Giant Full-E+ 1
Angles on the bike closely match those of the Trance with the biggest difference being the chainstays growing from 440cm to 470cm and the heat tube from 120mm to 145mm on a size Large. To accommodate the motor around the bottom bracket, Giant opted for a single pivot suspension design called SmartLink instead of their well-known Maestro design. Internal cable routing has been executed well with little to no sign of the extra cables needed to send information from the sensors to the computer. Controlling the motor is done through a neat handlebar mounted remote with ride, mode and battery info displayed on a LCD screen that is centrally mounted.
Yamaha's Evolution line SyncDrive motor develops a hearty 80Nm and is powered by a 500Wh battery which will be good for 200km under ideal circumstances in Eco mode. This range is achieved by Giant's EnergyPak battery technology, with a 25% higher energy density when compared to competitors' batteries of the same size and weight. There is a battery level indicator on the battery with five LEDs to show you how much juice is left and the screen displays battery life left in percentage and a level indicator to make a quick glance possible.
New 4-sensor technology system precisely measures the amount of force a rider is applying to the pedals and delivers the power boost. To deliver even power across the entire gear range the system combines speed and torque sensors with motor and pedal rotation sensors. As with other e-bikes to hit our shores, Giant's range of e-bikes have their top speed limited to 25km/h to comply with European law.
- Evolution line SyncDrive 80Nm central motor, powered by YAMAHA
- 500Wh battery pack for longest range
- Fox 34 Float FIT4 140mm travel fork
- Contact Switch remote height adjust seatpost
- Shimano Deore/XT 10-speed drivetrain
- Shimano M506 hydraulic disc brakes
- Colour: Orange/Acid Yellow available locally; Black/White tested
- Weight: 21,9 kg
Big news here is the use of a Fox 34 Float Performance. Although not as smooth as the Factory model, it is a great pick for the Full-E with the beefed up lowers and the extra stiffness adding composure to the heavy bike.
A Deore / XT drivetrain paired with a FSA crank and 36T chainring keep the wheels spinning. A set of Shimano M506 brakes running a 200 mm rotor up front and 180 mm rotor rear will slow you down when requested. Apart from the Schwalbe Nobby Nic, all the finishing parts come from Giant's own stable. The Giant branded kit has improved considerably over the last couple of years to the point where it does not seem out of place on any of their bikes.
A nice touch is the Trail star compound front and Pace star compound rear Nobby Nic. I'm sure it would have been easier to go with one compound front and rear, but it shows Giant have their eyes on the details when planning bikes.
The 730mm handlebar is on the narrow side and I would like to see at least 760mm being selected. It is easy enough to cut aluminium bars down to your preferred width should 760mm be too wide. At least that way you will not have to buy a new handlebar.
The first thing you notice is that the overall feel of the bike is typically Giant: neutral, positive feel that is almost familiar from the off. Switch the electric assist on, select your preferred mode and off you go. It's like riding a bicycle! My very unscientific test took me from 15km/h to 20km/h when switching from Eco to Normal modes and keeping my effort and cadence consistent. Going one more level up to Sport required me to up my cadence and drop a gear or two as I quickly started spinning out before hitting the 25km/h limit.
The motor makes light work of even the steepest climbs and longest days in the saddle rewarding you with fresh legs when hitting the single track on your favourite trail. At speed the Full-E sheds the e-bike feel allowing you to attack trail sections like you would on your regular bike. Due to the increase in rear chainstay length it is not as agile as a regular Trance and getting the front wheel up takes a bit more effort, but one quickly adapts to that.
The computer son e-bikes need to start having ANT+ or Bluetooth built in to allow greater connectivity. I can see a world where e-bike riders can keep an eye on their heart rates and training zones with a connected screen rather than having to carry another device around. It would also be a great add on to have an App that can be used to tune your settings to your liking like Specialized's Mission Control does with their Turbo Levo range. It adds a level of customization that is truly useful and something I believe will soon be standard on e-bikes.
The only real change I would like is to have a more gradual initial kick-in. Other than that the bike rides like the mountain bikes we love to ride, with an on the trail feel that is good with positive feedback from the suspension and Giant's neutral feel.
- Regular mountain bike feel
- Buying one of Giant's e-bikes will mean great support and back-up through their vast dealership footprint
- Motor's kick-in takes some getting used to (worth noting that this is not unique to Giant)
Note: Full-E+1 as tested was an early demo bike brought into the country to show to dealers and has a different colour scheme. The specification is the same as is currently available at your local Giant dealer.
Giant Dirt-E+ 1
The Dirt-E is a 100mm travel hardtail. As the electronic components match those of the Full-E, the main difference between the two is in the bike design and component choice. In terms of design, unlike the Full-E, the Dirt-E integrates the battery pack into the downtube making for a far sleeker looking bike.
The components on the Dirt-E+ 1 while on the lower end of mid-range, are all proper mountain biking parts. There is nothing attached to the bike that is not ready for off-road duty.
The bike features Shimano gearing with a FSA crankset and KMC chain. The 2x10 setup is mostly Deore level with an XT rear derailleur. The brakes are also from Shimano with 180mm rotors. A SR Suntour Raidon 100 mm air fork dampens the shocks on the front. The bike is finished off with Giant's own wheelset and Connect cockpit components.
On the trails, the Dirt-E felt very much like you would expect a bike of this specification level to feel. The central, low weight of the motor and battery did well at masking the true heft of this bike, even allowing for confident pavement bunny hops.
The only thing you need to remember on the Dirt-E (if you want power assistance) is to turn it on. Otherwise, it is as simple as can be. Changing between the power modes via the handlebar remote is intuitive and the information on the display is clear and relevant.
Like the Full-E, the Dirt-E makes climbing much easier on the legs but don't be fooled into thinking you won't be doing any work. Even in full assist mode, I still found myself attacking the climbs and working up a sweat.
On downhill sections due to the 25 km/h speed limit, you are mostly on your own. It was rather pleasant having a bit of assist out of slower corners, helping to get you back up to speed and blasting down the trail in no time. This does come at a cost however as the kick in from coasting was noticeable and is something you need to constantly remind yourself about to being flung off balance.
I was a bit confused about the 2x10 gearing until I turned the power off. When pedalling with assistance, gear choice has little consequence as the motor helps power you through even in the toughest gears. But when powered off or in economical assistance mode, the easier gears start to make sense, especially if in the hands of a rider that already requires the electronic assistance to get around.
The Dirt-E rides exactly how you would expect a normal bicycle of this specification to ride. This is an impressive feat by Giant considering the additional 10 kg or so worth of motor and battery strapped to the bike. This modestly kitted hardtail model will never excite a mountain biking enthusiast but for casual riders looking for a bit of help on the climbs or a commuter looking to make things easier and faster, the Dirt-E+ 1 will do the trick.