The Good: The larger wheels pedal uphill great and the bike love long sweepers, stable in gravelly stuffs.
The Bad: This bike is afraid of anything remotely downhill, despite having suspension set up by Giant Factory tech the suspension never felt like it worked right.
I normally ride a 2010 giant reign x1, which I love, I've owned multiple Giant bikes which is part of the reason I was so mistakenly excited to ride the trance 27.5. I may be a bit biased as I do a lot of enduro riding, ome downhill, and park. However I had been super excited to ride the new trance 27.5 because lately I've been focusing on enduro and enduro racing. I had the opportunity this summer to ride the trance 27.5 during a Giant demo at Deer Valley Resort in Utah, where I was actually riding my dad's 2006 giant reign because my reign x was in the shop.
After taking a few laps of various trails, including the famed ncs downhill trail on the old reign I excitedly hopped on a trance 1 27.5. One of the Giant techs helped me set up the suspension which took some time and then I was off.
I rode the trance on a few different trails, one was fast and flowey and the trance gracefully floated in and out of turns, I thought the bike might have been all I was hoping for.
I soon realized I was mistaken though, soon I entered some small rock gardens and found my scrotum in a violent boxing match with the seat, which despite being on a dropper post could not get low enough. Similarly the standover height was an issue as well and I couldn't quite get comfortable laying the bike over into turns, this is no low-slung quick response downhiller by any means. The fork felt divey too which is something that I've noticed has been a problem in other reviews, I tried adjusting the fork but could never find a sweet spot.
After all this I decided to try NCS downhill trail, or the old national championship series trail, just for kicks. BAD IDEA, I know this is not in the slightest meant to be a downhill bike but for how much they tout it as an enduro bike it outta be able to do something. Stuff I navigated fairly comfortably on my old man's '06 reign suddenly left me with clenched teeth, puckered but cheecks, sore palms, and a strong desire to never own a trance 1 27.5. This was due to many factors including the already mentioned divey front end, ball kicking dropper-posted seat, and an uncomfortably high bottom bracket height. After falling on my face mid trail I switched to the 2014 Giant Glory demo bike my buddy was cruisin'; I instantly felt like a completely different person, unintimidated by the world yet with an uneasy conscious at having left my friend to handle the uncanny trance.
Bottom line: The Trance is great if you never want to go remotely fast downhill over rock, roots, sharp turns and stumps. I realize this isn't the bikes target geographic however as mentioned earlier an enduro bike should be somewhat confidence inspiring on the technical trail. YetIf you want to haul balls over flowey, unintimidating, scenic terrain, this is a good choice, for better or for worse.
Giant: Despite this bike, I still love you.