Giant are back to their butt-kicking ways and the competitively priced Trance 1 ($3399) is tipped to be the biggest mover in the new Giant line up.
Flow picked this silver beast as one of the four 27.5″-wheeled test bikes to accompany us to Rotorua for a week of riding and filming.
We’ve talked long and often about Giant’s decision to go ‘all in’ with 27.5″, but the new wheel size found on the 2014 Trance range is only part of the story. Giant has served up a list of tweaks and improvements to the Trance range that’s as long as your arm.
The alloy-framed Trance 1 27.5 has 140mm-travel front and rear, slotting in nicely between the previous Trance and Reign models. The geometry has been significantly slackened and lowered too, with a longer top tube and shorter stems than in years past. In short, Giant have given the bike some balls, something you feel as soon as you swing a leg over the low-slung top tube.
Internal cabling (including for the new Giant Contact IR dropper post) has greatly improved the bike’s aesthetics, and even with a mid-range SLX/XT build kit the complete bike is a hair over 13kg. The component spec is simply magnificent for the money – it would seem that Giant have regained the upper hand once again when it comes to offering bang for the buck. A particular highlight in the FOX TALAS CTD fork and ever-reliable Shimano SLX brakes.
Although the Trance doesn’t use a true bolt-up rear axle, we were impressed by the rigidity of the rear end, it feels much stiffer than previous iterations of the Trance.
In terms of setup, we were pleasantly surprised by the short head tube of the Trance; ordinarily with Giant’s we’ve battled to get the bars low enough, but with the new frame we actually ran a few spacers under the stem to get the cockpit at the right height. Great move, Giant!
We sealed the wheels up with a Stan’s rim strip, though persistent air seepage plagued our time on the test bike. In fact, the tyres proved a real pain in butt, rolling and flexing all over the shop, even with higher pressures. More on that later when we deliver our full review.
A week of 10-hour days on the bike, with precious little time for maintenance, proved to be a very thorough way to get to grips with the new Trance, and we look forward to bringing you our full write up (along with the reviews of the three other test bikes we rode in Rotorua) in the next couple of weeks.