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  1. #1
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    New question here. 2017 Santa Cruz Bronson vs. 2017 Giant Trance 2

    Giant Trance 2

    Santa Cruz Bronson C-R1x

    Title! Both bikes fit me well. Both bikes (for the short demo/test rides I've had), meet my wants/needs.

    I'm mainly concerned w/ carbon on the Bronson vs. aluminum on the Trance. Short of actually diving in to a alum vs carbon debate -- is the upgrade to carbon on the Bronson worth it (considering the rest of the kit?) I also get the sense that w/ SC I'm paying a premium for the SC name.

    Everything else on the bikes are more or less equivalent. One bummer on that Bronson kit doesn't come with a dropper. On the other hand the Trance rear shock is a trunnion mount...which from what I'm reading is NOT able to be upgraded?

    Overall, I'm a bit torn over which bike would be superior over the long run, as I'm planning on riding this for many, many years. Upgrade-ability is important.

    Thanks all.

  2. #2
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    The trunnion mounted shock can be upgraded, it is just that there is not as many options available right now as a standard eyelet mount shock (or whatever they might be called).

    I just went through a similar decision in looking for the next bike to replace my 2014 Trance SX. Overall, I have been very happy with my Trance and a number of Giant bikes before that. Wouldn't call myself a Giant fanboy, but I liked how they ride and the price / value has been very good on the bikes.

    The urge to have a new bike had me looking at the new Adv 1 Trance. What a nice looking bike, great spec on the bike as well. However, for me I have not been a big fan of the Monarch or the Fox Float shocks, so that part of the spec, I did not like. My preference would be a Cane Creek, like I have on my current Trance. It works really well, but for now, that is not an option. Rather than a Fox 34 fork, I would prefer a 36 RC2 or Pike RCT3. The options for other boost forks are there, it is just that they are not as common and would be paying full pop to upgrade from the 34.

    In the end I found a great price on a Bronson V2. Yes, it is a full boost setup front and back, but the front already has a Pike RCT3, and the back, has a Monarch RC3. Will try it for now as many people like it on the Bronson. With a standard shock mount on the back I have a greater range of shocks available, should I want to change it out.

    The geometry on both bikes is reasonably similar, both being a little longer and lower than their previous model. What interests me is going to a steeper seat angle on the Bronson, as I think it will make the tech climbing even better. One the Trance, for me, the tech climbing was really good, as long as you stayed seated and turned the cranks it found traction, you just had to work sometimes to keep the front weighted enough.

    In the end I don't think you can go wrong with either bike. I am hoping I will like the Bronson, because I never test rode one.

  3. #3
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    You can't really generalize the ride and performance of carbon vs aluminum. More depends on suspension and geometry than material. I wrote a blog post on this comparing the aluminum vs carbon DeVinci Troy: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...spension-bikes

    I will say that I did like how the new Santa Cruz Bronson rides, but haven't been impressed with the suspension performance and handling of previous version of the Trance so I would suggest riding both on trails (not parking lot demo) if you can to make the right decision. i do hear that the new Trance is improved. My ride impressions of the Bronson are at: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...t-150mm-travel

    BTW, not to throw a wrench in the works, one of the bikes in your price range that I liked was the Fuji Auric: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...mm-rear-travel
    Dirt Merchant Bikes
    www.dirtmerchantbikes.com
    Seattle area dealer for Turner Bikes & Cleary Bikes

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideitall View Post
    The trunnion mounted shock can be upgraded, it is just that there is not as many options available right now as a standard eyelet mount shock (or whatever they might be called).

    I just went through a similar decision in looking for the next bike to replace my 2014 Trance SX. Overall, I have been very happy with my Trance and a number of Giant bikes before that. Wouldn't call myself a Giant fanboy, but I liked how they ride and the price / value has been very good on the bikes.

    The urge to have a new bike had me looking at the new Adv 1 Trance. What a nice looking bike, great spec on the bike as well. However, for me I have not been a big fan of the Monarch or the Fox Float shocks, so that part of the spec, I did not like. My preference would be a Cane Creek, like I have on my current Trance. It works really well, but for now, that is not an option. Rather than a Fox 34 fork, I would prefer a 36 RC2 or Pike RCT3. The options for other boost forks are there, it is just that they are not as common and would be paying full pop to upgrade from the 34.

    In the end I found a great price on a Bronson V2. Yes, it is a full boost setup front and back, but the front already has a Pike RCT3, and the back, has a Monarch RC3. Will try it for now as many people like it on the Bronson. With a standard shock mount on the back I have a greater range of shocks available, should I want to change it out.

    The geometry on both bikes is reasonably similar, both being a little longer and lower than their previous model. What interests me is going to a steeper seat angle on the Bronson, as I think it will make the tech climbing even better. One the Trance, for me, the tech climbing was really good, as long as you stayed seated and turned the cranks it found traction, you just had to work sometimes to keep the front weighted enough.

    In the end I don't think you can go wrong with either bike. I am hoping I will like the Bronson, because I never test rode one.
    Hey - thanks. You brought up another point that I forgot. The fork. The Fox 34 Rhythem on the Trance able to be swapped for a Pike? I'm somewhat versed in capatability but am not positive on what parts of a Pike make it NOT compatible w/ the Trance (or maybe it is?)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear99 View Post
    Overall, I'm a bit torn over which bike would be superior over the long run, as I'm planning on riding this for many, many years. Upgrade-ability is important.
    For the past few weeks I've been torn between two or three bikes as well, two of which were the Giant and the SC. Overall, I saw less value in the SC compared to the Giant, so I do agree with your SC name premium.

    I got tired of the analysis paralysis and just ordered a Trance. I'm sure it'll be capable of far more than me.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear99 View Post
    Hey - thanks. You brought up another point that I forgot. The fork. The Fox 34 Rhythem on the Trance able to be swapped for a Pike? I'm somewhat versed in capatability but am not positive on what parts of a Pike make it NOT compatible w/ the Trance (or maybe it is?)
    Not too certain on the two other than both bikes are boost spacing front and rear.

    I just picked up my, new to me, Bronson carbon version. Sweet looking bike. Now I just need to wait for my drivetrain to arrive. That or I use it as a styder bike. Maybe I could be fast like Gwyn without a chain, hell without an entire drivetrain I could even be faster, except no where to put my feet.

    The wait will be tough. Good luck on your bike choice. Depending on your riding area and ability, you might just want to ride it stock, then get good feel for any changes to be made as the parts need to be replaced.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rijndael View Post
    For the past few weeks I've been torn between two or three bikes as well, two of which were the Giant and the SC. Overall, I saw less value in the SC compared to the Giant, so I do agree with your SC name premium.

    I got tired of the analysis paralysis and just ordered a Trance. I'm sure it'll be capable of far more than me.

    I test rode both those bikes a few weeks ago.. Both were great but I like the Trance better, seemed like the rear suspension was smoother and more progressive. I plan on getting one soon.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rijndael View Post
    For the past few weeks I've been torn between two or three bikes as well, two of which were the Giant and the SC. Overall, I saw less value in the SC compared to the Giant, so I do agree with your SC name premium.

    I got tired of the analysis paralysis and just ordered a Trance. I'm sure it'll be capable of far more than me.
    Curious what you saw in the Trance that made it your choice over the Bronson?

    I'm kind of at that point too and keep getting bogged down in spec tables, geo charts and review blogs. Analysis paralysis is too true! But also fun....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear99 View Post
    Curious what you saw in the Trance that made it your choice over the Bronson?
    I ride a trail during the week that has a number of long/flat/fast stretches. I ride the twisty switchback/climbing route on the weekends. How a bike pedals in the flats (no bob) matters a lot to me. I think the Maestro is a very smooth pedaler.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rijndael View Post
    I ride a trail during the week that has a number of long/flat/fast stretches. I ride the twisty switchback/climbing route on the weekends. How a bike pedals in the flats (no bob) matters a lot to me. I think the Maestro is a very smooth pedaler.
    I agree and the Trance also seemed to soak up the medium hits better. Also for me, even though they were both mediums the trance seemed to fit me better. My riding buddy said the Bronson fit him better, he is about the same height as me but has longer arms and legs.

  11. #11
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    I'm 5'8" and have a long inseam and short torso. I'll be on a medium, but with a shorter stem. I've already ordered the shorter stem, and have a set of Enve RSR bars waiting.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear99 View Post
    Hey - thanks. You brought up another point that I forgot. The fork. The Fox 34 Rhythem on the Trance able to be swapped for a Pike? I'm somewhat versed in capatability but am not positive on what parts of a Pike make it NOT compatible w/ the Trance (or maybe it is?)
    You can put a Pike on it if you want. Of course that will run you $600+ but hopefully you could sell the Fox 34 for near that price.


    Usually a demo will indicate which bike suits your skillset, desires, trails, etc the best. If afterwards you don't notice much difference then you can just pick a bike by whatever arbitrary factor you wish, be it price, colorways, components, brand name, etc.
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear99 View Post
    Hey - thanks. You brought up another point that I forgot. The fork. The Fox 34 Rhythem on the Trance able to be swapped for a Pike? I'm somewhat versed in capatability but am not positive on what parts of a Pike make it NOT compatible w/ the Trance (or maybe it is?)
    what do you think makes the Pike not compatible?
    Giant no longer uses OD2 steerers, so that's not an issue, any tapered fork will fit.
    a-c height may be a factor, the Pike 160mm will be a bit taller than the stock Trance fork, I'm not sure how much taller exactly.
    One option you might consider, buy the Factory damper upgrade for the Fox34 Rhythm fork.

    Here in Canada, there is a big difference in pricing between Giant and SC, so for a given budget there is no comparison.
    But, your pricing for the SC makes it a very tempting option, either one (carbon or aluminum frame) is a decent bike with similar parts spec for the price, so the differences come down to personal preference, no deal breakers IMO.
    Last edited by fsrxc; 02-13-2017 at 04:14 PM.

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    It is strange that you don't have Trance 1.5LTD available in USA, look on Giant Germany website, it can also be a good deal if you are prepared to go a little higher with price. And Commencal Meta can also be interesting
    IMO carbon vs aluminium is not worth the price difference (except if you are racing), for price difference i would rather have better fork/wheels/shock or some other upgrade.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbfree View Post
    It is strange that you don't have Trance 1.5LTD available in USA, look on Giant Germany website, it can also be a good deal if you are prepared to go a little higher with price. And Commencal Meta can also be interesting
    IMO carbon vs aluminium is not worth the price difference (except if you are racing), for price difference i would rather have better fork/wheels/shock or some other upgrade.
    Thanks. Yeah the 1.5 doesn't seem to be in the US. I do live close to one of Giant's flagship stores so I may bring this up to them and see what they say...

    I was almost dead-set on the Commencal Meta - and its still on my radar - but I really want to make sure that I'm sized right for the bike. I know I could make it work with the Meta based on demos of other bikes and pouring over geo charts but the Trance 2 is just below the top end of my budget and so I'm at the point where I just need to pull the trigger, and I like the fact I can actually sit on the bike before I buy it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by fsrxc View Post
    what do you think makes the Pike not compatible?
    Giant no longer uses OD2 steerers, so that's not an issue, any tapered fork will fit.
    a-c height may be a factor, the Pike 160mm will be a bit taller than the stock Trance fork, I'm not sure how much taller exactly.
    One option you might consider, buy the Factory damper upgrade for the Fox34 Rhythm fork.

    Here in Canada, there is a big difference in pricing between Giant and SC, so for a given budget there is no comparison.
    But, your pricing for the SC makes it a very tempting option, either one (carbon or aluminum frame) is a decent bike with similar parts spec for the price, so the differences come down to personal preference, no deal breakers IMO.
    Thanks. I'm not versed well enough in part nuances and so wasn't sure if I WANTED to put a pike on it I could. I'd only put a pike on it as an upgrade in the far future. I have ridden enough to feel some difference between the pike vs fox.

  17. #17
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    I now have a few ride on my Bronson (CC frame with XT build, Monarch Plus RC3 and Pike RCT3 Solo Air 150mm travel) and can offer a little comparison coming from a well spec'd 2014 Trance SX.

    The original build on the Trance was changed fairly quickly as the stock Evolution CTD Talas 34 and Float were not great suspension pieces. Replaced with Factory 34 Talas, then Manitou Mattoc Pro (great fork, just no travel adjust), then finally a 36 Talas RC2. On the back I used a DB Inline which worked really well with the bike. I also changed out the 710mm low rise handlebar and stem (70mm if I recall), to a 760mm wide bar with a 30mm or 35mm rise and a 50mm or 55mm stem (not everyones taste, but feels right for me). Changed the drivetrain to 1 x 10 with a 1 up 42 tooth ring and Rad cag for great shifting and some lower gears.

    My point in all that above is that it took me some time to get the bike dialled to my preference and liking. Now fast forward to the new bike options and looking at the Trance Adv 1 against a few others.

    Lots to like on the Trance Adv1, low weight, nice carbon wheels, great looking bike. What it didn't like is the current lack of shock options with the new Metric trunnion mount and the 34 Float 150mm. HA is 67 deg, I would like to have 66 deg or slightly slacker, which could come close with a 160mm or 170mm fork but would put the 73 deg seat angle even slacker. I would have wanted to change out the fork and shock, but not a lot of options.

    I did find an almost new Bronson CC bike for what was a pretty good price. I changed out the drivetrain to 11 spd XT and for now will be running it pretty much stock. The Pike RCT3 150mm is nice, but I might look down the road for a Travel adjust 160mm (Pike, Lyrik or Talas 36), The Monarch RC3 so far is okay, might look at tuning options or somewhere down the road an X2 or DBAir shock.

    As configured and me still working on the tuning the bike is definitely much smoother than the Trance, while it seems to be a little snappier on the pedaling and out of the saddle efforts. The steeper seat angle is nice as I am not as far over the back wheel when the seat is fully extended, so steeper tech climbing is a little easier as you don't need to sit as far over the front of the seat as compared to the Trance.

    I am sure I would have liked the 2017 Trance as I have like the last number of Giant bikes I have owned, both Trance and the older Reigns, but out of the box the Bronson is a better bike for me and how I like my bike to feel.

  18. #18
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    ok, a couple more rides on the Bronson. I am sold. It rocks. I can't compare it the 2017 Trance as I have not had any time on one. But I can compare it to my Trance SX that I had configured and dialled into my riding style and own setup.

    The Trance SX with a DB Inline setup nicely to my likely, worked extremely well on the bike, great for taking up the bumps and great for climging. The Bronson with the RS Monarch Plus, although not my favorite shock works fairly nice on the Bronson. I did a climb today that I know well and without even feeling like I was pushing it I almost beat my PR.

    Both up and down, or while putting some power down the Bronson feels more efficient, while feeling more plush. Weird how it could feels snappier when pedaling and more plush over bumps but it is what it is.

    The 2017 Trance might have been improved over the 2014-2016 Trance as well, but I am already able to notice the steeper seat angle on the Bronson on the extended or steeper climbs. It was one area on the new Trance geo that was not addressed.

    I am sure I would have liked the Trance Adv 1, but I still wonder how long I would have been able to keep the Float rear shock or the 34 shock if my past dealings on both held true.

    By contrast I have really liked how the Pike RCT3 is feeling. Overall the biggest compliment I can note on the bike is how well balanced it always feels whether easing it down a section or bombing it, or ploughing through it. I drank the cool-aid and apparently I like it.

  19. #19
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    trance

    Re: For the past few weeks I've been torn between two or three bikes as well, two of which were the Giant and the SC. Overall, I saw less value in the SC compared to the Giant, so I do agree with your SC name premium.

    I got tired of the analysis paralysis and just ordered a Trance. I'm sure it'll be capable of far more than me.


    I'm at the analysis paralysis stage; are you happy with your trance?

  20. #20
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    Helpful stuff on this thread. I have been agonizing over these two, plus the trek remedy for weeks now. Glad I'm not the only one.

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