Efficient, versatile and fun; they’re the culmination of these terms. Even once you think they’re at their limit in terms of capabilities; they’ve got more in reserve. So why are they still overshadowed by enduro bikes? We’re talking trail bikes, the true workhorses of the mountain bike world. Whether it’s for a quick blast after work or back-to-back hard days crossing the Alps, the spectrum for these bikes is huge and that’s exactly why they’re often the go-to bike for people looking for the perfect all-rounder. We took eight of the most exciting trail bikes for 2015 to France and put them through their paces under the beating hot sun. You can find the results in issue #016 of ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine, but first here’s a sneak preview of our trip, the tests and the first impressions of the Giant Trance Advanced 1.

In der Provence scheuchten wir das "fortgeschrittene" Giant über die trockenen Trails.
We used the “advanced” Trance to check out the dry trails in the French Provence.
Von vorne bis hinten warz-grün durchgestylt: Das Giant Trance Advanced 1.
Black and green from top to bottom: The Giant Trance Advanced 1.

The use of Advanced in its name implies that Giant has gone further in terms of progress and development, and that’s exactly what the Trance Advanced 1 is: a first-rate carbon version of a line that was originally launched in 2007. Having undergone almost continuous development, the Trance has to prove once again how deserving it is of its name.

Bei der Wahl der Reifen vertraut Giant auf die neue Version des Schwalbe Nobby Nic.
The Schwalbe Nobby Nic is Giant’s tyre of choice for the Trance Advanced.

The garish black and green of the bike may stand out, but it’s not all about the appearance: All the cables vanish into the main frame, and thanks to SRAM’s X.0 1×11-drivetrain, there is no front derailleur to distract the eye from the swooping, clean lines. Giant equips its own bars, stem, wheelset and seatpost, which blend nicely into the bike’s look. It’s going to be exciting to see how the carbon rims will hold up against some high-end components on the other bikes. The suspension comes completely from Rock Shox, with Guide-Brakes are from SRAM. The only potential weak spot could be the Contact SL’s meagre travel of only 100 mm.

Passend zum Rahmen sind auch die Kurbel und die Felgen aus Carbon gefertigt.
Like the frame, the cranks and the rims are made of carbon as well.

The frame’s key points are a pretty average 27.5” wheelsize and 140 mm of travel front and rear. Judging from this, it’s hard to predict where the bike will place in the pecking order of the test. Only the use of the well-known Maestro suspension system, which is considered to be one of the best of its kind, arouses certain expectations about the bike’s capabilities.

Gut mitgedacht: Das gummierte Unterrohr bietet nicht nur Schutz, sondern auch Zugang zu den im Unterrohr verlegten Zügen.
The rubber in the downtube does not only offer protection, but also access to the internally routed cables.
Die Giant-eigene Sattelstütze bietet zwar nur 100 mm Verstellbereich, funktionierte jedoch problemlos.
The Giant Contact SL dropper gives only 100 mm of drop, but was a reliable performer throughout the test.
Wie der Antrieb kommen auch die Bremsen aus dem Hause SRAM, was dank Matchmaker-Schelle für Ordnung am Lenker sorgt.
Thanks to SRAM’s matchmaker clamp, the bar remains tidy.

Find out if the Trance could get us raving in the Provence in issue #016 of ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine.


Price: 4.299 € | Weight: 12.05 kg | Wheel size: 27.5” | Frame size: L
Travel f/r: 140/140 mm | Top tube effective: 620 mm | Wheelbase: 1.177 mm
Head angle: 67° | Seat angle: 73,5° | Reach: 445 mm | Stack: 591 mm

The Test

These are exactly the sorts of bikes we’ve tested in this group test. And just like the previous group test, we chose not to order specific bikes from the manufacturers. Instead, we gave them the test criteria and left the decision up to them.
“In this group test we want get to grips with the real workhorses of the riding world. The bike should be as versatile as possible, guaranteeing a fun ride on virtually any type of trail, whether it’s the post-work blast or a multi-day Alpine ride,”, was the message given in the briefing.

Die Bikes sind bereit für den Test.
The Bikes ready for testing.

For the travel, we settled on between 120 and 150 mm, and we opted for a price range of €3,500–4,500. To improve their bike’s performance, companies had the freedom to alter the spec – this was restricted to small(ish) details that any dealer could adjust for the customer before they buy the bike. This included, but wasn’t limited to: the cockpit, the wheels and the option of a dropper seatpost.

The Bikes:

Cannondale Trigger Carbon 2 | Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 EX | CUBE Stereo 140 Super HPC Race | GIANT Trance Advanced 1 | Scott Genius 710 | Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon | Rose Root Miller 3 | Rotwild R.Q1 FS

As we mentioned earlier, we’d chosen bikes that were all-rounders, ones that would be regularly confronted with diverse terrain on which it would have to continuously prove its worth. These eight candidates accompanied us to Provence, France. It wasn’t just long rides on the agenda either – we’d also scouted out a secret spot with some pretty demanding jumps. This is where their limits would be pushed. But, it should be mentioned that not every bike is primed for such tasks – if in doubt, check the manufacturer’s authorisation.

Over the coming weeks we’ll introduce you in more detail to the individual bikes on our website. However, the results will only be revealed in issue #016 of ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine, which is available digitally at no cost for tablets, iPhones and on our online viewer.


Text: Christoph Bayer, Martin Stöckl Bilder: Christoph Bayer

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