Flow's First Bite: Giant Trance Advanced 27.5 0

Words by Damian Breach | Images by Jake Orness // Giant

The not-so-minor details

Product

Giant Trance Advanced 0 Team

Contact

Giant Bicycles Australia
www.giant-bicycles.com

Specs

  • Weight: 11.10kg

 

  • Weight: Claimed

Us

We’ve seen your comments and thoughts since we posted the news about the new range of Giant 27.5″ bikes. In some sense we agree with the cynicism about yet another wheel size, but if we leave preconceptions and attitude at the door and look at the new bike with an open mind we should be pretty happy – the new Trance is an absolute killer.

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Flow got to spend a good two days on the trails of Deer Valley, Utah. From lifted runs to long 4-hour rides we experienced it all.

Flow spent an initial two days on the Trance Advanced 0 Team at Deer Valley, Utah and we were impressed. Initially, when we rolled out from press camp HQ on some simple trails, it took a while to get what the fuss was about. But once we got more speed behind us, the bike kept asking for more. We know that this expression, “asking for more” may seem like a silly bike industry sound-bite that explains nothing tangible, but in reality it’s the only way to describe the ride. The more you pushed the bike the more the positive characteristics shone through. Cornering traction, stability, playfulness, and ability to maintain speed all stood out. Additionally, on a much longer half-day epic the bike showed it’s climbing and endurance skills. We even cleaned the infamous Puke Hill”! (With no puking, either.)

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It’s not a “bike park” bike, but the Trance, with only 140mm of travel, felt at home on the flowing trails. We’re not going to kid you or ourselves and say it could handle everything thrown at it, but as long as it wasn’t a gnarly rock garden or epic DH track the Trance did a fantastic job.

Two days later we were back on the same trails with the longer-travel cousin, the 2013 26″ Reign. The new Trance crushed it by comparison. To be fair it was a lower spec Reign but even with more travel the Reign still wasn’t a drop on the Trance. Our hands, and whole body, seemed to take a bigger beating on the older Reign, where the Trance just sung.

We’ve spent a lot of time on the Trance throughout the years and when compared to the previous 29″ and 26″ models this one is just better. Better geometry, better spec, better frame, better parts, and ultimately a better ride. It may not have all the same characteristics as both those bikes and it may not be the perfect “best of both worlds” (we don’t actually think there is such a thing) but removing the wheel size debate it’s a damn good machine. If this was your first ever bike and you had no history of the wheel confusion you’d love this bike for what it is. It’s playful, aggressive and one of the most fun bikes we’ve ridden, hands down.

If you're an aggressive rider then the Trance will let you play. If you're not an aggressive rider, then the Trance will always have room to suit your style and abilities. It could be ridden all day without any issues then turn around and hit up some big trails in the same breath.

If you’re an aggressive rider then the Trance will let you play. If you’re not an aggressive rider, then the Trance will always have room to suit your style and abilities. It could be ridden all day without any issues then turn around and hit up some big trails in the same breath.

Giant have the numbers right. When compared to the previous 26″ and 29″ models the bike is slacker – even slacker than the current Reign. We know that 29″ bikes don’t need to be as slack but when compared to the older 26″ model, the 27.5″ is a massive 1.5 degrees slacker (given the bigger wheel theory, that’s more like a 2 degree change in on-trail feel). The top tube has been slightly lengthened and all-in-all the chainstays have remained pretty similar (when considering wheel size). We didn’t measure the bottom bracket height however it does sit lower than the axle height.

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Giant Trance geometry (except SX models).

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The bottom bracket sits below the wheel axle height.

We’re not going to go into much detail on spec as this is a First Bite and a summary of sorts. However it is worth mentioning the performance of both the suspension and drivetrain. We love 1 x 11 and it’s a perfect fit. Also, the RockShox Revelation RLT3 and Monarch RT3 worked well together and we found them easy to set-up and balance.

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The downtube protector is a nice touch for any carbon bike, just watch the adhesion. For 2014, the rear triangle on all Giant carbon mountain bikes is made from aluminium. A cost saving that was applied to new carbon hoops for a much bigger overall weight saving.

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The new Contact dropper from Giant works better than the old. Internal cable routing is just so neat. The top shock pivot now uses cartridge bearings for smoother travel.

From our initial testing the only negatives we had noticed is more related to the spec than the bike itself. If you live anywhere near sharp rocks we’d recommend ditching the OEM Schawble tires and get some with stronger side walls. We also noted a little play in the Contact dropper post (which overall is a much better item than the previous Giant dropper posts). Not that that’s an issue (as many other models have play) but it’s something only a long term test can reveal issues with. Finally, the neat little rubber protection for the downtube was already showing signs of lifting as it’s only glued on.

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Both manualing and lifting the front wheel was a breeze.

All-in-all we loved this bike. Yes, in reality it’s hard to discern the bigger wheels on the trail, and we’re certain some people will ask ‘why not just make a new 26″ then?’ But the way this bike rides is pretty special, and maybe the bigger wheels are a key ingredient in this formula. Couple this with overall better geometry and just more polish everywhere and the new 27.5″ Trance gives you plenty to think – and froth – about.

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Flow contemplates the new world of 27.5″.

Them

 

 

You