A good friend of mine recently got back from Rotorua, New Zealand so we agreed to meet up at the La Mesa Bike trail to catch up and talk about his recent trip to the Land of Mountain Biking. When I arrived there, I saw a tent of LifeCycle Bicycle Shop and the guys there offered to try out some of the Giant mountain bikes they sold.
The Trance was a medium spec’d with 27.5 American Classic Wide Lightning wheels. The drivetrain was SRAM X0 and the suspension was taken cared of by Rockshox. The Handlebar was a Truvativ Boobar, matched with a short stem, RockShox droppers and a white comfortable saddle (Selle Italia Flite). When I checked out the parts of the Trance, I had to say yes. The measurements of the bike was fit for my height. I just have to leave a valid I.D. and the bike was mine until 12noon. The staff were friendly so I decided to let Dirty Harry sit this one out and give the Giant Trance a shot.
This is Giant’s answer for the trail/enduro bike market so I gave it a GO at the La Mesa single track. I personally like mountain bikes that are bombproof and can take on anything I give it. I don’t want to take care of it, I just want to ride it hard and abuse it. I like ’em to go down fast yet can still climb steep ascents. Since Giant has joined the 27.5 bandwagon, they have adjusted their frame design and their research and development coped up with the demands of the market. The big debate of having 27.5s versus the 29ers is still there in the open… but at the end of the day, whatever makes the rider happy and comfortable, that is the perfect bike for him/her.
Maestro Floating Pivot
Giant boasts of the Maestro Floating Pivot which gives the bike a plush ride. Going downhill was not a problem and so was climbing. There was no squeaking sound from the frame and it rode great.
The Rockshox Revelation gave me a nice ride. No complaints. The fork took on everything that La Mesa had to offer, I went fast downhill with no problem or issue at all. With 140mm of suspension travel front and back, the Trance just gracefully flowed through the bumps and obstacles. Maestro, suspension please?
Honestly, the issue I encountered is that the SRAM X0 shifters are both thumb activated (unlike the Shimano thumb and trigger which I grew accustomed to). There was one part in the trail going up where I went down to the smaller ring instead of going to the big ring. That set me back. I have to get used to the thumbie shifting! Crispness of the X0 = XT shifting.
LifeCycle pimped up the Trance with SRAM and Truvativ components. They trusted American Classic Wide Lightning for the wheelset so the bike rolls excellently. The lightness of the rims did not compromise its strength. I felt confident going through rocks and small drops giving credit to the Mavic Charge 27.5 x 2.4 in front and Mavic Roam 27.5 x 2.3 tires in the rear.
Coming from my 26 x 2.35 wheelset, I noticed a little difference on agility. I can still cut the corners and lift the front of the bike with little effort. A lot say that if you ride aggressively, the frame size should be a little smaller, thus easier to whip around. I feared that the 27.5 diameter would affect my ninja riding skills, but it actually did not. If for anything, I can say the bigger wheels helped me climb better on the rolls of La Mesa.
Giant is slowly morphing their fleet to 27.5 wheels. There must be a reason for this.
My first impression on dropper posts was that it was purely for racers only. It is a luxury for normal mountain bikers and we don’t need that. You can always put the seat down when going downhill… and raise it back up when you pedal up. But with a push of a button, you can drop the seat and raise it back up. Ahhh, the wonders of technology. Don’t want to resist change. If it makes our lives easier, let’s embrace it. In time, the cost for dropper posts will eventually drop once the market floods us with Taiwan made generics. Let’s wait 3 more years and this will be staple for full sus bikes. (The weight and dependability will be the factors by then.) I dropped it when the terrain in La Mesa went downhill and raised it when I had to climb. It was easy as a whistle. It was not a drag. Good thing the Trance frame was cable ready for these.
I am not a big fan of Giant but this experience made me a convert. God put me on a Trance. There was a reason why I was at La Mesa, so I can try out the 27.5. I had the pleasure of riding this awesome enduro bicycle by Giant. Thank you bike God.
In a nutshell, if you want a good, reliable and efficient bike (which can confidently go down and effortlessly climb), the Giant Trance is for you. Just don’t be surprised if your brother’s neighbor has the same bike.
Big thanks to LifeCycle Bicycle Shop; Sir Eric and Sir Ralph.
LifeCycle Bicycle Shop holds free ride demos every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the La Mesa Nature Reserve Ecotrail in Quezon City.