While the Trance X frame design remains unchanged for 2009, Giant have tweaked the spec throughout the range to offer even better value for money. Scraping in at just under £2,000, the X 2 offers a smattering of branded ﬁnishing kit, to keep up appearances, and a tough drivetrain to keep you trouble-free and out on the trails all day.
Ride & handling: Balanced and capable, on both the ups and downs
The Trance X’s initial relaxed feel soon evaporated when we hit the 'harder, faster' button. Dropping an inch of bar height made an instant improvement to its balance and though the low bottom bracket height made us fear for our toes, we soon adapted to and appreciated the stable riding position.
Giant’s Maestro suspension system makes for a roundly accomplished ride that really appreciates a bit of a kick. Serving up a plateful of rubble ﬁelds and boulder steps revealed that the capable 125mm (5in) will swallow wallops without a hiccup, and it’s far happier forgiving hammed-up hammering than it is simply cruising along.
Climbing performance is equally adept, whether that involves negotiating tenuous baby head size boulders or cruising ﬁreroads to the top.
The reasonable weight of 12.5kg (27.09lb) makes an appreciable difference to energy levels on big days out, too. Just sit in and spin, keeping traction at a maximum, and you’ll discover the Trance’s appetite for munching mile after mile of technical amusement without leaving you utterly stuffed at the end of it.
Frame: Stiff, light and elegant with a quality shock
We’re used to seeing oodles of swoopy hydroforming on aluminium frames these days, but the Trance X is an elegant example of how to make a mid-travel design work effectively without creating an eyesore.
Manipulated tubesets make for a stiff, light frame that’s highly upgradeable. The ﬂoating pivot point Maestro suspension maximises control throughout and is aided by the Fox Float RP2 shock that helps tame a wayward back end for smoother trails.
Equipment: Impeccable fork plus top kit from Shimano and Race Face
The 15mm bolt-through Fox 32 F120RL fork is bang up to date and performed as impeccably as we’d expect. The drivetrain is predominantly Shimano XT, with an upgrade to the racier XTR for the Shadow rear mech. The chainset and ﬁnishing kit come courtesy of Race Face, with a Deus XC on drive duty and resilient Evolve XC seatpost, stem and bars.
Hayes Stroker Trail brakes are light and functional, and 180/160mm rotors are perfect for substantial trail binges. Kenda Nevegal 2.1 tyres are bread-and-butter capable and we appreciated the soft compound up front, though we’d prefer to see some higher volume rubber for protection on the rocky rubble that it seems to enjoy.