Giant gave us a 29er option in the Trance range in August of last year and we've been keen to have a ride ever since. The 2020 trail bike three price options that are both aluminium and sport the big wheels, it's the bottom of the range bike we have here, the Trance 29 3 costing £2,099, will it prove to be the trail boss Giant says it is?
As we said, this bike is the bottom of the range one from the Trance 29 line up, costing £2,099. For that sum you get mix of kit, there's a SRAM SX drivetrain, Shimano MT400/401 brakes, a Marzocchi Z2 fork and Fox Float DPS shock. Up your budget to £2,599 and you'll get a Fox 24 Float Rhythm fork and Shimano SLX 12 speed. Splash out to £3,799, buy the Giant Trance 29 1 and you'll get a Fox 34 Float Performance Elite fork, XT 12 speed and XT brakes amongst other upgrades.
Elsewhere this bike is specced with a Fox Float DPS shock, Shimano MT400/401 brakes and a Maxxis Minion DHF 2.3 on the front and a Maxxis DHR II 2.3 on the rear. The rest of the bike is a Giant own brand affair with Giant bars, stem, grips, saddle wheels a d a 125mm dropper post. We also weighed the bike ahead of testing, it tipped the scales at 13.8kg without pedals.
The frames themselves get the same grade of alloy across the range instead of changing it for different price points as per the alloy gravel bikes. The bikes use Giants tried and tested Maestro suspension linkage which Rachael liked when she rode the Liv Hail, there is a press-fit bottom bracket and full internal cable routing and there is space in the frame for a water bottle too.
Aside from the big wheels, the Trance 29 differs from its 27.5" brother in terms of travel and geometry too. The 29er is 115mm at the rear rather than 140mm as found on the 27.5" bike. As a consequence, the 29er also runs a 130mm fork whilst the 27.5" bike is equipped with a 150mm fork.
Geometrywise the 29er has a slacker head angle than the smaller wheeled bike but half a degree, it also has a steeper effective seat angle by a whole degree. The reach on a medium bike is 442mm, with a head angle of 66.5 degrees and an effective seat angle of 74.5 degrees, not the slackest or steepest of angles but both are a pleasing update.
The wheelbase of the medium bike comes in at 1176mm with chainstays of 435mm and a seat tube length of 431mm. Giant has also opted to spec the bikes with a short 44mm offset, following in the footsteps of the likes of Transition. A shorter offset brings the front axle of the bike more rearwards underneath the rider, increases the ‘trail figure’ and shortens the wheelbase. More trail helps to increase front wheel traction whilst the shorter wheelbase counteracts the effect of a slacker head angle. We loved the Transition Smuggler when we rode it and are keen to see how the new Trance stacks up.
The 29er Trance 2 and 3 are available in four sizes from small to XL whilst the pricier bike, the Trance 1 won't be sold in the UK in a size small.
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