The Giant Trance 29 2 is the perfect example to prove that we can no longer categorise bikes just by the length of their travel. With just 115 mm at the rear, you don’t expect too much from it at first – but you will be surprised at what it’s capable of!

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

Giant Trance 29 2 | 130/115 mm (f/r) | 14.08 kg | € 2,599

The Giant Trance 29 is a bike that Giant fans have long been waiting for. Up until recently, you wouldn’t have found large 29er wheels on any of Giant’s trail bikes. However, unlike its small-wheeled counterpart, this bike only has 130 mm travel at the front and 115 mm at the rear. On our € 2,599 test bike, the suspension consists of a FOX Rhythm fork and a FOX Performance shock. Despite the large wheels fitted with durable MAXXIS Minion DHF and DHR II tires, the bike weighs just 14.08 kg – chapeau! The rest of the spec left no room for criticism, except the SRAM Guide T brakes. Paired with small 180 mm rotors lack power and reliability – these are worth upgrading. Giant’s in-house Contact cockpit has all the right dimensions, the dropper post has 150 mm travel and the SRAM NX-Eagle drivetrain provides sufficient range for long days in the saddle. Unfortunately, the finish of the bike clouds the otherwise very positive first impression. The chainstay protector came off after the first ride, the remote lever of the dropper post has a lot of play and the rubber grommets at the inlets of the internal cable routing regularly came loose.

The Giant Trance 29 is full of surprises. On flowing trails, we don’t know of a bike that’s more fun!

Helmet Smith Forefront | Glasses Smith Wildcat | Backpack EVOC STAGE 12l | Jersey iXS VIBE 8.1 | Short iXS TEMA Shorts | Knee pads iXS FLOW Knee | Shoes ION Rascal

The Giant Trance 29 2 in detail

Fork FOX 34 Rhythm FLOAT 130 mm
Shock FOX Performance FLOAT DPS 115 mm
Brakes SRAM Guide T 180/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM NX Eagle
Seatpost Giant Contact Switch 150 mm
Stem Giant Contact SL 50 mm
Handlebar Giant Contact TR Riser Bar 780 mm
Wheels Giant XCT Disc Laufrad-Satz 29″
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF/DHR II 2.3/2.3″

Surprising
We were surprised with the FOX 34 Rhythm! It responds sensitively and delivers good performance. However, you should close the damping by at least a quarter-turn.
Poor finish
The chainstay protector came loose even before our first ride – we would have expected more here.
Perfect
Combining short travel suspension with decent tires makes for a very good time on the trails! The handling of the bike is very direct while still offering enough grip.
Firm
115 mm is only 115 mm. This is particularly noticeable on rough trails where the Giant Trance 29 passes a lot of the blows on to the rider. But likewise, it also swallows less of the rider’s input – on flow-trails, the Giant is guaranteed to be fun!
Quite short
Because of the short head tube, we recommend adding spacers under the stem. Otherwise, the low front end will have you feeling like you might go over the bars on steep descents.
Size S M L XL
Seat tube 380 mm 431 mm 482 mm 507 mm
Top tube 592 mm 612 mm 632 mm 652 mm
Head tube 95 mm 110 mm 110 mm 120 mm
Head angle 66,5° 66,5° 66,5° 66,5°
Seat angle 74,5° 74,5° 74,5° 74,5°
Chainstays 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm
BB Drop 35 mm 35 mm 35 mm 35 mm
Wheelbase 1,154 mm 1,176 mm 1,196 mm 1,218 mm
Reach 426 mm 442 mm 462 mm 480 mm
Stack 599 mm 613 mm 613 mm 622 mm

The Giant Trance 29 2 in test

The Giant Trance 29 2 bridges the gap between aggressive XC bikes and more capable and comfortable trail bikes. This is also reflected in the riding position which is slightly stretched and aggressive, but perfectly suitable for long rides. The pedalling position is efficient on even terrain, but on steep climbs, we would have liked a slightly steeper seat tube angle. Pushing the saddle forward helps compensate a little. The Trance 29’s firmly tuned Maestro linkage pedals efficiently and is spritely, saving you the effort of having to reach for the climb switch on the shock.

Tuning tip: larger brake rotors and possibly different brakes

On flat, flowing trails, the Giant Trance 29 2 rewards every bit of the rider’s input with forward propulsion. If you get on the pedals, the bike sprints forward, if you pump it through a compression, you’ll generate a lot of speed and if you pull up at a jump, you’ve got to be careful not to overshoot your landing. This bike is a hell of a lot of fun, setting the benchmark in terms of pop and direct handling. The geometry is excellently balanced, keeping an equal amount of weight on the front and back wheel in the corners without the rider having to actively shift their weight. The bike’s handling is very stable and predictable as a result. It is this balance that also makes the Trance so easy to control, even in demanding terrain. Although you quickly reach the limit of the available travel, the bike remains composed. However, you’ll have to keep a firm grip of the bars on rough trails and you’ll be significantly slower than on the longer-travel bikes from this test field.

Despite the short travel l, you’ll be surprised what the Trance 29 is capable of!

Conclusion

The Giant Trance 29 2 is the perfect bike for those with easy, flowing home trails and those who value direct, agile and lively handling. You’re guaranteed to have a good time on this bike, and on top of that, it would make for an excellent mile muncher. On more challenging trails, the bike is a bit out of its depth.

Tops

  • lots of fun on flowing trails
  • super agile, lively handling with a lot of pop
  • good value for money

Flops

  • short travel (not enough for rough trails)
  • brakes lack power and reliability
  • poor quality finish

Riding Characteristics

12

Uphill

1
  1. sluggish
  2. efficient

Agility

2
  1. cumbersome
  2. playful

Stability

3
  1. nervous
  2. confident

Handling

4
  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Suspension

5
  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

6
  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

7
  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data

Giant
Trance 29 2

Size: S M L XL
Weight: 14,08 kg
Travel (f/r): 130/115 mm
Wheel Size: 29"
Price: € 2,599

Intended Use

XC 8
Trail 9
Enduro 10
Downhill 11

For more info head to: giant-bicycles.com

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral CF 7.0 | FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE | MERIDA ONE FORTY 800 | Propain Tyee AM Performance | RADON SLIDE TRAIL 8.0 | ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1 | SCOTT Genius 950 | Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 | Trek Remedy 8 | YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer

About the author

Christoph Bayer

When work doesn't feel like work, then you've probably done everything right. Luckily, that’s exactly what Christoph did. He loves biking and the tech talk surrounding it (to the detriment of his girlfriend Toni), photography and travelling the world. He has been with ENDURO almost from the start and as editor-in-chief, he's responsible for making ENDURO the most progressive and exciting magazine in the industry. Of course, he still writes a lot of content himself, reviews almost 100 bikes a year and rides his bike almost every day. The alpine trails around his hometown serve as the perfect testing grounds. He doesn't have a classic 9 to 5 routine – sometimes he's in the office, sometimes he'll take his laptop to sit in the garden and sometimes you'll even find him working remotely from his van parked at one the best riding spots in the world. For Christoph, work-life boundaries are fluid and he likes it that way.