NOTE on Comparing Star Ratings between Interbike 2014 and 2015 bike tests: I’ve found already that the new bike designs I’m riding this year are a step better than the best bikes I rode last year. What was a 5 star rating last year would only be a 4 star rating this year.
This bike had a mind of its own, but unfortunately the thoughts it was thinking were not the same as what I had in mind. I felt really tall and tippy and not at all confident on this bike.
Climbing - 3 stars
With a design similar to the dw-link, the Maestro suspension design climbed well on the road going up to the trail and other smooth surfaces. On the trail, the relatively non-compliant suspension became much less effective as it was easily thrown off by rocks and other terrain features. The suspension actually seemed to hinder, not help in technical climbing situations.
Descending – 1 stars
This was a really nervous feeling bike. Even on flat trails, I felt that I needed to be very vigilant when riding this bike. The bike did not hold a line well and was easily bucked into unexpected new directions.
Cornering - 1 stars
The steering feel of the Trance lacked predictability and controllability. It wasn’t just because it was quick steering. The bike overall felt like a short travel XC design with 140mm of suspension travel bolted on.
I had difficulty riding this bike even on easy terrain. Giant bikes are certainly great values considering the component spec, but I would highly suggest that you do an off-road demo of a Giant Trance before buying one.
5 stars - Absolutely outstanding
3 stars - Solid performance, meets expectations
1 star - Misses expectations by a wide margi