Giant Trance X 29 Advanced Pro 0


Words by Mike Wirth/GooseWorks
Photos by Jon Coultard & Cameron Baird/Giant Bicycles

The Trance has been the flagship trailbike in Giant’s lineup since 2005 when they first introduced their signature Maestro suspension design. Over the years, the Trance platform has seen many different iterations and gradually increased both its travel and wheel size, but has always remained true to its trailbike roots. This newest version of the Giant Trance comes with that added “X” on its name, which means it gets a 20-millimeter bump in travel to handle the gnar. But don’t mistake this for an enduro racer’s bike built to shave seconds off split times and get down the hill as fast as possible. Instead, Giant has built this bike as sort of a do-it-all machine that’s as capable going uphill as it is down. We brought one to the desert in SoCal for some pre-release miles to see if this jack of all trades can handle the rigors of rides all over the mountain.

“Giant Trance X 29 Advanced Pro 0” is a hell of a long name, but denotes exactly where this bike fall in Giant’s lineup, “Trance” refers to the series of mid travel trailbikes. The “Advanced” series of bikes with their highest-grade carbon fiber for both the mainframe and rear swingarm, which they claim makes it roughly 25% lighter than their alloy version. The “X” denotes that the bike gets the longer travel configuration than the standard Trance Advanced. And finally, the “0” denotes that this is the top-of-the-line build, with little expense spared on componentry.

Giant Trance X 29 Advanced Pro 0

While there are more expensive components you could bolt to this bike, you won’t find them in a complete version from Giant. The Trance X Advanced Pro is also available as a frame-only for those who love to customize their dream bike or want to transfer parts from another bike over to this new frame.

A flip chip on the rocker arm offers two very different geometry options for the rider to choose between. The head angle can be slacked out from 66.2 degrees to 65.5 in the low setting. The seat tube also goes from 77.9 to 77.2 degrees, and the bottom bracket moves from 30- to 40- millimeters of drop. The lower setting is designed to give the bike more capability on faster and technical terrain, where the higher setting gives the bike more versatility in slower and tighter trails. The frame is also designed to accommodate up to 2.5-inch wide tires for your shralping pleasure. Integrated cable routing includes special slots for the Fox Live valve suspension, a feature our test bike came equipped with as stock.

Giant Trance X 29 Advanced Pro 0

The new Giant Trance also sports a number of trail-friendly features and creature comforts, including a low-durometer chainstay and downtube protection for noise reduction and protection against anything that gets kicked up by that front wheel. It also comes with a protective 3M coating on the paint right from the factory, saving the time and cost of having the bike shop install an aftermarket kit that likely won’t look as pro. Giant also steps up their game with the frame bearing seals, which are feature improved sealing for durability.

Finally, Giant sets the tires up for the rider right, out of the box with tubeless tires and rim strips installed and ready to ride. Giant’s attention to detail made the bike feel close to dialed without much hassle in our setup, that’s always a welcome feature on any new bike.

Giant Trance X Advanced Pro 0
Giant Trance X 29 Advanced Pro 0

Initial Impressions: Our size large test bike fit true to size with a comfortable cockpit that felt roomy. The bike has a more conventional feel than more “enduro-y” bikes with super long, low, and slack body positioning. The Trance X Advanced Pro instead feels aggressive but upright in a way that allows the rider to fit naturally with a position that is comfortable for long days in the saddle, rather than just speed between the tape. The bottom bracket drop is noticeable and still gives the rider a weight distribution that feels “inside” the bike and not on top of it. All of this to say, it was pretty easy to find a balanced position without changing much.

Fox Live Valve explained: The Fox Live Valve is Fox’s most advanced suspension system that uses ultra-fast reacting sensors and an electronically controlled valve to automatically adjust the fork and shock to the terrain. It’s a complex system that is ultimately designed to work as an “on/off switch” of sorts for the suspension. Live Valve relies on a magnetic valve that opens and closes the same compression circuit as Fox’s standard forks and shocks use.

Two accelerometers, one inside the fork arch and the other inside the chain stay, measure the velocity of inputs from both the rider and the ground to relay information to the Live Valve computer mounted on the top tube. The magical black box, also where the battery is housed, is where the magic happens. An additional cluster of sensors in the computer sense whether the bike is pointed up, down, level, or in free fall. When an impact from the wheel is sensed or a pedaling input from the rider is sensed, the suspension uses that info to open or close the valve.

The computer monitors the suspension every three milliseconds, and essentially takes the guesswork out for the rider. The system has five firmness settings to choose from and allows the rider to determine how much impact the Live Valve will have on the overall feel of the bike.

Giant Trance X 29 Advanced Pro 0

Setup: The setup with Fox Live is essentially the same as with their standard fork and shock, but with a couple extra steps. First, sag should be set with the Live valve turned off to get an acetate reading. We set our bike up with 30% sag in the rear and 20% in the fork. This gave the bike a balanced weight distribution and feel. With the Live Valve switch off, this produces a plush feel that is effective albeit lacking a little support for climbing. With the Live Valve switched on, the fork and shock come alive. The bike immediately accelerates better, and the fork and shock have the ability to intuitively go plush as soon as the wheels hit a bump. Pretty frickin cool! We found the settings have a very usable range with the #5 setting being too firm too often, and the #1 setting not providing enough support. Nearly every rider will find a setting in the range that works for their trails and personal preference.

Climbing: The Trance is a trailbike that’s designed to spend about 50% or more of its time pointed uphill. If you’re the type of rider who waves to the DH guys on the chairlift with only one finger for taking the easy way up the hill, this is not your bike. That said, the Trance X Advanced Pro gives plenty of reason to love the ride when gravity isn’t doing the work for you. The Fox Live Valve relieves “pedal switch fatigue” by eliminating the need to reach down and flip anything. As long as the power is turned on, the Trance is ready to ride uphill, right now. With the Live Valve set to #3, the bike provides ample support to smash long fire road climbs. All we did was find a gear we could stay on top of and put the power down. The Live Valve stays firm and fully supporting in those scenarios and provides an excellent platform to push uphill. On shorter techy ascents, the suspension can activate and provide increased traction as well. The delay between the locked and plush feeling is so quick you won’t notice it, and the threshold button does a nice job letting the ride choose during the setup how much the Live Valve will affect the ride, and then basically forget about it and just ride.

When the going gets tight: Some of the cornering magic comes from the Trance’s bottom bracket drop, so that means pedal clearance can be an issue on rough trails, especially in the lower setting. We’ll take that as a tradeoff for such great handling, especially when the trail also has high speed sections and rough terrain where the aggressive numbers pay dividends. When the trail is tight and flat though, we experienced more pedal strikes. Flipping the chip in the rocker not only improves this clearance by a noticeable 10 millimeters, but also makes the bike handle slightly quicker and easier to “pump” over and along whoops in the trail.

Descending: The Trance packs plenty of travel to tackle gnarly descents and has a geometry that’s aggressive enough to inspire confidence when you’re dropping the front end down a chute. The Trance prefers to handle technical descents with precision rather than brute force, and will force you to pick a line rather than plow one. The 135 millimeters of travel gobbles up baby head boulders with ease though, thanks to the lightning quick reflexes of the Live Valve. Again, we can’t stress enough that there is not a lag between when the obstacle rolls beneath your tire and when the shock opens up to absorb it. On the trail, the action is seamless and instantaneous. After the first ride, we stopped second guessing whether the Live Valve would leave us locked out for a scary big impact. It simply didn’t happen.

Giant Trance X 29 Advanced Pro 0

The Wolf’s Last Word

The Giant Trance cemented itself as a solid trailbike contender the day it was introduced in 2005. The same Maestro suspension system that showed so much promise as a revolutionary design still holds up today and provides no-fuss performance that’s as effective as it is easy to use. The Trance has a plush overall feel that benefits greatly from the use of an effective compression damper to make it pedal more efficiently.

While the Fox Live system may seem like a relatively complex addition, it’s exceptionally good at simplifying the rider’s input to make it work properly. In fact, with the Fox Live Valve set up correctly, the Giant Trance X Advanced Pro is about as capable a mountain bike as we could ever ask for. A new flip chip and some refinements to the platform aren’t enough for us to call it “Revolutionary MTB of the year,” but if our garage were flooding and we only had time to grab one bike to ride every trail effectively up and down, the Trance X Advanced Pro 0 would be getting in the life boat with us.

Price: $8,500
Weight: 29.98lbs


Frame: Advanced-grade carbon, 135mm
Fork: Fox 36 Factory Live Valve, FIT4, 44mm offset, 150mm | Custom Tuned
Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Factory Live Valve | Custom Tuned

Brakes: Shimano Deore XT
Shifter: Shimano XT
Handlebar: Giant Contact SLR TR35, 780mm, 20mm rise
Headset: Giant Overdrive
Stem: Giant Contact SL 35
Saddle: Giant Romero SL
Seatpost: Fox Transfer Factory, Shimano remote, 30.9

Hubs: Giant TRX-1 29 Wheel System
Rims: Giant TRX-1 29 Wheel System
Front tire: Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5, 3C, Max Terra, EXO, TR
Rear tire:Maxxis Dissector 29×2.4, 3C, Max Terra, EXO, TR

Bottom Bracket: Shimano XT
Cassette: Shimano XT 10-51
Cranks: Shimano Deore XT, 30t
Chain Guide: MRP AMG V2 Carbon
Derailleur: Shimano XT 12 speed

Giant Trance X 29 Advanced Pro 0

We Dig

Fox Live Valve
Well-rounded geometry
Flip chip adds versatility
Capable on ups and downs
Double-sealed cartridge bearings
Attention to detail and frame finish/protection

We Don’t

Pedal strikes
Giant offers great value options, but Live Valve is an expensive feature
Electronics add complexity to frame and wire management


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