Giant Trance XO: Aluminum bike that seamlessly melds comfort and performance. Likes: Great all-conditions climber and descender with a complex but proven "Maestro" suspension design that seems to handle "brake jack" as well as the Trek yet has a more-comfortable riding position. Like the Cannondale, the cockpit is just right; it's light (26 pounds), and includes burley CrossMax wheels with straight-pull spokes. Dislikes: The tight clearance between the vertical rear frame and the rear tire is no problem in dusty SoCal but might clog in muddy venues, such as Costa Rica's La Ruta endurance race. Price: Trance X0, $3,700; X1, $2,700; X2, $1,900. (800) US-GIANT; www.giant-bicycles.com.
Mark Clifford / Giant Bicycles
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