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Hi,
I have narrowed it down to these two bikes. I do mostly XC riding and test rode both in the parking lot. The Giant felt more efficient to me and just felt better. It seems like the SJ has a better fork and rear shock. I can get both for around 2K. Any thoughts, opinions.
Also I am 5' 9" and trying to decide between the 16" or 18" on the trance, leaning towards the 18", opinions are welcome.
 

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Both fine bikes that are designed to excel at the exact same things. Both solid bike comapnies. Both will ride great and make you happy.

So.. simply put-buy the one that looks (aesthetically) better to you. I think the Specialized is a sharper looking bike but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

And-if they are being sold by different shops--buy at the lbs that treats you better.

And yeah-do take the time to get the right sized bike regardless of whichj model (no bike no matter how well-made can overcome a poor fit!). the 18 inch sounds right-but there's really no hard and fast rule for fit as everyone's body shape and riding style is different. Ride both sizes and make a call--that's the only way to get the right size.

Have fun.

Oh---why do you think the sj has a better fork and shock??--the Trance 2 has a Reba and a Fox RP3--for xc dualies that's the dynamite combo!
 

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1) Both frames are made by giant.....Giant makes all but the very top of the big"S" line.
2) Giant's parts spec is better.....for each price point. The big"S" likes to spec to much of their own brand componets IMO.
3) IMO the fsr is a better frame design because it does not stiffen up while braking....The giant does not lock out the suspension while braking but it does feel a little stiffer and this sucks in rock fields..
I would get the stummpy and swap the s parts down the road.;)
 

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Both good bikes. Go with the one that fits and feels better to you (NOT LOOKS BETTER).

(Get out of the parking lot) Test ride both of them for at least 10 min, making sure to climb/decend some hills in the grass on the side of the road and jump some curbs. Keep in mind that adding or lessening air pressure in the shock will change the ride, so test ride - change air pressure - test ride again.

Sizing comes down to leg vs torso length and personal preference. You'll feel which is more comfortable on a test ride

If you get the T2, ask if the shop will swap out the fork for a Fox100 and you just pay the price difference(wholesale price) between the two. It is the most cost effective way to upgrade, and most shops will gladly do it. Everything else on it is good to go.

I had narrowed my search to a SJ Expert and a T2, but i liked the fit/feel of the SJ better. so thats what i got. If you like the SJ better, i would pay the extra $ for the Expert. I got mine at $2300, for a demo model.

I hope my opinions help.
 

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-bustin punks
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I've owned two FSRs in the past, a Trek Fuel, and now have a Trance2. All are very nice bikes. I think the FSR was a bit softer but I am finding the the Trance to be a lot more efficient, even on the PP- rear shock setting. I hated the Fuel. Too stiff for me.

I never had a platform type shock on my FSRs but even if I had I don't think they would have matched the bob-free feeling I get on the Trance. I hated riding the FSR off-trail, I don't mind it at all on the Trance.

My Trance is about 1.5-2 lbs heavier overall than my last FSR, and I couldn't care less, it disappears out on the trail. I'm also very happy with the Reba SL that came on the Trance2 - it's a great fork - try it before spending extra on a FoxForx.

Bottom line, I am absolutely thrilled with my Trance2 - and can't wait for the next time I can get out to the trails to ride it. I never had that feeling with my FSRs or the Fuel that I had.

FCTi
 

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illuminator82
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great choices

owned both bikes and have ridden fsr 4 bars for many years.

fit fit fit!
now after that i am 5'9.5" and ride a giant trance 18 which has a 23" effective top tube ; the specialized 17 or medium has a 23.2 effective top tube. maybe you will notice the diff but not me especially since a longer or shorter stem will make much more of a diff.

now it gets more more difficult;
seat tube angle for the stumpy is 72deg in 5 inch mode which is way slack for climbing as you will have to slide your wieght forward, and 74 in 4 inch mode ,the trance is 73.5 deg which i like, some notice diff you might not

head angle on stumpy is 69 deg in 5 inch travel mode on the front fortk with talas and can got to 71 deg in 4 inch travel on the front. big differences in my book. depends upon your terrain and what type of rider u are. most people set the travel and ride, of course others fiddle around as they go.

trance has 70.5 head angle with a 4 inch fork

so basically it is 71 for stumpy in 4 which is quick or 69 in 5 which is more slack and stable but slower through the tight stuff... or 71 to 70.5 deg a wash,

both wheelbases are close in 1082mm for stumpy and 1084 for trance

now for ride differences all personal preference but i have owned both and feel the trance suspension blows the stumpies to the weeds in overall action. do not have to overdampen the rear shock which the rp3 does in the firmest setting and negates small bump sensitivity, but you can open it up to full and it will feel super plush but you will feel it bob badly on climbs, yes even if you pedal circles...whereas the trance just set your sag and go have fun, and i mean fun...just my lousy 2cents
 

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one more opinion

I owned a Trance for a year and currently ride a Stumpjumper 100. The Trance rides very well although it is a little heavier. If you are trail riding who cares? The two bikes appear to be comparable spec-wise. The RP3 is a good shock for the Trance - it rides well and is efficient. You are a better fit for the 18 for sure. The Triad shock offers the lockout if that is important to you. Fox vs Reba - both good forks. Lifetime frame warranties. I think someone said it above, it comes down to what feels best - you're not going to go wrong with either one!
 

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-bustin punks
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which size

Like the original poster, I am 5'9". I have pretty short legs (30" inseam pants). I felt very comfortable on both the 18" and 16" Trance and decided to go with the smaller frame. I'll end up buying a slightly longer seatpost as I have the stocker extended about 2-3mm past the line right now.

I hemmed and haww'd for a long time trying to decide between the two sizes and erred on the smaller side. So far with 3 rides under my belt I'm very happy with the smaller frame size. In the end I figured it would be slightly lighter, lower and also would allow my wife to fit the bike comfortable if she ever wanted to try it. The wheelbase is a bit shorter, but that shouldn't be an issue for me, as I'm not a high speed kind of guy.

FCTi
 

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1) Both frames are made by giant.....Giant makes all but the very top of the big"S" line.
?????????
where did you get this info? have not heard that giant makes specialized bikes.

if i had a choice, i would go with fsr. any way you can demo either bike on the trail?
 
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