There was a time not long ago when you could hear Giant’s marketing department tell you that 27.5 was the perfect wheel size for mountain bikes. All mountain bikes. In the past year though we are seeing a change in tune from Giant. They have now added two full squish 29er bikes back into their lineup. The latest is the Trance 29er.
Earlier this year, Giant introduced the Anthem 29er which is 100mm/90mm xc race platform. Now, the Trance 29 adds a 130mm/110mm trail bike platform to their lineup. The 130mm/110mm combination is a bit of a head scratcher and I honestly wonder if the rear end will feel under gunned. It may be that this combination will work out well, but other manufactures such as Specialized with the StumpJumper ST and Niner with the Jet 9 have chosen to have a bit more balanced 130mm/120mm combo.
Even though the Trance 29 shares a the name with the Trance, the two bikes seem to be pretty different. The 27.5 Trance is a 150mm/140mm bike with completely different geometry from the Trance 29. So, I expect the two bikes, though they share a name, will ride very differently.
Giant, is offering the Trance 29 in 4 different builds, 1 aluminum and 3 carbon fiber. The Aluminum Trance 29 2 has the easiest to swallow price tag $3,050 and comes with a well thought out build kit. SRAM NX Eagle makes one of its first appearances on a manufacturer spec and proven FOX suspension and SRAM Guide T bikes make this bike really look like a pretty good value.
The carbon version of the Trance Advanced Pro 29 all come with carbon front and rear triangles. The lowest end option starts at $4,300 and comes with the same spec as the alloy version. Whether $1250 for the carbon upgrade is worth it, is a hard question. The builds go up in price from there all the way to the $8,300 Trance Advanced Pro 29 0.