Giant Trance 3 review

All-new frame underlines Trance’s tight ride

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £999.00 RRP | USD $1,700.00

Our review

Tight, fun and friendly from the get-go, with great upgrade potential maximising value
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An all-new lightweight chassis breathes life into Giant’s cheapest suspension bike to create a tight, tenacious, great-value XC/trail rig.

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Frame: Lighter hydro-formed tubes mean a lighter frame

Despite this complete bike costing less than £1000, the Trance frame (with Fox RP2 shock) alone costs £795, and it’s easy to see why. Old Trances were always a bit heavy for their travel, but the new frame swaps heavy cold forged pieces for extended hydroformed tubes. A tighter wrapped 3D rocker, shared pivot and shock mounts (rather than the old penetrated downtube design), and other tubeset and weld line tweaks increase stiffness, yet still manages to shed 244g of frame weight. We’ve never had trouble with Maestro bearings and the split anodised/painted ?nish is tough. There’s a big gulf between medium and large sizes in terms of top tube stretch, though. Tyre clearance and cable routing are workable, but could be improved. 

Ride: Brings out the best in your riding

While it has lost weight, the Trance has lost none of its poise. Longish stem and low bottom bracket make for a steady and relaxing initial feel, but it’s ready to snap into a much more involving ride. Drop the bars by junking the extended headset spacer and you’ll start to appreciate the genius spec move of a softer ‘Stick E’ front tyre. Combined with the surefooted Maestro suspension and frame stiffness, the Trance gets more impressive the harder you push it, saving us from the big ‘offs’ we thoroughly deserved on occasion. Maestro suspension gives the best balance of small bump plushness for traction and positive pedal feel available. Even in short stroke form the Fox shock felt smoother and more controlled than everything here but the Norco. With only four inches of travel, bigger hits are de?nitely coped with rather than treated with contempt. The low bottom bracket caused frequent pedal strikes on rocky/ off-camber sections, too, so you need to ?oat the bike through more toothy terrain. The overall balance and con?dence de?nitely bring out the best in your riding ability, though. 

Equipment: Excellent value for money

The Tora air fork feels tight and spikes over bigger hits at ?rst, and a slight top-out clunk and looseness occasionally disturbs composure. It smooths out quickly, though, and the lockout is useful for road climbs. Transmission kit looks par on price, but we reckon it’s excellent considering the cost of the frame. The external crank bearings might wear out quicker than ‘cheaper’ Octalink cranks, but they are stiffer and easier to work with. Formula hubs won’t last as long as Shimano, either, but tyre spec is spot-on for year-round trail use. 

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Summary 

With a superb-quality lightweight frameset and traction-rich yet pedal-friendly Fox shock at its heart, the Trance is outstanding from the start. Performance-enhancing touches like the tyres make it great fun straight from the box, but there’s masses of upgrade potential. 

Product Specifications

Product

Name Trance 3
Brand Giant

Description FRAME ALUXX aluminium Maestro suspension system 4.2''/106mm travel / FRONT MECH Shimano DEORE / REAR MECH Shimano LX top normal / TYRES Kenda Blue Groove/Nevegal 26x2.0''
Bottom Bracket Power Spline
Brakes Juicy 3
Cassette CASSETTE SRAM PG950 11-34
Chain CN-HG73
Cranks TruVativ SD
Fork Rock Shox TDRA U0Turn - 85-130mm
Handlebar Comp Aluminium
Rear Shock Float R
Rims DP17 Disc
Saddle Rocket V
Seatpost Comp Aluminium
Shifters Rapidfire Plus 27 Speed
Available Colours Pearl WHite/Silver
Available Sizes 14.5 Inches 16 Inches 18 Inches 20 Inches 22 Inches
Year 2006