I usually break out the hardtail in the winter. I use winter as a time to get back to the basics and ride technical terrain on the hardtail to keep things honest. But to be completely honest, I hate riding my hardtail (Cove Stiffee) and put quite simply, it beats me up.
The other day I went to the Giant factory sale and picked up a sweet replacement for my hardtail: a Trance. The price was impossible to pass up on a brand new frame that comes with a lifetime warranty frame. Once home, within a few hours I had all the parts from my Stiffee swapped over and I had myself a new ride.
Given that I will be using the Trance as a winter AM bike, I figured what better place to break it in than Burke. I parked at Shaughnessy and David in PoCo and pedaled up in the pouring rain. One thing is for certain, this bike pedals substantially better than any bike I've owned and pedal feedback or bob is non existent.
The pedal up Burke is a good test of a bikes climbing ability and today's pedal up was by far the easiest pedal up I've done to date. The Trance climbs without a single hiccup and has ample traction when it is least expected.
I chose a true old school trail to test out my new steed. Sawblade. Judging by the lack of tracks in the snow leading to the trail head I'd say I was the first person to ride here in at least a month. My uphill impressions of the bike were really positive, the downhill impressions we just about as good. The bike took the edge off the bumps and gnarl and is quick and snappy in and out of the corners. It certainly gets a little rough when the speeds increase, but it is a very predictable bike.
After Sawblade I made my way to the Coquitlam River Connector Trail. It seems as though someone has been doing some work on this trail since I was last up here in the summer. The trail is now all clear of blowdowns and is freaking amazing to ride at speed. This trail is a hidden gem here in the lower mainland that I'd rate as a 9.5/10 for AM riding. I don't think I could have picked a better series of trails to test out this bike.
Once at my car I was soaked to the bone and completely bagged. The Trance proved to be an über capable bike that has truly impressed me. I can't wait to get out on this bike some more this winter.