[Tested] Giant Trance 1 Long Term Ride
The Giant Trance 1 is a trail bike that is aimed at the all round rider. We have had one on test and being used as a trail guide’s bike for the last year in the Punta Ala area. The bike has been ridden at least three to four times per week throughout the march until October main riding season and at least once per week off season. The bike has been serviced according to the norms of a recommended service schedule. This test therefore is a good expression of how the bike has performed in real world fairly extensive use. Read on to find out what we thought about it after many thousands of km’s.
Sizes – XS, S, M, L, XL
Colors – Grey/Orange
Price – €3699
Frame – ALUXX SL-grade aluminum, Advanced Forged composite upper rocker, 140mm Maestro suspension
Fork – Fox 34 Float Performance Elite, 150mm Travel, FIT4 Damper, Boost 15×110 KaBolt, TaperedFox Float Performance Elite, Trunnion MountRockshox Debon air
Handlebar – Giant Contact SL Trail, 750×31.8mm
Stem – Giant Contact SL
Seatpost – Giant Contact SL Switch-R, 30.9mm
Saddle – Giant Contact SL Neutral
Shifters – Shimano Deore XT
Rear Derailleur – Shimano XT 11-Speed
Brakes – Shimano Deore, 180mm Disc
Brake Levers – Shimano Deore XT
Cassette – Deore XT 11×46, 11-Speed
Crankset – Shimano Deore XT, 32T
Wheels – Giant TRX 1 27.5 Composite WheelSystem [F] Boost 15×110 [R] Boost 12×148
Tyres – Schwalbe Nobby Nic 27.5×2.35 Snakeskin TL Easy Trailstar [R] Schwalbe Nobby Nic 27.5×2.25 Snakeskin TL Easy Pacestar
Weight – We’ve decided not to list the weight as Giant don’t list it, most bikes are around 11-13 kilos, Giant themselves specifically don’t list the weight on their sites out of choice.
Giant have really hit the market running in the last few years offering some very good quality high specification bikes for competitive prices. The Trance also follows in this style, with a carbon/composite wheel set plus XT drive kit for a competitive €3699 euros. Some companies barely offer their base models for much less.
The Fox suspension kit up front also means that the ride feel of the Trance is going to be much better than ticket price might suggest. Component wise is where the budgets are lower in the overall price with Giant’s own branded parts being used. The Handle bar is a little narrow for our liking, but the hydraulic seat post has been an excellent performer over the test period. As always maintenance is the key to keeping a high performance product working as it was intended.
Over the test period some parts did wear, namely the cassette and chain plus the tyres. The tyres were changed 2 times, the cassette and chain once. We would consider this normal for the type of use received by the bike.
Interestingly we have not had to replace any suspension pivot bearings or shock bushings. These parts are tight and as smooth as the day we started riding the bike. Yes careful cleaning and attention to the right greasing regime is important, but overall we were impressed with these parts performance.
The rear end is trail ready.
After one year of use the cassette was changed as it wore out.
The Pivots and Trunion shock have proved very good, with normal servicing everything is tight and squeak free.
A simple effective control center.
Durable XT crankset.
The well performing Fox 34 Float fork.
The shock has a lock out.
Shimano XT brakes
We wore out the original rear tyre, this is the second changed tyre since.
The front tyre is our second tyre.
Shimano XT levers are tool free XT units.
The Giant hydraulic seat post has been reliable.
The trail geometry has been developed over years but lends it’s self well to extreme riding as well. When used with the lock out on the shock, the Trance 1 surges forward and is a whippet on rolling trails, loosing very little energy in the suspension system, yet remaining manageable and great to pedal. The body position for comfortable riding is easy to find and allows any rider to just ride and be immediately in tune with what the bike is doing.
On The Trail
We have ridden a range of trails in many different conditions over the last season and the Trance has become a well liked feature of all our rides.
Uphill and Riding Along – When pedalling uphill the rear locks out really well. If you were to mount XC tyres it would be a bike that could ride XC races almost. The rear grips very well and the upright seat tube directs all the riders energy to the pedal strokes and trail really well. Once the trail opens out and you find yourself riding along, opening the rear shock unleashes a very fast bike. It is easy to find the balance point and be relaxed in your attitude to the trail ahead. The suspension length is perfect for trail riding, it feels very progressive.
Dropping in at the end of our last trail ride.
Downhill and Cornering – One point we feel is important to mention is the fact that after spending so much time on the Trance an Enduro bike would almost feel overkill for anything apart from extreme downhills. The Trance corners really well, is reactive and it is possible to move it around on the trail very easily. Jumping between rocks and over different trail features. It rails corners when they are supportive and blasts through switch backs with apparent ease and finesse. The fork is well built enough to be light weight and responsive but a solid performer, Fox really did a great job with the Float 34.
Trail relaunches and more challenging sections are easily coped with, just find the right gear and go. The lighter weight composite wheels give a lighter weight precise feeling in the steering. Precise lines can mean a faster time if riding against the clock. We did not manage to damage or break the wheel set and the hubs remained good. We did change one bearing and check spoke tension periodically.
When riding down hill this is a bike that allows any rider to easily find their balance point on the bike. The geometry is excellent yet forgiving if you make an error, the Trance is not going to punish you for it. When we set up the suspension we found ourselves not having to revisit our settings and fine tune them, it was remarkably resistant to all our trail choices and only a few changes to rebound here or there were necessary. The Maestro suspension platform is remarkably efficient and reactive.
Obviously there are a few things one can do to get a bike like this to last well, making sure bearings are cleaned and dust free is essential as is a fork oil change and wiper seal check/change after the recommended number of hours. When washing the bike make sure not to blast the bearings directly. Our bottom bracket is still working well after many many kilometers of riding.
The Trance is a bike that is easy to ride and can be appreciated by many types of riders with different styles. It will give users the ability to mix up their trail work from easy going up to medium Enduro. The best selling point of the Trance is it’s ease of use and precise quick response on the trail. There are not many bikes that offer so much fun at such a good price. After one year on we are still happy to be riding the Trance, Giant it seems have taken note of all this feedback as for 2018/19 the only differences will be the colour choices. Why change something that isn’t broken?