Long Term Test: Giant Trance Advanced SX First Impressions

Words by Chris Southwood | Images by Flowtographer

The not-so-minor details

Product

Giant Trance Advanced SX

Contact

Giant Bicycles Australia
www.giant-bicycles.com

  • Price: AUD5,999.00
  • Weight: 12.30kg

Positives

Looks like everything a gravity enduro rider could hope for!

Negatives

Brake line will need to be re-routed to clean things up.

This week we happily welcome a brand new addition to our long-term test fleet – Giant’s 2014 Trance Advanced SX. So fresh, you can almost still smell Taiwan. We’ve just finished assembling this beast, here are our first impressions.

We put the aluminium framed Trance 1 to the test over a week of riding in Rotorua not long ago, and it really exceeded our expectations. It was that experience that got us thinking we’d like to get our hands on Trance for a longer period of time and after more investigation we came to realise that SX version was the one for us. Naturally, we opted for the Advanced carbon version, rather than an alloy-framed mode (Gucci, baby).

Giant Trance Advanced SX -51

The SX designation indicates there are a number of elements to this bike that make it rather different beast to the standard Trance range. Essentially, Giant have taken the Trance Advanced and souped it up a little for more aggressive riding, kind of like Specialized do with their EVO models.

The main point of difference is the suspension. The SX gets a travel adjustable fork (140-160mm), allowing you to kick the head angle back to a lazy 66 degrees, along with the Float X rear shock, which is famed for its performance in tough conditions. More aggressive rubber, 180mm front/rear brake rotors and 1×11 SRAM x01 drivetrain also add bolster the ‘extreme’ credibility of this bike.

Giant supply tubeless tape so going tubeless takes about 10 minutes. All you need it sealant.

Giant supply tubeless tape so going tubeless takes about 10 minutes. All you need it sealant.

A spare derailleur hanger and tubeless valves are all part of the deal.

A spare derailleur hanger and tubeless valves are all part of the deal.

Building the Trance up was an enjoyable affair for the most part. Giant are kind enough to supply you with tubeless rim tape and valves, so losing the tubes is easy. We added a healthy dose of Bontrager sealant. The Schwalbe Hans Dampf and Razor Rock tyres aren’t particularly tight fitting on the rims, so we used a compressor to seat the tyres, rather than fighting with a track pump.

 

Never scrimp on sealant. We regularly use much more than the recommended amount.

Never scrimp on sealant. We regularly use much more than the recommended amount.

The post's internal cabling comes already routed. Good. We've spent too many hours of our lives swearing as we thread internal cables!

The post’s internal cabling comes already routed. Good. We’ve spent too many hours of our lives swearing as we thread internal cables!

Giant’s new Contact Switch-R adjustable seat post uses internal ‘stealth’ cable routing, which looks brilliant but does add some complexities when building the bike. The housing comes pre-routed through the frame, thank god, but it does need to be trimmed to the right length. This is where some care and thought is needed as you must first set your seat height, before trimming the housing to length. Cut it too short, and you risk not being able to raise the seat post in the frame (which isn’t a likely situation, but worth accounting for nonetheless).

All the cables, including the rear brake line, are internally routed through the main frame, with big rubber plugs where they exit. Down the track, we’re going to undo our rear brake line and re-route it to enter on the other side of the down tube. In its current format, entering on the left hand side, there is a risk of cable rub on the fork crown. Luckily the rear brake uses a quick-release line connector, so this shouldn’t necessitate a brake bleed.

The rear brake cable enters the down tube on the left. We'd prefer it to go in on the right, which would create a smoother arc for the brake line with less cable rub.

The rear brake cable enters the down tube on the left. We’d prefer it to go in on the right, which would create a smoother arc for the brake line with less cable rub.

 

We fitted a wider bar (750mm vs 730mm), opting for Truvativ's carbon Jerome Clementz hangers.

We fitted a wider bar (750mm vs 730mm), opting for Truvativ’s carbon Jerome Clementz hangers.

Finally, before hitting the trails, we made a couple of quick personal preference swaps. Although the 730mm-wide Giant Connect bar will suit many, we prefer something a little bit wider. We fitted a Truvativ Jerome Clementz BlackBox carbon bar, which is a 750mm across. We also changed the grips, again purely out of personal preference, as we’ve found the Giant grips to be a little squirmy in the wet for our taste. On went a set of SDG/ODI Hansolo lock ons.

We changed grips too, again just out of personal preference.

We changed grips too, again just out of personal preference.

One of the things that we really appreciate with the Trance SX is the ability to fit a water bottle. The fit is tight however, so a cage that allows you to slip the bottle in from the side is handy. Even still, some full size 750ml bottles won’t fit in a medium sized frame. A Camelbak Podium bottle just squeezes in, but we’ll still be modifying our bottle cage mounting holes to allow the cage to sit slightly further rearward, giving more clearance for the bottle. Absolutely last of all, we popped on a Mucky Nutz Bender Fender as there has been a bit of rain of late! Perfect. Onto the scales  - 12.3kg, not bad! Let’s go ride this thing!

It's a tight fit, but a full sized bottle will squeeze in. We also fitted a lightweight fender too. It's unobtrusive enough to leave on there full time.

It’s a tight fit, but a full sized bottle will squeeze in. We also fitted a lightweight fender too. It’s unobtrusive enough to leave on there full time.

You