The new Trance Advanced 0 27.5 weighs in at a mere 24.48lbs, sans pedals.
by Zach White
The Skinny - 27.5” wheels have made their way into the Giant camp for 2014, and have done so with authority. And with the infiltration has come a bit of semantics with what’s being called what. For one, the “X” in Trance and Anthem has been dropped, but will remain a punctuation on the ReignX. Speaking of the Reign, it’s been axed from the ’14 lineup, mostly being absorbed into the newest generation Trance, that is now 5.5”/140mm of rear wheel travel. The only 26” holdouts for Giant in the 2014 line are the ReignX, Glory, and STP. Everything else - from entry level to carbon race whips - will be 27.5” or 29”.
Mountain Flyer had a chance to ride the Trance Advanced 0 in Deer Valley for a couple of days, sneaking in through the Giant launch’s back door. Shhh, don’t tell anyone...
Trance Advanced 0
Available this fall
Weighing in at a mere 24.48lbs (without pedals) for our stock-spec’d, size large test bike, the new Trance Advanced 0 27.5” definitely doesn’t seem to have a weight penalty with the larger wheels and tires. Two changes that were due on the Trance finally appear for 2014; ISCG tabs, and a 12mm rear axle that can be spaced for either 135mm or 142mm hubs. The new Trance also gets a direct-mount front derailleur mount, and internal routing for all housing through the front triangle, including Giant’s new Contact Switch stealth-style dropper post.
(L) In addition to what seems to be better performance, the Contact Switch is also now able to be run stealth style. (R) All housing is internal on the Trance Advanced’s front triangle.
The front triangle is carbon on the Trance Advanced, and everything from the rocker arm, back, is alloy. According to Giant’s Global Marketing Director, Andrew Juskaitis, there is only a 15-gram weight savings with a carbon rear triangle, yet the price to produce them is 3-times as expensive. Rear triangles also tend to take a lot of abuse, especially from chain slap, so Giant opted to run alloy rear triangles on the Advanced bikes in 2014.
Geometry is tuned in a bit more for trail riding with a 67-degree headtube angle, and a slightly longer toptube (24.4” for the large, verses last year’s 24”) to accommodate shorter stems. Seattubes stay the same relatively steep 73.5-degrees for ’14, and the chainstays stretch .2-inches to 17.3 to make room for the larger wheel diameter.
First impressions of the new Trance Advanced are quite positive. Riding a couple of the Canyons’ Enduro Cup course, it’s blatantly obvious how light and efficient the trail-designed Giant is. With the Rock Shox Monarch set to Trail mode, every ounce of pedal effort directly transferred to forward movement while seated. Climbing out of the saddle caused a little bit of bob, but nothing unexpected, and it was remedied quite well by switching the shock over to Climb mode. Giant’s new PTRX-0 carbon rims completely obliterated the usual sluggishness found in Giant-brand wheels of the past, giving the climb up a very XC-flavored feel as they accelerated sharply, and were easily lifted over roots and rocks.
The climbing characteristics of the new Trance were leaning so heavily towards climbing efficiency that its descending characteristics were second-guessed before dropping into the first trail. But it didn’t take more than a few hundred feet to realize that the new Trance was plenty comfortable descending, too. That said, this year’s Trance has a bit more progression tuned into the Monarch shock, when compared to prior Trances, which seemed to negate a bit of the added 1/2” of travel added to the chassis this year. Hopefully we can get our hands on one for a long-term review, and see if suspension tuning could get the Trance back to that more bottomless feel.
(L) Giant finally makes the move to 142x12mm rear axles, but the Trance is also convertible to 135x12mm. (R) Giant is making their own carbon rims for 2014.
Handling is a pleasure, pretty much across the board. Up front, the 67-degree headtube was easy enough to point up steep climbs, and offered great descending control in both steep sections and sweeping turns. Not being used to 27.5” wheels, it took a couple of misses in tight switchbacks before finding a clean line through them with the added wheelbase. But, overall, the extra length felt extremely manageable, if not nimble.
(L) Giant is making their own carbon rims for 2014. (R) Trance gets a direct-mount front derailleur mount for ’14
Though 17.3” chainstays aren’t the shortest out there, they kept the front end very playful and light, while still providing great stability at speed. They also offered reasonable stiffness, as did the front triangle. We’d like to ride the Trance a little more to get a better feel of the overall stiffness of the new chassis, preferably on more familiar trails. But for its maiden voyage, flexibility was by no means an issue.
What’s a carbon downtube these days without protection?
Spec-wise, it’s hard to find fault with SRAM’s XX1, especially in this trail-riding application. It worked flawlessly for the days we rode it, offered plenty of gear options on both steep climbs and higher-speed descents, and kept the handlebars a bit neater, too. The Avid XO brakes, on the other hand, were quite disappointing with constant squealing and lever expansion. The latter could possibly be remedied by a bleed, but overall, it would’ve been a huge bonus for Giant to throw a set of Shimano brakes into the Trance build.
(L) Finally, Trance is coming with ISCG tabs. (R) Though there were no specifics, Giant’s Andrew Juskaitis states the Maestro linkage has been “refined” for ’14.
Giant seems to have made large improvements on their dropper post for 2014. Actuation was buttery smooth, and saddle play was very minimal. The Contact Switch posts can also now be run in stealth or with external routing.
Rock Shox’s Revelation RLT-3 offered both 120mm and 140mm travel settings, and felt laterally stiffer than expected. Of course, it comes with the 1 1/2” by 1 1/4” Overdrive 2 steerer, which is claimed to be ~30% stiffer than a standard tapered steerer. Actuation was smooth and stable, without any issues that caused concern. Again, for two days on the bike, it worked very well, but we’d definitely play with the tune if given the option to ride the Trance for a while.
The most obvious change for Giant’s ’14 Trance is the new 27.5” wheel size.
Overall, Giant seems to have done their homework with the Trance Advanced 0. It’s impressively light, has a very agile ride, and seems to be worthy of Enduro-style abuse. That said, first impressions definitely lean towards both the chassis and build kit being pointed in the lightweight direction than the daily abuse direction. But with so much influence from their race team, it’s not at all surprising.
(L) The Rock Shox Monarch shock had a bit more progression tuned into it than what’s typically expected from a Trance. (R) An adjustable travel Revelation offers either 120mm or 140mm of travel.
Possibly a better option for riders who push a little harder on descents is the Advanced SX, which comes with a 140-160mm travel Fox 34 Talas CTD Factory, and a Fox Float-X CTD rear shock with higher air volume. Both the Trance and Trance SX are also available in aluminum versions for 2014, if the price of carbon doesn’t fit the budget.
The Rock Shox Monarch shock had a bit more progression tuned into it than what’s typically expected from a Trance
(L) Nice housing integration with the chainstay. (R) In addition to what seems to be better performance, the Contact Switch is also now able to be run stealth style.
(L) One of the few misses on the Trance Advanced 0’s spec is the Avid XO brakes. (R) Simple and clean housing routing for the rear brake.
SRAM XX1 is a great spec for the new Trance line.