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  1. #1
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    Giant Trance X 29er 2 vs. Norco Shinobi 3?

    Just wondering what people's thoughts are on these two bikes. I can get them for about the same price.

    20mm more travel on the X-Fusion Trace fork(and 34mm stanchions, I think) of the Shinobi vs. the Recon Silver on the Trance but the same amount of travel in the rear(again X-Fusion vs. Rockshox.) A bit more slack geometry on the Shinobi. Shinobi is a bit longer bike. Slightly taller gearing on the Trance. Think the frame of the Giant is a little lighter, but the fork of the Shinobi may be a little lighter. Sram brakes(Shinobi) vs. Shimano brakes(Trance X.)

    Anything stand out as being markedly better or worse on one or the other? Just looking at the numbers, the Shinobi seems to tilt a little more toward the downhill end of the spectrum. I plan to try to demo both of them before buying, but I'd still appreciate the opinions of people more experienced than I am(and just about everyone qualifies as more experienced than me.) I'm especially interested in people's thoughts about the X-Fusion suspension components.

    Trance X 29er 2 (2013) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | United States

    Shinobi All Mountain Mountain Bikes Norco Bicycles

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    I like the Norco better, no particular reason..

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    For absolutely no possible logical or experienced based reason I'd go with the unjustly internet-based completely unfounded opionion of

    - Shinobi for people that want more burly aggro/lite-fr ride ...
    - TranceX 29er for people that want a bit more burly but more playful XC-AM machine ...

    but, for sure, I've never ridden either. Nor have I slept in a Holiday Inn Express recently.

  4. #4
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    I like the Gaint Trance, but I am biased as I sell that exact bike for $1700. It has gotten exceptional reviews from a few magazines. Light, Fast and comfortable with great handling. PLus I like the color and design.

    I have not ridden the Norco but I can imagine it can't be a bad ride. It looks nice and a very simliar set up.

    If you did the Trance you would save some cash and have enough left over for a trip to Moab, Utah to test really test the Trance out.. Just my biased thought

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    Keep in mind that the posted HA numbers on the Trance are wrong. It actually has a 68.5 degree HA. It's also a better bike IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Keep in mind that the posted HA numbers on the Trance are wrong. It actually has a 68.5 degree HA. It's also a better bike IMO.
    I agree. I have not tried the Norco but I tried the Trance against a fully option Stumpjumper FSR that was 4K and I still thought the trance was a better bike with lesser components.

    So much so that I bought one for myself(X1) and one for the GF (X2). Just ride it I promise you will love it. I went to the Southeast bike expo and it was my favorite bike under 5K.

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    I paid 1850 OTD for the Trance X2 and 2550 OTD for the X1 just as a reference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Keep in mind that the posted HA numbers on the Trance are wrong. It actually has a 68.5 degree HA. It's also a better bike IMO.
    This is correct!! 68.5. Great handling F/S 29er. I would say as good as some of the short wheelbase hardtails, Nimble 9, Yelli Screamy, Kona Honzo or even a 26. Also, climbs great with the Maestro suspension. Try and demo one. Great bike.

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    The Trance is a tighter fit in the back end than the shinobi, if you like big tyres or ride in wet conditions I would give that some thought. I have a medium Shinobi, at 6' its the first medium that has fitted me in a long while.

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    While my first "Real" MTB was the first generation 26er Trance and I loved it dearly and still have it and am building it back up, my vote would go to the Shinobi and here's why.....X-Fusion fork and shock beat the RS stuff, hands down and are def lighter/better IMHO. The X-Fusion shock and fork both have lockouts which you'll appreciate on those long, smooth climbs. Brakes I'd give the nod to the Trance as I'm not an Avid fan, shimano's in general are just trouble free and work. Other parts they're pretty much a tie and neither would do me as I like Shimano. Almost forgot, with the X-Fusion fork you can lower it internally all the way down to 80mm IIRC, but at least you have the longer fork option to start with and the option to adjust if you so desire.

    Important thing though that none of us can help you with is which one fits you better and that's about the most important thing when you get a bike, always get the one that feels and fits the best, well except if it looks like an ugly red-headed step child, then maybe go with the one that's not absolutely perfect but looks a tonne better FYI, both bikes gets great reviews from their respective owners, so either way you'll have a great bike that should make you quite happy.

    As to the HA thing, no, the Trance is no where near 68.5 boys, not measured how HTA is properly measured, for some reason it seems Giant has come up with their own way to measure it to get the angles they want to say it has - measured from top centre of HT to centre of Axle.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    While my first "Real" MTB was the first generation 26er Trance and I loved it dearly and still have it and am building it back up, my vote would go to the Shinobi and here's why.....X-Fusion fork and shock beat the RS stuff, hands down and are def lighter/better IMHO. The X-Fusion shock and fork both have lockouts which you'll appreciate on those long, smooth climbs. Brakes I'd give the nod to the Trance as I'm not an Avid fan, shimano's in general are just trouble free and work. Other parts they're pretty much a tie and neither would do me as I like Shimano. Almost forgot, with the X-Fusion fork you can lower it internally all the way down to 80mm IIRC, but at least you have the longer fork option to start with and the option to adjust if you so desire.

    Important thing though that none of us can help you with is which one fits you better and that's about the most important thing when you get a bike, always get the one that feels and fits the best, well except if it looks like an ugly red-headed step child, then maybe go with the one that's not absolutely perfect but looks a tonne better FYI, both bikes gets great reviews from their respective owners, so either way you'll have a great bike that should make you quite happy.

    As to the HA thing, no, the Trance is no where near 68.5 boys, not measured how HTA is properly measured, for some reason it seems Giant has come up with their own way to measure it to get the angles they want to say it has - measured from top centre of HT to centre of Axle.
    I'm curious as to where Giant having a different HTA method is referenced; couldn't find it on the Giant site. While I was at it, I noticed that the stand over numbers for the Trance seemed bizarrely low - in the 25-28" range. If a 29" wheel is about 29" high then the lowest part of the top tube in the pic indicates it's an XL. ??

    And why would Giant want to make their numbers seem slacker? Why not just make the bike slacker as it doesn't cost any more.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    I'm curious as to where Giant having a different HTA method is referenced; couldn't find it on the Giant site. While I was at it, I noticed that the stand over numbers for the Trance seemed bizarrely low - in the 25-28" range. If a 29" wheel is about 29" high then the lowest part of the top tube in the pic indicates it's an XL. ??

    And why would Giant want to make their numbers seem slacker? Why not just make the bike slacker as it doesn't cost any more.
    Giant doesn't state that their method is different, but it is. I've seen a detailed analysis of it here on MTBR somewhere, but can't seem to find it at the moment.

    Standover measurement depends upon where it is measured, and that is against the physical top tube, which for most recent bikes is a fairly sloped surface that does NOT match the effective top tube that is reported as part of the bike geometry. Some vendors show on their diagrams where they measure, some don't. It also depends on the tire size that is mounted as to detail of the measurement, and that is rarely stated. Tires should not make too much of a difference though.

    As to WHY Giant seems to report HTA geometry based upon a different method than others, who knows? Marketing? Too late to change the design? Don't want to change the design but still seem "progressively" competitive? Could be lots of reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bear View Post
    Giant doesn't state that their method is different, but it is. I've seen a detailed analysis of it here on MTBR somewhere, but can't seem to find it at the moment.

    Standover measurement depends upon where it is measured, and that is against the physical top tube, which for most recent bikes is a fairly sloped surface that does NOT match the effective top tube that is reported as part of the bike geometry. Some vendors show on their diagrams where they measure, some don't. It also depends on the tire size that is mounted as to detail of the measurement, and that is rarely stated. Tires should not make too much of a difference though.

    As to WHY Giant seems to report HTA geometry based upon a different method than others, who knows? Marketing? Too late to change the design? Don't want to change the design but still seem "progressively" competitive? Could be lots of reasons.
    Have you looked at the stand over specs for a 29 Trance? They're lower than for a 26" women's version. 25 to 28" stand overs for a 5" travel 29er seems hard to fathom; maybe it's with the tires flat!!

    Please actually look at the spec chart. And what does the effective top tube location have to do with stand over to begin with?

    And 'WHY Giant uses a different method' presupposes that they do, for which I'm still waiting for a reference. Until then, I'll believe their numbers - even if that Trance 29 stand over numbers look kooky.

  14. #14
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    Sorry, was replying back to Silentfos comments about Giants' stated 69.5* HA being wrong and that it is actually 68.5*, fact of the matter is the HTA isn't even 69.5", but somewhere steeper above 70*. The dissection of Giants new bikes and mis-stated HTAs BEAR was referencing was done by myself. As to the why, well to as Bear said seem to be presenting a bike with the same "new" geometry as the rest of the crowd and the why, well IMHO because the mind is a powerful thing and if it think the HTA is slack and will handle sweet on the DHs, 9 out 10 it will. With the steeper HTA they get a shorter more nimble WB for any given size, hence the bike's "have" slack #s but don't seem to handle that way, sweet right

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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    I'm curious as to where Giant having a different HTA method is referenced; couldn't find it on the Giant site. While I was at it, I noticed that the stand over numbers for the Trance seemed bizarrely low - in the 25-28" range. If a 29" wheel is about 29" high then the lowest part of the top tube in the pic indicates it's an XL. ??

    And why would Giant want to make their numbers seem slacker? Why not just make the bike slacker as it doesn't cost any more.
    In case you don't get the drawing, green lines are actual angles, magenta are effective.

    Last edited by LyNx; 03-04-2013 at 09:50 AM.
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    Thanks Lynx for posting the diagram. I am, as the Brits say, gobsmacked at the audacity of modifying a simple self explanatory concept like HTA by combining it with fork offset and totally muddifying what was the original point.

    There just isn't an 'effective HTA' ; it just is what it is, as they say, and adding in the fork offset is irrelevant to what is happening. HTA is a measure of pivot axis to datum and where the axle center is another topic. See 'trail'.

    'Tis the age of the marketing brainfart.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    Have you looked at the stand over specs for a 29 Trance? They're lower than for a 26" women's version. 25 to 28" stand overs for a 5" travel 29er seems hard to fathom; maybe it's with the tires flat!!

    Please actually look at the spec chart. And what does the effective top tube location have to do with stand over to begin with?

    And 'WHY Giant uses a different method' presupposes that they do, for which I'm still waiting for a reference. Until then, I'll believe their numbers - even if that Trance 29 stand over numbers look kooky.
    The stated standover heights for the Trance 29er are definitely bogus. I was so excited to try the new 29ers after looking on the geometry on the Giant website. I have a 2009 Giant Trance X and the archive website says the standover is 32" on a large frame which I have. I have stood over the new 29ers and the Large feels almost identical to my 2009 even in the very lowest "swoop" of the frame. Barely giving a 1/2 inch clearance for the boys on my 32" inseam.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Sorry, was replying back to Silentfos comments about Giants' stated 69.5* HA being wrong and that it is actually 68.5*, fact of the matter is the HTA isn't even 69.5", but somewhere steeper above 70*. The dissection of Giants new bikes and mis-stated HTAs BEAR was referencing was done by myself. As to the why, well to as Bear said seem to be presenting a bike with the same "new" geometry as the rest of the crowd and the why, well IMHO because the mind is a powerful thing and if it think the HTA is slack and will handle sweet on the DHs, 9 out 10 it will. With the steeper HTA they get a shorter more nimble WB for any given size, hence the bike's "have" slack #s but don't seem to handle that way, sweet right

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    In case you don't get the drawing, green lines are actual angles, magenta are effective.

    Actually Silentfoe was referencing his own work measuring the angles and the wheelbase in another thread. They came to the conclusion that the bike is longer than stated because it has a more slack HTA than stated. Here is the post from the other thread:

    "Ok, your measuring post had me intrigued. Seeing as I work at a Giant dealer I thought I'd get to the bottom of this. I had the help of two other guys as well.

    Here's what we found:

    Sure enough, all the Trance X29ers have longer than advertised wheelbases. Varying between half an inch and just over half an inch, depending on the size of the bike. All other models were accurate.

    We had to get to the bottom of "why" so here's what we think it is:

    The head tubes are slacker by 1 degree. Across the size range they are all 68.5 degrees. This also shortens the top tube by nearly an inch. Of course this would also lengthen the wheelbase. The chainstay measurements are accurate btw.

    We think that the catalog was published prior to the final models being built. This would explain why all the other Giant models were correct, they aren't first editions.

    We even called our local Giant rep, he was as interested in our findings as we were and had never heard of this before. He also agrees it is a first production not matching the catalog issue.

    In all honesty I think this makes it a better trail bike, however it is good to know for sizing.

    As an aside, I usually ride an XL Giant. For the Trance X29er, I feel much better on the Large.

    This is all thanks to Epic Biking in Saratoga Springs Utah, FYI.

    Thanks for giving us something to do!

    P.S., we checked it on all three models, the 0 and 1 use Fox, the 2 uses RS. No change, the numbers were still off.
    Last edited by Silentfoe; 12-26-2012 at 06:25 PM."
    Last edited by Venturewest; 03-04-2013 at 08:30 PM.

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    Thanks for the replies, everyone.

    I hadn't considered that the listed geometry numbers might not be reality(although perhaps I should have known better since I have stood over the Giant and knew the listed standover was off.) The photo of the Shinobi looks slacker than the photo of the Trance, but if the numbers aren't an accurate representation maybe the photos aren't either. The Norco dealer didn't have my size built up when I stopped in there, so I haven't had a chance to even get a feel for the size of the Shinobi. I'm glad to hear that the X-Fusion stuff is respectable.

    I like them both--I'll let the rides decide. Hope to be able to demo them soon.

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    Venture west: How did you measure the head angle of the bikes? That doesn't seem like something easy to do accurately. Also, why would a couple degrees more or less head angle shorten the top tube by an inch? That doesn't make sense to me. Maybe by a mm or three, but not by an inch.
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    Here is the original thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by TroyS600 View Post
    Venture west: How did you measure the head angle of the bikes? That doesn't seem like something easy to do accurately. Also, why would a couple degrees more or less head angle shorten the top tube by an inch? That doesn't make sense to me. Maybe by a mm or three, but not by an inch.
    That was a quote I posted from another thread. It was originally posted by Silentfoe, so I am not sure the methods used. I should have put a link to the other thread. I will try to find it again.

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  21. #21
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    Yeah, I don't get the measurements either, just doesn't add up. Curious how they measured the HTA, because if they happened to lay an angle finder or phone with that app on it along the HT, then the measurement would be off by about 1.5* since the HT is tapered. If somehow their measurements for the HTA are accurate, then how having an ETT only .4" shorter than the Prime and stays .4" longer and "claimed" same HA is the WB over 2" shorter, just does not add up. I could see with maybe a more bent ST and slightly shorter ETT that the WB could be maybe within an inch if the HTA #s are right, but there's no way it's the claimed 2+" they're saying.

    Someone down here is supposed to have one coming in and when they do I plan do take my own measurements and see for myself, because I think Giant is cleverly giving out placebo numbers and fooling peoples brains into thinking what they want to think because of the stated numbers.

    Quote Originally Posted by TroyS600 View Post
    Venture west: How did you measure the head angle of the bikes? That doesn't seem like something easy to do accurately. Also, why would a couple degrees more or less head angle shorten the top tube by an inch? That doesn't make sense to me. Maybe by a mm or three, but not by an inch.
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    FWIW, I have made the assumption that most forks these days have stantions that are parallel to the steerer line, so when I want to find the HTA on my bike I make sure the wheel is straight and lay the angle finder on the stantion.

    Sure, it's not perfect, but with tapered heads and head badges and such, I think it's just easier.

  23. #23
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    Then all the angles you'll be measuring will be steeper than they actually are, as most fork manufacturers do some offset in the crown, hence the stanchions do not run parallel to the HTA.

    Quote Originally Posted by bear View Post
    FWIW, I have made the assumption that most forks these days have stantions that are parallel to the steerer line, so when I want to find the HTA on my bike I make sure the wheel is straight and lay the angle finder on the stantion.

    Sure, it's not perfect, but with tapered heads and head badges and such, I think it's just easier.
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    I think it's funny that my measurements are being called in to question and Lynx wants to run off and do his own. No problem, go ahead, you'll get the same numbers. I have no interest one way or the other on whether or not the numbers Giant posts are accurate. They aren't. Not for the Trance.

    As was posted above, someone in another thread mentioned the angles might be wrong. I work in a shop that sells Giant so myself and two other guys got out all the angle finders (acurate ones, not smartphone crap) and tape measures and went to work. We pulled out all three Trance models and even used different sizes.

    We found 68.5 degree HA across the board. Wheelbases were also longer. Not really sure how the top tubes were shorter. Everything else is my speculation as to why. Also, If I remember correctly, we placed the angle finder on the stanchion of the fork. It is a straight and smooth spot and even according to Lynxs drawing, this matches the actual angle of the HT. The effective would be even slacker. I do understand that forks have some offset but the stanchions on the Giant were checked with the measuring tape against the HT and were the same, so that's where we measured. Like I said, even Lynxs pictures show this being the same.

    We called the Giant rep and he didn't even know this was the case. Kind of surprised him. He mentioned that his view was the catalog was published off of prototype numbers and not actual production. He thinks you'll see an update this next year. As an aside, we also measured several other Giants and they all matched the catalog numbers.

    Hell, I still have these bikes at my disposal. If the collective would like, I can do it again and post pictures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Then all the angles you'll be measuring will be steeper than they actually are, as most fork manufacturers do some offset in the crown, hence the stanchions do not run parallel to the HTA.
    The stanchions aren't on the same centerline as the steer tube, but virtually all of them are parallel. As bear noted, just make sure it's pointed straight ahead and that is probably the most accurate way to measure HTA without inserts and a frame jig.

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