the somewhat conservative head tube angle, the wheelbase is kept in check, though, at 1268mm. And lastly, the chainstays find a good middle ground at 438mm.
I’m 6’2” and rode an extra-large. The Trance X is about as big as I can comfortably ride. I wouldn’t want it to be any bigger. In fact, I want to try a size large.
I rode the Pro 1 model for this test. It comes in at $5500 for a carbon frame, carbon wheels, and a solid build kit. Giant has done a really good job keeping the price reasonable on the Trance X. Even the top-tier Pro 0 model with Fox Live is a pretty decent value. The build I tested came with a Fox 36 Performance Elite Grip 2 fork, Fox Performance DPX2, Sram GX drivetrain, Sram G2 R brakes, a Giant branded cockpit. My only complaint with the build is the dropper post that’s far too short for anyone riding a bike with a 510mm reach. Luckily, there’s room to run something longer if you’re like me and want to run the longest dropper possible.
GIANT TRANCE X advanced pro 29 Ride Impressions
Right out of the parking lot I could tell the Trance X was going to be a good climber. It feels light, quick, and responsive. The body position is very centered if not a little forward-biased — ideal for climbing. It immediately reminded me of the Orbea Occam, which is near the top of my list of bikes that climb better than they should. You can tell Giant put a lot of thought into how this bike should climb.
Starting with the suspension performance, the Trance X utilizes the Maestro platform. It provides a solid pedal platform without sacrificing much traction. The Trance X sits really high in its travel, keeping your weight from falling off the back of the bike. I couldn’t believe how quick it felt under standing and sprinting efforts. The bike accelerated very well, even up steep bumpy pitches. I had a particularly rocky section of test trail to conquer. It’s an awkward bit of singletrack that tries its hardest to stop you in your tracks. The Trance X motored over it without much fuss. It smoothed out the small bumps enough, that I could keep my momentum and keep my pedals turning. I think Giant has found the right amount of anti-squat to make the bike efficient without it being rough on technical climbs.
The Trance X geometry is well balanced. It’s clear Giant has made this bike to go uphill as well as it goes downhill. The head tube angle is somewhat conservative and the seat tube angle is pretty steep. The combo of the two keeps your weight nicely centered between the wheels. Even on steep climbs, the bike didn’t want to wheelie or wander. It tracked a straight line easily. Although I preferred the low setting, the high setting shifted my weight even further to the front of the bike making tough climbs even easier. If you spend a lot of time climbing, the high setting is the way to go.
My one gripe with climbing performance on this bike, at least in the low setting, is the number of pedal strikes I experienced. In low mode, the Trance X has 40mm of bottom bracket drop. That gets your pedals dangerously close to the ground. It was fine during most of the ride, but I struggled a bit in the rocky section. If you have lots of rocky, rooty climbs, the higher geometry setting might be better for you.
If the Trance X is rock solid uphill — it’s nothing less on the downhill. It is one of the faster and more supportive bikes I’ve ridden lately. The suspension doesn’t feel overly plush, deep, or monster trucky, but it smooths out bumps nicely. It’s a very engaging and lively ride. It rewards and active rider who loves to pump through rollers, lean the bike in corners, and make jumps out of nothing. It’s not a bike I’d choose when trying to push the pace on really rough downhills, but I also wouldn’t shy away from riding hard terrain because of it. It passes the “Would I ride Captian Ahab on it” test.
The suspension on the Trance X works very well for keeping speed and momentum. It doesn’t wallow or rob your speed. It reminds me a bit of the Yeti SB130 in that it always wants to go faster. The firm middle stroke rewards your pumping efforts with lots of extra speed. The beginning stroke smooths out small bumps very well while the end stroke ramps up quite a bit. I did notice a few rough bottom outs, but to the bike’s credit, I was riding trails that I’d normally reserve for my 160mm travel bike. The suspension felt especially good on flowy trails. They brought out the best in the Trance X. It dares you to go a little faster and jump a little higher.
The same centered geometry that was so beneficial on the climbs, is what makes the Trance X such a balanced descender. It makes flowy trails fast and fun while making tough trails possible. It handled all the terrain I threw at it, but it didn’t love the steeps. If you watch the video review, keep in mind, if you can see my helmet in the top of the frame, the trail is STEEP. As long as I controlled my speed through the steep sections of trail, the bike did just fine. But, I didn’t feel comfortable enough to get off the brakes and let it run.
The handling feels balanced on the Trance X. It feels stable at high speed and agile enough at slow speeds. I found the slow speed handling to be very surprising considering the reach is 510mm long. I didn’t struggle to navigate around tighter switchbacks or the flat, tight, awkward, and rocky bit of trail. I think the head tube angle gets the credit here.
The Trance X falls in a bit of a grey area that’s tough to categorize when it comes to descending capability. I wouldn’t call it an all-mountain bike like the Hightower, SB130, or Ripmo, but I also wouldn’t call it a trail bike like the Tallboy or Ripley. I guess the best way to describe it would be to call it a long-travel trail bike. I think the Orbea Occam is in the same Limbo as the Trance X, although the Giant feels a little more stout.
Who is the GIANT TRANCE X advanced pro 29 for?
It’s a very well rounded bike that doesn’t really lean toward uphill or downhill performance. It’s fast, supportive, energetic, and fun. I wouldn’t race XC or enduro on it, but I’d take it as my go-anywhere, do-everything bike. I’d do big climbing days on it and I’d happily ride Captain Ahab on it. If you can only have one bike and you ride a wide variety of terrain, the Trance X should be on your list.
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