GIANT TRANCE X 29 0
Price: $4,250 ($1,550, frame with shock)
Weight: 28 pounds
By Travis Engel
We saw this bike coming. Giant's versatile Trance X was bound to get a big-wheel makeover, and the company took pains to ensure it still competes in the trail category. To that end, there's clearance to spare around the voluminous Schwalbe tires, the chainstays remain a reasonable 17.8 inches, and the standover is even lower than on the 26er TranceX. Uninterrupted, internal cable housing is becoming de rigueur on all-condition bikes, but they rattled distractingly on the Giant. A few riders also complained about the rear brake hose being routed in harm's way under the downtube.
Giant's proven Maestro linkage stood out in several riders' remarks. The climbs on our trail course featured countless, momentum-killing square- edges, which we pedaled over confidently with the Fox Float CTD wide open.
The efficient, floating-pivot design also happens to eliminate the need for a pivot at the dropout, making for a stiffer rear triangle. It's so stiff, in fact, that Giant claims there's no need for a through-axle. We still kinda' want one.
The Giant P-TRX 29er 1 wheels feature DT's reliable ratchet system and a clever rim insert for tape-free tubeless operation. The rest of the build is full XT. The Trance X 29er is mated to a 1.25-inch OverDrive 2-compatible steerer tube. The increase in torsional stiffness was barely noticeable. The main thing we noticed was that it made swapping stems extremely difficult.
The Trance X 29er was forgiving on rough descents, and responsive on rough or smooth climbs. Testers all remarked that the bike was exceptionally stable, though to a few particularly aggressive riders, "stable" meant "boring."
But the Giant's weight and geometry are comparable to that of our category favorites, which means the package you see before you may be just a few tweaks away from being your own category favorite.
Want to know more about the Trance X 29er series? Go to www.giant-bicycles.com