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2015 Giant Trance 27.5 SX (discontinued)

Average User Rating: (Excellent)
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Discontinued
2015 Giant Trance SX 27.5
2015 Giant Trance 27.5 SX 2015 Giant Trance 27.5 SX
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2015 Giant Trance SX

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Playful yet composed, jumps well, cornering, Drivetrain, brakes, and rear shock are great right out of the box

The Bad:

Can feel under-gunned in seriously gnarly terrain, Dual Position fork, heavy stock wheelset

Overall Review:

I've been on the 2015 Trance SX for just under a year now, and overall it's been a good bike. A competitive price and several top notch parts as well as an awesome all around ride make it a winner.

It climbs like a goat with the Monarch Debonair and Maestro Suspension combo providing loads of traction. The bike isn't the lightest out of the box, so it's not the quickest climber, but it'll get you up pretty much anything. The gearing is good, with the 32t chainring and 10-42 cassette offering plenty of range for all types of riding. Using the travel adjust on the fork will help the bike steer it's way up switchbacks a bit easier. I'm personally not a fan of travel adjust forks, so I can't say I ever really used it.

On the downhills, this bike is a hoot. The 17.3 inch chainstays and 425mm reach encourage a neutral riding position, which helps the bike rail corners and jump well. The suspension is very confidence inspiring on the descents, with a composed feeling that encourages you to open it up a little more. It definitely feels like there's more than 140mm on tap, and the Monarch Debonair shock and Pike RC fork are both buttery smooth. On some seriously steep or gnarly terrain I've sometimes felt under-gunned compared to slacker, more enduro focused bikes (i.e. Giant Reign), but the Trance makes a much better all rounder. The Guide R brakes do an excellent job of slowing you down, offering plenty of power from their 4 piston calipers. Modulation is good, but not quite as controlled as the Guide RS or RSC models.

The Trance is well specced for the price, but there are 2 flaws which stood out to me. First and most importantly, the wheelset. The weight of the Giant P-AM 2s is over 2100 grams, which has proven to be quite heavy to push around on a trail bike. Hell, there are full downhill wheelsets that weigh less and offer more strength and durability.

Second is the Pike Dual Position fork. With 160mm of travel, the head angle sits at 66 degrees and makes the front end feel a bit too tall and too floppy. Also, the Dual Position Pike doesn't quite live up to the performance of its Solo Air brother, with the Solo Air providing more consistent and controlled performance.

In the time I've owned the bike, I've addressed these two flaws. I upgraded the wheels to a set of Industry Nine Torch Enduros. This upgrade saved a pound over the stock wheels and has made the bike noticeably better climbing and accelerating, as well as providing a boost in stiffness. I also swapped the fork for a 150mm Solo Air Pike, which puts the head angle a bit steeper at 66.5 degrees. This has sharpened the steering and improved the bike's cornering without losing the confidence inspiring feel of the front end.

Overall, the Trance is a good choice for a rider looking for one bike to it all. It descends very well and will climb with composure up almost anything. With the upgrades I've done on my bike I'd give it a 4 star (excellent) rating, but out of the box it loses a little bit of its performance with the stock wheels and fork.

Hardcore Trailbike

Rating:
The Good:

good value for money, downhill performance, componentry

The Bad:

not much, seat angle is a bit slack, could pedal better, seat post sucks

Overall Review:

I previously owned a Banshee Spitfire V1 and when the time came to replace it, I was looking for a similar bike, with a bit more rear suspension. I was pretty set on the new Spitfire, until I saw the Trance SX at the local shop.

The components are exactly what I was looking for, 1x11 drivetrain, aggressive suspension, and a balanced geometry.

I didn't want a hardcore Enduro bike like the Reign, because I do a lot of DH riding and wanted more of a difference between the bikes and I also have tons of trails around here, but they are very steep and full of roots and rocks, so I prefer a bike that gives some feedback and that allows me to pick it up and do all of the weird hops and hucks around here.

Uphill:

The first thing I noticed, was that it doesn't pedal that efficiently on flat ground, but once you go uphill the rocking stops and it feels nice and planted and gives lots of traction. If you've got a long, flat transfer ahead, the compression settings of the Monarch+ shock solve that problem very effectively. The dual position fork is a nice feature on really steep climbs, as the front wheel tends to lose traction. You notice that they just slammed a bigger fork into the standard Trance frame, because the seat angle feels a bit slack as well. This is probably the only thing I'ld change about the bike, but it's not that annoying. I stopped lowering the fork regularly for climbs pretty soon, because I forgot to extend it at the top 9 of 10 times but I still get up most climbs just fine. It's a nice feature if you climb a trail instead of a fire road, though.

Downhill:

On the downhill the Trance SX is a beast, it's sooo confidence inspiring on the local technical trails and feels like a lot more than 140mm. I've ridden a few high-end 140mm trailbikes and the trance is nothing like them. Yes, the pedalling isn't as effective but it's miles ahead on the descends. I spend 2 weeks in the swiss alps (Davos/Klosters) and did a lot of runs with some European Enduro talents on hardcore Enduro bikes and never felt undergunned on the rough alpine trails, I actually got a lot of compliments for keeping up, but I'm sure I wasn't riding over my head, the bike is just that capable. I ended up doing a few Enduro races including the SSES in Leogang and had my best result ever on some seriously rough alpine and blown out bikepark stages.

I felt very comfortable on the bike from the first moment on, you really feel like you're sitting 'in' the bike, not 'on' it. At 183cm tall I chose a size L frame and I'm pretty happy with it, maybe I'll go a bit bigger on my next frame, but it feels roomy enough for me.

Trance in Davos; Picture by Bensenpictures

Components:

The Sram X1 drivetrain has been superb so far, I think it delivers X01/XX1 performance for a lot less money. I'm also pretty happy about the suspension, I even like the dual position Pike. I'm pretty weird with my fork setup, though, I never run any tokens in my fork anyway and it's pretty soft. I weigh about 65kg and tend to really hang of the back, so that might explain why.

The Guide R brakes were pretty good, they don't feel as precise as the more expensive Guide option, but I didn't have any unusual problems on 20-30min downhills in the alps, they got hot, but not too hot. I replaced them with some Guide RSC's in the mean time, but that's just because I got a great deal on them and prefer the feeling, the actual power of the Guide R was good.

The wheelset is pretty heavy, but it held up a lot better than I thought, originally I planned on replacing it pretty soon. I killed the rims in the alps because they are pretty soft, but they were rideable till the end, even tubeless, but had like 10 dents each. The hubs are in good shape and I got them laced up with some DT Swiss rims.

My only real quarrel is with the Giant seatpost. I was able to change it to a 125mm model before I bought the bike, but it's extremely high maintenance and has so much play right now, I'm just waiting for it to fail (after one season of riding it).

I gave the bike pretty high rating, because I'm really in love with the Maestro suspension. I've ridden the Felt Decree, Rotwild R.X2 FS, Specialized Stumpjumper and few other Enduro and trailbikes and nothing comes close to it in my mind. If you're looking for a XC/Trailbike the Trance SX is not for you, but if you're like me and want a lively but capable Enduro bike, look no further.

If the seatpost were any better and maybe the pedalling on flat ground, I would've given in 5 Stars.

Hometrails: Thuringian Forest in East GermanySwiss Alps

Specifications

Product Giant Trance 27.5 SX
Model Year 2015
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
XS, S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size XS S M L XL
Top Tube Length 21.7" 22.4" 23.6" 24.4" 25.4"
Head Tube Angle 66° 66° 66° 66° 66°
Head Tube Length 3.9" 3.9" 3.9" 4.7" 5.3"
Seat Tube Angle 72.5° 72.5° 72.5° 72.5° 72.5°
Seat Tube Length 14.5" 16" 18" 20" 22"
Bottom Bracket Height
Chainstay Length 17.3" 17.3" 17.3" 17.3" 17.3"
Wheelbase 43.8" 44.6" 45.8" 46.7" 47.7"
Standover 27.3" 27.4" 28.7" 30.3" 30.9"
Reach
Stack
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminum
Rear Travel 139.7mm
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch Plus Debonair RT
Fork RockShox Pike RC Dual Position Air with 15mm Thru-Axle, OverDrive Steerer
Fork Travel 140-160mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset
Handlebar Giant Contact SL DH, 31.8mm
Stem Truvativ Holzfeller
Grips
Brakes Avid Guide R, Hydraulic Disc, 180mm Front / 170mm Rear Rotors
Brake Levers Avid Guide R
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM X01 Trigger, Rear Only
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01, Type 2
ISCG Tabs
Chainguide N/A
Cranks SRAM X1
Chainrings 32 Tooth
Bottom Bracket SRAM, Press Fit
Pedals N/A
Chain KMC X11SL
Cassette SRAM XG1185, 10-42 Tooth, 11-Speed
Rims Giant P-AM2, Double Wall
Hubs Giant Performance Tracker, 32 Hole
Spokes Stainless Steel, 14g
Tires Schwalbe Hans Dampf Trailstar, Snakeskin, 27.5"x2.35" Front // Schwalbe Rock Razor Pacestar, Snakeskin, 27.5"x2.35" Rear
Saddle Giant Contact, Upright
Seatpost Giant Contact SL Switch-R
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Standard
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 142mm x 12mm
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Grey Green/Black
Warranty Lifetime Frame for Original Purchaser, One Year for All Other Original Components
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous
Price $4,250
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