The Giant Trance 1 is far more bike than I deserve: early review

My 2018 long-term MTB is blue and bouncy

The Trance 1 is the top spec aluminium model of Giant’s all-rounder trail bike, and I’ve got one for a long-term test. I'll be updating this article over the coming months with my experiences of the bike, read on for a first look and some early riding impressions. 

The 140mm Trance sits between the more XC-oriented Anthem and the rowdier Reign in Giant’s range.

You could have a carbon Trance Advanced for slightly less money than the Trance 1, but the alloy bike gets a much tastier spec than the entry-level carbon model. (In the UK and Australia that is, the Trance 1 does not appear to be available in the US and the spec differs in some European countries.)

The Giant Trance 1 is built up with SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed bits, a 150mm Fox 34 Performance Elite fork, a Fox DPX2 shock, and Giant’s own dropper and TRX carbon rims.

I'm impressed with GX Eagle, and you can't argue with that massive range
I'm impressed with GX Eagle, and you can't argue with that massive range

The frame itself is Giant’s usual posh aluminium with some nice funky tube shapes, plus that forged composite rocker arm which accepts a trunnion-mount shock.

I rather like the asymmetrical brace on the rear triangle which is tucked on the non-driveside to clear chain and tyre. It looks purposeful and it is doubtless extremely necessary to resist the gobs of torque my in-no-way-twig-like legs produce.

The Trance gets the latest version of Giant's Maestro suspension platform with a forged composite rocker arm. The asymmetric brace on the rear triangle is reassuringly beefy
The Trance gets the latest version of Giant's Maestro suspension platform with a forged composite rocker arm. The asymmetric brace on the rear triangle is reassuringly beefy

I’m the sort of rider that tends to opt for trails that flatter my skillset rather than challenge it and my ambitions for the Trance aren’t excessively lofty.

I want to get the suspension properly and systematically sorted using my colleague Seb’s excellent advice rather than my usual scattergun approach.

Getting the suspension fully dialled for my low weight is my main priority
Getting the suspension fully dialled for my low weight is my main priority

This presents an interesting challenge since my weight puts me at the very bottom end of the normal adjustment range, which means suspension is never going to work as well for me as it will for say, a 70kg rider.

I’m considering bigger tyres because #fashion, but the 2.4in Maxxis High Roller IIs are pretty inoffensive and seem to be a respectable all-rounder that’s suited to the sort of tame trail centre antics I mostly get up to.

High Roller IIs are capable all-rounders — should I go bigger though?
High Roller IIs are capable all-rounders — should I go bigger though?

The GX Eagle components have so far behaved flawlessly, and I appreciate the nice big paddle on the dropper remote which is a huge improvement over the fiddly little switches some posts still come with.

The paddle on this dropper remote isn't the biggest out there, but it's much better than some older designs
The paddle on this dropper remote isn't the biggest out there, but it's much better than some older designs

On a more trivial note, at some point during every outing on the Trance so far I’ve flicked mud into my eye and then remembered that I still haven’t fitted a front mudguard. That’s easily fixed, I’ll definitely, probably, maybe remember before I next ride it.

In any case, early impressions of the bike are very favourable. It’s far more capable than I am and I’m looking forward to unlocking more of its potential as I get it fully dialled in.

Giant Trance 1 full spec

  • Weight: 13.0kg (M not including pedals)
  • Frame: ALUXX SL-grade aluminum, 140mm Maestro suspension
  • Fork: Fox 34 Float Performance Elite, 150mm travel, FIT4 damper, Boost 15x110 KaBolt, tapered steerer
  • Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance, trunnion mount
  • Bar: Giant Contact SL Trail 780mm
  • Stem: Giant Contact SL
  • Seatpost: Giant Contact S Switch dropper
  • Saddle: Giant Contact SL
  • Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Brakes and levers: SRAM Guide R
  • Cassette: SRAM GX Eagle 10-50t
  • Chain: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Cranks: Truvativ Descendant 6K Eagle 32t
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM GXP press-fit
  • Wheels: Giant TRX 1 27.5in Carbon WheelSystem
  • Tyres: Maxxis High Roller II EXO 3C TR 2.4in

My additions

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Age: 27
  • Height: 174cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 53kg / 117lb
  • Waist: 71cm / 28in
  • Chest: 84cm / 33in
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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