11 Sep Giant Trance SX E+ buyer’s guide
Giant’s Trance SX E+ is a hot item on the shop floor, and our weapon of choice for the hire fleet. Giant’s newest e-MTB weapon supercedes the popular 2018 Full E+ and aligns itself with their own long-running Trance range. It’s a big time release from a global bike industry powerhouse.
So we wanted to put together a guide for the hire and the buyer; here’s what to expect from Giant’s Trance SX E+ Pro.
THE PEDAL ASSIST
Let’s start with the basics; the Giant’s battery and motor pairing work on a “pedal assist” system that means the motor only works when you do. Stop pedalling and the motor stops too. The engine only gives power up 25kph too, in accordance with Australia laws. Pedal assist feels like a helpful friend who gives you a boost when you need it, and waits quietly when you don’t.
The bike uses a 4-sensor system to measure your power output to smoothly use the engine to boost you along. It’s very unobtrusive and it doesn’t take long for it to feel normal.
POWER CONTROL AND DELIVERY
The control unit on the left side of the handlebars is used to switch between the 5 power assist modes. From lowest to highest strength they are: Eco, Basic, Active, Sport, and Power. You just flick the up and down arrows with your thumb to choose the mode you’d like. You’ll get used to it in no time.
Power is delivered depending on the mode and how hard you pedal. So a big pedal stomp on full Power mode will vigorously get you to the 25 kph limit, whereas Eco mode will give you more of a gentle push. The bike automatically senses speed, so on flat or undulating terrain it’ll use the motor when you dip under 25 kph. When it gets steep, the motor will work as you pedal to keep you going. We’ve tested it on some very steep gradients of 25-30% and the bike can get you up it so long as you have the skills to handle it.
The Trance SX E+ Pro gives power that’s very high in torque. It’s more of a strong clydesdale than a galloping stallion. It pulls strongly but it won’t run away from you. We find that Eco mode is the best for most flat and gentle uphill riding. Bump it up to higher power modes when you’re hitting the tougher climbs.
Battery life will depend on how you ride it, and what power mode you choose. Most of the time Eco and Basic are plenty to get around. Giant take their power unit from Yamaha, and it puts out 80 Nm at 250W nominal power. The battery capacity is 500Wh, meaning that the theoretical fastest battery drain time is around 2 hours if you really flog it at full power.
We did a lot of test riding on the Giant Full E+ 1 Pro which had fundmentally the same motor and battery. From the city fringe, up and over the Pioneer Women’s Trail, into and around Eagle MTB park, and back down to the city through some tasty Cleland trails. After 50km and 1,200m climbing there was 35% battery left. Another day we decided to really test its capabilities and did 53km climbing some ridiculously steep roads with full Power mode engaged. After 53km and 1,524m climbing we still had 15% left.
You’d have to try very hard, or ride for quite a long time to run the bikes flat!
There isn’t much the Trance SX E+ Pro can’t do. We’ve thrown it around the Eagle Mountain Bike Park and it’ll handle the black runs just fine – so long as you can! The motor is particularly helpful for charging over the rocky, tree-rooted trails. Point the bike at an obstacle and it’ll generally run straight over it.
It’s the same with the trails around Cleland Wildlife Park (link to Cleland Trail guide). We love having the motor to help us up the crazy steep climbs in that area. Suspension travel isn’t a huge deal through Cleland, but it’s nice to have one some of the bumpier tracks.
It’ll eat up everything out at Fox Creek and Cobblers Creek too. They tend to be smooth, certainly smoother than Eagle, so you can get a nice flow going. The tight and twisty corners at Fox Creek are especially fun on the Trance SX E+ Pro. Once you’ve caned it down to the bottom, flick the switch and zip back to the top for some more trails. It’s more than capable at the smoother parks of Sheperds Hill and Ansteys Hill too.
Of course, you can hire a Trance SX E+ Pro if you’d just like to trundle around between cafes in Stirling and surrounding area. That’s well within its capabilities!
Let’s take a deeper dive into what makes the Giant so good, and so versatile to ride:
- Suspension: The Trance SX E+ Pro has some serious suspension to absorb all the rocks and bumps you throw it at. At the front there’s an e-bike optimised Fox Float with 160mm of travel. There’s an easy to reach switch with a rotating dial if you’re riding on smooth terrain and don’t want it to bounce. There’s a Fox Float DHX2 Factory shock at the rear to absorb the bumps that come through the back of the bike.
- Braking: The Trance SX E+ Pro is sporting some fantastic braking performance from its hydraulic disc brakes and gigantic 200mm rotors. So it can stop in a big hurry, but more importantly it lets you control your speed easily. You don’t need big, or powerful hands to keep this bike well under control. That’s great news for any novice or inexperienced riders who want to head out and enjoy the trails.
- Gears: There’s a lot of gear options available thanks to the SRAM 12 speed drivetrain. There’s a single 36 tooth chainring at the front and a massive range from the 11-50t cassette at the back. Add those gears to the motor and you should be able to get up most climbs.
- Dropper post: Flick the switch and drop your butt down for an even lower centre of gravity.
- Tyres: The Maxxis Minion tyres are a thick 2.6” wide to give you plenty of grip from the tread pattern and the substantial footprint. They’ve specced different variations on the tyre for the front and back with the DHF giving you the grip for handling and the DHR helping you roll quickly on the rear.
TAKE ONE FOR A SPIN
So now you’re convinced that the Trance SX E+ Pro is a total hoot to ride. How do you get one? We have our hire fleet with multiple sizes that you can take out by yourself, or get us to do a guided tour. Head on over to our Hire page for all the options.
You can buy one from us too. We’re a certified Giant dealer and e-bike specialists. Drop into the shop, or get in contact however you’d like and we can talk to you about get a Trance SX E+ Pro underneath you.
-the WillRide team