Editor’s note: This is one of six bikes we’ve gathered together that fall between $1,900 and $2,600. Read our introduction to see the other five and watch for our long-term reviews of each in Dirt Rag #182, due on newsstands and in mailboxes in February. Subscribe now and you’ll never miss a bike review.
Giant’s Stance is all-new for 2015. It’s an entry-level, 27.5 line that brings trail riding to a lower price point than what the brand could achieve using its famous Maestro suspension design.
The Stance uses a single pivot at the bottom bracket instead of the multi link on Maestro, which creates a virtual pivot point. Like Maestro, Stance uses an upper linkage to drive the shock. It also utilizes FlexPoint stays, a design that allows for a small degree of vertical flex in the seatstays and chainstays as the rear wheel moves through its travel.
Our test Stance 1 has 120mm of travel front and rear thanks to a RockShox Recon Gold RL Solo Air fork and Monarch R shock. They are basic but they perform admirably, much better than the $1,875 price of this bike would suggest. The fork is air tuned and has a lock out for climbing. The shock doesn’t have an adjustable platform setting but it does have external rebound control. Combined, I was hard pressed to complain about performance. More experienced and faster riders will push the fork past its ability but for the bike’s intended market it works beyond what I was expecting.
Shock movement wasn’t overtly noticeable on smooth climbs and once into rough bumpy trail it became completely unnoticeable. The FlexPoint suspension is by no means as advanced or plush through the stroke as Maestro but it still works very well. No surprise because it’s not a new concept for suspension and has a proven track record.
Shimano Deore shifters matched to an XT rear derailleur changed gears fine and the Shimano M355 brakes are strong and reliable. I also appreciated the low gearing offered from the 24/38 FSA Comet crank and 11-36 10-speed Shimano cassette when it came time to heft the 29.7-pound bike up steep inclines. While the Stance 1 has a standard aluminum seatpost, a nice addition to the frame are guides for dropper post cable routing.
So far, I’ve been impressed with the Giant Stance 27.5 1. It’s capable of handling a multitude of terrain and riding styles and performs much better than the under-$2,000 price would suggest. It’s also a great looking bike with stylish lines that suggest a price tag far higher than what it carries. Look for the full in-depth review of this and all the sub $3,000 bikes in issue #182 of Dirt Rag.