OK, here is my review of my new 2008 Giant Trance X1 size large. I have three rides on it so far each on different trails. I am comparing it to my last FS bike which was a 2004 Stumpjumper FSR Expert Disc.
First impressions so far are that the Trance X1 is a better climber. On short steep climbs and longer gradual ones, I would normaly need to get out of the seat on, there is no need on the Trance X1. I just stay seated, crank the pedals and up I go. Today I stayed in the seat the entire day on all the climbs and we climbed a lot. So definitely a better climbing bike.
As far as suspension design I feel like the Trance X1 shines here as well. The small bump compliance is a lot better and depending on how you have the sus set up with air pressure it can be a firmer ride or more plush. The fox float RL 120 is great and can be set up pretty darn firm if you want.
Geometry on this bike is much better then my 2004 stumpy. The stumpy had me in more of a xc position where the Trance X1 has me more upright. It's much more comfortable and allows me better control with steering. I always felt like the stumpy, with its 71 degree head angle, was a little too twitchy and was too easy to over shoot turns. The Trance X1 allows more control and offers great handling in tight twisty single track at slow speeds. Keep in mind however that I have the stem set to the higest point on the steerer tube.
Descending, today I encountered some long rooty descents and the Trance X1 was very stable and confident. It was very forgiving during the descents to the point you don't have to worry so much about riding with finess like when on a shorter travel bike. Keep in mind though I am in east Texas so I'm not talking about technical, steep, rocky descents.
The components, mostly stock for me, are all good performers. The stock saddle can cause my sit bones a little discomfort after a while but no numbing in the sensitive areas. I will probably give it some more time to see if I get used to it.
Not sure about the 2.1 Nevegals. They offer good traction for our riding here in east Texas where there is lots of loose stuff on the trail. However, I ran stock 2.0 specialized tires on my stumpy with a similar agressive tread and they may have rolled a little better. I may switch to a 2.0 or even a 1.9 size tire.
Over all this is a great trailbike. You may not want to enter any serious xc races with it but for trailriding incorporating a little bit of everything its a perfect fit. Good components, light weight and comfortable geometry.
Here are a few action photos from today:
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Thread: Review of 2008 Giant Trance X1