The Giant Trance 2 is rolling into the 2016 season with a fresh lick of paint, but retaining its tried and tested Maestro suspension design. In this group test it blew our minds with its remarkable handling, but where exactly did its other strengths lie?

Giant Trance 2 LTD | Travel 140 mm | Price € 2,299 | Weight 13.51 kg
Giant Trance 2 LTD | Travel 140 mm | Price € 2,299 | Weight 13.51 kg
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The screaming new paint job on the Giant Trance surely has to make up for the distinct lack of changes made to the frame’s geometry and rear end design, of which there are none. But that shouldn’t be taken as criticism – far from it, as the Maestro suspension system has proven itself over years and undergone countless improvements to get it to the state of zen where it is today. In many of our previous tests it has come through as a solid contender.

Giant Trance 2 LTD action shot

UIn this group test, the Trance, with its slim design, dipped top tube, and 140 mm of travel, came to the lineup as the weedy underdog. Fortunately, the fitted 2x chain guide hinted at its potential for getting loose on descents, and that prediction came true: All of the testers finished their rides on the Trance with massive grins thanks to its incredibly direct handling and confident agility.

riding the Giant Trance 2 LTD

Lively and engaging, the Trance takes corners willingly and rapidly, while the suspension supplies the required ground feedback and the rear knows exactly how to perform, soaking up any size hit and boasting rapid progression. We would have liked to have ridden it with a more potent fork – a FOX 34 would have been a better choice than the stock FOX 32. Speaking of potent, the narrow Performance model 2.25″ Nobby Nic tyre is a no-go, and you should swap it immediately, even before you’ve left the dealer. The number of spacers under the stem might not look that great, but they make total sense when you consider how they improve the handling. As a rider, you’re centrally positioned as the true king of the castle. The bike climbs eagerly, although perhaps too eagerly, as all our testers were inclined to reach for the compression damping adjustment lever to stop the rear from breaking loose on steep gradients.

Details of the Giant Trance 2 LTD

Giant Trance 2 LTD chainguide

Under control: The 2x chainguide prevents the chain from clattering about and potentially derailing. On the stand, this gave the first indication to what this otherwise potentially overlooked Trance could be capable of.

Giant Trance 2 LTD rear shock

Sensitive: The FOX FLOAT EVOL DPS rear shock is responsive to even the most minor of trail chatter, yet still manages to absorb big hits without issues. On climbs we’d recommend activating the platform damping; otherwise, expect the rear to break away when the gradient rises.

Giant Trance 2 LTD tires

Too small: The supplied Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres with a 2.25″ width aren’t just too narrow – GIANT also picked the low-cost and significantly less grippy Performance model. Before heading out for your first ride, it’d be wise to upgrade.

Giant Trance 2 LTD fork

Insufficient: The FOX 32 fork that came as stock on the Trance diminished the bike’s performance and potential on descents significantly. The FOX 34 fork wouldn’t just have more in reserve on big hits, but would also boost the bike’s precision and ability to follow your line.

Specification: Giant Trance 2 LTD

  • Fork: FOX 32 Float FIT 4 Performance 140 mm
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Evol (140 mm on the rear)
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore/XT 2×10
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore
  • Seatpost: Giant Contact SL
  • Stem: Giant Contact
  • Handlebar: Giant Contact
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance 2.25″
  • Wheelsize: 27.5″
  • Wheelset: Giant, SXC-2 Disc
  • Weight: 13.51 kg
  • Price: € 2,299
Giant Trance Geometry

Conclusion for the Giant Trance 2 LTD

A wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Giant Trance 2 LTD is capable of far more than meets the eye. With its smoothly balanced handling and potent rear end, it knows how to get our hearts racing. However, given the weak tyres and scrawny, disproportionately short-travel fork, it’s not quite able to exploit its full potential.


  • Agile handling
  • Potent rear suspension
  • Well-composed geometry


  • Spec shows flaws
  • Rear tends to break loose when climbing steeps

More information on the Trance 2 LTD can be found on the Giant website.

Giant Trance 2 LTD on the trails [/emaillocker]

This bike was part of our Group Test: Ten Trail & Enduro Bikes 2016 under €2599.

All bikes tested: Bergamont Trailster 6.0 | Canyon Spectral AL 7.0 EX | COMMENCAL Meta AM V4 | Focus SAM Ltd. | Ghost SL AMR 5 |Propain Tyee Comp | Radon Slide 150 8.0 HD | Rose Uncle Jimbo 1 | Solid Magix Comp

Fancy a higher end build? Check out our Giant Trance Advanced 1 review

Text & Photos: Christoph Bayer

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