Note:  These are not reviews but are simple ride impressions based on the demo tech set-up.  All bikes were ridden on the same 15 minute loop to keep things even-steven.  I focused this Demo Day event on 130mm-ish 29er Trail bikes from smaller companies and added one ringer from one of the big guys in the biz.

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giant trance x 29er 0

From the Giant website for the Trance X 29er 0:

The newest member of the award-winning Trance X family is this all-new 29er. The premium ALUXX SL frameset has been tuned to match the performance benefits of lager 29-inch wheels. At its core: proven Maestro Suspension plus a host of frame technologies including the OverDrive 2 steerer tube and PowerCore bottom bracket. Whether you’re climbing or descending, pinning it at speed or crawling through technical terrain, there’s no better way to own the trail.

The last bike of the Demo I rode was the brand new Giant Trance X 29er 0.  I wanted to see how it fared against the more costly and more boutique bikes that preceded it on the trails here.  It comes in at $4250.00 retail for the ‘Zero’ model and there are lesser priced versions with a lower spec.  But lets put it in perspective here and compare it as a frame set only (with rear shock):

  • Trance X 29er  - $1550.00
  • Turner Sultan – $2495.00
  • Intense Spider 29 Comp – $2899.00
  • Santa Cruz Tall Boy LTc – $2698.00
  • Ellsworth Evolution SST.2 – $2395.00
What would YOU do with a cool $1000.00 savings in a bike build?  I have no weights on any of these but I bet that the Trance X frame is very competitive with all the others and even does well against the carbon bikes.  I base this on past experience with Giant’s good use of aluminum in their hard tails and the Anthem X 29er.  Those are light bikes for the money and this top end ‘Zero’ build felt quite good to my calibrated hands when I hefted it.
When I reviewed the Anthem X, I found the Maestro rear suspension to be a very nice piece of work but it took careful trial and error to get it right for me so as I pedaled out into the wilds of Bootleg Cyn I took that into consideration.  Like many of the other scooters I was comparing it to, it pedaled well on the smooth surfaces and pedaling input did not seem to wind it up or bother it at all.  Out of the saddle was much the same although I got the impression that the set-up might have been a little soft.  To keep this in check I ran the Fox CTD rear shock in the ‘T’ setting and that felt very good, only slightly tighter.  My least favorite trait of the Anthem X was the longer (18.2″) chain stays.  The Trance has more travel than the Anthem with a 1/4″ chopped off the back end.  I am not a super short chain stay fad boy, but I applaud the change as the Trance X was agile and fun to ride.
It pedaled as well as any of them although it did not feel quite as solid as some.  I had the feeling that this was a well used demo bike.  The Giant Contact Switch w/ Remote equipped seat post had some rotation wiggle to it and like all the Giant brand seat posts I have ever tried, slipped at the clamp tilt adjustment and wanted to go nose up.  The chassis seemed stiff enough through all the links, etc, although it sure seems like a 142x12mm rear axle would be a good upgrade for the next model year.
On the sweepers and rolling drops of the trails the Trance X was a willing player.  The Maestro was doing a great job (I left it in ‘T’ mode) and handling was a good balance of fast/slow.  Down through the rough chunk of trail #3 the Trance held its own although for some reason I never figured out, the cockpit felt odd to me…bar sweep or position or?  Not sure, but that is easy to tweak.
The way the Trance works on trail, the competitive weight, the good spec as a complete bike, the lower cost, and the dealer network behind it makes a good case for the Trance X 29er 0.  Of all the bikes I rode, it did not top the TB LTc for fun and perfect balance or the Sultan for a solid feel, nor did it soak everything up like the Spider.  But it did well for itself and the rider on a Trance X would not be the last to the top of the hill OR the bottom of the trail if he/she was in the select group of boutique bikes I spun around on these past two days.
And they would have a few more bucks in their pocket too.
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