Here is my heavily biased Trance 27.5 review, meant for only those who agree with me.
In short, if you favor the new Trance for it's huge versatility and it's cool looks go get it, BUT, buy at least the black "2" alu model and change the wheelset. Why? Read below...
So today I finally got the chance to testride a size Large Trance 27.5 "3" model (the red one)
weight complete bike with plastic pedals: an even 14,0kg / 30,8pounds
front wheel (as it was fully assembled on the bike): 2,0kg / 4,4pounds
rear wheel (as it was fully assembled on the bike): 2,8kg / 6,16pounds
I instantly like the honest red colour but damn that bike is heavy. And I'vent even installed a dropper post yet.
Damn that wheels are heavy! Are there stones hidden underneath the tires, who knows? Honestly, how the hell did Giant get away with that? That same wheelset is also specced on the more expensive but otherwise much better specced black "2" model, so that's a real bummer. If you don't like the model "1" colour for it's feminime looks you may have to change at least the wheelset on the "2" model.
Damn that bike is huge. Call it a monster truck. Even though I'm 6" with a 34 inseam I instantly wished I could have tried the medium sized frame just to compare the handling. (I may need a longer seatpost tough). The "L" sized frame felt kinda sluggish to handle, blame the slack head angle and the kinda long wheelbase, yes sure it will run over anything you're pointing at but it's definately not a "quick-turner". Compared to that my current 26" 150mm AM Fully feels like a nimble XC machine. I definately recommend trying both Frame sizes to testride!
I would say the biggest benefit of the new 27.5" wheels lies not in their increased roll-over capability (although it's noticeable better) but the overall lower bb height compared to the wheels axles. I definately felt a difference compared to my current bike. In fact you could argue that the 27.5 wheel are just a "geometric correction" because due to the historic increase of travel over the years, bottom brackets on 26inch bikes got higher and higher until you felt like you where riding "ontop the bike" instead of "inside", so 27.5 is here to stay and that's a good thing.
I liked the Fork. Although it looks kinda cheap (stanchions), it works, it's easy to service yourself and you can later travel it (130-150mm) with spacers in order to fine adjust the bikes geometry. Note that only the Talas Fork on the "1" alu model offers an "on-the-fly" 140-120mm travel adjustment for steep climbing sessions.
The rear shock has a fixed build in plattform and offers only external rebound adjustment, so it's basically a "set-it-and-forget-it" component. Giants Maestro Suspension works brilliant that way, the only occasion where I could imagine missing the lockout feature of a "Monarch RT" shock would be extended periods on asphalt.
The drivetrain is cheap but functional, the rear derailleur even has Shimano's innovative "anti-chainslap-feature" Shadow+ built-in. The only thing I would want to change would be the rear shifter in order to upshift more gears at a time (used to the XT shifters), I instantly missed that feature. You may argue that Shimanos 1x11(1x12?) is virtually arround the corner so why bother, the 2x10 drivetrain may be obsolete in less than 12 months anyway. However, keep in mind that Giants Maestro suspension was designed with a "front changing chainline in mind", meaning at least two chain rings up front, so forcing yourself to ride a granny on steep uphills may only improve (e.g. balance) the systems anti-squat/pedal-feedback characteristics.
My Final conclusion:
With the Trance 27.5 "3" model, you get a great engineered frame with one of the best suspension designs on the market, assembled with some ok parts to "ride the frame save home". With 140mm front&rear the bike is perfectly balanced for aggressive trail riding, whereas the 140-120mm Talas travel option specced on the "1" alu model may come in handy for extended periods of climbing. (I have a Talas on my own bike and use it a lot.) Spec wise I would probably go with the carbon "advanced 2", not for it's looks neither it's weight savings but because performance wise a carbon frame just feels so much better to ride, however it cannot be ordered in europe anyway (shame on you Giant). Maybe next year, better colours, better wheels, no rush.
oh by the way that is (= !meaning the Picture below!) my current ride (I already felt bad for kinda betraying it..
(I removed the picture because obviously it created waaayy tooo much confusion. Sorry for that)
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