Giant's move to big wheels continues with the short-travel, trail ripping Trance

After a relatively brief affair in the early days of 29in wheels, Giant has presented a unified front on wheel size for the past five years, backing 27.5in all the way. And while having a clear message on wheel size has worked well for the brand, last year Giant’s stance shifted slightly when it released the Anthem 29 XC race bike.

Little did we know that the Anthem 29 would be the thin edge of the wedge that would open the door for the new Giant Trance 29 trail bike.

Trance 29 Need to know

  • New 29in version of Giant’s popular trail bike
  • Maestro suspension pumps out 115mm travel
  • Five models: three carbon, two alloy
  • 130mm forks on all models
  • Modern geometry deigned around 435mm chain stays
  • Big bike attitude extends to specification: short stems and 780mm bars
  • Top-end bike gets custom tuned DVO suspension components
  • Four-piston SRAM Guide brakes on all models
  • 2.3in tyres as standard with frame clearance for 2.6in
  • Limited size range in UK
  • UK pricing:
    Trance Advanced Pro 29er 0        £6999
    Trance Advanced Pro 29er 1        £4399
    Trance Advanced Pro 29er 2        £3999
    Trance 29er 1                                  £3699
    Trance 29er 2                                  £2499

In terms of travel the new Trance 29 sits squarely between the Anthem 29 and the current 27.5in Trance; Giant’s twin-link Maestro suspension delivering 115mm of travel, 25mm less than its 27.5in brother. But don’t let the numbers fool you, this is a seriously capable bike.

Review: Giant Trance 2 27.5 2018

giant trance 29.

Giant sticks with the proven Maestro suspension system for the Trance 29.

First time for a carbon rear end

It’s the seventh generation of Trance and it’s the first one to get a carbon rear triangle. In fact, the lower suspension link is now the only alloy frame component on the top three models. There are also two full alloy bikes and regardless of the frame material used, all Trance 29s sport internal cable routing and Boost 148 dropout spacing. The Trance 29 is also a dedicated single-ring frame design so there’s no unsightly front derailleur mount.

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Giant trance 29

The Trance Advanced range gets a full carbon rear end for the first time.

What the new Trance 29 lacks in travel is more than made up for by its cutting edge geometry. With a 66.5 degree head angle, stubby 435mm chain stays, and a 462mm reach measurement on the size L, the numbers are more in keeping with a longer travel bike.

giant trance 29

Slack 66.5 degree head angle, short stays and available in either full carbon or full aluminium build options.

Up front all models get 130mm forks, the top-end Advanced Pro 29 0 coming with the new DVO Sapphire. Giant tested multiple fork offsets before settling on 44mm, and the 34mm upper tubes on the latest Sapphire perfectly balance the proportions and flex response of the new Trance frame.

Giant Trance 29

The top of the range Trance Advanced 0 comes adorned with DVO suspension. Giant use the shorter 44mm offset DVO Sapphire fork.

The build kit on the Trace 29 is every bit as dialled as the suspension and geometry. All bikes get wide 780mm bars, the S and M sizes coming with 40mm stems, the L gets a 50mm and the XL creeps up to 60mm. Maxxis Minion 3C tyres set the tone and the fact that the top-end Trance Advanced Pro 29 0 gets a mini chain guide you can instantly tell it’s been built to be ridden hard.

Giant Trance 29

Rides like a bike with more travel? The Trance 29 luckily lives up to this claim.

So how does it ride?

Which is exactly what we did for two day’s straight in S. Caterina Valfurva in northern Italy. During the presentation we were more than a little sceptical about Giant’s claim that the 115mm Trance 29 rode like a bike with more travel. Normally this means it’s a bike that feels soft and wallowy, blowing through its travel way too quickly. The Trance 29 is nothing of the sort. Yes, the suspension is superbly sensitive but it has ample progression and support so it never bottoms harshly. It’s not as poppy and playful as some 29ers but it is still incredibly agile. When things get rowdy, the inherent stability of the Trance 29 means it just keeps building speed, perfectly showcasing the advantages of bigger wheels.

Giant Trance 29

The Trance 29 coped with everything Italy could throw at it.

It’s certainly one of new breed of short-travel 29er rippers and while its intention is not to replace the 27.5in model, the new Trance 29 make you question why you’d ride a longer travel bike, when this little ripper is so darn capable.