GIANT ebike - Trance X E+ 1 Pro review
Modern ebike MTB designs are being revised at an ever-increasing pace. The GIANT ebike Trance X E+ Pro was quick to adopt the trend towards smaller 27.5” rear wheels in 2019 but after only 2 years, this GIANT ebike reverted to the larger 29” rear.
GIANT brand bikes are world leaders in ebike sales, so they know what consumers want. This article investigates the features and benefits of the Trance X E+ Pro and answers the question
Why buy a GIANT ebike Trance X E+ Pro ?
Reverting to a larger rear wheel, bucks the trend of most modern ebike MTB design. The decision speaks volumes about the target market for this GIANT ebike.
To understand the importance of why this GIANT brand bike moved to a larger rear wheel, we first have to understand the benefits of smaller vs larger rear wheels.
The benefits of 27.5” wheels on ebikes
Smaller wheels have less rotational mass than their larger counterparts. Reduced wheel mass reduces the gyroscopic effect that resists turning motion. The smaller wheels found on other ebike brands make their eMTBs more nimble, and able to change direction quicker.
In addition, the reduced inertia of a smaller wheel improves acceleration. It’s a cliche, but think of the spinning ice skater. When they throw their limbs out they rotate slowly and when they draw them in, they spin faster.
The third benefit of a smaller rear wheel is the reduction in unsprung mass. Lighter rear wheels are quicker to respond to spring and damping settings. On rough tracks, lighter wheels are in contact with the ground more. More time in contact with the trail improves traction for better acceleration and edge grip to improve turning.
Finally, a smaller rear wheel allows a shorter chain stay as the wheel can be pulled forward by 3/4“. Shorter chain stays make the bike more nimble.
So, what are the benefits of larger wheels like the 29” wheels used on the Trance X E+ GIANT ebike?
- The first benefit is that the larger profile wheel has a larger contact patch with the ground. The larger contact patch provides greater traction.
- Larger diameter wheels smooth out slight bumps and holes to smooth out the ride on rough terrain.
- The larger gyroscopic mass of the wheel helps keep the ebike more stable.
- Finally, the 29” wheel rases rider stance (usually more comfortable for tall riders) and provides a more sturdy appearance to the ebike MTB.
The move back to a larger rear wheel on the Trance X E+ Pro signals that GIANT want the bike to provide a smoother, more stable, and less stressful ride.
They reinforced this with many other features of this ebike MTB dedicated to the same goal. As we put the ebike to the test, it is obvious that GIANT has presented a masterclass in MTB design.
Syncdrive Pro motors used on the GIANT Trance X E+ Pro provide 6 ride mode selections which can be further refined using RideControl ONE software.
The software also provides navigation, and fitness tracking. The standard ride mode selections were great, although I used only 2 of them when I was used to the bike:
Smart Assist mode adjusts motor power intelligently using the input from 6 motor sensors. Gradient sensors let the motor know when you are on a steep climb and you can feel the power assist cranking up. If you are cruising, power assist winds down to conserve battery. If you decide to sprint on a section, an accelerometer and pedal pressure sensors let the motor know to amplify the pedal assist for an extra boost.
Smart mode is great for casual riding to reach the trailhead or just cruising around. Smart assist drive settings have allowed access to the full 80Nm of torque since the 2021 model year.
When tackling steep climbs or hard trails, I set the RideControl software to ‘turbo’ for consistent delivery of maximum power. Turbo mode boosts ebike pedal power by 360% the instant you pedal. I used this mode on both uphill and downhill sections as you know that the power is there when you need it. You aren’t distracted by the motor power variations of Smart mode.
The SyncDrive Pro motor on the Trance X E+ Pro, is one of the highest torque motors on this class of full suspension mountain bike.
The power plant of this GIANT ebike is quick to activate, delivering near instant power as soon as you put pressure on the pedals.
Instead of changing gears to negotiate steep inclines or jump rocks, the smart automatic mode can deliver the required power boost when you need it. The power comes in smoothly in most drive settings although the highest Turbo mode can pull away very sharply.
There is minimal engine over-run, and the brakes haul the bike up well.When you stop pedaling, motor power stops.
This GIANT ebike is heavy. With a large battery in front of the pedals, and a long swinging arm, it is too cumbersome to maneuver gracefully. While there is plenty of power from the motor, don’t expect this ebike to bunny hop.
The powerful motor makes the GIANT ebike Trance X E+ Pro 29 an excellent climber as the SyncDrive Pro motor is a powerhouse. Combined with a 12 speed Shimano 10-51 cassette, it can handle almost any hill you throw at it.
Using the most aggressive power mode on steep climbs, it can take a little restraint to keep the front wheel on the ground.
As you would expect from a bike of this caliber, the travel range was good. The EnergyPak 625Wh battery is comparable with bikes of this class. The battery integrates neatly into the down tube and for easy removal when required.
GIANT brand bikes have invested a lot of effort and development time into the battery. The intelligent battery management system monitors the temperature, and charge levels, of each cell within the battery pack.
The immediate advantage is that the battery comes with a fast charger which cuts charge times in half compared to other ebike brands. Over the longer term, I would expect the battery to benefit from extended life before requiring an expensive replacement.
An aftermarket EnergyPak Plus, 250Wh range extender battery (weighing 4 Lbs or 1.8Kg) is also available if you enjoy longer rides.
Quality and price
The livery and paint finish of all GIANT brand bikes is top shelf. The Fluidform frame shaping of the Trance X E+ Pro 29 looks sharp, and helped round off the quality feel of this ebike MTB.
There are 2 versions of the GIANT Trance X E+ Pro 29 available in the US.
- The lower spec GIANT Trance X E+ Pro 29 3 at $5,400 in a metallic brown color “Cameleon Mars”, and
- The GIANT Trance X E+ Pro 29 1 at $6,150 in Polish Silver.
Both bikes have a very similar ride character from identical frame geometry, battery and motor. The more expensive GIANT ebike Trance X E+ Pro 29 1 boasts upgraded front forks and shock, shifter, levers, brakes, chain, cassette, wheels, spokes, tires, and derailleur.
The higher spec components certainly enhance the ride and feel although there is little difference in ride times. The slicker parts, and the more pleasant Polished Silver color, are there to entice those extra dollars from your pocket. Its sales 101. Who doesn’t have fries with their Big Mac? If you are looking at the GIANT Trance X E+ Pro 29 ebike MTB, then most of us are going to push our budget and come up with those extra dollars.
The price presents excellent value compared with other ebike MTBs of this quality and ability.
For me, as a 208 lb, 6’4” rider, the handlebars on the GIANT Trance X E+ Pro 29 were low. This became a burden on long rides and steep descents as I found numbness setting into my hands after a while.
The 140mm travel Maestro rear suspension also bottomed out when landing jumps. Although stable on fast downhill trails, the bike is too heavy to be nimble.
This is one of the heavier ebike MTB’s in its class making the bike less responsive to fast changes in line and difficult to rock hop.
You really feel the mass of this GIANT ebike MTB which detracts from the bikes’ capability on tight, twisting tracks.
GIANT ebikes have achieved what they set out to do. This is a well priced, stable and smooth driver. This ebike MTB offers the best of many worlds with its central riding position, smooth Maestro suspension linkage coupled to a powerful engine.
The result? Excitement on steep technical terrain and a totally predictable and very forgiving ride inspiring confidence. The bike is a great hill climber with a smooth, comfortable ride. Perfect for alpine trail rides.
Over all, this is a great bike for tall or heavier riders. This bike is a perfect Alpine tourer and great as a first ride if you are new to the ebike MTB world.
At just over $6K, the GIANT ebike Trance X E+ Pro 29 is a very good value eMTB. There are few bikes this capable, with this level of finish, at this price.