We put Giant's Trance Advanced 27.5 2 to a year's worth of abuse. Did it survive?

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 7


  • Rock-solid durability and reliability meant that with even minimal servicing the Trance was always ready to go
  • Suspension is easy to set up and get to a good place, but there’s more potential in the shock tuning
  • Long, slack geometry makes it a very capable bike on more demanding trails


  • The Trance really needs a shorter stem and wider handlebar out of the box to support the capability of the frame and geometry
  • The Overdrive 2 tapered head tube — thankfully it’s been dropped on 2015 bikes as it severely limited stem choice
  • A carbon frame is nice, but eats massively into the budget and the finishing kit, wheels and suspension take a hit


Giant Trance Advanced 27.5 2 (2014) longterm review


Price as reviewed:


Dave Arthur Longtermer Giant Trance Advanced 27.5 2 02 crop

The rider

  • Dave Arthur
  • Position: Writer/tester
  • Mostly rides: FOD/Wales
  • Height: 5ft 11in
  • Weight: 66kg

The bike

  • 140mm trail bike with carbon front-end
  • Complete redesign with 650b wheels and new attitude
  • 2×10 drivetrain with an MRP chain guide and Type 2 rear mech
  • Internally routed Giant dropper post

What attracted you to the Giant?

After several years on 29ers I wanted to see what the revamped Trance with 650b wheels, 140mm suspension and revised geometry had to offer. On paper, it looked like the perfect UK do-everything trail bike.

Did you change anything straightaway?

Much as I tried to keep the bike standard, the handlebar had to go for something wider — initially 750mm, then later, 780mm. At the same time I fitted Giant’s own 50mm stem. Some Maxxis High Roller II tyres replaced the Schwalbe Nobby Nics pretty quickly too.

Was the bike easy to set up?

In the most part, yes. It was easy to get a satisfactory balance with the suspension, but after more riding it became clear I wasn’t getting the most out of the rear. So I had the Monarch shock custom tuned by the guys at TFTuned, and the extra spring progression offered a noticeable step-up in performance and better matched the excellent Sektor fork.

OverDrive 2 steerer is no more

OverDrive 2 steerer is no more

How did it ride?

The geometry and travel make it pretty much perfect for the majority of UK trails, from cross-country all-day rides to sessioning your local downhill tracks. I found myself won over by the 650b wheels but I’m not convinced they’re ultimately faster than 29in, even if they do impart a great deal of agility to the Trance. The suspension is predictable and easy to work to your advantage, and overall the extra length in the front end makes the Trance stable and predictable when going fast or launching into steep, rocky chutes. It’s not very light for a carbon bike though, which robs it of some speed on slower trails, and it never really offered that fizz of excitement that some bikes do. Extremely capable yes, but it’s lacking a bit of rider involvement on the trail.

The new Trance turns a corner for Giant, but there's still a way to go

The new Trance turns a corner for Giant, but there’s still a way to go

Did anything break or wear out?

Durability and reliability were first class. The RockShox suspension remained faultless despite minimal servicing or maintenance, and I have to give a big thumbs-up to Giant’s own Contact Switch-R dropper post, which was admirable in its persistence despite regular blasting with mud and water.

The Giant Contact Switch-R dropper post worked flawlessly

The Giant Contact Switch-R dropper post worked flawlessly

If you could change one thing about your longtermer what would it be?

Can I be greedy and change two things? First and foremost, I’d like to see Giant invest in a more trail-friendly handlebar width and stem length from the get go, and I’m happy to see that the company has quietly dropped its OverDrive 2 steerer standard for 2015 as it crippled stem choice. Also, as my tuned Monarch shock demonstrated, there’s more capability in the Trance than Giant’s stock shock tune is allowing, so there’s some room for improvement in the suspension too.

>>> Click here to find out more about geometry with our handy guide

The suspension was improved thanks to TF Tuned

The suspension was improved thanks to TF Tuned



Would you buy this bike? The hugely reliable RockShox suspension and decent all-round performance make the Trance a very compelling overall package. It helps too that the carbon front end looks fantastic. The suspension is pretty good, but not perfect, and the geometry is nearly there, but (again) not quite. As for the spec, the extra weight of the cheaper parts is something of a hindrance that curbs the enthusiasm of the Trance out on the trail. So, even though it’s a much better Trance than we’ve seen in previous years, it’s still a nearly-there bike at the moment. So no, I wouldn’t buy it in its current incarnation— ultimately it lacked the kind of zip and playfulness I’m always searching for.


Frame:Advanced Grade Composite/ Aluxx SL Rear, 140mm travel
Shock:RockShox Monarch RT
Fork:RockShox Sektor RL Solo Air, 140mm travel
Wheels:Giant P-XC hubs, P-XC2 rims
Tyres:Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.25in tyres
Drivetrain:SRAM S1000 chainset, MRP 2x Guide, SRAM X9 r-mech, XY shifters and f-mech
Brakes:Avid Elixir 7
Components:Giant Connect SL, Contact Switch-R dropper post
Sizes:S, M, L
Size tested:L
Weight:13.25kg (29lb)
Head angle:67.0°
Seat angle:73.5°
BB height:320mm
Front centre:737mm
Down tube:700mm