adam craigs 2013 giant trance 29er prototype spotted at oregon enduro

Thanks to an anonymous tipster, we just found these photos of Adam Craig’s 2013 Giant Trance 29er prototype. Surprisingly, these photos were posted a full month ago on Facebook after he won the Oregon Enduro on the bike. Just yesterday, Giant posted a video of their new “Ultimate Trail Bike”, and these photos seem to confirm the use of a standard QR real axle.

Click through to see the other side of the bike…and more details.

adam craig at oregon enduro with 2013 giant trance 29er prototype

Looks like the Trance 29er will have full internal routing for front and rear derailleurs, rear brake, and dropper seatpost. A heavily hydroformed downtube leaves plenty of clearance for the front wheel under full fork compression. Other than that, seems like it carries forward all the usual Giant frame features like the Maestro suspension and a big tapered headtube. Oh, and check out that crazy PRO stem!

More as we get it.


  1. The internal cable routing is plus but the standard QR is a huge minus. With 29er wheels not being as stiff as 26er’s, you have to consider a thru-axle on the rear.

  2. With a compact one piece triangulated rear end there is no need for the extra weight of a thru axle rear. If you have pivots back there then you need it but no pivots = little extra stiffness from a thru axle.

  3. + 1 for most of the design features.

    and a big fat MINUS 135 for the rear axle.

    “hey Giant, the 90’s called and they’d like their rear axle back”

  4. that stem is pretty cool. likely to be stiff.
    bottle cage placement is not cool. i wonder how impossible to fit it will be on smaller frames.
    ditto on the rear qr. hell, with the uci outlawing filing off lawyer tabs, road bikes might as well be thru-axle too. then team mechanics can use small electric drills to unscrew/screw them!

  5. Part of it being an ultimate trail bike is having Adam Craig pedaling it…..that guy could do well on the bike mag sh*tbike

  6. Oh, mechanical engineers are we?

    GIant has said the maestro rear end on their XC and AM bikes does not need a through axle rear. It adds weight, not stiffness. Holding onto an axle tighter does not increase the stiffness of a wheel.

    There is perceived advantage from an owners point of view by having additional compatability with alternate components, but don’t kid yourself this certainly isn’t enough to shift Giant. They won’t make a WORSE bike to suit a trend.

    If you compare a maestro chain and seat stay lengths to a Trek, fisher, norco etc, these bikes must receive additional bracing at the rear to prevent the bicycle failing, not the wheel. These bikes, not wheels, are stiffened by a through axle rear.

  7. ^^this

    The rigid rear triangle doesn’t really need the rear axle for stiffness. I’m happy about it, makes wheel swaps with the HT a breeze, use those for light trail use and have something with a bit more beef for heavier use – perfect. Anyways it’s still a prototype, things can change.

  8. Pete, was going to post the exact same thing. The Giant rear triangle is one piece to begin with… both linkages are near the frame, so that’s where things should be stiffened up. The benefit of a thru axle is much greater in a bike that has pivot points near the rear axle.

    In what way does a thru axle rear offer additional compatibility? One could argue that a QR rear end offers better compatibility. Most new thru axle rear hubs can be converted back to QR, but many not so recent QR hubs cannot be converted to thru axle.

  9. Forward compatibility only of course. Through axles are tough and easy, but hardly required.

    Anyone pick what that handlebar is?

  10. I was wondering if the seatpost is also a Prototype from giant or another manufacturer. Its not a RS Reverb, not a Giant Contact Switch, not a KS that I can tell, not a Fox. The distinct features are the clamp and the side mounted cable at the clamp.

  11. I’m gonna go ahead and say it, they should’ve gone ahead and done this bike with 650b wheels….and not have such an ugly looking frame. Flaming ON.

  12. “Ultimate = aluminum? Hardly”

    Giant does some pretty rad things with their aluminum in terms of weight and stiffness, but that said I’m sure a carbon version will follow. As for the QR rear end, I agree with the other posts here – having a solid rear triangle as is the case with the Maestro suspension, the rear is inherently stiff to begin with at the drop-outs.

    Another reason could be the same as why Santa-Cruz has stated that they decided to have standard QR and not a thru-axle on their Tallboy Aluminum models – price point. To spec a bike within a certain price point on the lower models, getting compatible components – namely rear hub – may not be in the cards. So if the extra stiffness doesn’t net much benefit in the type of rear triangle like we have with both Maestro and VPP suspensions, and they want to keep a certain entry price point, the decision to go QR is a valid one…

  13. I suspect the criticism over the lack of a through axel has more to do wheel strength. A 29″ wheel would really benefit from the reduced dish provided by a 142 mm rear hub.

  14. i dont understnad the need for discussion 142 is the only way wether or not stiffness is the goal. and its a giant nothing they do is inovative. they are a marketing company doing only what needs to be done to sell bikes. They are nobodys dream bike they are a punters bike with flawed geometry, i think we can all aspire to better bikes than this that are much better value!

  15. Hah, Raff, thanks for your post, hilarious. perfect example of one person’s misguided opinion and all the wrong facts. Giant not innovative? Bad value? hahahahahahahaa

  16. Niner’s Jet9 RDO stuck with a QR rear, too, because they said there was negligible gain in stiffness with a thru axle rear. Their CVA suspension also uses a one-piece rear triangle, like Giant’s. We haven’t had any complaints about the performance. It is a 100mm travel bike, though, and this new Giant is 120mm.

What do you think?