One of the first bikes to use Giant's new Maestro linkage suspension system, the 4in travel Trance has been a big hit with tough nut trail riders.
As one of the leading bike manufacturers Giant can still pack all the latest technology into an £800 frame. The Trance gets a full suite of hydroformed tubes and a cold forged 'basket' carrying the shock and bottom bracket. The extended seat post is pipe braced, the chainstays bridge heavily hollowed out and cut out dropouts, rocker links and asymmetric 'celery stick' swingarm uprights are all cold forged too. Cable routing is provided for V-brakes or discs, there's plenty of tyre and mud space and standover height, and the cartridge bearings are all fully shielded from any trail dirt too.
The result is an impressively tough and versatile 4in trail bike, but it's not a light one by any stretch, coming in over a pound heavier than the 6lb mark most 100mm travel bikes hit. The bright side (besides the low price) is that the suspension feels deeper than its actual four inches. Positive and immediate pedal response mixes with an impressive appetite for swallowing drops and rocks without skipping a beat. Punchy riders may prefer to trade small bump compliance for rock solid pedal feel by flicking the RP3 rear shock's lever but otherwise it's an inspiring get-on-and-just-ride setup. The tough, chuckable Trance frame feel is also complemented by a relatively short top tube stretch which makes it easy to throw your weight around in tight situations. The combination of this compact feel and extra weight means racers should definitely be looking at the Anthem instead though