Retains the speed and feel that makes the regular Trance such a joy to ride, but the extra length, increased travel and changes to the geometry make the Trance X 29 faster both uphill and down
The recently revived Trance X 29 family expands to include two Giant Trance X Advanced carbon options, with entry-level Pro 29 1 at £4999.
Giant Trance X Advanced need to know
- With 135mm of travel married to a 150mm suspension fork, the new Trance X Advanced is designed to do-it-all
- At 2,100g, the carbon Trance X Advanced frame is 682g lighter than the equivalent size alloy version
- Fox Live Valve on the flagship model automatically adjusts the suspension to match the terrain
- Giant TRX-1 carbon wheels come set up with tubeless Maxxis tyres right out of the box, just add the sealant that Giant supplies with the bike
- Entry-level Trance X Advanced Pro 29 1 is £4,999 and both models will be available from December
I still remember testing the original Trance X 29. It was a 127mm travel ripper that packed a mighty punch and came in an affordable package. Yes, the alloy frame looked all bent out of shape from too many rounds in the hydroforming ring, but the Trance X 29 really walked the 29er walk, and along with groundbreaking bikes like the Specialized Camber Evo and Kona Process 111, it gave us a brief glimpse into the potential of 29in wheels beyond traditional XC applications. I say brief, because in 2013 Giant surprised everyone when it announced that it was going all-in on 27.5in wheels, and almost overnight the Trance X 29 disappeared from the range.
It was a bold move on Giant’s part, and with hindsight being 20/20, it backed the wrong horse. It’s slowly been rectifying that though, first releasing the Trance 29 two years ago, quickly followed by the Giant Reign 29 twelve months later. Still, it’s somewhat ironic that almost a decade after the original launch, the Trance X 29 is making a comeback.
What gives it the X-factor? Well, it’s not simply a regular Trance 29 with a longer travel fork, wider handlebars and shorter stem. No, the Trance X gets a dedicated frame with 135mm travel and bespoke geometry, and it’s now available in Advanced carbon and aluminium options. Yes, it looks just like the regular Trance 29, but dig into the numbers and it’s clear that the Trance X 29 is a very different beast, the reach measurement alone almost 25mm longer on the size L. The geometry is also adjustable, with asymmetric chips in the carbon rocker link offering high and low settings. In the low position, the head angle on the Trance X 29 is a degree slacker than the standard Trance, but the seat angle is almost 3º steeper, giving it a hill crushing effective seat angle of 77.3º. And while frame travel has increased by 20mm, the length of the rear end has not, so Giant can still boast a relatively short 435mm chainstay while retaining clearance for a 2.5in tyre.
To match the increase in rear wheel travel the Trance X 29 gets a 150mm fork. On the Trance X Advanced Pro 29 0 it’s the latest Fox 36 Factory fork. And not just any Fox 36 Factory fork, this one features Live Valve – Fox’s electronically controlled suspension that automatically adjusts the damping as the terrain changes. Set sag in the normal way, dial in the rebound damping and then let Live Valve do the rest. Sensors on the fork and frame feed real-time information to the control unit that sits under the top tube which dictates the suspension response automatically. You have five threshold options to choose from, or you can switch it off, and Live Valve can even detect the pitch of the bike to tailor the suspension response specifically to climbing or descending. All in, it’s pretty darn smart and a great feature if you don’t want to be constantly toggling between suspension settings. Yes, it pumps the price up considerably, and while the Giant Trance X Advanced Pro 29 0 certainly isn’t cheap, it’s definitely one of the most affordable production bikes to have this technology.
How it rides
In addition to the usual suspension set-up I spent way too much time going through all of the different Live Valve settings. I rode the bike with it switched off, in all five threshold settings all while trying to find different terrain to outsmart it. In fact, I was so focused on the myriad of suspension options that I almost forgot that this is a First Ride on the new Giant Trance X Advanced, not just Fox’s Live Valve.
Let’s try to ignore the suspension tech for just a minute and focus on the ride. The Trance X Advanced is a modern trail bike in every respect. It retains the speed and feel that makes the regular Trance Advanced such a joy to ride, but the extra length, increased travel and changes to the geometry make the Trance X 29 faster both uphill and down. In that respect it’s a really versatile trail bike.
Would I have it with Live Valve? I’ve not spent enough time on this bike to decide if it’s worth the extra outlay. Sure there were moments where I thought Live Valve was really smart, like when land jumps or railing smooth berms where the extra support was welcome. Then I’d dive into a different style of trail and find myself fumbling under the top tube for the button on the control unit to reduce the threshold. It’s the primary reason why I think it needs a handlebar remote, but then that kind of defeats the purpose of intelligent suspension, right?. Also the last thing this bike needs is another wire, as the connector to the fork already rattles against the other cable housings. Thankfully a zip-tie fixes that and it wasn’t enough to detract from the impressive ride quality, but for a pound shy of £8k with a battery, sensors and wires, there will be a lot of riders asking where’s the motor? Still, given how good the Trance X Advanced Pro 29 0 rides with Live Valve switched off, I can’t wait to test the regular bikes in the Trance X 29 range.
The entry-level carbon bike won’t be available until December, but what’s a couple more months when you’ve been waiting for 10 years for it to arrive?