All new and totally reengineered for the benefits of 27.5-inch wheels, Trance 27.5 is the best of both worlds-light and agile, yet also super stable on the roughest trails. The lightweight, stiff and super-strong ALUXX SL aluminum frame is mated with 140mm of proven Maestro suspension The frame also features Giant’s OverDrive 2 steerer tube technology for stiff, razor sharp handling in the rough stuff. Climbing or descending, there’s no better way to own the trail.
Strengths: Climbs well. good lateral strength. Fox suspension is well balanced.
SLX brakes are great. Rolls down hill like a run-away freight train.
Weaknesses: Still a lot of money for a bicycle!
First off - I was on the fence for many months between a 29er and a new 27.5.
I rode a few friends 29ers - but all of the bikes were Large frames so not a very good test ride.
But I could feel the rolling advantage immediately.
From all my reading - for a guy my size and the type of riding I like to do, the 27.5 made more sense.
Looked at the Norco Sight Killer B and the new Pivot mach 6.
The Giant won out with component package for price as well as dealership support (Giant dealers are everywhere).
I think the Giant geometry is designed with a little more climbing ability too.
I know the Norco Sight is a little more "Down hill" oriented with a little slacker geometry. not sure about the Pivot.
Coming off of a 26" Kona Dawg Primo, the transition of moving to the Trance 27.5 1 was seem less.
The cockpit felt good right away with minimal adjustment required (Medium frame - for my 5' 9" body).
The bars were immediately cut down to 26" wide and could go a little narrower (but that's just me).
Set the sag and adjusted the seat position a little. Handle bar height and length of goose neck seems perfect.
Front forks were a little sticky, but getting smoother as they break in.
Rear Shock is very smooth right away.
The Nobby nics are not bad and at the right pressure, I was able to put my trust into them quickly and they're very control-able when they do break loose.
I am looking at going tube-less soon.
The 2x10 gearing is great (coming off of a 3x9). Within my second ride, I was not missing the 3rd ring at all.
Drive train is quieter with Shadow, and overall the system is more intuitive as far as gear selection.
When coming into a corner hot and having to slow down quick and then power out, I felt the 2x10 was better at finding the right gear.
I can feel the difference in the front and rear axles - the 15mm front axle makes a huge difference when going fast in the rough and hard in corners.
The 27.5" wheels do indeed roll over rocks and stuff better but still flick-able with Body English and still able to pump when rolling on the trails. Once they get rolling, they are amazingly fast and hold traction in corners so much better then the 26" Kona.
The Dropper seat post in my opinion is worth its weight in gold.
I find I use it constantly. Every little downhill section or drop off, I drop my seat. Then pop it right back up for the climb.
Why didn't anyone listen to Joe Breeze when he first introduced the concept 20 years ago?
A must for every bike in my opinion....even hard core X-country riders can benefit from a dropper post.
Frame is clean and like the lines. Giant did a nice job with the internal frame routing and the nifty plugs.
Bike Setup: Nothing special.
Cut bar width down to 26" (personal pref)
Set sag and and proper body position.
Tires at 36/38PSI
Swapped stock grips with Ourys. (also personal pref)
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 31, 2013
Strengths: Maestro suspension seems to be perfect for any situation - great climber especially
Decent quality components for the price range
Loads of fun
Weaknesses: Occasionally wish I would have coughed up the extra $$ for a Trance 1 for better shocks and brakes
Not a big fan of stock Giant-branded grips
I own a 2014 Giant Trance 3 27.5. Previously, I owned a 2007 Giant Trance 3 (my first MTB) which I had bought used and greatly enjoyed, but was unfortunately stolen when someone broke into my garage. However, this ended up working out for the best as I was able to upgrade to a brand spankin' new Giant Trance 27.5 3 for only the cost of my deductible. I loved my 2007 Trance, and my good experience with that bike, especially the Maestro suspension design, was what led me to Giant again when finding its replacement.
Coming from a 7 year old entry-level bike, even the lower-spec'd 2014 Trance brings a wealth of new features: front 15mm through axle, direct mount front derailleur, 1.5" tapered steerer, internal cable routing, and Shimano Shadow Plus derailleur, among others, all of which add up to a nicer overall experience. Of course, this is not to mention the relatively new 27.5/650b wheel size. Having never ridden a 29er, I can't say how the 650b Giant compares to wagon wheelers, but in comparison to my previous 26" bike, the 2014 Trance still feels nimble, flickable, stiff, and light - a blast to strafe down swoopy singletrack and great fun to navigate over technical downhill sections. The generous 5.5" of suspension travel definitely helps with this aspect as well.
As with any of Giant's trail bikes using the Maestro suspension geometry, the bike also climbs incredibly well, especially with the noticeably improved (in my opinion, anyways) rollover of the bigger tires - trails covered in small, loose rocks are a bit easier to get through.
I find the component selection to be good considering the bike's price range, the RockShox Sektor fork does a good job soaking up both small bumps and large hits, as does the Monarch rear shock. I don't find the lack of CTD settings on the rear shock to be much of a problem given the floating-pivot geometry - very little energy is lost to pedal bob in climbing. The Shadow Plus rear derailleur makes a huge difference going down fast, bumpy sections as chain slap is significantly reduced, though not eliminated.
Giant's in-house stem, bars, grips, and seatpost are adequate at their job, though at a slight weight penalty over others. I plan to switch out the stock grips for Lizard Skins Peatys after they wear out as I don't really like the feel of the factory grips, though they're not terrible. The Shimano M395 brakes work well with little fade except after long, fast, downhill sections. I had no problem converting the Giant-branded wheelset to tubeless using Stan's rim tape and valves (no rim strips), and the Shwalbe Nobby Nic's are able to find grip almost anywhere.
All in all, this bike is a blast to descend on, climbs amazingly well, and handles smooth, fast trails and technical, rocky singletrack with equal aplomb. While I have a couple times wished I had upgraded to the Trance 1 (primarily for its better suspension and brakes), I only find I love my Trance 3 more every time I ride. I Highly recommend this bike if you're looking for a full-suspension 27.5 trail bike that can handle pretty much anything you can throw at it.
Strengths: Climbs like a goat, with suspension dialed in, have had no rear sag, even when out of the saddle
Going down hill with the 140mm front and 5.5 inches in the back, gave me all the room to do what I want.
27.5 Wheel size gave me a more snappier feeling around tight turns, allowing me to reall come around hard
Bottome bracket clearance is great, clearing everything I did with my 29er, but with more control.
Weaknesses: Fully decked out, I weight my XS frame and set up at 26, not bad for the amount of suspension, Will probably get the Carbon frame by spring.
Dropper seatpost ws not much use, didn't like it much, as I don't hit super big jumps
Wish there was more of a tire selection, and that Specailized would get on the ball with a 27.5 of my favorite tire
All and all this bike is a REALLY solid bike. The Maestro suspension does exactly what it is designed to do, if you dial it in correctly. Look forward to beating up some trails this winter and next year with this ride.
Favorite Trail: Fountain Head Rgional Park, Virginia
Duration Product Used: 1 month
Purchased At: Bicycle Pro Shop Ale
Similar Products Used: Scott Spark 940
Giant Anthem 27.5
Santa Cruz Superlight
Bike Setup: Built Bike from Frame up, not stock has some upgrades:
XT all the way around(Upgraded brakes)
Stan's Not Tubes(Upgrade, Set up tubeless)
Fox 32 Talas 27.5 w/Fit CTD remote(Upgrade)
Schwalbe Nobby Nic 27.5
Giant Contact SLR Trail Carbon Riser Bar(Upgrade)
Giant Contact SLR Carbon Seatpost(Upgrade)
Decked out Blue Jagwire Derailure/Hydrolic cable housing(Not upgrade, but looks cool)
ever since i started reading the benefits of having 27.5/650 wheels. I have started thinking about the anthem and trance on how they would benefit from that size of a wheel. also without having to change much in the geometry....
so, would like to have 27.5/650 wheels on the eith ... Read More »