Twelve months ago we saw the unveiling of the 2018 range for Giant and were pretty astounded at the really complete selection of bikes and accessories that Giant had put together. With a new Reign and Anthem 29, Giant had really put themselves back at the forefront of options for enduro and XC bikes. Plus, they had some full-suspension eMTBs for Australia.

Truth be told, we weren’t that impressed with the eMTBs. But along with other updates to bikes and accessories, Giant look to have gone to the head of the class for 2019 with their new eMTBs.

All the eMTBs run Giant’s SyncDrive Yahama motor, which has a new mode selector that does away with the optical display, using LEDs to indicate mode and battery level. This really cleans up the cockpit, and given it sits above the bar, it leaves the below the bar position free for a dropper post lever. Bringing your thumb above the bar is always sub-optimal, but we would rather do it to change power mode than when we’re about to drop into a steep chute or launch a drop blind.

The battery slots into the downtube from below, which is aesthetically a lot better, plus it frees up some room in the mainframe to fit a water bottle. Sure, probably just a 500mL in a sidemount cage in a small frame, but you can get one in. We think this really matters, as an eMTB often means getting more out of the time you have. If you’re jumping on your bike to get a few runs of your favourite trail after work, it’s way easier to throw a bottle in a cage than find a backpack, wonder how old the water is, fill it… it’s a small thing but one that really helps broaden the appeal.

There is plenty of smart spec, like SRAM group sets with single shift shifters, eMTB specific suspension and hubs, stainless steel chainrings, shorter cranks, included smart chargers – it’s just a really well thought out range.

The Giant Trance SX E+ Pro

This is the bike that those who like longer travel eMTBs have been asking for. This is a slightly beefed up version of the Trance E+, with an upgrade not only to a 160mm travel fork, but to an eMTB specific Fox 36 Factory and DHX2 coil. The eMTB specific items are built to take the extra weight of the bike. The frame stays the same, but the longer fork slacks the bike out to a 66 degree head angle. The seat angle is 73.5 degrees.

The SRAM Eagle 12-speed group set is paired with w Praxis eMTB crank set with a stainless steel ring for strength. The Eagle shifter can also only shift one gear at a time, saving you from tearing the chain and sprockets to pieces with the extra power under foot. With 200mm rotors and 4-pot SRAM Code R brakes you’ll be stopping in time too.

The Plus sized wheels are the ideal match for an eMTB, and 2.6” Minions tend to have way better trail feel and strength than many of the 2.8” models around. Kudos to Giant for such a smart spec.

This is a very smart looking bike, and one that should appeal to many riders who have been looking for a quality eMTB trail and enduro bike from Giant, and it lands at $8299. Premium? For sure. Good value? You bet. Is there a downside? You’ll have to fit a small, medium or large. If you need an XS or XL, you’ll have to look at the rest of the Trance E+ Pro range.