We swing a leg over Giant Bicycles’ brand new E-Bike, the category breaking Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 1 and cover all the important details.
E-bikes used to be awkward clunky monstrosities with massive down tubes and noisy motors that really detracted from the riding experience. Those days, thankfully, are well behind us and as case and point we present to you the Giant Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 1. Sleek, powerful, and incredibly fun to ride!
The Giant Trance X Adv E+ Elite 1 in Overview
As E-Bike design has been refined over the years, there are two main categories that you can fit most bikes into. There are the full powered machines with heavy motors and big 700+ Wh batteries that have a very different riding feel to a traditional mountain bike, and then you have the “light” E-bikes which don’t have quite as much power in the motor and are packaged with smaller batteries in the 300-400 Wh range and look and feel much more like a traditional mountain bike. Think of the Levo SL, Orbea Rise, Trek Fuel EXe, and similar bikes here.
Giant has recently stepped in with the Trance X Adv E+ Elite, a bike that blurs the lines between the two camps by pairing a light weight build and smaller 400 Wh battery with a very powerful 85 Nm motor, a combination that is electrifying to ride. The new E-Bike from Giant clocks in at 19 kg (for the Elite 1 model) so a touch heavier than the pure light E-Bikes, but definitely shedding some kilograms from the big brawlers.
Given the suspension platform offers up 140mm of rear wheel travel via Giant’s Maestro linkage and then 160mm up front, it is a bike built to make the most of the trails. Something between its heavy hitting Reign E+ big brother but more capable than the shorter travelled Stance E+ from Giant.
Design of the Giant Trance X Adv E+ Elite 1
The frame of the Giant Trance X Adv E+ Elite range is made from carbon fibre and houses a 400 Wh EnergyPak battery and the 85 Nm SyncDrive Pro2 motor. The bike rolls on Giant’s carbon TRX 2 wheels, with a 29 inch wheel up front and a 27.5” on the rear to make it more manoeuvrable, partly through allowing shorter chainstay (shaving nearly 30mm down from the full 29 inch Trance X E+ model).
The cables are routed internally through the headset for a clean look and on the Elite 1 model you have the Live Valve electronic suspension system from Fox controlling that 140mm / 160mm of rear / front travel. Having ridden the Live Valve system on 2 E-bikes now, I have to say it makes a notable difference. Let me elaborate.
E-Bikes can often feel quite heavy and slow to respond to inputs but the way that the Live Valve system manages an E-Bike’s damping is really phenomenal and means that it never wallows in its travel but maintains composure, allows you to pump the bike for speed and feels just a little lighter on its feet. The Live Valve system runs off the E-Bike’s battery as well so you don’t need to worry about charging it up separately!
The Trance X Adv E+ Elite’s geometry is very well balanced. Not leaning to any extremes and is very comfortable from the get go. The cockpit features an integrated handlebar and stem design that looks very clean. This does limit some adjustability off the bat but it is a quite a neutral design that I personally got along with well. The dimensions come in at 800 mm wide with a 50 mm stem.
Trance X Adv E+ Elite 1 Spec
Other notable spec items are the SRAM Code R brakes with a 220 mm rotor up front and 200mm at the rear. Great to see Giant taking the stopping power seriously on this very capable bike.
The SRAM GX Eagle AXS 10-52T drivetrain delivers crisp electronic shifting and Praxis carbon cranks round it off.
The Tranz X Rad+ dropper post offers 30mm of adjustable drop and lengths of up to 140mm in the small, 170mm in the medium and 200mm in the large and XL models allowing plenty of range for a variety of rider sizes.
Standard spec tires are the Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 up front and a 2.4 Dissector on the rear, both in EXO casing, a fast and fun combo though slim on puncture protection with that EXO casing.
Key Geo Numbers
We’ll run through some of the key Geo numbers quick to give some context to the bike’s handling.
Head tube angle: Low-65.8 / High-66.5
Head tube Length: 95 up to 130 (S to L)
Reach: S-439, M-457, L-480 to L-505 (+8mm for the high settings)
Chainstays: 447 in all sizes and chip settings
Seat tube Length: S-400 / M-425 / L-450 / XL-475. Short and straight allowing for longer travel dropper posts! Yes please!
Seat tube angle: Low- 76 / High-76,7 and feels like it’s right in the sweet spot.
The Power System
Let’s tuck into the core of the bike, the power system.
As mentioned there is the 85 Nm SyncDrive Pro2 motor giving you the beans and this is fuelled by a 400 Wh EnergyPak battery. Giant’s SyncDrive motor, made in collaboration with Yamaha, is well regarded for its high power output and that is very much the case on the Trance X Adv E+ Elite range! The motor is reasonably quiet, not distracting by any means, and feels powerful but not overbearing. It delivers its oomph with finesse.
Controlling the power is done through the discreet RideControl Ergo 3 controller that can be mounted on the left or right of the handlebars. The RideControl GO display on the top tube is where the bike is powered on/off, gives you a 5 bar battery reading and indicates your power modes on the left.
If you want more detailed information during the ride you’ll have to connect the bike to an ANT+ supported head unit or the RideControl app, the latter from which you can customise the amount of support delivered in each mode to suit your preferences. In doing this you can manage the motor’s output to be more like that of other light E-Bikes and preserve your range if you’re looking to do a longer out-ride. Or if you just have an hour or so after work to squeeze in a ride, let it rip in full power mode and hang on!
Available models of the Giant Trance X Adv E+ Elite
For now the Elite 1 is the only model that will be available locally of the Trance X Adv E+ Elite range. It will be priced at R199 990, Live Valve suspension, TRX carbon wheels, SRAM AXS electronic shifting and all!
It slots into the middle of the travel range for Giant’s E-Bike offerings, delivers the same max power outputs but of course with the smaller battery and lighter weight.
Those looking for a similarly capable package but with more range can either get a hold of the 200 Wh range extender or look at the full-fat Trance X E+ model that packs a 750 Wh battery.
Our Take on The Trance X Adv E+ Elite 1
We have had some time to familiarise ourselves with the bike and what it offers in terms of ride experience and one thing is for certain, we aren’t rushing to hand it back to Giant! E-bikes in general are bucket loads of fun to ride and this Trance X Adv E+ Elite 1 is right up there with the best of them when it comes to ride experience! Seriously, if you’ve not ever ridden an E-bike, go and Demo one, it is bound to put a massive grin on your face!
Sizing and Setup
As for the sizing of this bike. It is the middle of the road for a modern trail bike. The reach on the Large felt comfortable for me at 179cm tall (though a little longer than what I’m used to as I typically ride a size small), and was plenty roomy when seated! The size range from small to XL is said to cater for riders from 163 to 193cm..
The setup is fairly involved given all the electronics (if you want to dig into all the customizations) but the basic live valve setup is the same as a non-electronic system. Set your sag, rebound and also compression and you’re good to go. If you want to customise it further, download the Live Valve app and select from 5 tunes and adjust their bump compliance independently. The standard Sport Mode is a good tune and will deliver a great ride out the box if you don’t want to do too much fiddling.
Let’s talk about the handling on this bike. Unsurprisingly, it rides somewhere between those 16-17 kg lightweight E-Bikes and the big 23+ kg brutes.
The front end of the Trance X Adv E+ Elite 1 feels light and easy to throw into corners and pick up over obstacles when you want to. Heavyweight E-Bikes can have a bit of a motorbike feeling, being very planted and offering tons of traction, and this bike is not quite like that. It is much closer to an enduro bike in feeling. It delivers a confidence inspiring ride but you’re in control, not just a passenger.
Giant’s Maestro Suspension is known for being active and offering up oodles of traction and that holds true on this E-Bike. It rides with composure and holds its line. The Trance X Adv E+ Elite asks for a slightly forward positive riding position to get weight on the front wheel, at least relative to the bigger E Bikes in Giant’s range and so is a little more similar to a traditional bike in this matter.
Our highlights on the bike are certainly that SyncDrive Pro 2 motor, it is a brute and will muscle you up just about anything you point it at, especially if you crank it up to the full 400% support mode with 85 Nm of torque.
That torque is also available in the lower support settings so if you’re in tour or eco mode, you’ll still feel adequately supported by the motor.
Next is the Live Valve suspension. It really is a great feature on the E-Bike platform. Is it the make or break feature for this bike? I would say no. Does it add value to the experience though? Undoubtedly. As mentioned earlier, I’ve ridden this system on a couple of different E-bike models and the experience carries through, the bike is definitely more responsive and taught when riding (which I personally enjoy) and this contributes to the overall agility of the Trance X Adv E+ Elite 1’s handling, which is our final highlight.
The balance between E-Bike stability and trail bike responsiveness is great fun to play with on this platform. It is a bike that is just plain fun to ride! Would it still perform like this without the live valve, I would say yes but likely to a lesser degree. It wouldn’t be a dealbreaker though. The bike’s weight, geometry, and motor tune also have big contributions to this experience and will be present throughout the range.
Who is the Trance X Adv E+ Elite 1 for?
I’m picturing the rider who is often looking to squeeze the 1 hour after work laps and make the most out of that time. Then on longer weekend rides you are happy not to go full power all day but just enjoy a decent hand of support from the motor and cover some good ground.
Smaller riders will also appreciate the lighter handling of the bike as opposed to heavier big battery options, that is something to consider as well.
We trust that you’ve learned some useful info about the new Trance X Adv E+ Elite 1! If you’re keen to test ride one, chat to your local Giant dealer and they’ll be able to make that happen for you!
Find more detail on the bike here: www.giant-bicycles.co.za/