Strengths: Good components for the price, great geometry, Maestro suspension is unbelievable.
Weaknesses: None so far
My first FS bike after a 26" HT and a 29" HT. I kept the 29" HT and I was thinking on buying a 29" FS. I wasn't sure about the 29" on the technical trails and I test rode the 2013 X2 26" on a 20 miles ride and I was sold immediately. I did the body scanning at the LBS and they set up the bike perfectly. The Maestro suspension worked like a flying carpet and I loved everything about the bike. One week later I had my own Trance X2. Since then I am riding it on the local trails and after ~200 miles I am very happy with it.
I hope I won't be disappointed with it in the long term.
I bought the 2011 Trance in early 2012 for $2500. This is the first dual-suspension bike that i have owned. I am impressed how easily this bike climbs and I love the buttery smooth suspension on the descents. The XT rear derailleur shifts really smooth. It corners great. I couldn't be happier with this bike. if you want a good, reliable, well-performing bike than this is the bike for you.
Strengths: Picked up a 2008 X2 medium at the end of the calendar year for a good price. First full suspension bike. After riding the hell out of this bike for 4 years, the bike and it's components have held up well. Basic tuning, cleaning, fork and shock rebuilds have kept this bike going strong. I am not lightweight by no means (220 lbs). Handles technical single track and rock gardens well. When descending at speed it handles and keeps a good line. Climbs like a billy goat! I have an tried and true wtb velociraptor mounted on the rear and with the maestro suspension it digs in like a tank tread. Just a great all around xc bike. The Fox fork and shock with maestro suspension shine together.
Weaknesses: Stroker ryde brakes. Heavy wheel set.
Can't go wrong for the price. Solid. 3rd Giant MTB bike. They build them to last.
Strengths: plush, lightweight, well balanced, great components, looks sick.
Weaknesses: no frame tabs..
Went from a 5inch travel Kona to a 2011 X2.... Built up my skill set on the heavier Kona Dawgma, and now murder the trails with the X2.. Run it with wider bars, CK hubs, and Stans Flow with UST tires... Lightweight, climbs like a billy goat, well balanced and corners great... Kills the climbs and the travel is a blast on decents... Best all-rounder, do anything trail bike around... Got mine in 2012 for $1900... Best couple grand I ever spent. MY TRANCE IS A BEAST!
Strengths: Maestro suspension works wonders. This bike does everything. Light weight for an all mountain bike. XT rear D is butter smooth. Brakes are enough to send you flying over the handlebars if not careful.
Weaknesses: Lost the end caps off the grips on the first few rides. Paint seems to scratch easily and have slight paint chipping around the Maestro linkage bolts, but not too noticeable. Rear axle is weak.
The trance is absolutely amazing, inspiring greater speeds and giving confidence to tackle the most of technical terrains. In and out of the saddle, the Maestro stays active and planted. Only noticeable pedal bob is from the front shock while out of the saddle, of course there's the lockout to manage that, the only addition that I would like is a remote lockout for the front. The head angle is just enough to give an exciting ride down as well as giving it the ability to climb like a billy goat. For the price paid, you can't go wrong. I would recommend this bike to those wanting an all around bike.
a Weekend Warrior
from north carolina
Date Reviewed: August 28, 2011
Weaknesses: Did not like the spec Kenda tires
I have been riding for over 20 years and I swap out bikes compulsively. I have tried many, and this is the happiest I have ever been with a bike. I weigh 200 lbs, ride trails and light freeride.I even got second place in a fairly large cross country race on this beauty (yes, set up stock at 28 lbs) It is the ultimate "do it all well" ride for the money. Bought it on craigslist from a guy who had used it ten times. What a deal. I like this bike better even than the sweet Santa Cruz Blur 4x or the heckler that I have owned...a lot better.
Bike Setup: Stock 2008. Switched to Conti vetical Protection, 60mm stem,
WTB Aviator saddle, bashguard instead of big ring...that's it.
a Cross Country Rider
from Toronto, ON Canada
Date Reviewed: August 4, 2011
Strengths: Spot on geometry, buttery Fox fork, quick shifting SLX/XT, SLX crank, comfy Fizik Gobi XM saddle, invisible action Maestro rear suspension
Weaknesses: Paint chips/scratches to easy, Nevegals heavy on climbs, Fox RP2 unpredictable
So far, I've really enjoyed riding this X2. I am glad that I went with the upgraded components vs X3 or X4. I am the type to want to upgrade all the time like I did on my hardtail - but ends up being more expensive in the long run. I dumped over a grand in my $200 K2 Zed as it was a slow progression of dissatisfaction such as fork and mech.
I wasn't planning on buying a new bike til' my friend bought a new hardtail and tested an FS RMB. I have always like the Giant bikes because of their design philosophy, quality and value. You wont find any other bike with the same specs for the same money. Too many Specialized, Treks out there, Norco has a weird geometry, Rocky Mtn has cheap components. giant fit the bill in all ways. Geometry was such a factor in this as I can't find a FS that suited my "giant" height at 5'-4". With the right size this bike handles predictably, coasts over rocks and climbs well for an FS. When all the tire pressures and suspension is set up right, it handles and tracks very well. My advice for anyone is to properly set the sag they way you like the feel. Coming from a hardtail, I like everything stiff in the back. I only weigh 155lbs yet I ride it with 210 PSI!!! Even with slow rebound and high pressure (10mm sag) I still get full travel 2" on the RP2. I am afraid to bottom out but havent had this issue yet. This seems to be common issue with these rear shocks, regardless of bike make/model. Otherwise the Maestro work really good. I have to look down to see if its working cuz I don't notice anything! The Kenda Nevagals are a love em/hate em scenario for me. I love the grip on corners and climbing over roots/logs/downhill. But I just hate how slow these tires are on steep climbs. Another gripe I have is that the paint seems thin. My 4 year old K2 has held up alot of drops and the paint isn't as brittle as the Trance. Its a really good looking bike no matter what. Anyways, these are all minor compared to the way this bike rides, coasts and climbs. Trance can definitely handle more than a hardtail can. Drops, tight switchbacks, slopes logs, roots are no match for the Trance. As I said before, once dialed in (settings, air pressure) this bike eats up trails and asks for more.
Favorite Trail: King, Gatineau Park, Albion, Ravenshoe, Durham Forest, Kelso
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: Secret bike store do
Similar Products Used: first FS bike ever, but road a custom K2 Zed hardtail before this
Bike Setup: All stock except Lizardskin chainstay protector and Shimano pedals
a Weekend Warrior
from New Zealand
Date Reviewed: July 15, 2011
Strengths: Fast and stable
Mega traction from the Maestro suspension
Weaknesses: 9mm front axle is a bit flexy
I have the 2009 model, bought secondhand. My first full suspension bike.
If you want a great value, do-it-all bike, it is hard to go past a Trance. I have completed endurance XC races, epic weekend rides and easy DH trails without wanting more from my noble steed.
Bike Setup: Fox 32 F120R fork, Fox Float R shock, Deore LX brakes and drivetrain, XT rear derailleur, XM317 wheels, Geax Saguaro 2" tyres
a Cross Country Rider
from Rapid City, SD USA
Date Reviewed: February 27, 2011
Strengths: Price, Durability, Reliability, Performance, and Looks
Weaknesses: The only compliant I can think of on this bike are the wheels. They are heavy, but they perform well and look good. Through on a pair of Spinergy's
I choose the Trance X2 with about a months debate over the Anthem X and Anthem X 29er. I loved the handling of the Anthem 26 over the 29 but I wanted a tad more travel for the big stuff and I own a Titus Racer X, Tough call but the Trance X is the winner and I am very happy with my choice.
I have had six years on Giants Maestro suspension (Giant Reign) and I love the way these bikes handle. They do everything well and are durable, reliable and affordable. I have two kids and live on a budget. My only complaint with Giant has always been looks. They usually are pretty blah, but this year (2011) I am floored by the great design and looks. This bike climbs like a scalded monkey and descends like a runaway train. I have heard complaints about weight on giants. My 2011 with above specs is 26 pounds and 125mm of travel with a boostvalve rear shock. That is pretty good for a XC bike! I would recommend this bike to anyone who wants a great bike that does it all and then some (climbs, descends, corners, accelerates and bombs) ,but doesn't care about having a boutique bike. And if you have a question on how fast this bike is come to Rapid City and bring your lungs.
I give the Trance X2 5 chilis on value, try and find a better deal and four chilis overall, there is always room for improvement.
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Blur LT, Specialized SJ FSR, Trek Fuel EX, Giant Anthem X
Bike Setup: 2011 Trance X2 I think the bike came well equipped but I have my personal preferences, Sram X9 shifters/Derailleurs, Shimano Xt Cranks and cassette, Spinergy Wheels, Avid Elixer Brakes, and Giants Carbon seat post, Handle Bar and stem.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 10, 2011
Strengths: 2011 Trance X2- Short of World Cup downhilling or Rampage contests this bike can do everything! It's fast up hills but when turned flat and downhill it blisters trails! Stiff front end, great accelerating and plush suspension! With a higher B.B. than a race bike it goes over bigger objects with 'trials bike' ease but that does raise center of gravity a tad for super fast hair pin turns. 15mm through axle, 1.5 crown and 5" with a stable climbing front geometry at 69.5 makes it turns fast and relaxed enough for bombing!
Weaknesses: No 12mm through axle rear available..... yet.
If you want the best performing, go most anywhere, go fast, go light, go stiff, go plush bike FOR THE MONEY it is AWESOME. Hands down for $2500, it's one of the nicest bikes I've ever seen built and ridden. I've gotten to ride a bunch of bikes and trails across the country and this bike can tackle most all of them with top notch fun factor! The phrase here is "GRIN INDUCING"!
Similar Products Used: '04 & '08 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert, '08 Trance X0. Lots of hardtails before.
Bike Setup: '11 X2 Large with a set of UST Shimano MT65s and upgraded to carbon bar, 100mm Thomson stem to shorten for my reach being 5'10" and bigger tires (Schwalbe Nobby Nics 2.25 UST). Otherwise, stock- SLX/XT.
a Cross Country Rider
from Cardiff, Wales, UK
Weaknesses: Stock wheelset wasnt great, found the nevegals a bit too draggy, not great amount of mud clearance at the rear. Finishing of the bike wasnt great out the box, bits of aluminium bur were left in the frame and steerer was too long for the spacers provided, one of the bolt holes on the fr wheel was threaded.
This bike inspires so much confidence in riding and pedalling a high speeds. Definitely allowed me to improve my riding skill. At the end of the day definitely a bike that should be considered trail bike of the year! Shame the anthem is also so good too.
Bought the frame and built up the components with my LBS. Cheers to Le Yéti for helping me spec this bike with a great deal on components. Coming off a brain equipped stumpjumper (which i returned to specialized for a refund after multiple problems with the shock and pivots...) i am very impressed with the maestro suspension. Reminds me of Stanta Cruz but with less feedback than i remember. Easy to set up and soaks up small and large hits nicely. Get the RP23 and set it up with level 1 pro-pedal for those long fire road climbs. The rest of the time leave the shock open. I still like the ride of the fox F120 RL fork but wish it had more useable travel (I'ved had RL's and RLC's and you cant really get more than 100mm out of 'em). Simply LOVE the QR15 through axle, noticeably more still on those unexpected hits. A LOT of thinking when into this aluminum frame and it's design is simple and clean. Looks like it should hold up well. I have an XL frame and the complete bike is 1000$ less than my stumpy but only half a pound more in weight. XL frame set up like mine comes in just under 27 pounds.
Extra tall riders beware: For some reason Giant cut the steerer tube on the fork one centimeter which forced me to get a 20 degree stem and tall riser bar to get the cockpit to trailbike standards (bars and seat level). I think they cut all their forks at the same lenght cause the Large frame was ok.... !?!? One chili off for this Giant!
Similar Products Used: specialized stumpjumper expert carbon
Bike Setup: mavic crossmax st wheels, xt/xtr drive train, avid elixir cr brakes, selle italia slr saddle, easton carbon riser bar and EC9 stem, fox f120 RL fork and RP23 shock
a Cross Country Rider
from Toowoomba, Qld, Australia
Date Reviewed: February 8, 2010
Strengths: Forks, shock, brakes (2010 model)
Weaknesses: Gap from 18" to 20" sizes (though it's a slightly small 20" - 61 cm top bar)
Still breaking this bike in, but it is riding really well. This is my third proper MTB, and would recomend it to anyone riding semi-technical XC. This bike has something for everyone from the first-time warrior to the serious MTBer. For many riders, this bike has value-for-money upgrades over the Trance X3 and Anthem X2, so spend the extra cash if possible.
I found the X2 surprisingly fast going XC - close to equivalent hard-tails (even my Felt). The Maestro system works very well. It's obviously not as firm as a hardtail, but it's much better than most dual suspension bikes. The Elixir 5s are great brakes. The Kenda tyres (Nevegals) offer great grip, but on hard stuff the noise and rolling resistance are quite high. I'll put other tyres on when these wear out. I particularly like the bars - nice and wide for lots of control, but the grips are too small diameter, even for my medium-sized hands. Will change for Giant ergo grips (dirt cheap at $15).
The weight is excellent for a dual suspension bike at this price point.
My only real gripe is that after just 3 days the bottom bracket started creaking. Too loose?? It's good that Giant provide one free service.
Overall, the Trance X2 is a fabulous bike for trail riding and gives the rider great confidence when dealing with moderate technical sections.
Similar Products Used: Specialised FSR XC, Cannondale Rush, Gary Fisher Sugar 4+, Felt RXC2
Bike Setup: Standard except seat
a Cross Country Rider
from Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: February 7, 2010
Strengths: Maestro suspension is among the best designs out there. Great component spec for the price. Climbs any hill, goes down any hill and does it well.
Weaknesses: The stock Smarty pedals died on the first rock they hit. Replaced them with Candys, which are far superior. The grips sucked, and are replaced with ODI Rouges.
Mysterious clicks and creaks happen every once and a while. Especially after things get wet. Can get annoying at times. Doesn't effect the performance of the bike however.
Sometimes, I wish the fork (which is awesome) had 140mm of travel.
For the money, a better bike doesn't exist. This bike can handle pretty much anything the average trail rider would attempt to do. It even handles the occasional jump or drop without any problems.
Overall I'm incredibly happy with my purchase, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great bike at a relatively low price.