Weaknesses: Short seatpost. Nothing else, really for the price. Compared to more expensive models a little heavy, would possibly benefit from a rear thru-axle. Recon fork and Monarch shock a little less controlled than the Fox counterparts. Would like a lockout of the shock.
This review is for the 2013 model.
I run muddy, rocky and rooty trails in Gothenburg, Sweden. My background is ten years of 26er HT XC style riding of gravel roads and easier trails. After I transitioned to a long-travel 26er HT and then to XC 29er HT:s I evolved a lot. Many riders here choose long-travel, enduro type bikes due to the rough and technical terrain.
This is my first FS rig after a bunch of 26er and 29er hardtails. I wanted a robust bike with medium/good-level componentry, too keep costs down both for buying and service. For 2013, Fox has had lots of quality problems so I decided to go for a RockShox equipped bike. My choice was in the end between the Trance X vs the Anthem. Eventually, I decided the extra suspension travel would be worth a slight penalty in weight. I already knew 100mm was too little for my trails and riding. Giant has done a very solid spec on paper and the unanimous good reviews on the rear suspension and low frame weight (Germanys 'Bike Magazin') was what finally made my decision to go for the Trance.
I'm 6ft7" (199cm) and weight 210 lbs (95kg). I have an XL sized bike but needed to add a longer seatpost immediately. I bought for a straight Gusset 450mm w/o setback since the seat tube angle is pretty slack. BTW the Giant brochure picture of the 2013 looks really squashed, possibly a M frame. The XL looks long, lean and well proportioned.
Riding off, my initial impression is still that the steering is weird due to the slack headtube angle, but it disappears on the trail. It may be because of me being used to the G2 geo on my previous Trek. It's not immediately playful as some bikes are, just very neutral and balanced. Climbing traction is fantastic, cornering balance is really good. When pushing harder and harder, the bike stays secure and there are no vices. On rough terrain, it excels and the absence of chain slap is a big bonus, despite the X5 rear mech.
The specification is very sensible - not the fanciest but just very solid stuff. X5/X7 and Shimano brakes do a good job in all situations. I have 4 months of use on all kinds of trails and so far all has been good, rims are straight etc.
I mentioned the shock and fork as weaknesses; they do a great job, but that extra suppleness of the Fox is not there. If you have the budget to buy and service them perhaps look at the 1 or 0 build options. Also, the absence of a lockout / propedal may turn you off if you do long climbs. I tried some XC-style trails and gravel roads too and in these situation the Trance is too much bike. Maybe the other build options work better there too.
Looking at the 2014 it seems to be Shimano Deore instead of Sram - will work just as fine.
Similar Products Used: 29ers Trek Paragon, Felt Nine 2012 and 2013, Kona Unit.
Bike Setup: Stock, except Gusset 450mm seat post
Date Reviewed: October 31, 2013
Strengths: I have had this bike for a while now. It is spec'd great. I get a feeling that Giant put a lot of effort into making a bike with theses spec (this class) at a affordable price point. I am extremely happy with the purchase. I have friends who bought other brands/models in this class and then spend hundreds in upgrades to match what I got from the manufacturer. Rides smooth and fun.
Weaknesses: I dont like the paint/grafx. to many Griant logos (had to cover them up - x brand it)
Strengths: Frame, suspension, capable components at this price point. Maestro rear triangle is excellent.
Weaknesses: The 19 in (L) frame was a little heavy. The wheelset is adequate but a touch heavy as well.
Coming from a Kona Big Kahuna 29er, I test rode all of the full suspensions in the $2k to $2.5k range (Specialized, Trek, Kona), out of the 4 makers the Trance had the best balance, suspension, component mix for me. The geometry (slack head tube angle, stand over height) was also suited to my riding style and fit me well. Since I was looking to buy during the end of the 2013 model cycle was able to get the Trance for about the same price as a high end hardtail 29er. Extremely happy with the bike.
A few upgrades on the way (Stan's Arch EX rims, carbon bar) which should just improve the ride quality.
MSRP ther is about an $800 difference....From the little knowledge I have I know the front fork and rear suspension the 1's Fox is better than the 2's RockShox. How much better I'm not sure....
How about the other components?
I'm really undecided.Read More »
Just wondering what people's thoughts are on these two bikes. I can get them for about the same price.
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My ideal bike would be the Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc but it's quite a bit more than my budget will allow. With ... Read More »
Giant claims they spec a Sram S1000 crankset on their TX29 1&2 models, yet the crank looks identical to an X5 crankset except for the graphics. According to Sram's website, the S1000 is "intended to compliment our X7 and X9 Families" which should rule out an X5 crank. What gives here? Am I seeing th ... Read More »
Ive just picked up a 2013 Trance 29er 2 and I was wondering if anyone had an ideas what would be the best £/$ to weight ratio parts to change?
Two things to take in to account before your recommendations...
1) I know the wheels are usually a good bet and strength wise I will probably swap out ... Read More »