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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Currently own a SC Tallboy (size medium, I’m 5’6”) that I absolutely love. Rolls over everything effortlessly and is a beast on descents. My only gripe with the 29er is that I have a hard time maneuvering tight turns with it on occasion. Been in the market for some time for an all-mountain bike while keeping the Tallboy as my XC bike. My shortlist of potential candidates:

Norco Sight 7.1
Devinci Troy Carbon/XP Build
Yeti SB-75
Trek Remedy 7/8 (demoed)
Trek Slash 7/8 (demoed)
Santa Cruz Bronson C (demoed)
Santa Cruz Solo/5010 C (demoed)
Giant Trance 1 (demoed)

Out of the gate, really wanted to get my hands on either the Norco Sight or the Devinci Troy but the limited availability (not too many local dealers and the places that did carry them, were sold out) of both bikes made it a bit difficult to demo either one. In the end, I chose the Giant Trance 1 not only because it felt the best out of the bunch that I tested but also, I got a SMOKIN deal on it (big props to Mojo Wheels in Denver, CO. If you’re in the market for a bike, you should forget about going anywhere else. Very knowledgeable staff, friendly, and goes the extra mile to make sure that you’re a customer for life. Be sure to ask for Bob).

To be honest though, its one thing to demo a bike in a parking lot or a small dirt track, its another to put a bike through it’s paces on a trail that you’re familiar with. So I took the Trance out on its maiden voyage on Saturday to a trail that I ride a few times a month and thought I’d post my opinion of the Trance, 27.5 vs. 29er, etc. Now, I consider myself an average - above average rider. Love to climb, love to descend. Not the fastest by any means, not a daredevil, and have no plans of making a career out of it. I’m a tinkerer (built the SC Tallboy myself with no prior experience) and I could care less about the technical aspects of why some components are better then others. I don’t need the best of the best, I just want what works, is reliable, and durable. I’m just a guy who loves to MTB and ride approximately 3 – 4 times per week.

Climbing: Man, the Trance is an incredible climber! In fact, I shaved a little over 3 minutes to the top compared to my previous time on my Tallboy on the same trail just a few days prior. Pedaling was smooth, efficient, and felt like the bike was transferring power to the rear tire with little to no loss of energy.

Technical terrain: The trail that I was riding that day is fairly rocky with some medium to large rock formations. 29ers definitely have an advantage with climbing over sh*t. It did seem like it took more effort to pedal over some of the larger terrain with the Trance.

Small bump compliance: Now here’s where I am a bit confused and this isn’t a 27.5 vs. 29er thing. I would categorize this as more of a Maestro vs. VPP thing? The Tallboy definitely handles the small bumps better; like riding over clouds, whereas with the Trance, I definitely felt every bump. But here’s the thing, I felt so much more connected with the trail (if that makes sense) on the Trance. And more comfortable in a sense, because it kept me on my toes, allowing me to keep my focus on the trails.

Cornering: The 27.5 is noticeably more maneuverable and by a wide margin. I found myself way more confident with barreling through turns that I would’ve normally slowed down for with the 29er. The jury is still out with the tires though. The Trance 1 comes with Nobby Nics and there were several instances that I felt like they were going to slide out from under me.

Descending: This is the only time that I did not feel 100% comfortable on the Trance. Honestly, the cockpit felt a bit cramped, which I felt wouldn’t allow me to get into as an aggressive position that I am able to with the Tallboy.

Other items to note: 2x10 gearing. I built my Tallboy with a triple. Now I’m beginning to wonder why. Never felt like I needed another gear with the Trance.

Dropper post: I’m a believer. If you don’t have one, get one! Already ordered one for my Tallboy.

Again, I'm no expert by any means. I'm just a guy who loves to ride. But I do think theres a place for both 29er's and 27.5's as they each have their benefits and shortcomings. I, for one am using it as an excuse to add more bikes to my stable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's actually a 110mm RockShox Reba RL. Was a takeoff from an Anthem and came as an 80 but I removed the spacers. Yeah again, I'm not the best rider and it could be just a matter of poor line selection, but occasionally, I have a hard time with turns, especially tight switchbacks. With the Trance, I was easily weaving through sections that I had trouble with in the past with the TB.
 

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If it's different to the T1, a wider bar shorter stem setup on the TB would quicken the steering .

I still find my ax 29er and 120 fork a blast to ride so. like you , I hope to just get down to a longer travel 650B and a 100mm travel 29er. Need to sell a few bikes to get down to that though!!.
 

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Awesome review, and from one average rider to another, thank you. :) I have the same bike in a large, and I love it. I am coming off a 2011 Anthem X 29er, and I agree with just about all qualities you mentioned, with the exception of one.

First though, I agree with the cornering being leaps and bounds different, and I notice that too. This bike corners amazingly, despite it having a 2” longer wheelbase than my Anthem had. I worried about that until I hit a tight hairpin and just railed it like my Anthem never could. It does climb well too, and I too notice the difference between the 29er and the 27.5 in roll over…..a 29er is better in that regard.

But I disagree with you on the descending comment, but I will let you ride yours a bit more and then update your posts. :p I think this bike descends like a controlled madman. The Maestro has a predictable feel to it once you are used to it, and maybe that is my difference, in that I am used to it. But in addition to the suspension on the descents, the difference in head angle is where I really think the Trance gains its benefits for descending. It feels stable at speed, comfortable, and to me, the length you felt may the issue here, and will take some time to get adjusted to. For me, coming off the Anthem, a race XC bike, it felt long and laid out. This feeling didn’t help me on descents at all, and the more upright cockpit of the Trance assists me in being able to move around more, position my body or the bike where I want it. My Anthem only felt longer, but more cramped in the sense that I couldn’t move it around as much. The Trance feels like I can throw it around more. But like I said, I really could see you revising your review about the descending characteristics after you get a few more rides on it.

Again, good review, and continue to enjoy your ride!
 

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Perfect title, here is my review...

My last bike was a 26" and I bought it on the cheap. I thought I would be able to hang without all the new and best brands. Well, I broke everything and never had fun with it. I wasn't going to make that mistake again!!

I have had my Giant Trance 1 27.5 for a few months. I was looking at the Trance 1 and Trance 3. I decided I was going to go with the 1 because of my mistake last time. I wanted the better components and options because regret sucks.

First off, I love this bike!! Some things to think about. This bike has a learning curve. Fox CTD is great but you MUST plan ahead. Nothing like reaching down to adjust stuff and then you hit a rock or dip. The one hand on the handlebar has almost gotten me a few times. The Talus fork is awesome but takes some time getting used to. Again, you have to plan ahead. When you are going up a steep hill, bringing that front wheel in helps out a lot. Headed down, extend that fork out for some more fun. Bring that fork back towards you when you want to turn and burn on a single track with tight turns.

The adjustable seat post will bruise your butt, but once you get used to it, you'll wonder how you did it without one. When I head off a jump, I put that seat down, when I recover, up it comes and boom, I'm off cranking away.

I used to hit things with my front crank rings but with this setup, I haven't hit anything yet. This bike goes over obstacles like nothing.

My biggest issue with this bike is the number of flats I have gotten and that isn't the bike's fault. The rims are not tubeless ready, the tires are. With increased tire pressure to prevent pinch flats, and figuring out where those dang goat head thorns come from, I have eliminated flats.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this bike!!
 
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