Giant Trance X 29er - long...
For those that have been wondering if there are full suspension 29ers out there that will fit you, the answer is YES! It seems that more and more manufacturers are hearing our pleas to provide those of us who may be eh hem, vertically challenged, with big-wheeled options. Kudos to Niner for offering some of their models in xs (wish it were all of them!). I know there are a few boutique brands out there with some options that may also work, but my budget simply couldn't be stretched that far.
Last year, one of my good friends purchased her first full-suspension 29er - a Giant Anthem X. She's ~ 5'2" with a 29" inseam. Her biggest issue with the bike initially was the reach, which was corrected with a shorter stem. She plain rips on that thing. Her skill level has increased dramatically. Is it because of the larger wheels? Maybe. Maybe, too, it's the confidence that they have inspired in her. I've pretty much been jealous since the day she got it .
I, too, have a 29er, a Misfit Dissent, and I love it. It's been my go-to bike particularly in the late fall, winter and early spring. There is nothing to get really gummed up on it or much to maintain and I appreciate it's simplicity. But, it's singlespeed and (for me), has its limitations. I do enjoy my suspension and gears.
My current full-suspension bike was purchased directly from on online distributor. It was a lot less expensive (in the grand scheme of things) and had good component spec for the price it was being offered at. But, it was heavy - really heavy. I've learned a lot on that bike and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, parts are beginning to wear, and it comes down to, do I want to put more $ into that bike, or concentrate on something new? I began weighing the pros and cons. Meanwhile, Giant announced they were coming out with their Trance in a 29er version. Cool! I hesitated getting too excited and waited until some #'s came out for the geometry. I was pleasantly surprised to see it available in an xs version and tons of standover. As luck would have it, our local Giant dealer arranged for the demo truck to coincide with our club's fall mtb festival and I had the opportunity to throw a leg over one myself.
I was disappointed to learn they did not have any available in xs, and after reading a lot in the forums about them running on the larger side, I was worried. For comparison, they did have an XS Anthem 29er for me to try, and that definitely felt cramped. So, they wheeled over a small Trance X and I hopped aboard. They had the saddle all the way forward and the stem inverted. They had also placed all of the spacers on top of the stem. After raising the saddle to the appropriate height for me, it came dead even with the handlebars. I pedaled it around the parking lot and was surprised by how well it seemed to fit, and when I stopped, the amazing amount of standover clearance I had. Of course I needed to try this thing out on the trail and see for myself!
Unfortunately it rained, but I was able to demo it the next day. There was virtually no acclimation needed for me, much to my surprise. In fact, I didn't really feel like I was pedaling bigger hoops - until I went over things, that is. I took it purposely through a lot of tighter/twistier sections of trail to see how it handled when the going got slow and technical. I thought it steered remarkably well. Next I took it on a climb that I have consistently had trouble with on my 26" steed. I didn't experience any front wheel lift or the sensation of wandering - something I'm accustomed to on my other bike. I did scoot up toward the front of the saddle and did put weight on the front, but it didn't feel exaggerated to me - it just was something I naturally do on my other bike. Traction felt great with the Nobby Nics.
Next was a nice flowy section of trail. The bike got up to speed, and just like my other 29er, once some momentum has been achieved, it doesn't want to stop. It soaks up everything in its path. The combination of the XT drivetrain and Maestro suspension had me in awe. Shifts were speedy and seamless. I detected little to no pedal bob when out of the saddle. And it loves to corner. Cornering has always been one of my weak points. I have trouble leaning the bike and really trusting my wheels and tires. To my amazement, I railed through a corner without even putting much thought into it - it just sort of "happened". Next came a descent. It felt very sure-footed and confident going down. The XT brakes felt fantastic. I was beaming when I returned the bike. Not since I demoed a Pivot Mach 5.7 had I felt that good on another bike. Granted, the Pivot has 26" wheels, but in terms of confidence and comfort - the Trance X 29er just "did it" for me. Alas, I knew there was no way I was going to afford the spec I demoed though. I decided to kind of mull it over in my head a while.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. As much as I liked the X0, I talked to my Giant dealer about getting the X1 and possibly upgrading to XT brakes. He thought he might be able to get me a good deal on the X0, but would let me know. Imagine my elation when he called last week to say there was a small available in the X0 within my price limit. It only took me a few seconds and some deep breaths to agree. Three days later I was the proud owner of a new Trance X 29er!! My LBS generously routed all of the cables internally and did a super job trimming everything up and keeping it looking really clean. To top it off, he set up the wheels for me tubeless!! I had a serious case of permagrin the entire time I was in the shop getting everything fitted and the suspension set up. I couldn't wait to get it out this weekend and ride one of my local trails.
The only change I made to the stock setup was to swap out the Fizik saddle for a Specialized Ariel I had. The ride went very smoothly, with the exception of some pedal strikes. I didn't recall having that issue during my demo so when I finished the ride I checked the air pressure in my shock and fork and added a bit more. That seemed to do the trick. I kept both the fork and the shock in "trail" mode for the entire ride. I think next time I'll play around a little with it and see what my impression is.
For those of you who have been wondering about a 29er trail machine for smaller folks, give this one a try!
do you have any toe overlap in platforms?
i'm a tad smaller than you. i WAS looking at this bike, but still weighing my options. Now that they have shorter top-tubed big wheelers, they are becoming an option, but toe overlap is a real concern. I'm thinking of having Ventana make me a bike, i've already talked to them. He thinks he can do it with my measurements.
oh, and i read your "woes" about the bash guard. this came up when my bf and i were looking at that bike. he said there may be a way to rig something, but it would involve buying new parts. perhaps a whole new spider or front chainrings, etc. i'll see what he says. i THINK he said he saw a way around it.
I only had minimal toe overlap with flats when I didn't have my foot positioned correctly. I had on different shoes yesterday, too, and no issues at all.
When I picked up the bike from the shop, they had the saddle shoved almost all the way forward. After riding it more on Sunday, I realized I could actually slide it back a little bit more. It feels great! I'm just amazed at how this bike does not feel like I'm riding bigger wheels. I feel like I'm "in" the bike, not on it. It's more confidence inspiring and handles better than my 26" FS bike this will replace.
Yeah, for the bashguard, I don't know if they make a press fit bb crankset with bashguard already attached? Normally I've just removed the 3rd chainring, but obviously can't do that with this bike. It's the one thing I hadn't considered. Maybe it won't be an issue with the bigger hoops ;o) - we'll see. I just spent a lot of $ on this bike though, so I do not want to spend even more swapping out parts at this time. It'd be super if Giant came up with some sort of adapter solution. I realize they don't feel like there is a need for the ISCG tabs with the shadow plus derailleur, which is supposed to eliminate chain dropping. BUT that doesn't take into consideration those of us who want to run a bashguard. Time will tell if this will be an issue or not. And this doesn't detract, to me anyway, from the overall appeal of the bike.
one more question. even though there are no bottle mounts, can you physically fit a bottle (where one normally would be) with any ease? they do have bottle adapters....
i'm a bashguard fan too, i wouldnt want anything else. i'm hearing you actually have to replace the whole crank now. though, i'm sure you could easily sell it. (still sucks to spend more money)
Nicole - I'll have to check and see. I don't use bottles - can't stand them rattling around when I'm riding the trails and I use a Camelbak, even if it's a short ride because I always carry tools and a first aid kit and extra tubes, etc. with me. I figure it'll just add to my fitness ;o). Don't discount this bike yet, see if you can swing a leg over the extra small.
i put "stuff" in my water which has helped me a lot! so on longer rides, i do both a bottle and 'back.
wouldnt ya know...my LBS just got an extra small! and he thinks he can work a bottle on there somehow. i'm pretty excited! i personally dont like the graphics/paint job (i guess i'm just being "a girl" and i love the way my current bike looks) and my possible future Ventana would look ultimate sex, but quite pricy. a lot more money than this Trance, with even lesser components. this is gonna be a toughie!!!
how much do you think your small weighs?
You have to check it out at least! Well, according to what I've read, the mediums are coming in around 28# w/o pedals. Mine is a small...so I don't know how much more that would take off? I did swap out saddles, and not sure how much the one I put on weighs. I have no idea how much it weighs and I don't have a scale at home.
Yeah, Ventanas are nice...but for the $ you'd save, you could probably upgrade a few things? Maybe swap out the crankset for something with a bash? See how it feels. Maybe you won't like it, and your decision will have been made for you .
my bf is test riding it around the shop right now (XS). he says it would fit me awesome. he's short like me, (couple inches taller, but prefers a smaller bike) and says it feels awesome. (yes, i WILL have to swap the entire crank and sell it for a new one, but he says i'd like the 3-ring gearing better anyway. i agree).
with the Ventana, i'd have the frame only. Then i'd swap over my parts from my current bike (all except for wheels). which means i'd have almost nothing to sell to finance it. And my current parts are decent (SLX, XT) but the Trance is even better. The whole point of the Ventana was to custom fit it to my body, but if this Trance fits, then that wont matter. the only thing i worried about is toe overlap. we have some slow/very tight stuff around here, and kicking the front wheel while trying to clean a technical corner sounds like a drawback! XS is even shorter of a TT than yours, so the risk is even a bit more.
I'll swing a leg over that bad boy on Saturday AM.
28 pounds isnt terrible. that's two pounds heavier than my current bike, but thats what you get with big wheels and a beefier trail bike i guess. Looks like unless i decked the thing out with carbon, i'm not getting it any lighter.
Got my second big ride in on the bike last night. WOW - I'm still grinning! I got to the parking area ahead of my friends, so I decided to do a quick loop to warm up. Much to my surprise, I was able to do that in far less time than I normally would. I let my friend hop on in the parking lot and she took it up the trail a bit. Right away she commented on how comfortable it felt to her - fit-wise, and how plush it felt. She's currently riding an Anthem X 29er (and is one of the reasons I was so excited to demo this bike). She's an inch or two shorter than I am, but had plenty of standover room. She said the only thing she noticed was that the bars felt wide. But, when comparing them to her bike, they were only about an inch wider. That seems to be one comment people have been making - the bars seem wide. I have to say, for me, they are perfect. I honestly don't think I would trim them down at all.
I had added more air to my suspension after my first big ride as it seemed a bit soft. Last night it felt spot-on. I had plenty of tight/twisty stuff and I had no incidence of toe rub. I had actually moved my saddle back a bit and I may move it back just a hair more - not sure yet. I'm not sure if I have long arms or what, but compared to my friend, I seem to be able to get away with a longer top tube for my size, LOL.
My friends let me lead the ride and commented on how much faster I seemed on the climbs. People keep saying how the front end feels light to them and they struggle to keep it down. I'm honestly not sure where that is coming from - I had no trouble keeping the front end glued to the trail and it never felt like it was wandering - something I experience a lot on my other bike. I never felt like it was hard to scoot up and weight the front end when climbing. To me, the bike felt like it just scampered up the hills - and I HATE climbing. When I got out of the saddle and stood, pedal bob was so subtle, I wasn't even sure if it existed. The suspension is very efficient and acceleration is incredible. I never felt like it was soaking up my energy on climbs.
The traction on the tires was incredible. Our trails were wet and slippery and yet I rarely had any incidences of slipping. I felt confident and glued to the trail. Cornering was a blast and it felt so natural to lean the bike and just go. The descents were amazing and so much fun! And I was surprised how many times I would think, uh oh, I'm not going to make this turn when the trail got twisty and was actually surprised when it stayed on course and never felt like I had to muscle it around. It simply does not behave like a big-wheeled bike (at least that I have experienced before).
As far as the weight? I never felt like it was heavy at all. Of course it's several pounds lighter than my last bike, but I had no issues at all keeping up with my friends.
As far as room for a water bottle, I don't think there is any way you would fit one on the downtube. I don't know if it's possible to put a cage on the top tube at all?? I know (Nicole) you mentioned something about some kind of adapter or something. My friend said she will carry a water bottle with her right in her pack - so maybe it's something you could consider?
I'll look forward to hearing your impressions after you demo the bike on Saturday! Hopefully you'll like it just as much as I do. I literally cannot wait to get back on the trail again...
^ this is all good stuff! sounds like you and i ride similar trails, and have similar style riding. i too tend to slow down and not trust my cornering. its not that i dont know how to corner, i just never trust my traction. Sounds like this bike is good for cornering and traction.
As for toe rub, i (mostly) ride clipped in, but there are those moments, you know, when you are on top of the pedal, not quite clipped in yet, or resting atop, (not that it happens often, but you know what i mean!) where i'd be afraid of kicking the wheel so hard that it would screw me up, or worse crash me. however, looking at the specs between SM and XS, the top tub length is a half inch longer, however, the wheelbase is nearly the same. (.3 cm at most) so i'm sure overlap would be the same for me and you, since my feet are slightly smaller. That's encouraging. Apparently, there is on ONE XS X0 trance left in the country!!!! so i need to test ride this beast asap. My bf said on the bottom of the downtube you can get a bottle adaptor. it should fit (hopefully even with the suspension compressed). Also, i've been doing research to see if a bash ring can go on this bike as is. I"m not getting any results, and i'm hearing new crank and chainrings are the way to go.
I sincerely doubt you'll have issues with toe rub. Like I said, I know mine was from improper foot placement on my flats - I'm still kind of getting used to riding with them again. I imagine you probably have a smaller foot than I do, too - I wear a size 8 shoe.
I highly recommend setting the bike up tubeless. HUGE difference, IMO, in traction. I test rode this bike and it wasn't set up tubeless and I definitely noticed a difference in traction as the trails were wet that day, too. Last night I was just flying through the corners. Like you, I've never really trusted my bike or traction and have always slowed down considerably before entering them. I've envied people who could let go of the brakes and just let 'er rip. Last night, I was able to do that! It was sooo much fun!
I may go to a different crankset in the future so I can have a bashguard, but I'm going to ride it as is for a while and see how necessary it is. Someone suggested trying to find one with shorter arms, too. I've always ridden with 175s...and not sure I would want to go with shorter arms, especially on a 29er?
I hope your test ride goes well for you - I'll be anxious to hear your impressions, too!
i ride with 170 cranks. thats what's on my current bike, and it eliminates toe rub even more. Whatever crank i buy, will have 170. And yah, love tubeless!!!! though, i ran mine TOO soft recently, crashed, and destroyed the tire :/
i was running around 15 psi!!!
Congrats on your new bike! I have a stumpy evo 29er. Cornering for me has been frustrating. What tires are you using? I have tubeless and I think I might have to much air. Do you know what air pressure you're running? Amazingly I'm still trying to dial the bike in!
I think I'm running around 17 or 18 psi on mine right now. The Giant came with Schwalbe Nobby Nics on tubeless-ready rims so the shop set it up tubeless for me. I'll be taking it out again tonight and adding more impressions.
frustrating because of the tires or wheel size? i plan on keeping my nobby nics, but i've run mountain kings for most of my bikes. amazing grip as long as you get the black chili compound. but sadly, me and a friend had a few problems with the new design, warping them. i'll hold off on getting new mountain kings any time soon.
Originally Posted by BullitGrrl
btw, tubeless is very much recommended! if you're a small person, you can get away with under 20psi.
So here it is!!!. it looks better in person because the silver is actually polished aluminium and very shiny. i already put that orange seat clamp, and spare pedals, but i have an orange bar coming in. i wasnt able to take it on real singletrack because the bars are freakish wide and we wont cut them till my new ones come in.
first thing i noticed, it feels "big". not in a bad way, just felt big compared to what i'm used to. but it just billy goats up hills! also, i swear it just rolls forever, barely losing speed, even if you're just coasting. i think the big feeling will calm down when i get appropriate sized trimmed bars.
^ Nicole, what bars did you end up ordering? I see that you have all the spacers below the stem, have you thought about putting some on top? I'm curious about your ride impression with the stem stacked up that high - if you feel like your front end lifts more or not. I totally agree with how it billy goats up hills and how easily it rolls. I am riding the bars stock and actually like them wide. But, I have wide bars on my other bikes, too. I think these are a bit wider but I hesitate trimming them down. So far they haven't been a real issue for me.
Congratulations! If your experience is anything like mine, this bike is going to be a "game changer" for you!
Had my third long ride on the Trance last night. I continue to be amazed and impressed. We started off with a long, switchback-filled climb and I must say it handled beautifully. I keep expecting to have issues when I going at a slow speed through technical corners and yet this hasn't been the case at all. It's just handles so smoothly.
Once at the top of the trail, we hit a flowy section which is just a blast to hum along on with this bike. I feel like it just floats beneath me. Despite the bigger wheels, I feel like I'm riding "in" the bike, not on top of it. As such, I have a lot of confidence in it and it's definitely translating to my riding. I used to feel like I was fighting the bike and really having to work to get it to go where I wanted it to go. For the first time, I honestly feel "one" with the bike. I've never experienced this before.
The next section of trail we hit was a very rooty downhill with lots of switchbacks. I am usually very slow through this section, which I know, probably has not helped, as momentum is usually your friend in these situations. Well, last night, it was like an epiphany, I got through the entire section much faster than I ever have before and felt no hesitation in the corners. For the first time, that section was actually fun!
I'm still getting used to the 2X10 gearing, but it's starting to fall into place and become more intuitive. The XT brakes are a thing of beauty. I've yet to experience any brake fade, even on long descents. And the silence is glorious! While everyone else in my group was squealing away, mine were blissfully quiet. Same with the derailleur. I've never ridden a bike more quiet, except for my singlespeed. Wow!
I continued along the trail and wasn't thinking (for probably like the first time) about what was next or what logs I wanted to avoid. I just allowed my bike to go with the flow. I was carrying some pretty good speed when I approached a log that I normally avoid. I had forgotten why - until I approached the top. While on the one side it's got a couple of logs leading up to the top, there is no backside to this - it drops off a couple of feet. I had completely forgotten about this until it was too late. I was positioned with the intent of just rolling up and over the log, but I quickly realized I was not going to roll the other side. Mind you, I do not know how to wheelie drop or anything like that. It was almost shear panic that had me pushing forward on my bars at the last instant and hanging myself off the back of the bike as I made my way over the top. You know how they say things happen in slow-motion? Yeah, that's how this felt. To my complete amazement, the bike went airborne and landed - STILL ROLLING forward. The guy in front of me had paused to warn me that there was no backside so he saw the whole thing. Both of us were like, "holy cow - did you see that???" I couldn't believe it! It's like, are there no limits? I will be the first to admit, I have a long way to go in regards to skills, but I'm confident this bike is going to get me there and I'm going to love every minute of it!
getting a race face bar. more for color
havent experimented with the stem yet. it looks higher than it feels. actually, when i put it next to my BMC, the bars were almost the same. My short torso likes a really high front end, even if it hurts climbing. it will be a few days before i can take it on real singletrack. i did a 5 mile easier ride on it last night, and immediately smacked my bars against a fence when riding along a narrow path.
i could already tell that i'll be able to keep up momentum better, which will help immensely when i'm out riding with the expert boys that i ride with. usually i'm chugging with all my might just to stay within a mile of them! then i get burnt out sooner. this should help. i couldnt really wheelie with this bike...well, maybe a tiny bit, but i was never good at wheelies anyway
Yes! I'm finding I keep up with my crowd a lot better now, which is nice. As far as lifting the front end, I'm still working on that, my technique needs work ;o). I'm going out for another ride tonight. I think I'm going to bump up my shock pressure just a bit more. So far, I'm really enjoying this bike!
^Nicole, out of curiosity, do you have any toe overlap issues? I haven't found this to be a problem, even with flats, but was curious what your experience has been seeing how you have a xs frame and flats? You may have seen the video posted on the Giant forum with the guy that goes into a 15' ravine with his bike and all the comments that went flying around about how it was obvious the bike was "too big" for him and that's why they make bikes with 24" wheels for children and women. Not sure why people seem to think that 29ers should only be for certain people. If it fits and it's comfortable, who cares what someone else is riding??
well this is my worry, and i havent tested this yet. With flats (as they are on the bike now, my clippy shoes were wet so i didnt put the clipless on yet) i didnt have overlap assuming my feet were in the right spot. Thats good, but....
sometimes, as we all know, you may emergency dab, then frantically put your foot back on the pedal, and you dont land in the correct spot. Typically, this may happen in a messy technical spot. i could see the potential to lose proper foot position in an emergency and kick the tire. My bigger fear is, this happens when unclipped. Somtimes i'll unclip (emergency dab) and not get the foot back clipped in right away. so in essence, i'm "riding on top" of the pedal until i can find a good moment to clip back in. This also especially happens in a technical or scary downhill area. if i am on top of a pedal, and not clipped in, i'm slid way forward and would almost certainly kick the tire. this is not something you want to happen when going around a super technical corner. Therefore, i'm gonna have to pay attention to where my crank is if that happens.
some people may think i'm being over paranoid, but for instance, i was on a nasty technical trail the other day, (something i would have rather ridden in flats, but i had no idea how the trails were going to be, so i rode clipped). i found myself dabbing a ton because the trail was that hard, and not always getting back in the pedal in a split second. Toe overlap could be a real risk on a trail like that.
top tube doesnt matter as much as wheelbase does. The small is only .3 inches longer than the XS, because the XS has a steeper seat tube, therefore shortening the reach. So you and i would be dealing with similar overlap potential.
and i agree with you about wheel size, vs body size. it would make NO sense to put a short woman on 24 inch wheels because it would make riding harder. Its not like a very tall man cant find a 26er to fit, he'd just need a bigger frame. Frame's should fit the body, not the wheels! (unless a wheelsize cannot physically fit on the frame)