Prototype Giant Trance X 29er spotted at US XC Nationals

Plus new Bontrager composite bar/stem

Rabobank-Giant rider Adam Craig won yet another US Super D XC National Championship on Sunday, and this time he was on an alloy prototype 29er. Giant are officially keeping quiet on the details of the bike – short of the teaser videos that have been going around, of course. But it appears to be a version of a Trance X.


According to Craig, he’s been riding varying phases of the frame for about a year now, and the latest version sounds like it’s right where it needs to be. He was keeping pretty tight-lipped, so there isn’t much more information to pass along. However, rumor has it that the wheelbase will be shorter than on the Anthem X 29er, thanks to Giant finding a way to keep chainstay length nice and tight on what should be a 5in travel chassis.

Internal routing appears to have room for two lines – in this case, the dropper post remote and rear brake: internal routing appears to have room for two lines – in this case, the dropper post remote and rear brake
Zach White/

Here, the dropper post remote and brake lines are able to run internally

It appears that Giant are working on internal housing routing for their mountain bikes, too – the Trance X 29er prototype had several. From the looks of it, the routing is for unbroken housing, and doesn’t feature any cable stops. There also appears to be room for up to two lines on each side of the head tube, which would allow for front and rear shifter housing as well as rear brake and remote dropper post lines.

The prototype is still running a standard quick-release on 135mm spacing out back, and there isn’t a hint of 12mm compatibility in the dropouts. Combined with Giant’s tendency to keep standard dropouts for the majority of their trail bikes, chances are the production Trance X 29er won’t be set up for 12mm through-axles, either.

Bontrager composite bar/stem combo and 12mm through-axle

Subaru-Trek rider Russell Finsterwald raced an interesting Bontrager bar/stem combo to the U23 XC National Championship title last weekend. According to chief mechanic Matt Opperman, the composite combo is a prototype from the Trek racing department, and is currently the only one in existence. 

The bar/stem combo is said to weigh almost 70g less than the Bontrager XXX stem and composite RLX bar that the rest of the team are running. An actual weight wasn’t available.

A prototype bontrager composite bar/stem found on u23 national champion russell finsterwald’s trek superfly.:
Zach White/

The prototype of Bontrager’s bar and stem combo

The project has seen some race time since Sam Schultz raced the original version at the Iceman Cometh Challenge last winter. The latest version of the kit was introduced just one weekend ago, at Windham. It’s officially still in the prototype phase, and Trek don’t have plans to introduce it to the public.


The Subaru-Trek team are also running custom dropouts with 12mm Maxle Lites on their Superfly race bikes. The dropouts themselves are another product of Trek’s pro racing department, and aren’t available to the public.