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Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro Review

The Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro is well rounded and reasonably priced earning it our Best Buy Award.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $4,830 List
Pros:  Reasonably priced, good distance range, well rounded performance, solid component spec
Cons:  Heavy, sluggish handling at times, controls/display are difficult to read
Manufacturer:   Giant Bicycles
By Jeremy Benson, Joshua Hutchens, Chris McNamara  ⋅  Jun 10, 2019
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 6
  • E-Bike Controls - 10% 6
  • Downhill Performance - 35% 8
  • Climbing Performance - 20% 8
  • Power Output - 15% 8
  • Distance Range - 20% 9

Our Verdict

Giant is well known for offering quality bikes at reasonable prices, and their Trance E+ 2 Pro is no exception. Giant is a relative newcomer to the electric mountain bike market, and they have developed a quality, versatile offering. Not only is the Trance E+ sleek looking with a nicely integrated battery and motor design, but it also comes equipped with an impressive and shred ready component specification, especially considering the asking price. It's built around their Maestro suspension platform and based on their popular Trance design with modern trail bike geometry, so it comes as no surprise that it has a buttery smooth suspension feel and reliable downhill performance. It does well on the climbs too, mostly thanks to the muscular SyncDrive Pro pedal assist motor with five output settings. Like most e-bikes, the Trance E+ 2 is heavy and combined with its long chainstays occasionally feels sluggish in its handling, especially at lower speeds. While functional, the RideControl One all-in-one control unit is certainly not easy to read while riding. Otherwise, there's little not to like about the Trance E+, especially at this price.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $4,830 List$5,950 List$5,399 List$5,299 List$4,999.95 at REI
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Pros Reasonably priced, good distance range, well rounded performance, solid component specversatile, fits water bottle, least e-bike looking, good battery life, low center of gravityGood controls, huge distance range, confidence inspiring at speed, good component specSmooth and consistent power output, modern geometry,Cushy suspension, digital display, meaty tires
Cons Heavy, sluggish handling at times, controls/display are difficult to readno digital display, more abrupt power assist cutoffHeaviest in test, sluggish at low speedsNo digital display, wimpy tires and fork, center of gravity feels highLess torque, shorter distance range, inconsistent power output
Bottom Line The Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro is well rounded and reasonably priced earning it our Best Buy Award.The Specialized Turbo Levo Comp returns to our e-bike test with a well rounded performance that earns it our Editor's Choice Award, again.The Bulls E-Stream Evo AM 4 is a brawler on the descents with an impressive distance range thanks to its large battery storage capacity.The Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50 is close to greatness but is held back by its controls and components.The Ghost Hybride SL AMR S1.7+ looks interesting on paper but doesn't come together well on the trail.
Rating Categories Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro Specialized Turbo Levo Comp Bulls E-Stream EVO AM 4 Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50 Ghost Hybride SL AMR S1.7+
E Bike Controls (10%)
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7
10
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5
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7
Downhill Performance (35%)
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8
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8
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7
Climbing Performance (20%)
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8
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8
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7
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7
Power Output (15%)
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Distance Range (20%)
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Specs Giant Trance E+ 2... Specialized Turbo... Bulls E-Stream EVO... Instinct Powerplay... Ghost Hybride SL...
Motor System Giant SyncDrive Pro Yamaha Specialized 2.1, Custom Rx Trail-tuned 250W Brose Drive S (250W) 650Wh Dyname 3.0 250w Shimano Steps DU E8000
Fork Fox 36 Float Rhythm 150mm RockShox Revelation Charger RC 150mm RockShox Lyrik RC Boost Solo Air 150mm RockShox Reba RL E-Bike 140mm RockShox Revelation 140mm
Motor Power (torque) 80Nm ? 90Nm 108Nm 70Nm
Battery Size (Wh) 500Wh 500Wh 650Wh 500Wh 504Wh
Measured Weight (w/o pedals, Medium) 52lbs 3oz 48.3 lbs 55.15 lbs 52lbs 4oz 50lbs 14oz
Suspension & Travel Maestro 140mm Future Shock Rear (FSR) - 150mm RockShox Deluxe RT 150mm Ride 9 Adjustable SLAMR 140mm
Wheel size (inches) 27.5+ 29 27.5+ 29 27.5+ front, 29 rear
Shock Fox Float DPS Performance EVOL RockShox Deluxe RT RockShox Deluxe RT RockShox Deluxe Debonair RT RockShox Super Deluxe Coil R
Frame Material ALUXX SL aluminum Aluminum FORM Alloy
Frame Size Tested Medium Medium Large Medium Medium
Available Sizes XS-XL S-XL 44/49/54 cm S-XL S-XL
Wheelset Giant AM 27.5+ rims/Giant eTracker hubs 35mm internal rim width Roval Traverse 29, 30mm internal Formula Hubs/Bulls Rims Sun Duroc SD37 Alex MD30/35 rims with Ghost Disc Hubs
Front Tire Maxis Minion DHF EXO 27.5 x 2.6 Butcher Grid 29 x 2.6 Schwalbe Magic Mary Snakeskin, TLE, Apex, 27.5 x 2.8 Maxxis Rekon EXO 2.6" Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 29" x 2.5"
Rear Tire Maxxis Rekon EXO 27.5 x 2.6 Butcher Grid 29 x 2.6 Nobby Nic Snakeskin, TLE, Apex, 27.5 x 2.8 Maxxis Rekon EXO 2.6" Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO Maxx Terra 27.5" x 2.8"
Shifters Shimano SLX 11-speed SRAM S700 Shimano Deore XT SL-M8000 SRAM GX-1E Shimano SLX 11-speed
Front Derailleur N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT 11-Speed SRAM GX, 11-speed Shimano Deore XT RD-8000-GS, 11-speed SRAM NX 11-speed Shimano XT
Crankset Praxis Wavetm 36T Praxis 2D Alloy 32T SR Suntour 38T + Miranda Race Face Ride Cinch 34T Ground Fiftyone 34T
Crankarms 170mm 165mm not specified, but at least 170 160mm
Bottom Bracket not specified Race Face BB92 not specified
Cassette Shimano HG-M7000, 11-46T SRAM PG-1130 11-42t Shimano SLX CS-M7000-11 , 11-speed, 11-42T SunRace CSMX8 11-46T Sunrace CSMS8 11-46T
Chain KMC e. 11 Turbo KMC X11ET KMC X11E KMC X11-1 not specified
Saddle Giant Contact Neutral Body Geometry Phenom Comp 143mm Selle Royal Seta M1/Bulls WTB Volt Race WTB Koda e-bike
Seatpost Giant Contact Switch dropper X-Fusion Manic 150mm KS LEV-Integra Race Face Aeffect Dropper Satori Sorata Fury
Handlebar Giant Contact 35 Trail 800mm Specialized Trail 780mm Bulls Rocky Mountain AM 760mm Ghost Race 780mm
Stem Giant Contact SL 35 Specialized Trail --mm x ---mm Monkey Link Rocky Mountain AM Ghost Race
Brakes Shimano BR-MT5220 4-piston 203mm rotors SRAM Guide RE 4 piston 200mm rotors Magura MT5 hydraulic disk brakes SRAM Guide T TRP G-Spec Trail S
Grips Giant Specialized Sip Grip Ergon Rocky Mountain Lock On Light Ergon
Measured Effective Top Tube (mm) 610 600 638 590 595
Measured Reach (mm) 449 435 435 446 450
Measured Head Tube Angle 66 65.3 67 66 66.5
Measured Seat Tube Angle 74.5 74.5 74 75.9 75.8
Measured Bottom Bracket Height (mm) 342 348 354 342 340
Measured Standover Height (mm)
Measured Wheelbase (mm) 1215 1200 1230 1194 1210
Measured Chain Stay Length (mm) 474 457 462 448 460
Warranty Lifetime Five Years on frame not specified

Our Analysis and Test Results

Giant is a bicycle industry powerhouse, so it was only a matter of time before they brought a great electric mountain bike to market. Generally speaking, Giant is known for offering quality bikes at relatively reasonable prices and the Trance E+ 2 Pro fits that description. This is the least expensive model in our test selection, yet it still comes with a quality component specification and an all-around performance that exceeds the asking price. The Trance E+ easily earned our Best Buy Award for its great price to performance ratio.

Performance Comparison


Solid all-around performance  good components  and a reasonable price earned the Trance E+ 2 Pro our Best Buy Award.
Solid all-around performance, good components, and a reasonable price earned the Trance E+ 2 Pro our Best Buy Award.

E-bike Controls


The controls on the Trance E+ are functional but far from the most user-friendly that we've tested. Giant has integrated their handlebar mounted RideControl ONE remote system by the left grip. This is an all in one unit that has all of the control buttons as well as small indicator lights for the output setting and battery life. This unit has decent ergonomics, and everything is all in one place, but testers found the small indicator lights to be hard to see, especially in bright light conditions.

The control unit itself is relatively small and sits just inside the left grip on the handlebar. On the face of the unit, there is a small power button, two larger buttons to shift and up or down through the output settings, and a button that controls the brightness of the LED lights. There is also a small button on the bottom of the housing for the walk-assist mode. There are several small LED lights on either side of the power and dimmer buttons. The row of lights on the right side of the buttons displays the battery charge remaining. The lights on the left side of the buttons show the power output setting. There are five output settings; the number of lights illuminated indicates the output setting. Giant also makes RideControl display units that can be mounted on the handlebar for a heads up digital display, but this isn't included on the Trance E+ 2.

From an ergonomics standpoint, the controls on the Trance E+ 2 Pro are quite similar to and generally on par with most of the other bikes in this test. The one bike that has more ergonomically friendly controls is the Commencal Meta Power Race that we used in a previous test with under-bar shifters that are simply easier to reach with your thumb. The RideControl One system is relatively good, but like most e-bikes, we feel there is room for improvement, and we're patiently waiting for them to evolve.

The RideControl One unit is functional  but it certainly isn't easy to read while riding or in bright light conditions. We'd recommend the upgrade to a handlebar display.
The RideControl One unit is functional, but it certainly isn't easy to read while riding or in bright light conditions. We'd recommend the upgrade to a handlebar display.

The Trance E+2 loses a little ground to the competition for its display. Sure, it's nice to have everything in one unit, but the location by the left grip isn't all that easy to see when you're riding. The small LED's on the unit are also somewhat challenging to see, especially when they are in direct sunlight. We prefer digital displays that are easy to read and located in the center of the handlebar, so you don't have to look to the side to see them. The Trek Powerfly 7 has a similar all in one control unit to the Trance E+, but the Trek's unit has a small digital display as opposed to the LED's. The Bulls E-Stream has a similar all-in-one control/display

The Trance E+ comes with an EnergyPak 6A charger and charges reasonably quickly. Giant claims a 60% charge in 60 minutes. The charging port is hidden under a small cover towards the bottom of the left side of the down tube, and the charging cord has a secure interface with the port. The charging port cover closes securely, and we never had any issues with debris getting inside while riding like we occasionally did with the Specialized Turbo Levo.

Modern trail bike geometry  Maestro suspension  and a quality build combine to make the Trance a confident and fun descender.
Modern trail bike geometry, Maestro suspension, and a quality build combine to make the Trance a confident and fun descender.

Downhill Performance


The Trance E+'s performance on the descents is quite good thanks to its capable geometry and quality suspension package. It's got a versatile modern geometry that makes it feel comfortable at a range of speeds and everything from mellow to gnarly descents. It feels stable and planted with Giant's supple ground-hugging Maestro suspension platform and a beefy fork that is plenty plush and has a sturdy enough chassis for this bike's heavy weight. The 4-piston Shimano brakes with large rotors also do a fine job of slowing and stopping this heavyweight rig.

Supple is the best way to describe the suspension feel of the Trance E+. The Fox suspension is cushy, and the Maestro design helps this bike float over small and mid-sized chop like it's not even there. The Fox fork has 36mm stanchions that are appropriately stout for a bike of this weight, and it feels much more confidence inspiring on descents than some of the under-forked models in this review like the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay or the Trek Powerfly 7.

Giant's Maestro suspension is a proven design and works well on the Trance E+.
Giant's Maestro suspension is a proven design and works well on the Trance E+.

This heavyweight bike isn't especially playful, it prefers a more mellow approach, and it certainly feels like an e-bike. It hugs the ground and has heaps of cornering traction thanks to its 52+ lb weight. It gets up to speed quickly and easily and feels impressively stable thanks to its longer 1215mm wheelbase, long chainstays, and slack-ish 66-degree head tube angle. Like most bikes that are this heavy and long, it can feel a little sluggish at lower speeds or in tight technical terrain on the descents. It doesn't flinch when the going gets steep, however, and you can confidently pilot it down the gnar thanks to its combination of a slack head tube and plush suspension.

It takes a bit of effort to get the Trance off the ground due to its weight and long chainstays. It prefers to stay planted and plow down the trail.
It takes a bit of effort to get the Trance off the ground due to its weight and long chainstays. It prefers to stay planted and plow down the trail.

It doesn't feel like quite as much of a brawler as the Bulls E-Stream Evo which has a burlier feel overall. It also doesn't feel like a regular mountain bike like the Specialized Turbo Levo. Instead, the Trance E+ occupies that comfortable middle ground with a competent downhill performance that isn't super aggressive nor incredibly agile.

Climbing Performance


The Trance E+ 2 is a comfortable and effective bike on the uphills. This is mostly thanks to its powerful pedal assist drive unit but is also a result of its nice steep seat tube angle and comfortable seated pedaling position. It chugs along on smoother sections of trail and powers up and over technical sections with ease, as long as it's not too tight or technical. The Trance's long wheelbase, slack front end, and weight become very apparent at low speeds, tight switchbacks, or awkward uphill tech.

The drive system delivers consistent power when climbing and doesn't tend to cut in and out the way some other bikes can. The power comes on smooth and strong and continues just slightly when you stop pedaling. This helps you keep a little momentum through uphill sections where you need to stop pedaling for a moment, and it doesn't give so much that it pushes you into anything.

The steep seat tube puts you in a comfortable position  the powerful pedal assist motor helps you scramble up anything.
The steep seat tube puts you in a comfortable position, the powerful pedal assist motor helps you scramble up anything.

The climbing performance of the Trance E+ is similar to many of the other e-bikes we've tested. This bike is big and bulky, but it rallies up climbs thanks to its pedal assistance and the power that's there when you need it. It definitely feels like an e-bike, in a similar way to the Bulls E-Stream Evo, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It makes the uphills half the fun of the ride as long as you're riding more open and fast sections of trail. We found the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay to handle a little more awkwardly, mostly because the weight feels higher on the bike and gives it a little more tippy and less natural feeling handling. The Specialized Turbo Levo takes the cake here, again, for its exceedingly normal feel, excellent handling, and strong power output.

The Trance is a solid and comfortable climber.
The Trance is a solid and comfortable climber.

Power Output


The Trance E+ 2 Pro features Giant's SyncDrive Pro drive system. Giant claims it delivers 80Nm of torque and up to 360 percent support. It has five output settings, as well as no output, so you can choose the level of pedal assistance to suit your needs or preference. The preset output settings are quite good, but there is also a RideControl app where you can sync to the motor via Bluetooth and customize the settings. The app also allows you to plan a ride, and it will provide the output settings to optimize your battery life.

The motor is relatively quiet, it's not silent or anything, but it's not annoying to listen to like the Ghost SL AMR. Power comes on strong and smooth the moment you press down on the pedals; there is no lag in engagement. The motor also shifts smoothly through its output settings without any jerkiness. The 80Nm of torque feels quite robust and towards the top of the heap in terms of power feel. The Bulls E-Stream feels a little more torque-ier, and that's not surprising given the claimed 90Nm of torque.

It's not overly powerful  but there is plenty of juice on tap when you need and want it.
It's not overly powerful, but there is plenty of juice on tap when you need and want it.

When compared to the Ghost Hybride SL AMR side by side, the Giant felt like it gave a much stronger power output. This was especially noticeable when climbing and you had to put in way more effort on the Ghost, and you were still going slower. The Specialized Turbo Levo feels slightly more powerful overall than the Giant, though it has only three output settings so it can be more challenging to find the perfect support level.

Range


The Trance E+ 2 has a solid distance range and performed well when compared to the other models in this review with the same size battery. To standardize our range testing, we are now having the same tester take each bike and perform the exact same test riding up and down a steep hill on the highest output setting until the battery is depleted. The Trance E+ proved to have the second longest distance range in this test group, not counting the Bulls E-Stream Evo which has a much larger battery.

Our tester rode the Giant 19.02 miles and 4,000 vertical feet. Only one bike went further, and that is the Rocky Mountain Instinct Powerplay which went 20 miles and 4,297 vertical feet. While it seems like the Instinct can go further, our tester noted that he didn't feel like it was providing him with as much pedal assistance and that he was working harder during the test. The Specialized Turbo Levo Comp also impressed us with 18.71 miles and 3,949 vertical feet, just barely less range than the Giant. The Turbo Levo has also seen thousands of miles, and the battery isn't brand new like our other test models, so it stands to reason that it could have a greater range with a fresher battery. The Ghost Hybride SL AMR had the least range in this test at 16.75 miles and 3,559 vertical feet.

The Trance has a good distance range  plus it is programmable through the app to customize the output for your planned ride.
The Trance has a good distance range, plus it is programmable through the app to customize the output for your planned ride.

Build


The Trance E+ 2 Pro comes with an impressive build for the price, and this bike is pretty much ready for anything in its stock configuration. Everything from the suspension to the brakes is well thought out and works to enhance its overall performance. Because this is the least expensive model in this review, we're especially impressed by the price to build ratio that blows the competition out of the water.

The Fox 36 fork is a highlight on this bike and is sturdy enough to handle the weight.
The Fox 36 fork is a highlight on this bike and is sturdy enough to handle the weight.

Its got 140mm of rear suspension and 150mm in the front. The Maestro suspension platform is very plush, and the bike feels pretty balanced front and rear. The Fox Float DPS Performance EVOL rear shock is highly tunable and has a 3-position compression damping switch. The Fox 36 Float Rhythm fork has beefy 36mm stanchions, feels stout, and handles the weight of this rig very well. It's also very tunable and provides a plush performance that we generally expect from higher end forks.

The Trance has a good cockpit setup.
The Trance has a good cockpit setup.

The cockpit setup of the Trance E+ 2 feels pretty dialed. They've spec'd a nice 800mm wide house-branded Contact 35 Trail handlebar and a short Contact SL 35 stem. The 35mm clamp diameter on the bar/stem combo feels solid and sturdy and helps manage the forces of steering this portly bike. They've also attached a set of comfortable Giant branded lock on grips that provide a good bar feel. The Giant Contact saddle is ok but far from the most comfortable saddle out there. We loved the consistent and reliable performance of the Contact Switch dropper post and especially the ergonomics of the 1x style under-mount remote lever.


Giant has thoughtfully spec'd a robust set of 4-piston Shimano BR-MT520 brakes with 203mm rotors front and rear. These brakes do a fine job of stopping and slowing this heavyweight bike. The drivetrain is a Shimano SLX/XT mix and works well as Shimano components typically do. We do prefer e-bike optimized drivetrain components, but we really can't complain about the performance of this setup. They've also spec'd a nice stiff set of 170mm Praxis cranks with a 36-tooth chainring. If you should ever end up pedaling this bike without pedal assistance, there is a pretty good range offered by the 36-tooth front ring paired with the 11-46T cassette.

The Maxxis Rekon rear tire has plenty of volume  but we'd probably be quick to swap it out for something with a burlier tread.
The Maxxis Minion DHF is a favorite front tire and it provides great cornering traction.

Like many e-bikes, the Trance E+ 2 Pro has 27.5+ wheels and tires. Giant has spec'd their AM 27.5+ rims with eTracker e-bike optimized hubs for the wheelset. The rims have a nice wide 35mm internal rim width that plays well with the girthy 2.6" rubber mounted to them. They've put a Maxxis Minion DHF EXO up front and a Maxxis Rekon EXO on the back of the bike. The DHF is among the most popular mountain bike tires ever, revered for its excellent and predictable cornering traction. The Rekon isn't our favorite tire due to its lower profile knobs that don't quite provide enough braking and climbing traction, but it works pretty well on a bike with a pedal assist motor.

Best Applications


The Trance E+ 2 Pro is a solid all-around trail bike that performs well just about everywhere. It definitely feels a lot like a heavyweight e-bike so it likely won't appeal to the consumer who is looking for a livelier model that feels more like a mountain bike. That said, we enjoyed riding the Trance E+ just about everywhere and in all situations. It's also a solid value and the best bet for the consumer looking for the best deal.

Value


With a retail price of $4,830, we feel the Trance E+ 2 is a great value and a shoo-in for our Best Buy Award. This bike comes with a very nice component specification for the price and performs better than some models that cost more. There's no denying that electric mountain bikes are expensive, even this one, but we're impressed by the value that Giant is offering here and we think this is one of the best deals you're going to find for a bike as capable as this.

Playful isn't a word we used to describe the Trance  but you can get it in the air with some speed and a skilled pilot.
Playful isn't a word we used to describe the Trance, but you can get it in the air with some speed and a skilled pilot.

Conclusion


The Trance E+ 2 Pro is a nicely equipped and versatile electric mountain bike offered at a reasonable price. This good looking bike has a cleanly integrated battery and drive unit and a fantastic component specification for the price. Its modern trail bike geometry combines with the Maestro suspension platform and quality suspension components for a buttery feel and confident downhill performance. It also climbs well thanks to a comfortable seated position and the pedal assistance. Power output is strong and consistent with five settings, and it has a competitive distance range. It's not especially nimble or playful, but the Trance is a quality e-MTB at a reasonable price.

Other Versions and Accessories


Giant makes three versions of the Trance E+ Pro including the E+ 2 Pro we tested.

-The Trance E+ 1 Pro $5,565, shares the same frame, geometry, and pedal assist motor system. It has several notable component upgrades including a Fox 36 Float Performance fork, a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, and powerful SRAM Code R brakes.

-They also make the Trance E+ SX 0 Pro, $7,035, that comes decked out with a Fox Factory 36 fork, Fox Factory DHX2 Coil rear shock, SRAM XO1 Eagle drivetrain, and SRAM Code R brakes.


Jeremy Benson, Joshua Hutchens, Chris McNamara