It’s the lightest aluminum 5-inch travel trail bike ever produced by Giant. The all-new Trance X starts with a radically shaped ALUXX SL aluminum frame featuring trail-tuned geometry and a tapered OverDrive headtube for increased stiffness and steering precision. And it finishes with lightweight, co-pivot Maestro Suspension to help you roll through technical terrain, blitz descents and devour steep climbs.
Fox 32 F125RL with 15QR thru-axle, tapered steerer tube
suspension fork, Fox Float R rear shock
It could be argued that this day of near limitless configuration options that 5-inches of mountain bike suspension travel has become the very definition of a well-rounded trail bike. Sure there are dozens of examples of where 4 or 6-inch models manage to dazzle and we’re not here to dispute that fact. Rather, when we took delivery of Giant’s Trance X3 for testing, it was an immediate reminder as to just what a do-it-all trail bike is all about. Continue reading →
Strengths: Plush full susser which prefers steep techy downhill territory.
Weaknesses: I had an XL and really this was a bit small for me (my new bike is XXL). As a result of the high seat post I found it very hard to get front to rear balance right - bike didn't really handle properly unless I had the front suspension harder than the rear - but this tended to sit me over the back wheel too much. Then the front end was overly skittish. I also had to work really hard to get my weight forward in the corners or the front wheel would wash out.
This exacerbated a very poor climbing capability. Repeat, this bike does not climb well. With the wimpy pro pedal in the Fox Float R and no lock out, there is a lot of bob going up hill. Very tiring bike to ride for this reason.
Overall, this bike promised a lot but in the end disappointed. I suspect if it sized me better then I might not have been so disappointed. Also, it might not have disappointed so much if the terrain in my area was steeper. So this is probably not an entirely fair review.
Bottom line: don't buy one of these too small, as it exacerbates a tendency to be over the back wheel. And don't buy this as a XC bike, only use it for AM where you have steeper terrain.
Date Reviewed: October 24, 2012
Strengths: Strengths: Excellent Price for Component ratio, Acceleration, Frame & Design, Lightweight, Reliable stopping brakes, most other components...
Overall this bike has one formidable strength which is: being all round good in every aspect.
Weaknesses: unfortunately I have found some weaknesses in my time of riding the bike, but I would just say these weaknesses can easily/cheaply be fixed.
The first weakness I noticed was the seat & post, (Although I fixed this quite easily and at a cheap price)
The seat post was far too high for the bike, I bought a medium size frame and noticed when I lowered my seat as far as it would go I still needed to be 6ft 10" to even touch the floor. I did however take my bike to my LBS (local bike shop) and the cut 3" off my seat post. However that was not the only problem with the seat as I noticed the quick release for the stem was very flimsy and awkward to adjust. The final issue is the actual seat. after riding around an hour my but began to go numb and was quite painful when all I wanted to do was have a nice ride home. I would suggest upgrading the seat straight out, unless you're more of a stand up person, because the seat itself isn't too bad on the eye.
Second weakness I found was the front brake, when testing this on my first day I came to notice a loud squealing noise when slowing, which does in fact make me feel a little comfortable using it when people are nearby.
My third weakness is the tires/inner tubes, after my first day of riding I got my bike home to be cleaned and noticed a piece of plastic stuck in my tire, so I pulled it out; the inevitable happened... My first puncture, I wasn't too fussed about this however, when undergoing the mending process I noticed that the stock tires and inner-tubes are remarkable thin. the tires are too pliable and have no bulk to allow them to hold a structure against my grip, this is the first/second thing I would recommend upgrading on the bike as it seems to me that punctures may be a regular occurrence with the stock wheels.
After noticing the trance x4 almost first in my search for a decent mountain bike I always seemed to go back to it as i felt it had fairly adequate parts for the price which were more affordable than other bikes, such as the Specialized FSR Stumpy.
However I managed to come across the Trance x3 and decided the extra quality of components was worth an extra £250 over the Trance x4.
Excellent Price for Component ratio. (Having bought the bike 1 year + later than it was release) I managed to get the Trance x3 for £1,449.00, which I feel is a superb price for the bike it is.
The frame and design on the Trance x3 is stunning, such an attractive bike.
This bike makes climbing look effort less, the 10-speed drivetrain allows precise changes which provides the rider with versatile climbing over any type of hill.
Acceleration on this bike I feel is immense, a couple of revolutions of the pedals creates so much momentum!
I can easily reach car familiar speeds in gear '12', less than half of the bikes' top gear...
The Fox Float suspension on this bike is great, I have no need to slow down when I approach a curb as I can glide up it with minimum discomfort due to the great quality suspension, this bike takes bunny hops and jumps to an extreme level. :)
After buying the Trance x3, I fully 100% support my decision on bike choice.
Strengths: Excellent Price for Component ratio, Acceleration, Frame & Design, Lightweight, Reliable stopping brakes, most other components...
I purchased the 2011 Trance X3 just over a year ago and I have no regrets. In fact, my experience has been so positive that I recently purchased another Giant.
My favorite thing about the Trance is the durability. I've put close to a thousand rooty, rocky, hard earned New England miles on the bike and have not had to replace any of the major components. I only recently purchased a new chain and cassette and tightened the rear suspension bolts once.
I was originally concerned about the lack of a lockout on the rear shock, however I figured if it was a pain I would be able to upgrade down the road. In fact I haven't noticed any bob on uphill climbs, and I've felt a vast improvement over my hardtail Litespeed. My only upgrade has been to go tubeless which was done by my LBS with a little stans, some rim tape and an air compressor.
Where this bike really shines is on downhill sections. (big surprise, I know..) This was my first FS bike, and for those who haven't ridden one yet, it completely changes the experience. You start seeking out jumps, drops and rocky sections to play on.
The relaxed headtube angle makes it a very comfortable bike with a low center of gravity. Whereas my lower back begins to bother me when I'm up high on my hardtail, I can ride for hours on the Trance without any issues.
In order to achieve this geometry the tradeoff is a lower bottom bracket height-- which is my main complaint about the Trance. I've banged that thing on many a log and rock.
In addition, the loud brakes can be annoying, however I look at them as a way to notify folks I'm coming around blind corners. If it really bothered me all that much I suppose I could upgrade to a better set.
In all, this is an excellent bike. Durable and comfortable.
Similar Products Used: Kona Tanuki Deluxe, Jamis Dakar XC, Trek Fuel EX, Felt Virtue Sport
Bike Setup: Stock except for tubeless rims.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: August 25, 2012
Strengths: The Maestro suspension is the best in the business. It is one of the main reasons I bought my 2011 Trance X3. I was thinking about going with hard tail 29er because I was a little leery of getting that "bogged down" feeling on long climbs (especially with no lock-out on the rear shock), but there is none of that with the Maestro. It is very responsive.
At this price point, the components are very solid. This was another big selling point for me. The comparably priced Fuel EX and Camber (which I don't even think is a comparable bike) were not nearly as well equipped.
The bike is setup perfectly as a "do-everything" trail bike. I feel very comfortable and in control in the cockpit. I ride a good mix of flowing single track, technical trail, and some technical downhill. This bike handles them all with ease. I am forward enough to build good speed and hammer the corners on the single track, but back enough to navigate the roots, rocks and log piles of the more technical stuff. This bike does exactly what Giant says its will.
Weaknesses: Throw the stock Giant seat post and grips away!
I don't know what Giant is thinking with the design of their seat posts, but if you hit anything hard there is a good chance that it will slip out of position. This is not a good feeling when you are on a rocky downhill with a good head of steam! I replaced mine with a Thomson Elite Setback (a huge improvement).
The grips are typical stock junk that don't last more than a few long rides and inspire little confidence. Don't even try them. I replaced mine with ODI Ruffians.
The Avid Elixir 3s are ok. They work well enough on most of the stuff I ride, but they sometimes hold me back from really letting go on some downhill sections. I think Giant could have done better here. They are probably my next upgrade.
If you are looking for a "do-everything" trail bike, I would seriously consider the Trance. It climbs like a champ (especially for a 5 in. trail bike), and it descends equally well. It responds excellently on rooty, rocky technical sections and powers through the muddy patches.
Overall, I am very happy with my purchase. At this price point, the Trance is tough to beat.
Weaknesses: Avid Elixir 3's are noisy and finicky to bleed.
I bought this bike to replace a hard tail I started riding last year. It has helped me gain confidence everywhere and the ride is simply amazing. It's light and nimble, SLX drivetrain works extremely well, and the best of all is the fox suspension including the maestro rear. It is so plush it leaves you wondering how it climbs so well too. I looked at other typical brands in Ontario, Canada like Trek and Specialized and this was the best bang for the buck for sure. Buy one, you'll love it for sure.
Loving my 2010 Trance X3. So far upgraded post to x-fusion Hilo 125, grips to Odi Ruffians, rear tyre to Rocket Ron and gone tubeless using Stan's table, tube and fluid.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 3, 2012
Strengths: --- Great suspension, very plush. The fox fork is reliable, lightweight, looks good and has the adjustments required. Maestro suspension is always active - i will never ride a hardtail again, very comfortable and controllable.
--- Hydraulic brakes stop on a dime.
--- Shifting with the SLX/Deore components is crisp and reliable.
--- Stock M520 clipless pedals are easy to adjust and shed mud surprisingly well for a cheap pedal.
--- Stock Nevegals grip well and are surprisingly light for such a big tire.
--- Giant branded wheels are light(ish) and haven't needed truing.
--- Whole bike is light for a big $1600 duallie.
--- Excellent frame that is worthy of upgrades.
Weaknesses: --- The Fizik saddle is great for shorter (under 50km) rides, but after a few hours the saddle feels so hard that i have to rest, and it's not because of tired legs.
--- Messy Cabling.
--- No Propedal platform or lockout on rear shock
--- Frame gloss scratches easily
So I've been riding 'The Trance' a lot over the summer, over 1000km and it still rides like new. Whilst it misses some features of the more expensive mountain bikes (propedal, internal cabling), the Giant Trance X3 is outstanding value for money, featuring components worthy of a $2500 bike. Hence, the Trance X3 is perfect for those on a budget that still want a performance mountain bike.
The Trance is such a versatile bike, one day I can be (or at least try to be) a XC racer, just pump up the suspension and run fast tyres. On the other hand I can set 30% sag and blitz the downhill. The Trance is advertised as a do-it-all bike, and in my opinion it sure lives up to this expectation.
from VIC, Australia
Date Reviewed: January 20, 2012
Strengths: So i've been thrashing the 2012 Giant Trance x3 now for 2-3 months and it's held up REALLY well. I've only been seriously riding for 5 months (grew up on motorbikes and mtb's but just to get around). As a student with a mortgage, I found out soon after buying the trance that downhill / freeride is what I want to be doing but my funds do not allow me to get a more appropriate bike just yet. Regardless, the trance has been amazing - i'm yet to bottom out the forks doing black runs and drops up to 1m, i spent a day smashing it on the hard rocky terrain of Mt Buller and all that went wrong was a puncture and a bit of brake failure (I'll get to those in a minute). For a bike that is being pushed past it's design use, it's been amazing!
Weaknesses: The Avid Elixir 1 Brakes - not sure if they were set up correctly as they take alot of finger-pull to kick in but compared to any other hydraulic brakes i've tried (Hayes, Shimano models), the Avid's are very average! Even after a bleed, I can nearly get the rear lever back to the bars - the 6" rear rotor is also not great BUT for the overall bike price the brakes are OK.
The Schwalbe Nobby Nic's stock tyres (a "rich man's tyre") underperforms and all the centre lugs on the rear tyre were ripped off during a day down steep rocky terrain (it's a common occurrence with these tyres if you google it apparantly)
Great bike, all components work very well even though they're only mid-range shimano and sram - especially for the price! Cannot fault anything majorly apart from brakes which are still very useable and OK, and my personal dissatisfaction with the Schwalbe tyres. Performs as well as the 2012 Merida One Twenty 3000 which my mate bought at the same time for $3500 (for $1600 - i'd say I got a bargain!) Perfect intermediate / all-round bike that can take almost anything you can give it!
Bike Setup: Stock except MAXXIS MINION 2.5 DHF on both tyres - YES - 2.5 Minions fit super comfortably (if it wasn't for the slimly designed rim, you could almost go 2.7 and they would fit) and way out-perform the Schwalbe Nobby Nic's. If you want to use your trance for more downhill and jumps than uphill cross country - these work great and fit easily! Modified Shimano DX Pedals.
from chardon ohio
Weaknesses: drivetrain spec. who really needs 30 gears?
seatpost- seat slides back during every longish ride.
heavy wheelset, rear hub has some drag, cassette wobbles a bit.
Awesome bike for the money!! Once setup correctly, just set it and forget it. Suspension rides very smooth, and balanced. The parts I have swapped out were not for functionality, just personal preference. Planned upgrades are 1.Seatpost-single bolt design wont hold my saddle securely 2.Replace large ring with a bash ring, shorten chain. I HATE noisy bikes with a lot of chain slop. 30gears means a long sagging flopping around chain. I have taken some links out of the chain and never use the big ring. Runs MUCH quieter on rough trails. Lighter wheelset if and when stock ones break. Widet tires than the stock 2.1s (again personal preference)
Similar Products Used: marin mt. vision pro
Bike Setup: stock except for wider bar (shimano pro, atherton series cut to 720mm)replaced saddle with Specialized 130mm Phenom team (personal preference)
a Weekend Warrior
from Rancho Santa Margarita, ca USA
Date Reviewed: September 23, 2011
Strengths: Awesome bike for the price.
Weaknesses: seat is horrible. Better buy or trade for a new seat before you leave the bike shop.
Ive been riding motocross and wanted to get into mtb'n. Im 5'10 and 235lbs. The suspension is plenty enough for me right now and I dont feel any flex in the bike when Im mashing it on the down hills. I still struggle on the up hills but what do I expect Im out of shape. This bike is strong. I have enjoyed every minute on this bike since I have purchased it and would recommend it to anyone.
Similar Products Used: None - first dual suspension
Bike Setup: 2010 model, XTR 985 pedals, Juicy 3.5 brakes, Joplin 4 seatpost, Thomson 90mm X4 Stem, Odi Ruffians, Stans no tubes, SRAM PG970 cassette
a Weekend Warrior
from comox valley, b.c. canada
Date Reviewed: June 9, 2011
Strengths: Brings out your riding potential.
Weaknesses: You might start missing work and important dates.
Once the saddle forms to your butt (about 12 hours seat time), it's all good. Even so, the bike is so enjoyable you could ride with a doberman attached to your neck and it would still kick ass. It climbs better than a hardtail, is light, and the only thing that holds it back on the downhill is you. The elixer brakes easily brought me(190 lbs) to a fast controlled stop in one of those last second panic stops. STX shifts fast, hasn't skipped a single shift. Suspension is wicked good. No need for lockout whatsoever. Very addictive. Great bike for anyone that wants to enjoy every second of their ride.
a Cross Country Rider
from wellington enzed
Date Reviewed: February 25, 2011
Strengths: the bike as a whole. Transistioning from a hardtail Trek 6000 to the Trance X3 was easy bar the shift from V brakes to hydraulic disc (Almost fell off grabbing the brakes too aggresively) and getting used to full suspension. Ive found it brilliant for everything i (try to) ride. A nice bike
Weaknesses: The wheel set esp the shimano rear hub which would decide to spontaneously adjust itself on rides to allow some lateral rear wheel movement.
A seriously awesome bike. Ive taken my TranceX3 and modied it to me and it fits like a glove. Even in standard form its an good climber, fast on the dh not to mention being quite stable all round; also for the price of the trance you get a lot of bike.
This bike IMHO (infact the whole TranceX range) is equal to if not better than anything on the market. Go get a tranceX3, you wont be dissapointed
Similar Products Used: Giant Rincon, Trek 6000, Giant Talon (custom)
Bike Setup: Dipped and polished frame, shockcraft ceramic swingarm pivot bearings, FSA headset bearings, XT/Deore LX groupset, lockon bar grips, Mavic 527 rim on Stanz ztr hubs with DT Swiss spokes(R) and Mavic 527 rim oh Giant hub with DT Swiss spokes(F), shimano clipless pedals, Fox Float rear shock, Fox 32F120 R w/15 QR........
a Cross Country Rider
from Inland Empire, California
Date Reviewed: December 14, 2010
Strengths: The Maestro suspension with 5" of travel, the frame (w/lifetime warranty), the quality of the parts for the dollars invested. Bike handles very well. Aesthetically pleasing design.
Weaknesses: Not sure if it is a weakness or just the circumstances, but in 8 months the chain came off twice. The seat is carved out of granite. It would have been nice, but not necessary, to have a front lockout. Bike is a bit on the heavy side, 28.09lbs for a medium without pedals.
I did a lot of research and soul searching before buying the 09' Trance X3. There was so much positive stuff written in so many reviews from experienced riders, that it just made sense to get. The test ride sold me. For the price, this is probably one of the best packages you can get. It rides well, has good handling, great suspension, hydraulic disk brakes, decent drive-line, and climbs like a goat. It can take a beating without falling apart. This bike instills confidence and I ride faster because of it. There are some upgrades I plan on making, but I don't regret buying this bike at all.