In this era of 3-, 4-, 5- and 6in-travel full suspension rigs, finding the right bike for your type of riding can be a confusing business. Helpfully, Giant have made things easier by offering bikes that are clearly designed for specific purposes.
Firstly, there's the Anthem XC series of bikes, featuring 90mm (3.5in) of rear travel and ultra light and efficient frames designed for cross-country racing. Then there's the Reign enduro/freeride bikes, featuring 152mm (6in) of rear travel, that can handle rough climbs and yet are still able to motor along the downs.
Sitting between the two series are the Trance bikes with 107mm (4.2in) of travel and light frames designed for day-long trail blasting. This range of bikes will be perfect for load of riders; we've been thrashing the top-of-the- range Trance 1...
The Trance frame features Giant's Maestro rear suspension platform - a floating pivot point system designed to eliminate pedal bob and brake feedback - and the travel is delivered via a Fox RP3 shock. The AluxX aluminium frame, combined with a light spec keeps the overall weight down to a respectable 12kg (26.5lb), and the build quality is high as usual.
Thanks to the dropped top tube design, the frame looks a lot smaller than it actually is, which will attract tall people, like our tester Doddy, who normally have to put up with riding gates...
Out of the box, the Trance 1 is ready to rock - there's nothing on it that most people will want to change because all the parts are great. Fox's FRL fork, offering 100mm (4in) travel, Mavic CrossMax wheels, Hutchinson Bulldog tyres and Hayes HFX-9 hydraulic disc brakes with carbon levers make an appearance. Shimano dominate the drivetrain with an XT and XTR parts mix, but it's the beautiful RaceFace Deus XC cranks that take pride of place on this bike.
Instantly feeling like it wants to propel you, the Trance is great for long trail-blasting sessions. Uphills are just part of the ride, not singled out as a chore, and blasting singletrack feels perfectly natural. In fact, there's nowhere the Trance feels out of its depth - the 107mm rear travel takes the sting out of all but the nastiest bumps and provides fantastic traction on technical climbs. The top tube is also roomy enough for you to be able to move around, but not too long for when the going gets technical.