Offering proper full suspension mountain bike confidence and control, at just over a grand, it is easy to see why the Giant Stance featured in this review is such a popular mountain bike. The Stance is a full sus MTB, built around a quality aluminium frame, with high-end Suntour suspension, dropper seatpost and Shimano Deore Shadow + drivetrain. This gives you the kind of performance that is usually reserved for bikes at a higher price point. The Stance 2 is the only bike in the UK line up so is the one we focus on here.
Whether you are new to mountain bike riding or are stepping up from a hardtail, you will find that the Stance offers a confident ride on both rough and smooth trails. The 120mm of front and rear suspension travel is combined with dialled trail geometry and rapid rolling, yet nimble 27.5” wheels. This makes the Giant Stance ideal for all types of mountain biking, from cross-country single track to technical trail centre loops.
Giant is one of the largest bicycle frame manufacturers in the world and all their bike frames are built in-house, so they certainly know a thing or two about making quality MTB frames. The Stance frame is built from 6061 ALUXX-Grade aluminium which uses tubes that are press formed and butted to reduces the amount of unnecessary material used to achieve the desired strength to weight ratio.
The PowerCore bottom bracket area and asymmetric chain stays offer additional lateral stiffness for predictable handling and efficient power transfer when pedalling. The tapered Overdrive head tube adds front end stiffness for improved steering precision which is great to see on an MTB at this price point.
Unlike most bike manufacturers, Giant creates its ALUXX alloy tubing and builds the frames in its own factory, rather than subcontracting them to one of the handful of mega manufacturers such as, er, Giant - Bike Radar
This ‘FlexPoint’ system saves weight and cost compared to extra pivots and linkages, and it turns out it’s no bad thing in terms of ride quality either -
Featuring a 120mm travel FlexPoint suspension system the Stance does away with the Maestro system found on it’s bigger brother, the Trance. This keeps things simple, lightweight and durable. FlexPoint is a single pivot design that relies on the built-in flex of the rear triangle to offer simple yet effective suspension control. While this system lacks some of the fully-active pedalling and braking performance that Maestro delivers, FlexPoint is more than adequate for cross country trails and requires less maintenance to keep it working smoothly.
For 2018 the Giant Stance gets a high-end Suntour shock and 120mm travel fork. Unlike the RockShox XC fork found on previous models the Suntour Axon fork gets a 15mm thru axle that offers improved front end stiffness, especially under heavy braking. The remote lockout lever on the fork is also new, although most trail riders will find this adds unnecessary clutter to the handlebars and will swap it for a conventional lever on the fork crown.
The Shadow + rear mech is a real plus point as it stops the chain from bouncing around and falling off on rough trails.
It is great to see that the Stance fitted with a Shimano Deore Shadow+ rear mech for 2018. This means you get a clutch mechanism, which reduces chain-slap and reduces the chances of dropping a chain, for a quieter as well as more secure ride on rough terrain. The 2x9 speed drivetrain may look a little dated compared to modern ‘one-by’ systems but the range of gears you get is perfect for MTB riders of all abilities. Shimano hydraulic disc brakes give you confident all-weather speed control.
Wide handlebars and short stems offer more control on technical terrain and Giant have made improvements here too with a 780mm handlebar on the 2018 bike. Also new is the dropper seatpost which features a remote lever, so you can adjust your saddle height on the fly - perfect for making the most of those technical trail sections.
Built in Giant’s own factory the double wall alloy rims are robust enough for rough trail riding yet lightweight enough for long cross county rides. Maxxis Ardent tyres are fast rolling on all types of terrain and feature aggressive side nobs for confident cornering. Giant really make things easy for tubeless running, all you need to do is add the supplied tyre sealant and pump the tyres up to take advantage of this puncture reducing technology.
The 27.5” wheels on the Stance are ideal for new and experienced riders alike. They are nimble enough for tight turns yet offer improved rolling speed on all types of terrain when compared to traditional 26” MTB wheels.
The Stance is built specifically for 27.5” wheels as these offer the best balance between nimble handling characteristics and rapid rolling performance.
With 120mm of full suspension travel the Giant Stance is ideal for beginner and intermediate riders who want a mountain bike, that offers confident performance on challenging trails. The upgraded component spec pushes the Stance closer to high-end bikes and gives you a great riding position for technical trail riding.
The Stance offers a full suspension advantage, over similarly priced hardtails, which is most noticeable when riding rough trails. You will find that the Stance offers more grip, when climbing as well as descending, which in turn offers a more confident and efficient ride. The component spec is ideal for MTB trail riding. This makes the Stance an ideal choice for the off-road curious rider who wants to experience all that mountain biking has to offer, without breaking the bank.