Words: Will Shaw

Photos: Giant Bicycles, Damian Rosso

Whilst it was only released two years ago, Giant’s Reign E+ range was beginning to look a little dated in the fast-moving eMTB market. The new Reign E+ range features a smaller and more powerful motor, a bigger battery, and updated geometry with input from Josh Carlson.

There are three models of Reign E+ coming to Australia, which I’ll cover further down, but let’s look at what’s changed from the old model first.

The new SyncDrive Pro Motor: 

Giant’s old SyncDrive Pro Motor featured 80Nm of torque, which at the time was very impressive. All that torque came at a cost though, which was ground clearance. One of Josh Carlson’s requests for the new motor was to increase ground clearance (thanks Carlso), as bashing the old motor into rocks and other trail features was a frequent occurrence.

The new SyncDrive Pro Motor developed with Yamaha features 85nm of torque (which is the same as Bosch’s Performance Line CX Motor and Shimano’s EP8 Motor), and weighs in at a claimed 2.7kg (compared to an EP8 Motor at around 2.6kg and a Bosch Performance Line CX Motor at 2.79kg). it also features a whopping 37mm of increased ground clearance, even though the BB drop has increased by 10mm from 15mm to 25mm. Carlso says that the increased clearance is immediately noticeable on the new bike.

“That’s one of the biggest improvements. You want to be able to pop over roots, rocks, steps, all that kind of stuff—which I had to be conscious of before.”

The new SyncDrive Pro Motor is smaller, lighter, and more powerful than its predecessor.

In another move in step with other Motor brands the new SyncDrive Pro Motor goes from a maximum assistance of 300 percent to 400 percent (the same as the EP8). Bosch’s Performance Line CX sits at 340 percent, and I daresay we’ll see an updated motor from them soon enough also!

The new SyncDrive Pro Motor retains the six-sensor system from the old motor used to calculate the assistance required. Giant’s SmartAssist mode sounds like it’ll be the best mode for mountain biking, as it offers fluctuating assistance like Shimano’s Trail or Bosch’s eMTB mode. The other modes offered from most to least power are Power, Sport, Active, Basic, and Eco.

No controller, no problem!

Whilst it’s only one cable, the controller on the handlebars of an eMTB can give your cockpit a very cluttered look, particularly in comparison to a ‘regular’ bike with wireless electronic components. The new Reign E+ gives riders the option to ditch the controller, which will appeal to riders that aren’t changing modes on the fly and appreciate a clean cockpit.

This feature is called the RideControl Go Unit, and it’s essentially a display integrated into the top tube (this appears to be another trend in the eMTB market) that allows you to turn the bike on and off as well as cycle through the support levels. It also lets you know how much juice you’ve got left.

You can ditch the handlebar controller with the new Reign E+ range with the top tube mounted RideControl Go Unit.

For people who want to be able to change modes on the go, the Reign E+ also comes with the RideControl Ergo 3, which is a controller integrated into the grip. This three-button controller is quite minimalist and can be personalised via the RideControl App. It can be mounted on either the left or right side of the handlebar. You can also run a RideControl Ergo 3 on both sides of your handlebar if one just simply isn’t enough.

If you do want to run a controller to change modes on the fly, the RideControl Ergo 3 is a well integrated option.

All-new 750Wh EnergyPak Battery:

Another trend in the eMTB market is to either go for the biggest possible battery, or slim it right down to reduce overall bike weight (for example Specialized’s SL eBikes or the Orbea Rise). Giant have opted for the bigger is better option with the new Reign E+ and the new EnergyPak 750. With 750Wh of power, the new battery is right up there with the most powerful batteries out there (with the exception of Norco’s new 900Wh option). Despite its size, the battery can be charged up to 80 percent in just over two hours using a Giant Smart Charger.

Mullet wheels:

The old Reign E used 27.5” wheels front and rear, but the new model moves to a mullet setup. Using the 27.5” rear wheel helped Giant’s engineers tighten up the rear end by 19mm. The chainstays have gone from 470mm across the range to 454mm-457mm throughout the range depending on size and geometry setup, which is a great spot for an eMTB in this travel bracket to sit in.

Updated frame design and geometry:

The Reign E+ is offered in aluminium, and of course it uses Giant’s Maestro rear suspension system. There’s 160mm of rear travel, which is paired with a 170mm fork. A new feature on the Reign E+ is adjustable frame geometry. Two flip chips located on the linkage allow riders to change geometry between two settings (high and low), which raise or lower the bottom bracket by 10mm.

The Maestro flip chip allows you to lower or raise the BB height.

What does Josh Carlson say?

Josh had quite a big role in developing the new range, by riding and giving feedback on multiple mules throughout the development process. Carlson says the added power and control are his two favourite improvements.

“Testing involves putting prototypes into circumstances the average person isn’t going to put the bike into, but if it works for me, it’s definitely going to work for everybody else. Once you get up in that higher cadence range, this bike has plenty of support. That’s hugely beneficial for performance when you’re racing uphill. Some of the EWS stages are super technical, and the bike has to be powerful. Hopefully it will take me to the very top of the podium more than once. That’s my ultimate goal.”

Range breakdown:

Here in Australia three models of Reign E+ will arrive in early November. In news that will surprise nobody stock is very limited, so if you’re interested in a Reign E+ head into your local Giant dealer now. See below for more details on each of the three models. 

Reign E+ 0 – 750Wh EnergyPak - $10,999

Spec Highlights: 

  • Fox Float X2 Factory rear shock
  • Fox 38 Float Factory 170mm fork
  • SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain

Reign E+ 1 - 625Wh EnergyPak - $9,499

Spec Highlights:

  • Fox Float X2 Performance Elite rear shock
  • Fox 38 Float Performance Elite 170mm fork
  • Shimano Deore XT drivetrain

Reign E+ 2 – 625Wh EnergyPak - $8,499

Spec Highlights:

  • Fox Float X2 Performance Elite rear shock
  • RockShox ZEB Select 170mm fork
  • SRAM drivetrain

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