Giant adds all-new carbon Trance X Advanced Pro 29 to 2021 line-up

Just a month after launching aluminium Trance X 29, Giant unveils full carbon Advanced Pro 29 version, the priciest of which with Fox Live Valve

Giant Trance X

Giant’s very first Trance launched way back in 2004 (although it was technically a 2005 model year bike) and came equipped with 100mm of Maestro controlled rear wheel travel – Giant’s twin link suspension system. We’re now onto the eighth generation bike, which goes to show just how popular and important this bike clearly is.

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Since its inception, the Trance has been designed to be a great all-round trail bike that is just as capable pointed up the hill as it is pointed down.

The Trance X 29 which launched in August 2020 could arguably be considered even more capable, thanks to its increase in travel over the standard Trance 29er (which has 115mm at the rear), slacker geometry yet similarly efficient suspension traits.

And the new Trance X Advanced Pro 29 range of bikes simply follows suit, but features full carbon frames and heftier price tags.

What’s more, the top-tier Trance X Advance Pro 29 0 (which costs £7,999) is equipped with Fox’s intelligent Live Valve suspension.

5 things you need to know about the Trance X Advanced Pro 29

  1. There are three different Trance X Advanced Pro 29 models available but not every model will be available in every global region
  2. Flip chips that sit inside the upper Maestro rocker link allow you to alter the head and seat angle by 0.7 degrees and the bottom bracket height by 10mm
  3. The Trance X Advanced Pro 29 features 135mm of rear wheel travel and is designed to work with a 150mm travel fork (just like the alloy Trance X 29)
  4. There are four sizes to choose from: small to extra-large
  5. Giant worked closely with Fox Shox to create a standard custom-tuned shock, but also custom-tuned Live Valve settings for the top-tier bike

Trance X Advanced Pro 29 adjustable geometry

Flip chip
Th flip chips mean the geometry is adjustable.

Arguably the biggest news here is the adjustable geometry, which comes courtesy of two flip chips that sit at the seatstay/rocker link pivot.

The oval insert sits on the inside of the rocker link and isn’t obvious to spot when looking at the bike from the side. Actually swapping the bike between the two settings (high and low) is relatively simple and only requires a 5mm Allen key. It’s a job that you can do on the trail in a short amount of time too.

Swapping between the high and low setting not only rakes the head angle out from a claimed 66.2 degrees to a slacker 65.5 degrees, it also slackens the seat angle from 77.9 degrees to 77.2 degrees, which is still incredibly steep by today’s trail bike standards.

At the rear, the swap between settings increases the chainstay length from 435mm to 438mm. Finally, it alters the bottom bracket drop by a significant 10mm (from 30mm down to 40mm).

Flip chip settings
Swapping between the high and low settings changes the head angle from a claimed 66.2 degrees to a slacker 65.5 degrees, and slackens the seat angle from 77.9 degrees to 77.2 degrees.

Giant wanted to ensure us that this wasn’t merely some form of box-ticking exercise, and was keen to genuinely create “one bike with two different personalities”.

When it comes to the Trance X Advanced Pro 29’s proportions, this new machine isn’t a million miles off of Giant’s enduro bike, the Reign. In fact, if you compare medium frames, for example, the reach on the Reign is actually 1mm less than on the new Trance X (456mm).

The head angle is only half a degree steeper too and, in the low setting, the bottom bracket sits lower, while the seat angle is a touch steeper.

Because the amount of rear wheel travel on tap only differs by 11mm (the Reign has 146mm while the Trance X has 135mm), we did pose the question to Giant as to whether it felt that this may lead to some consumer confusion down the line?

Giant’s response was that despite some of the angles being pretty close, the Reign still comes equipped with a longer travel fork (170mm) and has more travel at the rear, offering more than enough of a distinction between the two for potential consumers.

The big question is, will the new Trance X Advanced Pro 29 live up to Giant’s lofty expectations and be the “one bike to master the mountain”?

Trance X Advanced Pro 29 frame and suspension

The new Trance X Advanced Pro 29 was a full 18 months in the making and is constructed using Giant’s own high-performance grade raw carbon and custom resin.

Unlike some carbon frames, though, the Trance X Advanced Pro 29 doesn’t just feature a carbon mainframe. In fact, you get a carbon rear triangle too, as well as carbon linkages – Giant uses a new process to construct the upper of the two linkages, which it claims is lighter and stronger.

Twin link suspension systems have a lot of positive traits when it comes to the overall ride feel and handling characteristics, but from a more practical point of view – when it comes to maintenance, there’s no denying that there are quite a few bearings to take care of.

In a bid to increase durability, Giant has used new, double-sealed bearings throughout as well as a different bearing at the seat tube/rocker link pivot, which does away with the need for requiring additional small washers when fitted.

Durometer rubber protects the underbelly of the bike.

Look to the rear triangle and you’ll see some neatly integrated chainstay and seatstay protection on the driveside. After taking its time and testing a variety of different rubber durometers as well as thicknesses, this textured chainstay protector (which is really quite soft) is said to do an admirable job of quietening down any unwanted chainslap when the going gets rowdy.

Giant has used the same durometer rubber on the new underbelly protector that wraps the underside of the bottom bracket shell and extends part way up the down tube. While this works to protect the frame from rock strikes and the like, there’s also more protection further up that’s almost impossible to see in the pictures.

That’s because Giant opted to make it using clear 3M tape. This is positioned on the underside of the upper third of the down tube and is there to prevent tailgate damage for those that load their bike onto the back of a pickup truck.

Not everyone will love the fact that the Trance X Advanced Pro 29 uses a press-fit bottom bracket, though.

Giant specs a 2.4in rear tyre but claims there’s room for a 2.5in tyre.

On the plus side, while Giant actually specs this range of bikes with a 2.4in rear tyre, it assures us that there’s room to fit a 2.5in tyre should you want to go bigger.

In a bid to ensure that there’s plenty of undercarriage clearance and the saddle stays well out of the way when things get rowdy, the seat tubes on the Trance X Advanced Pro 29 are a reasonable length (430mm on the medium) and are designed to work with the latest crop of long travel dropper posts.

Just as it did on its Reign enduro bike, Giant has shifted the seat tube pivot location forward slightly to create more insertion room inside the seat tube.

When it comes to that all-important suspension, the Trance X Advanced Pro 29 offers up 135mm of rear wheel travel. That’s 20mm more than the standard Trance 29 and just 11mm less than the Reign 29.

This is dished out via its tried and trusted twin-link Maestro suspension system, which has featured on Giant’s bikes since it was debuted in 2004.

Giant's twin-link Maestro suspension system
Giant’s twin-link Maestro suspension system offers 135mm of rear wheel travel.

Giant was quick to point out that it wanted this 135mm of travel to feel supple at the beginning of the stroke, supportive in the middle but offer enough ramp up towards the end to prevent any kind of harsh bottom out – something pretty much every brand is gunning for.

Giant actually quoted overall leverage ratio progression figures of 15.8 per cent in the low setting and 15.9 per cent in the high setting, and says that curve is relatively linear towards the end of the travel because it’s designed around an air shock – which inherently ramps up when compressed, and it didn’t want the ramp up to feel overly harsh.

Both the high and low setting leverage ratio curves are said to run in parallel with one another to ensure things feel predictable no matter which geometry setting you’re in.

The 135mm travel back-end is paired with a 150mm travel fork up front.

Fox Live Valve suspension

Live Valve
The Trance X Advanced Pro 29 0 comes with Fox’s Live Valve suspension system.

The most expensive Trance X Advanced Pro 29 0 comes complete with Fox’s Live Valve. In brief, this system uses three accelerometers – one on the fork, one by the rear axle and one in the control unit mounted to the top tube – and a pitch sensor to tell electronically controlled compression valves in the fork and shock when to open and close.

Essentially it does the thinking for the rider and ensures the bike’s suspension is as effective and efficient as possible depending on the terrain. It’s all very clever stuff.

Because the Trance X Advanced Pro 29 was designed to be the best all-round trail bike that Giant has ever created, integrating this intelligent, ultra-efficient system into the top-level bike seemed to make sense, and after experiencing it first hand, was something the product team was keen to make happen.

Giant was quick to point out that “this [Live Valve] is not a band aid to hide any flaws in the suspension characteristics of the Trance X Advanced Pro 29”. It believes this system helps to make a great bike even better by boosting its efficiency further and adding some easy to use tunability into the mix.

Live Valve isn’t a common sight, even on the priciest of Fox-equipped bikes, so we did contact Giant to ask if the suspension brand had put any pressure on it to use the system but, according to Giant, it was all down to it wanting what it felt was best for this all-new trail bike.

Fox’s Live Valve controller lets you toggle between five different suspension settings. The higher the setting you’re in, the firmer the suspension will feel – the impact timer means the valves will stay closed for longer in higher settings.

Fox allowed Giant to have control over how to tune the five settings. Although Giant was happy with how the first three Live Valve settings made the bike feel, it decided to take the opportunity to really firm up the fourth and five settings, making it feel more like a pure-bred World Cup cross-country bike for really racking up those long distance trail miles

So, by shortening the impact timer (making the fork/shock firm up more quickly following on from the bump impact) Giant was able to create two settings that might not give you the comfiest ride but certainly should help to make the bike feel electrifyingly fast.

Of course, adding something like Fox Live Valve does come with downsides. Not only does it add cost, there’s also the extra complication of using wired electronics on your bike with all the extra cabling the Live Valve brings, plus remembering to charge the battery.

Trance X Advanced Pro 29 range overview and pricing

All Trance X Advanced Pro 29 bikes will get Giant’s new carbon Contact SLR bars, which are 800mm wide with a 20mm rise and have a 7-degree rather than a 9-degree backsweep.

These are paired with Giant’s Contact SL stem and bar with a 35mm clamp diameter and 40mm length.

If that wasn’t enough carbon for you, these carbon bikes also get the carbon TRX-1 wheelset, which uses rims with a 30mm internal width.

Romero saddle
A Romero saddle sits atop a long travel dropper post.

Wrapped around those are Maxxis tyres. There’s a Minion DHF 2.5in up front with a Dissector 2.4in at the rear. Both tyres use the brand’s 3C MaxxTerra rubber compound and EXO casing.

All carbon bikes get Giant’s new Romero SL saddle too.

Interestingly, while this is a trail bike, Giant has only specced four-piston brakes on the Trance X Advanced Pro 29 and those use a 200mm rotor up front matched with a 180mm rotor at the rear.

All bikes feature a custom shock tune.

Male cyclist riding a full suspension mountain bike through woodland
Check out our first ride review of the Giant Trance X Advanced Pro 29 0.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

Giant Trance X Advanced Pro 29 range

Giant Trance X Advanced Pro 29 0

  • Frame: Advanced-Grade Composite front and rear triangles, 135mm travel
  • Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Factory Live Valve FIT4
  • Fork: Fox 36 Factory Live Valve, 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed rear derailleur, Shimano XT shifter, cassette, crankset
  • Brakes: Shimano XT
  • Price: £7,999 / $8,500 / AUS$11,499

Giant Trance X Advanced Pro 29 1

  • Frame: Advanced-Grade Composite front and rear triangles, 135mm travel
  • Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance
  • Fork: Fox 36 Performance Elite GRIP2, 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 R
  • Price: £4,999 / $5,400 / AUS$7,699
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Giant Trance X Advanced Pro 29 2

  • Frame: Advanced-Grade Composite front and rear triangles, 135mm travel
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe RT Select+
  • Fork: RockShox Pike Select, 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX Eagle
  • Brakes: Shimano 520
  • Price: $4,300 / AUS$6,599