Giant Trance X Advanced Pro SE: An $8,000 Bike for $4,500 [Test Ride Review]

The Giant Trance X Advance Pro SE trail bike features all the electronic bells and whistles paired with a carbon frame.
Giant Trance X mountain bike
Photos: Evan & Melanny @outofthisvan

Full disclosure: this was a two-hour test ride, with no time to fine-tune or adjust set-up in any meaningful way. First impressions only. 

My my, we’ve come a long way. The Giant Trance X Advanced Pro SE I tested  is carrying just about as much tech as it’s possible to manufacture; add a wireless dropper and you’d have the complete set. Along with the SRAM Eagle AXS shifting, we’ve got RockShox Flight Attendant on both the shock and the forks too. Throwing a leg over feels a bit like donning the Iron Man suit. 

Giant Trance X SE key specs

  • Rider Profile: 6’’1” and 220lb with gear. Trance X Advanced Pro SE 29” size large tested
  • Suspension travel: 150/135mm front/rear
  • Frame highlights: Full carbon with a two-position flip chip to adjust head tube angle, seat tube angle and BB height
  • Geometry highlights (high/lo): HTA: 65.5°/66.2°, Reach: 485/487 mm, STA: 754/762 mm, Chainstays: 436/434mm, Wheelbase: 1,239/1236mm  Tested with flip chip in high position.
  • Price: $8,000 (on sale for $4,500)
  • Buy from

From a tech perspective, this is the latest and most blinged-out Trance X in Giant’s range, with top spec on everything: a Lyrik Ultimate fork, Super DLX Ultimate in the rear, TRP Trail Evo brakes, SRAM Flight Attendant cranks, a Maxxis Minion DHF tire up front and a Dissector tire on the rear. It’s hard to say how much it weighs, as Giant is a little coy on that subject for all their bikes, and it seemed impertinent to ask to weigh it at the booth. But carrying all that tech on the suspension must slightly offset the all-carbon frame and Giant’s proprietary carbon wheelset.

If you like the numbers, and want to analyze every possible aspect of a bike’s performance to dial in it, or make adjustments for different rides, this is your dream bike. There’s a huge amount of custom tuning available in a very reasonable package, and the cost of buying a similar frame and wheelset, then adding the electronics yourself, would easily exceed the $4,500 price tag before you even went near a drivetrain or brakes or anything else. All the bling, all in one place, for an astounding price.

How does it ride?

Giant bikes always have an inherent bulky quality to them for me, across the range, and the Trance X is no different. It’s not a weight thing, more of a design thing. Big tubes, and geometry that plants you kinda down and across the center of the cockpit, so you feel the width of the bars and your weight in the saddle. My first thought as I pedal out of the lot is that this is a bruiser of a bike. The muscular addition of the Flight Attendant kinda adds to that feeling too. The whole thing has kind of a MTB tactical vest vibe about it. 

But that pumped-up feeling doesn’t translate to the ride. The Giant X climbs pretty easily, with a centered-cockpit feeling that encourages a steady, mile-munching style of ascent. Unless you’re an especially gifted technical climber, that’s an advantage in Sedona; too much spirited attack can leave you at peak heart rate in seconds, so it’s better to slow down, take a deep breath, keep the cranks moving and let the bike do its thing. The Trance has my back. 

It’s not as nimble as some comparable bikes in its bracket – the front end isn’t quite as willing to let me change my mind as I’d like – but it does feel very firmly attached to the trail, and I didn’t have any of the mishaps or over-ambitious climbing fails I experienced on similar rides earlier in the weekend.  I avoided trying to monkey with Flight Attendant settings in the app and  just rode straight out, but that stability might well be due to the fork stiffening automatically under climbing conditions. And if you like sci-fi movies, you’ll love the little clicks and whirrs of the motors in the suspension tech. 

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That feeling of security and protection is only amplified when rolling down the serious stuff. The Flight Attendant seems to do its job, because the Trance eats up the small bumps, plows over jagged rock edges like they’re inflatables and soaks up my ungainly drops with alarming ease. That bruiser feeling I talked about earlier? This is a bike that wants to square up to chunky downhill terrain and take it on, no questions asked. 

This is where the limitations of a quick test ride really become apparent, because my sense is that if you took the time to work with the flip chip to select your geometry, and to dial in multiple settings for the Flight Attendant to suit different kinds of trails, you’d be able to make this bike into, like, three bikes:  the nimble trail goat it appears to be, an impact-proof park bomber that could take big hits, and a taut XC greyhound for those flatter, faster days. The Swiss Army bike, if you will. 

Another unexpected thought: despite the fact that it’s all advanced and pro and whatnot, and the potential complexities involved in owning and operating such a digital bike notwithstanding, it struck me that this Trance X SE would make a pretty good first serious full suss, or a great upgrade for anyone moving up from XC riding to trail or enduro. 

Pros and cons of Giant Trance X SE


  • Incredible value
  • A tech geek’s dream
  • Superb suspension package


  • Complex to dial in
  • Needs a lot of batteries – a total of 7 across Flight Attendant and AXS
  • Lots of own-brand components

Bottom line

If there’s a heart-rate obsessed, gram-shaving, app-checking roadie in your life that secretly yearns for greater adventure, this is the bike for them.