Though it’s easy to forget, the Giant Trance name has actually been around since 2005. It arrived on the scene as one of the first full suspension models to debut Giant’s (then new) Maestro suspension design and featured an alloy frame, 26in wheels, and 100mm of suspension travel front and rear.
Since then the Trance has grown in both travel, and intent. In 2013, it also grew bigger wheels with the Trance X rolling out as a – somewhat *ahem* visually challenging – 29er trail bike. That Trance X only lasted a couple of years before Giant very publicly announced the company’s dedication to 27.5in wheels, ditching the Trance X and almost all the other 29ers from its range.
Things have changed in the last couple of years though, and Giant has had to chow down on some humble pie while bringing big wheels back into its full suspension lineup. There was of course the Anthem 29er last year, which we tested and reviewed here.
And now, in 2019, we have this; the Trance 29er.
The Trance 29er is all-new for 2019 and sits alongside the existing 27.5in version. Though they share the same first name, the wheelsize and travel are different. The 29er version shrinks down the suspension travel to 130mm on the front and 115mm on the rear, compared to 150/140mm on the 27.5in Trance.
Take a closer look though, and a few other things really stand out. Like the 66.5° head angle, which is actually slacker than the 27.5in Trance. The front end is also longer, with the Medium getting a 442mm reach. And look a little closer again, and you’ll also see that Giant has equipped the Trance 29er with a nu-skool 44mm fork offset. Oh, and then there’s that piggyback rear shock. Yup, on a 115mm travel bike.
Throw in the 780mm wide bars, a 40mm stem and chunky Maxxis Minion tyres, and you’ve got a recipe for a party on the trail. Not exactly the typically conservative approach we’re used to seeing from Giant eh?
2019 Giant Trance Advanced 29er Features
- Lightweight full suspension 29er trail bike
- Full composite mainframe, swingarm & rocker link
- Maestro suspension design w/115mm travel
- 130mm travel fork w/44mm offset
- 66.5° head angle
- 74.5° seat angle
- 435mm chainstay length
- Reach: 426mm (S), 442mm (M), 462mm (L), 480mm (XL)
- PF92 bottom bracket shell w/ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
- 148x12mm dropouts
- Complete bike RRP: $6,299 AUD / £4,399 GBP
There are four models available in the Trance 29er range – two with alloy frames, and two with the ‘Advanced Composite’ carbon fibre frames. We’ve got the neon-green Advanced Pro 29er 1 on test, which is the lower-spec option of the two carbon models.
It gets the same frame as the top-spec Trance 29er, which sees a full carbon fibre mainframe, swingarm, and upper rocker link. It’s all very swoopy and smooth, with a large amount of standover clearance provided via a curvy top tube, and a short ‘n’ stubby seat tube that gives plenty of room for a dropper post. Well, except that our Medium test bike unfortunately gets just 125mm of drop.
The rear brake line, mech and dropper post cables run internally through the downtube to keep things clean, while there’s room to bolt on a water bottle cage partway up the down tube.
Like all Giant full suspension models (barring the Stance), the Trance 29er gets the dual-link Maestro suspension design. This system has been in use for nearly 15 years now, and sees a one-piece carbon fibre swingarm attached to the mainframe via an alloy lower link, and a composite rocker link that drives the rear shock.
The theory behind this dual-link design is to reduce the effect that chain torque from pedalling has on the rear suspension – the goals being efficiency under pedalling inputs, while maintaining active bump response and traction. It’s also quite a compact design in terms of packaging. And because the rear shock’s lower mounting point is shared with the lower linkage, there are only five pivot points in the Maestro system.
On the Trance Advanced Pro 29er 1, there’s an itty bitty Fox Float DPX2 rear shock taking care of bouncy duties. This 165×42.5mm shock has been custom-built for Giant, since Fox doesn’t offer the DPX2 in such a small size aftermarket.
Fox 34 Float Fork
Up front is a Fox 34 Performance fork with 130mm of travel. Instead of the fancier FIT4 damper cartridge, this fork gets a cheaper GRIP damper, though you still get compression and rebound adjustment. The adjustable air spring features the new generation EVOL design with a larger negative chamber to deliver smoother actuation.
And about that 44mm offset, which Giant has picked over the more commonly used 51mm offset (for 29ers anyway). This shorter offset is something that other brands including Whyte, Transition, Pivot, Specialized and Santa Cruz have been dabbling with across a variety of different 29er models. The short offset increases the trail figure, which in theory should benefit high-speed handling and stability, at the expense of low-speed agility. Starting to get a feel for what Giant is expecting you to do with this bike?
Giant TRX 1 Wheels
For 2019, Giant has revamped its mountain bike wheel line with new carbon fibre rims, which we’re told are significantly stronger than the previous offerings. That’s good since I’ve broken one in the past.
The TRX 1 wheelset spec’d on the Trance Advanced Pro 29er 1 uses the same rims as the pricier TRX 0 wheelset. These 33mm wide hookless carbon rims have a 3mm thick bead on each side, resulting in a 27mm internal rim width. They’re tubeless ready, and conveniently come taped and valved out of the box – all you need to do is add sealant (which comes included with the bike) to the Maxxis tyres.
The main difference is in the spokes and hub internals. Whereas the TRX 0 gets a DT Swiss Star Ratchet freehub and Aerolite spokes, the TRX 1 gets a 3-pawl freehub mechanism and Sapim Laser spokes.
Confirmed weight for the TRX 1 wheelset on our test bike is 1802g.
So, what do you folks think of the 2019 Giant Trance 29er? Are you digging what Giant is laying down? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!
I’ll be testing this bike over the coming few months, and putting it up against some of the more established 29er trail bikes to see how it compares. I’m particularly interested to see how the Float DPX2 shock plays with just 115mm of rear travel, and I’m also intrigued to see what that short offset fork is like across a good range of riding conditions. Stay tuned…
2019 Giant Trance Advanced Pro 29er 1 Specs
- Frame // Advanced Composite Mainframe & Swingarm, 115mm Travel
- Fork // Fox 34 Float, Performance, 44mm Offset, 130mm Travel
- Shock // Fox Float DPX2, Performance Elite, Trunnion Mount, 165×42.5mm
- Hubs // Giant TRX 1, 110x15mm Front & 148x12mm Rear
- Rims // Giant TRX 1 Carbon, 28h Front & Rear, 27mm Internal Rim Width
- Tyres // Maxxis 3C EXO Minion DHF 2.3in Front & Minion DHR II Rear
- Chainset // SRAM Descendent Eagle, DUB, 30t Chainring
- Rear Mech // SRAM GX Eagle, 12-Speed
- Shifter // SRAM GX Eagle, 12-Speed
- Cassette // SRAM GX Eagle, 10-50t, 12-Speed
- Brakes // SRAM Guide T, 180mm Rotors Front & Rear
- Bar // Giant Contact SL Rise , 20mm Rise, 780mm Wide
- Stem // Giant Contact SL, 40mm Long
- Grips // Giant Lock-On
- Seatpost // Giant Contact Switch S, 30.9mm, 125mm Travel
- Saddle // Giant Contact SL, Neutral
- Size Tested // Medium
- Sizes available // Small, Medium, Large & Extra Large
- Confirmed Weight // 12.67 kg (27.87 lbs)
- RRP // $6,299 AUD / £4,399 GBP