Sunday, 8 February 2015

Factory Fresh.....

Here it is! Having decided, almost a year ago, that the Nomad was nearing the end of its tenure I finally picked up this beautiful beast. After test riding, loving but ultimately rejecting offerings from Santa Cruz, I decided to expand my Giant flavoured stable and go with the Trance. Having already acquired the Glory and Defy and putting plenty of mileage on both I've come to appreciate the solid design of Giant bikes, the awesome component outfitting they come with and, most importantly, how achingly beautiful they are. Amongst the ugly day-glo 90's inspired clashing neons most bike companies seem enamored with, Giant sticks to the tried and true combo of great material finish, sweet graphics and complementary colour choices. 

As visually arresting as it is, how a bike looks is really secondary to how it rides and I took something of a chance on the Trance, having never ridden one previously. But the great reviews, geometry & component spec and my experience with the Maestro suspension set up gave me enough confidence to pull the trigger almost blind. The Giant also had everything I was looking for in a trail bike : lots of carbon (including 27.5 carbon wheels) Avid Guide brakes and 1x11 drivetrain with a type II derailleur. In short, something uber light with amazing anchors and a snappy, responsive drivetrain. The factory spec Trance Advanced was everything I wanted. The only component that made me wary was the Revelation fork. Fortunately, Brian at Big Swingin' Cycles sorted me out with a Pike swap out upgrade. This would give the bike a slightly more aggressive stance (and capabilities) but still keep the curb weight a hair under 25lbs.  In short, the Trance is a very different animal to the Nomad. Lighter, more nimble and kitted out with state of the art components. I was hoping to challenge my riding style a bit and stoke the fires of my riding passion. I'm confident this is the machine to do just that.

So far I've only taken the Trance on a short test ride. Crazy California storms are tearing shit up and making a mess of the trails so a proper ride will have to wait. But initial impressions are encouraging. I need to get the suspension dialed to make the ride supple, but box-fresh the bike feels incredibly tight and responsive. I love how light it is and the overall commanding feel of the cockpit. The ride is not as slack or stable feeling as the Nomad, and it is certainly not as beefy. But those Nomad traits come with penalties that the Trance will trounce. Plus I'm hoping I can rely on my developing skills to get me out of trouble rather than the heft of a bigger bike.

More ride reports (and pictures) are to come. For now I'm gazing lovingly at my sweet new ride and waiting impatiently for these storms to feck off so I can christen my new beauty out in the dirt!

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