Staff Ride: Mechanic Jake’s 2019 Giant Trance 29er 2

“I’m coming into my 3rd year of owning a Giant with the Maestro suspension system now, so I’m fully accustomed to how it feels across a few different styles of frame. I have a Giant Glory with 200mm of front and rear travel, which I use for uplift days and downhill races, which is my main focus and passion. Alongside it I have the all new 29’’ Trance 2, for training and general trail fun. In choosing this bike I didn’t want to go from the downhill bike to Giant’s Reign, as the Reign is still a long travel bike, built for Enduro racing and heavier going hits on more natural trails, more of a gravity bike still, something I’m used to. I wanted something different, a set of 29’’ wheels and a shorter travel frame, something that rolls fast and doesn’t mind going up a hill in a rush, this is why I chose Giants all new Trance 29’er 2. The new 29’er sits along side their 27.5’’ Trance range. There are many differences in the frame but the main noticeable features are the wheel size and the suspension travel. The 29’’ version goes to 130mm travel on the front and all the way down to 115mm on the rear (The 27.5’’ model uses 150mm upfront and 140mm on the rear). At first I thought that the 115mm would be too little, but it all makes sense when you ride it. The Maestro system is very progressive and feels like it has more than is stated by the number.

 

When I’m training for the up and coming race season I like to ride regularly and I prefer my rides to be quite convenient. I ride a lot of green lanes close to home. Steep climbs and steep descents. Also Llandegla is up the road, or if I feel like going further afield I head on up to Snowdonia . Variety is what this bike does best in my opinion. It’s not over-gunned in the suspension department so transitioning between trails is smooth and not too sluggish. Climbing is fast, due to the geometry, wheel size and its’ Eagle groupset. But more importantly it can still handle itself when it comes to the descending.

The 130mm travel Fox 34 Float Rhythm up front really does do a great job. The GRIP damper literally does what it says on the tin. Also with the lockout lever, air pressure and rebound adjustments, it’s more than easy to make some quick adjustments if you need to. Some suspension can have all the adjustments, but what I like about this fork is it’s simple and very good! It’s also nice and light being an air fork, which is great for moving it about on the technical rides we have around here in North Wales. On the rear it has the Fox Float DPS performance shock. Fox make the best rear shocks in my opinion and again, this is one of their more ‘easy to work’, simpler offerings, but it does a fine job.  On first impressions I thought that 115mm was a bit of a random number, as most brands offer something like 130mm travel front and rear, or 130/120, a closer number than 130 – 115mm that this Trance offers. However, the  acceleration and grip are aided greatly by this choice of travel, the 115mm does give a lot back by the way it works. The only way I can describe it is like this; it pushes back out of the corners and helps support you in the climbs. It aids drive, which you certainly notice if you’ve ridden a longer travel bike, as they usually are a bit slacker and slower on the smoother stuff. I think the choice of rear travel is very complementary to this bike.

Another new and interesting part of this bike is the drivetrain; SRAM’s new NX Eagle 12 speed groupset. This is on the budget side of their offerings, but should not be over-looked. It’s 1 x 12 with a whopping 11- 50t ratio. I like a single ring on the front chainset, it’s simple and easy to look after and I feel it offers enough in terms of ease up the climbs. Single rings are always customizable, with the market offering all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours. Saying this I haven’t changed mine from the stock chainring. The ratio supplied is adequate for everything I’ve found for it so far. The mech, cassette and chainring are driven along by Truvativ’s Descendant 6k crankset which is DUB (BB standard) and boost standard (Axle and wheel fitment). All up to date standards that are again, easy to look after and there are readily available parts.

The rest of the parts are all Giants own; cable-operated Contact Switch dropper seatpost with 150mm drop, again, very simple and easy design to get along with. Giants XCT 29’’ wheelset is paired up with Maxxis Minions 2.35 tyres. Something Giant offer is tubeless set ups from the off, so the bikes already come converted. This is superb as it allows you to run lower pressures for better grip and eliminates the chances of pinching a tube, which always sucks! All-new Giant 35mm stem and bar, which I think looks really good. The stem is short and the bars are wide, which helps for sharp handling and great balance on the steeper terrain, the set up is quite similar to my downhill bike, so the feel of the cockpit isn’t too different, but still comfy for long days in the saddle.

All in all I really do like this bike. If you want something fast and fun that offers a lot back, I really do recommend this bike. It’s a great all rounder that I think a preferred gravity rider like myself can get a long with, but also if you’re the type to don your lycra and want a bit more of a trail ripper, this bike could still be for you, it’s fast in every sense, but also very stable and predictable.

With the spec, geometry , handling and price I would fully recommend this bike to entry level riders as well as highly experienced riders. (Giant 2019 Trance 29er 2, available at £2499)” – JAKE HANCOCK

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