Giant Trance Advanced 0 first ride review

The one-bike quiver is closer than ever

Giant's new Trance Advanced bikes have done what many claim to do but few ever come close to doing. That's making a bike that's willing and able to crush some XC action and then go head-to-head with the big enduro sleds.

A whole lot of testing and research have created the new Trance with impeccable suspension performance and an even more impressive riding feel. BikeRadar spent two days riding the new Trance Advanced 0 in the beautiful backcountry of British Columbia's Chilcotin Mountains.

Hard work pays off, Giant's new Trance Advanced 0 is more capable than ever:
Hard work pays off, Giant's new Trance Advanced 0 is more capable than ever:

Giant Trance Advanced 0 spec overview

  • Advanced Composite front triangle / alloy rear, Maestro suspension, 140mm travel
  • Advanced Forged Composite Technology upper link
  • RockShox Pike RCT3 fork, 150mm travel
  • RockShox Super Deluxe rear shock
  • Giant carbon 27.5in wheels
  • SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed
  • SRAM Guide RSC disc brakes
  • Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires

Giant Trance Advanced 0 first ride impression

Leaning the Trance over was met with noticeable frame stiffness and incredible tracking
Leaning the Trance over was met with noticeable frame stiffness and incredible tracking

I’ve always been quite impressed with Giant’s Maestro rear suspension, it responds well to pedaling, frame stiffness is good, it doesn’t fall apart when ridden hard, and most importantly handles hits large and small with relative ease. Through years of work and testing numerous shock tunes, Giant was able to improve on nearly all those attributes.

 "...this new Trance gets us even closer to that perfect do-it-all trail machine.”

The big advancement is the new Advanced Forged Composite Technology upper link tied to the rear shock through a new trunnion mount. This link and mounting allows the Trance to have 5mm shorter chainstays, and a lower center of gravity. Other geometry tweaks include a 10mm longer top tube and a 5mm lower bottom bracket. 

The trunnion shock mount attaches with bolts on the side vs an eyelet on top, to add stiffness to the frame and allow a longer shock stroke in less space
The trunnion shock mount attaches with bolts on the side vs an eyelet on top, to add stiffness to the frame and allow a longer shock stroke in less space

Long slog or quick punchy uphill, I never once reached for the compression lever on the RockShox Super Deluxe shock, nor did I ever feel like the bike was wallowing about in its 140mm travel. Traction was abundant, it was especially noticeable on wet roots and when squeezing all my power through tight uphill switchbacks. The Trance hooked up, and didn't deflect off obstacles. 

There was plenty of climbing to test the Trance's uphill action
There was plenty of climbing to test the Trance's uphill action

On the downs, it was even more clear that Giant’s work has paid off. In very simple terms, the rear air shock felt like a coil in the beginning of the stroke, and very supple off the top. There was a noticeable increase in control over roots, rocks and small trail chatter. Big hits were met with a nice ramp up and a controlled return to ride height, no bucking or packing down was present. Blasting in and out of corners was met with exceptional front to back stiffness, the bike never felt like it was twisting in the middle. 

Overall, the rear suspension action is a fantastic match to the supple, high-riding feel of RockShox Charger fork dampers. Having such a light initial movement into the suspension travel truly helps the bike feel glued to the terrain and track in the corners. It’s an incredible sensation having way more traction, as if there’s less psi in your rear tire minus the soft tire squirm and eventual flat. 

SRAM's impressive X0 Eagle takes care of drivetrain duty
SRAM's impressive X0 Eagle takes care of drivetrain duty

Another benefit of the trunnion mount and longer shock stroke is less air pressure. Lower pressures improve the shock's performance, enhance the shock’s durability, and allow the shock’s damping circuits to do their job of controlling the ride.

With the adjustments to its geometry and the new suspension tweaks, this new Trance gets us even closer to that perfect do-it-all trail machine

Onto the drivetrain, SRAM's X01 Eagle performed beyond my expectations, grabbing gears when asked, even when fully muddy and not lubed. Numerous panicked upshifts out of stream crossings were met with quick, accurate gear changes. I often cringed a bit, expecting at least some racket, and at worst a snapped chain, but the 12-speed gearing grabbed gears as called upon without complaint. 

The Trance shows just how far suspension performance and mid-travel bikes have come. It can easily take on burly terrain and enduro courses suitable for 160mm sleds, yet still weighs in well under 30lbs and scoots up the trail with near XC-worthy efficiency. It doesn't have to call upon plus-size tires to be capable either, the suspension provides the grip. 

Giant pro Adam Craig had a lot of input on the Trance, and if you've ever seen him ride you'll know this is a very good thing
Giant pro Adam Craig had a lot of input on the Trance, and if you've ever seen him ride you'll know this is a very good thing

“The definition of a trail bike continues to evolve, and to me that means a single bike that can handle a huge variety of terrain,” Giant pro Adam Craig said. “It has to be able to climb well and have huge capabilities on the descents. I’m looking for that one bike that can pretty much handle every kind of trail. With the adjustments to its geometry and the new suspension tweaks, this new Trance gets us even closer to that perfect do-it-all trail machine.” 

It was hugely impressive how composed the ride was, and how sure-footed the Trance made a mere 140mm of travel feel. Therein lies the beauty of a well-sorted, shorter travel bike, while climbing or in the bends it had that glued-to-the-ground feel, yet each little bonus hit or trail feature was met with the kind of zesty response that encourages boosting over rocks and launching off lips. Sending it into fully committed lines at mach speed was rewarded with a near unflappable confidence much greater than the suspension travel numbers would suggest. 

First big descent after a 45-minute hike a bike
First big descent after a 45-minute hike a bike

The only changes I would make for my terrain are a shorter stem, wider bar and more robust tires. I'd also change the grips to something thicker. These are just my personal preferences, the stock set-up was more than adequate. I also noticed the bottom bracket height was low enough to strike pedals, but as a wise man once said, "perhaps you shouldn't be pedaling at those moments."

Giant Trance Advanced 0 vs the competition

Bikes in the 140mm travel bracket often lean towards a trail focus with efficiency taking precedent, or an all-mountain bent with descending prioritized — Giant’s new Trance Advanced 0 feels capable of both however. Its Maestro rear-end channels power wonderfully, yet the 150mm fork and 140mm shock tune let you open it up and get rowdy and loose as if you're on a longer travel bike.

It’s a huge leap forward for the ever elusive one-bike quiver. And I'm very aware of how cliched that is, but it's true here. 

Giant Trance Advanced 0 pricing

$8,050 / AU$8,299 UK pricing unavailable

British Columbia's beautiful Chilcotin Mountains made for a incredible first ride spot:
British Columbia's beautiful Chilcotin Mountains made for a incredible first ride spot:

Giant Trance Advanced 0 early verdict

As mentioned above, it's truly incredible how capable mountain bikes have become. The new Trance seems to be an honest leap forward in suspension feel and performance; supple over the buzzy chatter yet deep and controlled when pushing hard. We are riding in the future and it's a very, very good thing. 
Russell Eich

Tech Writer
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Age: 38
  • Height: 6'3"/190cm
  • Weight: 175lb/79kg
  • Waist: 34in/86cm
  • Chest: 42in / 107cm
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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