SETUP | Getting the Giant Trance X Advanced E+ 0 setup was a bit more time consuming than other bikes because it has a bit more high-tech gadgetry on-board. For some of the dinosaurs, like Drew, the need to download another app, calibrating suspension and walking through more steps before hitting the trail was a headache. For tech-nerds like Nic and Robert, the potential for maximizing efficiency, electronic tuning and uniqueness of the Live Valve-equipped Trance E was welcomed. Although pretty much our whole crew agreed it wasn’t an upgrade we’d personally pay for, but perhaps we’re just not that hardcore XC.
Other notes during the setup process came from the steerer tube spacers. The Giant has a pretty low stack height, that works with the long rear stays to make this bike a climbing beast. However, the steeper head tube angle and low front end had our testers feeling a little less confident on steeper or faster downhill segments, so we put the stem as high as possible. If this were our bike, we’d likely fit a higher rise bar to further increase cockpit comfort.
ELECTRONICS AND INTEGRATION | This is actually the first bike we’ve ridden with the Yamaha-powered SyncDrive Pro drive unit. With 85Nm of torque, it’s on par with many other competitors and offers a pretty awesome all around feel. Acceleration from a stop wasn’t overly powerful, which can have pros and cons, but once on the move, the drive unit delivers solid power across the range. Robert, our 220lb tester, especially noted that on steep pitches when his cadence (RPMs) dropped, the Yamaha still delivered and helped him get up quickly. When at rest, the Syncdrive Pro motor can “surge” if you have your foot rested on the pedal, which was annoying.
Our crew agreed the downtube on the Trance X Adv E+ is a bit bulbous, but we enjoyed the 625Wh battery and felt it was a solid size option. Even with all the extra electronics, Giant did a nice job integrating the Live Wire and other bits of tech products, namely the controller. The display in the top tube simply displays tick marks signifying battery life, and they change color based on the power mode. We really like the sleek power-selector button, which stealthily sits beside the lock-ring of the grip.
CLIMBING | Without a doubt one of, if not the best climbing eMTB in the shootout. Giant’s Trance X Advanced E+ 0 delivers traction and power through a combination of XC-conscious geometry and the SyncDrive Pro drive unit. On more flowy XC trails, out of saddle efforts or sweeping sections of trail, the Trance X E+ feels more like an XC-race rig than other bikes in our group test and will likely be loved by more cross-country type riders. The Live Valve system does a great job at delivering a firm platform to maximize efficiency for smoother pedaling efforts, and opening up when the terrain gets rougher to improve traction.
When it came time to tackle overly technical bits of trail, the power and pedal clearance were impressive, however if things got very tight or required us to thread the needle, the long rear end started to present some issues. The long rear end prevents the Giant from being easy to maneuver.
DESCENDING | If you haven’t picked up on it yet, our crew puts the Trance X Advanced E+ more in the cross-country niche than the all mountain or aggressive trail category that other 140mm eBikes typically find themselves in. On the gnarliest of downhills, the Giant fell a bit behind, and we think the lowest stack height in the test had a bit to do with that. Compared to a bike like the Marin Rift Zone E or SCOR 4060 Z, the Giant was pretty competitive on most trails, but it wasn’t until we really wanted to charge that the others pulled ahead just a bit with a slacker head tube and more lively, playful feel.
Where the Giant excelled was on flowy descents where nice quick corners needed some push to change directions or pump in and out. The Live Valve suspension, while needing time and attention to tune, worked impressively well in stiffening up on smoother bits of trail to maximize speed and pumping rollers. It also opened up pretty well and helped keep the bike composed in most situations, but we all agree if we regularly were hitting rough terrain, we’d prefer a non-Live Valve bike.
FINISH AND VALUE | While $9,500 is far from cheap, compared to current market offerings, Giant has put some fancy and high tech bits on the Trance X Adv E+ 0 to deliver a reasonable value proposition overall. Of course, more affordable models are available, and would probably be what we’d recommend to all but the most discerning riders who really feel they’d eke out the benefits of the Live Valve kit.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Giant has done a nice job with the 2023 Trance X Advanced E+ in offering a general trail-riding eMTB that rides like a more traditional trail bike that favors efficiency, speed and open trails. Our crew doesn’t typically love Live Valve-equipped bikes, but were all in agreement that it suited the general character of the Giant. The Electronics and Integration are executed well, with a solid drive unit and relatively clean looks overall.
WHO’S IT FOR?
For riders who are looking for a 140/150mm 29er electric mountain bike that’s more pointed at XC and general trail riding, the Giant Trance X Advanced E+ is a pretty competent offering. Our crew feels that it definitely favors more cross country type riders and the geometry and power of the SyncDrive Pro will help riders haul ass on lots of local trails. If you’re looking for a more aggressive ride, we think there are options with geometry better suited to those demands, but the Giant is more than willing to roll down whatever you’ve got the nerve to point it down.