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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2014 Trance SX that should arrive later this week. I am stoked to get out on in and give it a go. Although I have only sat on bike in the shop, I am confident that I will like the bike as I have been on a number of Giant bikes with Maestro suspension. I am coming from a 2010 Reign, which I liked as well, but had to give the kool-aid a try.

As much as the Trance SX Advanced would have been my choice the budget did not allow it, so it was really between the Trance 27.5 1 and the Trance SX. The 27.5 1 has a better drivetrain, but the SX has the 160/140 fork and what looks to be a better wheelset for more agressive riding.

I have a few items that I will change out right from the get go. I am going to bring my KS Lev (5" non internal routing). The Giant post is internal routing but only 4" drop. I have been using KS posts for a few years now and like how they work.

Will add a front D along with a SLX shifter set and a 3 x 10 SLX crankset that I will run 2 x 10 with a bash. I need the lower gears for climbing. I had considered the 40 or 42 rear cog with the 1 x 10 setup, but decided to go with what I know.

I have a set of new XT brakes that I will bolt on. I will leave the stock rotors for now, but will likely change out to 200/180 setup that I have used in the past.

For now I will give the stock fork and shock a go, but may try my Vector HLR Air (have heard it may not fit).

The stem and riser bar I will ride it and give it a go. Hopefully the length of the stem is ok (close to what I ride now) as the Overdrive-2 sizing makes it harder to change. The stock low rise bar will likely go as well as I like 30-35mm rise and 740-740 bar width.

There have been a number of articles and reviews on the SX Advanced but not much on the alloy SX. I am hoping others that have bought this bike or similar target build on Trance 27.5 and have some time on it will chime in on their setup and what worked out for them.

Can't wait for bike to show up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well one week later and bike has yet to arrive, so nothing to post as yet. Giant sent the bike to the wrong shop (man it is hard to wait when waiting for a bike). The shop was good and lent me a shop demo (a decked out Knolly Warden), didn't want to bring it back.

I am hoping the Trance SX will provide a similar fee in roll over capabilities and overall feel, but the bar has been set quite high.
 

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I went with Trance 1and switched Talas to Manitou Mattoc so it's kind of SX :) I also switched tires to Conti TrailKing 2.4 and chainguide with taco guard.
Haven't done too much riding with this setup, sick leave... Nevertheless I think it rides better with 160 in front.

Can someone give me shock length and stroke? And which air shocks with piggyback fit This frame?? I think stock float idea not give enough support mid-stroke...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good news, the bike is in. Getting a couple of my parts changed out right now.

Narrow wide 30 tooth (had to remove the chain guide as the chain ring is spaced out further than a normal ring)
KS Lev 125mm seatpost (1" more drop and I have had good luck with KS posts)
XT brakes - the new XTs are nice and powerful and at a pretty good price too


goRz keep us posted on the Mattoc, big fan of Manitou forks will be interested to hear how it works out.

I almost went with Trance 27.5 1 over the SX as the part spec is nicer, but stayed with the SX as I would have need to change out the fork right away on the Trance 1, whereas hopefully I will like the Talas 34 enough to keep it for a while. The 2x10 drivetrain is great but I want to run a bash which I don't think can be done on the new 2x10. Lastly the wheels on the Trance 1 are a little lighter duty than the SX which I think are essential DT Swiss 240 internals.

Going to pick it up after work. Won't be able to get in a ride until either Friday after work or Saturday.

Stoked !!!
 

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Surprised your changing the gearing. I am yet to find a hill I can't climb. I find the fork the limiting factor (especially if I forget to drop it). That isn't to say I find it easy as I am usually dead at the top.

I am not impressed with the fork. Descend mode has next to no compression damping so it bottoms out on everything. I weigh 82kg/180lbs and fox suggests weight in kg for the pressure in the fork and weight in lbs for the pressure in the shock. This did not feel right so I set up the sag as they recommended and it was about 20psi higher in the fork and shock. Maybe I just need to spend some more time finding a nice setup but trail mode seems to work best for everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
All along I had been inclined to change the gearing to 2 x 10 + bash, when I rode a demo bike with a 2 x 10 24/36 and 11/36 it confirmed it. Although I was surprised at how much I get through on 36-36 I still was reaching to drop to a granny gear on any steep extended section.

34 front with 36 on back would climb most things, so I though the extra drop to 30 would provide would I need. I picked up a great deal on a SLX 3 x 10 (22/32/44) that I will run as 2 x 10+ bash that I will likely put the original 34 tooth ring back on to and should then be able to get up anything. If I look around the my bike room I am sure I might even have a 36 tooth around somewhere.

As far a the 34 Talas, I am going to give it a good try. I am 185lbs so like you I am sure to have issues finding a setup that will provide both a nice feel for the small bump yet not dive everytime I hit the brakes. I have heard the basic cartridge can be swapped for the better one, not certain of the cost but perhaps an option. Beyond that I guess I will have to wait until the 2015 36 Talas is more readily available and try to find one at a decent price. I like the idea of keeping a dual position fork and having one setting for trail riding (like the regular Trance) and one that slackens things out a little more for the steeps.

Tonight is the first ride, hope the bike lives up to the expectation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Picked up the bike from the shop yesterday afternoon all setup and ready to go. Setup the fork and shock at the trailside.

I am about 185lb before gear, ended up with about 170-175psi in the shock and about 80psi in the front. Pretty much ran both on descend mode, but it still felt a little harsh compared to an 2011 Talas 36 RC2 and a X-Fusion Vector HLR Air that I ran on my Reign. The 36 Talas had been rebuilt fairly recently and had the low friction seals compared to the new gear on the Trance SX that only has 1.5 hours on it. Although I didn't ride too much in terms of really technical terrain to really push the 34 Talas, I can say that I never noticed any flex on the fork, which is great as coming from running a Fox 36 I didn't quite know what to expect from the 34. I will give it some more time and fiddle with the air pressure and perhaps drop it by 5 psi to get a little more smooth feeling. In the end I think I will have to try the Vector HLR on the back to see if it fits and what it does to the ride.

Looking past the suspension, the and to the bike and the handling I was smiling. despite being pretty slack in the 160 travel mode the bike turns very quick and rolls along over roots and rocks a little easier than a 26er. I had the tire pressure a little higher than normal as I was running tubes and didn't want to flat, part way through the ride I dropped a few psi both front and back, much better and will be better yet once I go back to tubeless. Traction was great, especially since it was a little slick and greasy in places. I actually messed up a couple of times because I thought for sure I would slide out and loose traction but the bike held firm.

I am going to give the stock riser a few more rides to see if I will adjust to it, but it is either the lower rise or the sweep on it that doesn't quite feel right. That said, the bike felt great very balanced. It might have been that I was coming from a Reign with similar geometry and setup, but jumping on the Trance SX felt like I had been riding it all along.

Drivetrain is currently setup as 1 x 10 with 30 tooth narrow wide and a 11-36 cassette, chain guide was removed to accommodate the 30 tooth. The gearing is low enough for most of what I would ride but will still move to a 2 x 10 when the new crankset shows up and will likely run 22 or 24 granny and then run the stock 34 and then a bash. I will try without a chain guide for now as I was pleasantly surprised at how well the clutch derailleur work and how quiet the bike was. Worst case I have a stinger I can put on or perhaps a C-Guide.

Lots of blah blah blah on the first ride review but I am really liking the bike and once I get it dialed to exactly how I like my bike setup it will be even better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, second ride on the bike and it is feeling a little better. Some of the harshness that I seemed to notice in the front suspension is lessened, but not gone. Was getting some major hand craps on sections that required braking on steep technical bits, felt it right between my thumb and index finger. Perhaps it is just a different shape of the bar (sweep/risee ???)

Getting used to when the bike will hold traction and when it will release. The Razor Rock rear tire seems to add to the confusion, but seems to break away at times when not expected, but yet grab well other times. Will continue to run it as is for now, especially as the trails dry out it should work very nicely and it really does roll very well. I could see moving the Hans Dampf to the back and running a Magic Mary up front.

Will manage to get one or two more rides on the bike to dial it in before heading out on a bike trip into Utah. By then it will be running tubeless and likely will have the 2 x 10 drivetrain in place.


One last point even without any pricey parts the weight was 30lbs on the dot on the shop scale. This is with tubes, pedals, dropper post ... The weight should stay the same once I swap the cranks from Zee to SLX 2 x 10, add a front d and shifter, then drop the tubes, or at least be close enough not to worry.

Liking the bike and want to get some rides on varied terrain t oreally see how it handles the diversity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I had started with a little less air in the fork but found it to dive. Perhaps I could try with less air and run in trail mode, but I would suspect the same. Plus once is blows past the initial damping the fork my dive substantially more. With the air pressure I had the fork used all but 1 inch of stanchion, but I don't think it was pushed too hard. The shock on the other hand has pretty much used all of its travel.

Again, it was better after the second ride. It might need a few more rides before making a final judgement.

For those out there that are running close to a stock setup, what air pressure are you running and for what weight and style of riding.

I am a big fan of the Schwalbe tires at least their AM/Freeride type tires, given my riding I like the Nobby Nics for how well they roll, but don't offer up enough grip for my liking.

Not certain if I have tried the Conti TrailKing, but have tried both the original Mountain King and the Mountain King II. The first was a good xc/trail tire but scary on anything slippery. The MKII had much better traction, but still found it pretty slick on the wet roots and rocks, so for riding on the shore it didn't work for me.
 

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Okay, second ride on the bike and it is feeling a little better. Some of the harshness that I seemed to notice in the front suspension is lessened, but not gone. Was getting some major hand craps on sections that required braking on steep technical bits, felt it right between my thumb and index finger. Perhaps it is just a different shape of the bar (sweep/risee ???)

Getting used to when the bike will hold traction and when it will release. The Razor Rock rear tire seems to add to the confusion, but seems to break away at times when not expected, but yet grab well other times. Will continue to run it as is for now, especially as the trails dry out it should work very nicely and it really does roll very well. I could see moving the Hans Dampf to the back and running a Magic Mary up front.

Will manage to get one or two more rides on the bike to dial it in before heading out on a bike trip into Utah. By then it will be running tubeless and likely will have the 2 x 10 drivetrain in place.

One last point even without any pricey parts the weight was 30lbs on the dot on the shop scale. This is with tubes, pedals, dropper post ... The weight should stay the same once I swap the cranks from Zee to SLX 2 x 10, add a front d and shifter, then drop the tubes, or at least be close enough not to worry.

Liking the bike and want to get some rides on varied terrain t oreally see how it handles the diversity.
You mentioned issues with your hands and the bars - have you tried rotating the bars forward and back?
Also, many bikes come with brake levers outside the shifters, which doesn't always match single-finger braking, so move/adjust the brake levers to fit your index finger (including lever reach), then move the shifters if needed.

For the fork, are you sure the rebound is not set too slow?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You mentioned issues with your hands and the bars - have you tried rotating the bars forward and back?
Also, many bikes come with brake levers outside the shifters, which doesn't always match single-finger braking, so move/adjust the brake levers to fit your index finger (including lever reach), then move the shifters if needed.

For the fork, are you sure the rebound is not set too slow?
Thanks, I might try rotating the bars slightly forward to see it it changes the feel.

The brakes are properly setup for my liking with a pretty easy reach. I could try to move them slightly further inboard but don't think it would change the feel as much as the bars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well as compared to the Reign I do notice that it doesn't get caught in holes on on roots as much. I guess this could be the 650b vs 26". The head angle and overall feel of the bike is quite similar, not certain on wheelbase comparison, but, I would even say the Trance SX is more sharp handling than the Reign, which might lead to the thought that the SX so far has not been an issue around sharp turns or switchbacks.

The rear suspension feels at least as supple as the Reign did, which is great as the Reign had a much better shock (X-Fusion Vector Air HLR) as compared to the SX with the Float CTD. The only place I have noticed the CTD is on harsh bumps, where it cannot cope.

I have passed by a couple of very technical and steep sections that I would normally hit on the when riding the Reign, but it was mostly due to the confidence on the rear tire grip capabilities and that I was riding solo. I am confident the bike would have handled it just fine, but thought I might have come out if it with too much speed to manage.

One last area that has been a nice surprise it the technical climbing. For the most part I have left the shock in full open mode although I don't find the trail mode an issue just like it more in the wide open mode. I have no idea if it is the slightly larger 650b wheels or the geometry or updates to Giant's suspension, but the Trance SX climb technical routes very nice. I am still running a single 30 tooth front with an 11-36 on the back and where my legs can manage the climb the bikes pulls it through. I think that once I get my 2 x 10 in place it would only get better as I am quite happy spinning up these technical climbs in a nice low gear.
 
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