The Stance has an almost identical silhouette to Giant’s pricier full-sussers, but foregoes its twin-link Maestro suspension design for a single-pivot FlexPoint rear end.
The 2×9 drivetrain is a surprise, but a dropper post is a welcome inclusion. This bike has aggressive intentions, but its short and steep geometry holds it back.
Made from Giant’s ALUXX aluminium, the Stance frame is claimed to be 30 percent stiffer than a regular 6061 alloy chassis. It doesn’t skimp on the details, including internal cable routing, a tapered head tube and wider Boost axle spacing – although this is for a 9x141mm Boost QR quick-release skewer rather than a 12x148mm thru-axle.
Use of a press-fit bottom bracket potentially increases pedalling stiffness but makes maintenance more of a hassle, and in our experience, the bearings probably won’t last as long as on the threaded equivalent. There’s room for a 650b+ rear tyre, but this model comes with 2.4in Maxxis rubber.
The geometry is reserved – my large size had 435mm chainstays, a 455mm reach and a 1,174mm wheelbase.
Giant Stance 2 kit
Giant’s 150mm Contact Switch dropper post is lengthy enough for taller riders and gives the Stance 2 plenty of potential for fun rides. Steve Behr
The Giant has a twin-ring drivetrain – and a 2×9 set-up at that – and it’s hard not to focus on the shortfalls of its budget-feeling gearing.
Although the shifting is acceptable and there are plenty of gears to choose from, the chain has a habit of derailing off the big ring when things get rough. The bike also suffers from chain suck when changing to the small ring.
Elsewhere, Giant has specced some good kit. There’s 120mm of travel at each end, courtesy of a Suntour fork and shock, both with adjustable rebound damping.
The own-brand finishing kit, wheels and dropper post could all pass for branded parts. It’s also supplied set up tubeless, with 2.4in Maxxis Ardent tyres seated on 25mm rims – a good trail-riding combo.
Giant Stance 2 ride impressions
Hop on the Stance and you’ll notice the upright riding position and relatively short cockpit. There’s nothing outlandish about the individual geometry figures, but as a package the bike makes you feel rather perched.
When climbing, the higher front end accentuates the angle of the ascent, making it harder to hunker down and bury yourself, even though the rear of the bike also rides fairly high. But on the downhills, it helps to overcome that feeling of pitching forward when you start to wind up your speed, so you spend less time fighting going over the bars, and more making the front tyre grip.
The rear suspension is relatively firm, which again has positives and negatives. When ascending, there’s little to no bob, whether you’re seated or standing up and mashing the pedals.
The flipside is that small bumps aren’t always absorbed by the back wheel. That does mean there’s a solid platform to push against if you get rowdy in the turns, although you may notice some flex from the rear end.
The bike comes set up tubeless, which reduces weight and increases grip and puncture resistance. Steve Behr
It’s a similar story up front. While the fork provides adequate support deeper in its travel, it’s not so good at smoothing out the trail.
When it comes to descending though, the main hindrance is the 2x drivetrain. If you’re just cruising, you won’t notice too many ill effects. But as soon as you open the proverbial throttle, chain rattle, chain slap and – if you’re really gunning it – chain drop all become unwelcome partners on your ride.
Not only does this feel like a throwback to days gone by, but, if you’re not careful, you could find yourself riding your top tube.
It’s a shame, because otherwise the Giant is a sorted bike to start your mountain bike journey on. Swapping the dual chainrings for a narrow-wide ring and 10-speed Shimano Deore cassette, mech and shifter wouldn’t cost much over £100 and would answer my main complaints.
In the longer term, a new fork and shock would unlock the potential of a capable, upgradable chassis that’s already got a dropper and tubeless wheels.
Giant Stance 2 geometry (L)
Seat angle: 74 degrees
Head angle: 67.5 degrees
Chainstay: 17.1in / 43.5cm
Seat tube: 19in / 48.2cm
Top tube: 24.6in / 62.5cm
Head tube: 5.1in / 13cm
Fork offset: 1.7in / 4.3mm
Trail: 4.1in / 10.4mm
Bottom bracket drop: 0.8in / 2cm
Bottom bracket height: 13.19in / 33.5cm
Wheelbase: 46.2in / 1,174mm
Stack: 23.4in / 59.4
Reach: 17.9in / 45.5cm