FIRST RIDE: THE ALL-NEW GIANT TRANCE ADVANCED E+ – THE MOST POWERFUL LIGHT E-MTB YET?

Giant has gone to the Next Level with their new battery technology

ALL THE POWER WITHOUT THE WEIGHT

Giant invited MBA’s wrecking crew to the introduction of its all-new Trance X Advanced E+, a lightweight trail eMTB with full power capabilities. They chose St. George, UT to show us this revolutionary new light ebike and gave us the opportunity to put it to the test on some of the best tech trails in the country.

Giant Trance X advanced E+ 0 in St. George Utah – Sterling Lorence

TECH FEATURES

The real tech juice is in the new battery design. Giant has developed, in partnership with Panasonic, a new higher volume 22700 battery cell for use specifically in ebikes. This new technology is claimed to have a higher cell discharge capacity capable of powering a full-power 85nm motor with the same cell count (20) as a typical light emtb. It’s called the EnergyPak 400 and has a capacity of 400Wh. An extender pack, the EnergyPak 200, is available as well made of the same cells. All of this means a higher output than existing light ebikes but with a little bit more limited range than a traditional full-powered ebike. This battery is not removable without taking out the drive unit, so those who like to have an extra battery with them will have to settle for the EnergyPak 200 for more range.

There are 20 22700 battery cells in the EnergyPak 400 and 10 cells in the EnergyPak 200 add-on increasing the battery range by roughly 50% depending on riding conditions.

All output power, motor response times, and assist levels are managed by a small control unit scrolling through 5 modes easily tunable using Giant’s proprietary app. Assist levels range from 50% – 400% of rider power. Yamaha has partnered with Giant to create a new SyncDrive Pro motor capable of 85nm of torque output in a specific shape so the Maestro suspension system is not compromised. Giant is saying this is the first lightweight ebike capable of keeping up with its big e-brothers. At a claimed 42 pounds, the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 0 would indeed fit that description.

Giant collaborated with Yamaha to develop the SyncDrive Pro motor unit capable of putting out up to 85Nm of climb-crushing power.

This is a Trance X at its base with 150mm front and 140mm rear suspension travel but there’s a little twist – the Trance X Advanced E+ is a mixed-wheel bike. There is no option to ride a 29” wheel in the back which they claim is to maintain the shortest chainstay length for optimal ride control and maneuverability. A flip chip in the rear linkage optimizes the geometry for any riding scenario by adjusting the head angle by half a degree, the seatangle by 0.7 degrees, and the BB height by 10mm. Fox Live Valve Factory suspension with Live Valve helps keep the bumps under control while Zipp 3Moto wheels with Maxxis tires mounted to them kept the bike rolling. There are 4 versions available from the more budget-friendly 3-model to the budget-breaking 0-model which is what we rode. At the time of writing this article, the final prices for each model are yet to be fully set.

FIRST-RIDE IMPRESSIONS

With some recent light eMTB experience fresh on our minds from the Pivot Shuttle SL and the Trek Fuel EXe, we went into this test with high expectations. Giant’s claims of a full-power ebike at a fraction of the weight are not unfounded because that’s exactly what it is. Our first ride was a demonstration of its full power with a plethora of crazy climbing challenges where a full 400% assist level was very welcome. There were some particularly questionable loose and rocky ascents faced and conquered on that day that we completed with relative ease. The bike composed itself well on tight tech when changing direction quickly was a must. It’s heavier than a trail bike, but it remains remarkably maneuverable, especially under power. It took a few miles to get the Fox Live Valve set right but we were eventually able to focus solely on our riding.

Our first ride was on Zen trail which challenged us with steep technical climbs and descents which were easily conquered aboard the Trance X Advanced E+. Photo – Sterling Lorence

The lower power modes were just as effective in their purposes. Our second day was longer and was more of a demonstration of the ease of movement achievable on the bike. Many quick turns, punchy climbs, and slow tech descents were encountered that day. We felt like we were riding a normal trail bike, even if it was a little heavy. Downhill performance was just as expected on a bike like this. It’s stable but pops over things well and changes directions without complaint. A little bit of extra weight didn’t affect braking into corners much even compared to a normal trail bike. Even bunny-hopping up small ledges wasn’t a challenge we backed away from just because it’s an ebike. We do feel a similar effect could’ve been achieved with a 29” rear wheel, but it’s hard to say for sure.

On day two we tested the bike’s battery range by riding Gooseberry Mesa which provided us with some breathtaking views of the famous Zion National Park as well as some epic riding. Photo – Sterling Lorence.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Giant’s progression in technology with the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite is noticeable in one particular way after only 2 days of riding. It pushes past some of the expected limitations of pairing a lighter battery with a full-power motor with surprising results. At the end of each of our rides, we noticed we still had plenty of battery power left to do another, slightly smaller, loop – note we didn’t go easy on the battery in any way. Other innovations like the Ergo 3 controller, size-specific grips, and the Contact SLR Trail Integrated handlebar are just notable sidekicks of this new battery. The choice to make this bike a mullet is slightly strange in our eyes. We feel a full 29” wheel bike makes more sense in this range of travel and intended use, but it performed well in spite of that thought. This is an ebike, but it’s a new generation and we’re excited to see where it goes from here. The fact it rides so similar to a normal trail bike while giving the accessibility of a full-power ebike is incredible and we can’t wait to put it to the test even further.

We got called “CRAZY” for this one, but we couldn’t resist. Luckily Sterling Lorence was there to capture the craziness with an epic view in the background.
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