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Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro Review

The Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro is well rounded and reasonably priced
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giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
Price:  $4,830 List
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Manufacturer:   Giant Bicycles
By Jeremy Benson, Joshua Hutchens, Chris McNamara  ⋅  Jun 10, 2019

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.
Reasonably priced
Good distance range
Well rounded performance
Solid component spec
Sluggish handling at times
Controls/display are difficult to read

Our Analysis and Test Results

For 2021,Giant no longer offers the Trance E+ 2 Pro in their lineup. They now offer the Trance X E+ Pro 29 which rolls on 29-inch wheels and has a completely different geometry. We expect this bike to be a blast if you can find one to purchase. -August 2021

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.

Performance Comparison

giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review - solid all-around performance, good components, and a reasonable...
Solid all-around performance, good components, and a reasonable price are the hallmarks of the Trance E+ 2 Pro.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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.

giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review - giant's maestro suspension is a proven design and works well on the...
Giant's Maestro suspension is a proven design and works well on the Trance E+.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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.

giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review - it takes a bit of effort to get the trance off the ground due to its...
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.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

It doesn't feel like quite as much of a brawler as the YT Decoy 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.

giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review - the steep seat tube puts you in a comfortable position, the powerful...
The steep seat tube puts you in a comfortable position, the powerful pedal assist motor helps you scramble up anything.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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 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, 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.

giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review - the trance is a solid and comfortable climber.
The Trance is a solid and comfortable climber.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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 some others. 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.

giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review - it's not overly powerful, but there is plenty of juice on tap when...
It's not overly powerful, but there is plenty of juice on tap when you need and want it.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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.


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.

Our tester rode the Giant 19.02 miles and 4,000 vertical feet. Only one bike with the same size battery 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. Not surprisingly, the Turbo Levo Comp took the cake in this test with a 700Wh battery that has 40% more power storage, extra battery life that it also uses more efficiently.

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.

giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review - the ridecontrol one unit is functional, but it certainly isn't easy...
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.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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 Comp.

giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review - the trance has a good distance range, plus it is programmable...
The Trance has a good distance range, plus it is programmable through the app to customize the output for your planned ride.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman


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.

giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review - the fox 36 fork is a highlight on this bike and is sturdy enough to...
The Fox 36 fork is a highlight on this bike and is sturdy enough to handle the weight.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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.

giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review - the trance has a good cockpit setup.
The Trance has a good cockpit setup.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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 trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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...
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...
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.


We feel the Trance E+ 2 is a great value. 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.

giant trance e+ 2 pro electric mountain bike review - playful isn't a word we used to describe the trance, but you can get...
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.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman


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

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