Tested: 2019 Giant Trance 29er 1

The not-so-minor details


Giant Trance 29er 1






Punches way above its weight.
Ideal trail bike manners.


Too hard to fault.

Giant threw the cat amongst the pigeons with the new Trance; we were not expecting their return to 29” wheel trail bikes with a bike with only 115mm of rear suspension travel. Though after a few solid weeks ripping singletrack alight, we’re impressed with its fun and lively ride. Click here to read our first impressions and reaction to the new bike release.

Watch the Trance 29er in action here:

Stout and lively, the new Trance was SO much fun to rip about the singletrack on.

Packing a punch.

The Trance is a short travel bike that punches way above its weight; we found ourselves going just as hard on the Trance as we were on far bigger bikes and it felt fantastic. We’re used to categorising bikes by wheel size and suspension travel amount, but with the advancements in suspension technology and a better understanding of how all the elements of mountain bike design come together, bikes like the Trance 29er need not be defined by the quantity of suspension, rather the quality of it.

115mm doesn’t seem like a lot of travel for a trail bike, but if we didn’t know that number we’d have sworn it was longer travel.

We’re witnessing a resurgence of shorter travel bikes that keep up on rough trails, with decent rubber, stable steering and a robust chassis, a good technique, line choice and effort is rewarded with a whole lot of fun.

Holeproof spec.

Giant is pretty darn good at speccing their bikes right for the cause, and the Trance is an excellent example of picking the right tools for the job. It’s hard to fault the spec at all, especially considering the very fair price tag. The SRAM GX drivetrain is a real winner in our experience, and a massive contributor to the bike’s smooth and quiet operation, bringing high-end performance to a lower level.

While the higher end Trance 29ers use DVO Suspension, we can’t get enough of the FOX DPS shock, and 34 fork’s fantastic performance, the smooth, supple and highly adjustable fork and shock are what we’d expect to find on top-spec model bikes. The rear shock does a stellar job of managing significant impacts as well as remaining calm under pedalling forces, pretty dialled.

Carbon wheels on a bike at this level is a nice surprise, the new TRX wheels from Giant will be very popular with a nice width and direct feeling. They did pop and ping quite a bit on the first ride as the spoke tension settled down, and the rear wheel wasn’t 100% true after a couple of weeks.

Carbon wheels on a $5499 bike, nice!

Supplied with tubeless sealant and valves, Giant address one of the biggest gripes we have with many test bikes we get, and the Maxxis tyres sealed up like a dream on the wheels, yay!

Giant’s new saddle and dropper post rate a mention too, great high-quality kit.

Who’s it for?

The Trance nails that all-around trail bike vibe with a very comfortable riding position that feels instantly natural. While a race bike might feel longer in the reach, the handlebars on the Trance fall right into your hands like you’ve owned it for years.

The FOX 34 is our favourite trail fork.

It’s efficient enough to take on a marathon race or multi-day event and would be more comfortable on the body that the race-ready Anthem would be, and on our local trail network, only the rowdiest of sections would challenge the Trance leaving us wishing for longer legs to cope with bigger impacts at speed.

How does it compare to the current Trance with 27.5” wheels and longer travel?

This one feels lighter to play around with and make quick line choices, easier to jump up and over stuff on the trail. Pair that with the inherent stability from 29” wheels and you’ve got a bike that is light to ride yet composed.

Pretty stoked on this one!

We’re always searching for new experiences from mountain bikes, and the emergence of short travel trail bikes that rip is one thing that is doing it for us right now. It’s easy to feel a little isolated on a long travel 29er when riding trails that don’t call for such a big bike, riding this one confirms that you don’t need loads of travel for a good time.

Love the feeling of going fast, and your trails aren’t particularly rough or steep? Consider the new Trance 29er, for sure.

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