Giant Trance 1 review

Supple, supportive Maestro suspension

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
£3,199.00 RRP

Our review

Supple suspension on the descents, sizing woes for the tall
Pros: Smooth suspension
Cons: Sizing feels on the small side
Skip to view product specifications

We’re fans of Giant’s Maestro suspension design, and on the alloy Trance it’s one of the highlights, providing a stable, supportive and controlled platform when trails get steep and you want to push the bike through big compressions.

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  • The Giant Trance 1 is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2019. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub page.

This is thanks to the back-end’s smooth progression through its stroke, offering buckets of support as the bike is pushed towards the limits of its travel. Instead of a jarring clatter as the 140th millimetre of travel is reached, it almost just tickles the end of its travel.

Get the bike heavily loaded through a berm and the bike holds steadfast in its midstroke, allowing you to push the bike to the exit to generate speed.

Fox's DPX2 shock is smooth and adjustable, with a compression switch allowing for a lock-out
Fox’s DPX2 shock is smooth and adjustable, with a compression switch allowing for a lock-out
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

At the flatter end of the trail spectrum I did find the super-supple nature of the Trance sucked a bit of the bike’s vigour though, especially when ridden back to back with some of the more sprightly bikes on test. Trying to accelerate from turn to turn takes more effort than might be required elsewhere.

Uphill, the Trance is a fair companion, so long as you’ve a smooth pedal stroke, or rely on the Fox DPX2’s compression switch to quell any sogginess from the rear suspension. Traction on loose or lumpy climbs is, however, good thanks to the back-end. The Maxxis High Roller II tyres roll fairly well, while offering decent grip.

Giant Trance 1 kit

SRAM's GX Eagle drivetrain is a common sight at this price point
SRAM’s GX Eagle drivetrain is a common sight at this price point
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

Giant has done fairly well on the spec front, especially considering you buy the Trance from a bricks and mortar shop.

The Performance Elite level Fox 36 fork offers plenty of chassis stiffness and plush control through its 150mm of travel.

Giant uses its Maestro suspension linkage to good effect
Giant uses its Maestro suspension linkage to good effect
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

The Giant AM wheelset has a fairly wide rim bed, offering plenty of support to the Maxxis tyres. The High Roller II might be less commonly seen than the now very much ‘in vogue’ Minion DHF/DHR combo, however it’s arguably slightly better in sloppier conditions and provides a very predictable feel when it eventually breaks away from its traction.

Giant’s own finishing kit — cockpit, dropper and saddle — caused little to worry about too.

SRAM's Guide R brakes are basic, reliable, but not the most powerful
SRAM’s Guide R brakes are basic, reliable, but not the most powerful
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

Giant Trance 1 ride feel

It’s all good so far, however I feel the sizing is behind the times. The 67-degree head angle is relatively steep for a 140/150mm bike, the 73.5-degree seat angle is slack, and the 448mm reach in a Large (the largest size available) is more like a medium than a large.

This leaves the bike feeling rather short when compared to other similar bikes, and when ridden back to back leaves you feeling a touch less secure on faster, looser terrain.

10-50t — the Eagle cassette has plenty of range
10-50t — the Eagle cassette has plenty of range
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

This is compounded by a relatively tall seat tube, which left regular ‘large’ riders feeling they were at times pitched over the front of the bike in steeper terrain.

In fairness, though, if the rear suspension sat higher in its travel at the back, this would be exacerbated, so on steeper stuff it’s no bad thing that the Trance likes to slip into the first part of its travel with ease.

Giant has been making its own wheels for a long time now, these AM versions are nice and wide
Giant has been making its own wheels for a long time now, these AM versions are nice and wide
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

The Large is the largest of the bikes on offer, so sizing up for ‘large’ riders isn’t possible. The length felt good to some of our shorter testers, who may usually ride a Medium, but the length of the seat tube meant they were riding with a dropped post. In essence, we felt like it had the reach of a medium but the seat tube of a large.

It didn't quite make top marks, thanks to its limiting geometry, but the rear suspension is excellent
It didn’t quite make top marks, thanks to its limiting geometry, but the rear suspension is excellent
Dan Milner / Immediate Media

Giant Trance 1 specifications

  • Sizes (*tested): S, M, L*
  • Weight: 14kg
  • Frame: ALUXX SL aluminium 140mm 650b
  • Fork: Fox Float Performance Elite 36 150mm
  • Shock: Fox Float Performance DPX2
  • Chainset: TruVativ Descendent
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM
  • Cassette: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Chain: SRAM
  • Mech: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Shifters: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Wheelset: Giant AM 27.5
  • Spokes: Sapim
  • Tyres: Maxxis Highroller II 650×2.5WT (f), Maxxis Highroller II 650×2.5WT (r)
  • Stem: Giant Contact SL 50mm
  • Bar: Giant Contact SL 780mm
  • Saddle: Giant Contact SL
  • Seatpost: Giant Contact Switch S 150mm
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide R 180/180

Giant Trance 1 geometry

The Giant Trance is a mid-travel trail bike with some burly components
The Giant Trance is a mid-travel trail bike with some burly components
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media
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  • Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
  • Head angle: 67 degrees
  • Chainstay: 43.5cm / 17.13in
  • Seat tube: 48.2cm / 18.98in
  • Top tube: 63cm / 24.8in
  • Head tube: 13cm / 5.12in
  • Fork offset:  4.2cm / 1.65in
  • Trail: 10.4cm / 4.09in
  • Bottom bracket drop: 1.5cm / 0.59in
  • Wheelbase: 1,183mm / 46.57in
  • Stack: 61.4cm / 24.17in
  • Reach: 44.8cm / 17.64in

BikeRadar would like to thank 661 Protection, Northwave, Effetto Mariposa and Finale Ligure for their help and support during our Bike of the Year test.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Trance 1
Brand Giant

Available Sizes S M L
Saddle Giant Contact SL
Wheelbase (in) 46.57
Top Tube (in) 24.8
Seat Tube (in) 18.89
Chainstays (in) 17.13
Spoke Type Sapim
Wheelset Giant AM 27.5
Weight (kg) 14
Stem Giant Contact SL 50mm
Shifters SRAM GX Eagle
Seatpost Giant Contact Switch S 150mm
Seat Angle 73.5
Rear Tyre Maxxis Highroller II 650x2.5WT
Bottom Bracket SRAM
Rear Shock Fox Float Performance DPX2
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX Eagle
Head Angle 67
Handlebar Giant Contact SL 780mm
Front Tyre Maxxis Highroller II 650x2.5WT
Frame Material ALUXX SL aluminium 140mm 650b
Fork Fox Float Performance Elite 36 150mm
Cranks TruVativ Descendent
Chain SRAM
Cassette SRAM GX Eagle
Brakes SRAM Guide R 180/180
Frame size tested L