The easiest way to make a decision may well be taking out any options, and Giant are not the only ones taking the knife to their range of bikes for 2013. Cutting both the 26” wheeled Anthem X and Trance X from the catalogue, we now only have 29er versions of what may well be two of Australia’s most popular dual suspension bikes. Trek and Specialized are doing it too, 29ers are becoming less of an option of choice, and more of the
only option on the shop floor. [private]
We are well versed in the 100mm Giant Anthem X29, a solid choice for a wide variety of riders with a racier attitude. The Trance X however is Giants biggest selling dual suspension bike, at 120mm travel and geared at the all round rider it is no wonder you see them in droves on the trails. For 2013 we see 29” wheels, dropper posts on all but the cheapest of four versions, sensible knobby tyres, and a solid trail-oriented build kit.
She is a shiny one, the swoopy lines, slack seat angle and long front end junction sets the new Trance apart from the pack. Frame weight is 2.5kg with shock and in Australia they will start at a impressive $1899 and top out at $4699 for the premium SRAM X0 lightweight build. This model dripping with Shimano XT – the Trance X29 0 retails for a incredible $3799.
The dual link Maestro suspension design has not any seen and drastic changes to its format since 2005, and it carries across the whole lineup from the 100mm travel Anthem to the big Glory downhill bike. Proven, and trusted, supple and balanced.
Giant have clearly listened, and there are many frame shapes and features that are dedicated to bringing the rear wheel in as close as possible to the centre of the bike. Note the Single Spar (vertical tube connecting the seat and chain stay) is only on the non-drive side. Shifting it off to one side has allowed the chainstays to be shorter without comprimising tyre clearance and front derailleur performance. The Trance X29 is 10.1mm shorter in chainstay length than the Anthem X29, and only half an inch longer than its 26” predecessor Trance X. Those numbers alone should put many minds at ease, its not too long in the back end at all.
Nothing too extraordinary going on out back here, Giant are sticking with an open dropout system with a solid wind-up axle instead of the bolt up through-axle setups we have seen a lot of recently. The ease of use and performance seems good enough for Giant to stick with the original standard setup here.
Four cables enter the down tube from both sides – the derailleurs, seat post cable and even the rear brake hydraulic hose are routed internally. After multiple prototype locations the best possible entry location was decided on to attain the cleanest and most effective lines. Note the bolts on the underside of the downtube, from the factory Giant are unable to route the brake lines internally, bike shops or consumers have the option of routing them internally if so desired.
The long top and down tube junction is very unique in its appearance. We liked the fresh and curvy look to it, but we can understand why others may take a little getting used to it. Also, as we have grown to expect from Giant, the frame welding and paintjob finishes are neat clean, and classic bold Giant.
We are quite fond of Giant’s adjustable seatpost, it works sweet without the fuss. And the fact it comes stock on so many bikes at attainable price points is even more attractive.
There is no doubt that Giant have invested heavily in their mountain bike wheel program following on from a successful push in to the road bike market last year. Jeff Schneider Giant’s Global Marketing Manager for gear was on hand to show off the large range that shows deep collaborations with DT Swiss in more ways than just the hubs. The P-TRX 29er 1 we tested is a 1795g 28mm wide wheel set for aggressive riding, utilising DT Swiss hub internals and spoke bed technology seen in the brilliant DT Swiss Tricon wheels. Otherwise Giant has designed the rim, spoke pattern and hub shell in-house. A featherweight 1430g set of carbon 29er wheels are due to our shores soon also.
The rear brake only enters the frame for a few centimeters before popping out again, it makes for a clean appearance at that section but still leaves behind unused bolts on the underside of the down tube.
Sensible tubeless ready rubber for a wide variety of conditions, and a tough wheel set that suits a 120mm 29er perfectly.
‘Flickable’ was a word tossed about many times during Giant’s presentation, they went out to create a bike that was different to the Anthem, and more fun to ride. 29ers by default are generally harder to flick about on the trail but the Trance wasn’t adverse to getting lary and playing about, let the big wheels roll!
For Aussie and Kiwi riders we feel the Trance X29 will be immensely popular, only the steepest and tightest trails would ever test the limits of the longer wheelbased 29er, but on the open trails it’s unstoppable and ever so stable.
Gobbling up the rockiest trails where 29ers have there moment to shine, the Trance gets down to business, 120mm of travel and big wheels are a super stable combination.
Longtime Giant World Cup XC racer Adam Craig has turned his focus to the Enduro / Super D scene lately, he joined us on the ride aboard his fifth generation prototype Trance 29er. Adam had more input into the geometry of this bike than any model prior, and above all the motivation was to create a 29er that was fun to ride. Adam also lined up at the Mega Avalanche mass start endurance downhill, not too many 29ers up on that massive glacier.
World All Mountain Champion Carl Decker is a mad pinner, super low to the ground and fast, we took great delight in attempting to hold onto his wheel when speeds got frighteningly high. [/private]