This review is for a RockShox Reverb AXS seatpost, 31.6mm post diameter with 170mm travel.…
‘Trance X Advanced E+ Elite’ is quite a mouthful for sure and I’ve not yet come up with a handy short name for it and that’s despite sitting on this particular bike launch for the past 4 months. The actual launch was way back at the start of November and took place in South West Utah, where Giant made some pretty big and bold claims about this new e-MTB.
Article quick links
- It’s a full sus e-MTB based on the Trance platform. The big advances are the battery and motor. The battery in the top spec Advanced carbon models are 400wh but that rises to a whopping 800wh for the forthcoming Alloy models. The 400wh carbon flagship model tips the scales at just 18.8kg (Manufacturer’s weight), making it one of the lightest e-MTBs on the market. The 800wh version claims to come in at around 23kg, which is still pretty good considering.
- The ‘SyncDrive Pro’ motor is still manufactured exclusively for Giant by Yamaha and the battery tech is similarly exclusively produced in conjunction with Panasonic. In short, you can’t get this motor or battery on any other brand of bike. It’s all locked down to Giant. The motor has been completely redesigned and is both physically different from previous Giant motors and also in how it is controlled.
- The battery pack has been completely redesigned and, well, shrunk. It’s smaller and the 400wh battery weighs in at 2.3kg. There’s loads of info later in this article on the battery tech.
- There are two control centres. The first is the RideControl Go button, which is integrated into the frame’s top tube and allows riders to turn power on and off and switch between power modes. Coloured LED lights indicate current battery level and support mode.
- The second control unit, the new RideControl Ergo 3, is integrated with the handlebar grips. The grips that come on the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite are size-specific and tapered for ergonomic comfort. (The control units can also be used with any replacement grip.) Each remote has three buttons that can be set up for personal preference. And the remote can be mounted on either side of the handlebar, with the option to add a second Ergo 3 and have buttons on each side of the bar to control features such as walk-assist mode or lights.
- Torque control. You can adjust not only the power but also the torque settings of the 85nm motor. Effectively controlling acceleration by varying torque from 20nm up to 85nm.
- There’s also an app for tweekers to mess with all the settings.
- The bike still uses Giant’s Maestro suspension platform and the motor has been physically designed to fit within the lower Maestro linkage.
- It’s a mullet bike with a very short chainstay of 447mm. That’s short for an e-MTB of course. The Maestro platform is a floating pivot systems and the bike offers up 150mm of travel at the front and 140mm at the back.
- The head angle is either 65.8 or 66.5 depending on how you arrange the flip-chip.
- There’s a 10mm BB drop.
- There’s more ground clearance (37mm more) thanks to the redesigned motor casing and the seat tube has been straightened to accommodate longer dropper posts.
- A new one piece bar and stem claims to be adjustable in both reach and roll (more details below).
- There are 4 models – all carbon. The lowest model (3) has an aluminium rear triangle. The top two models (0,1) come with Fox LiveValve tech.
Controls and that all new motor
New Battery tech
First we need a quick lesson in basic battery design – or more accurately put, cell design. Typical rechargeable batteries used in ebike tech come with a number attached that some of you may have noticed. The standard cell carries the number 18650. If you get the chance to look into the heart of many large capacity battery applications you may see this number stamped on the individual cells or the listed somewhere.
The number has a very specific meaning and relates directly to the physical size of the cell.
Let’s break it down.
The ’18’ refers to the physical diameter of the cell in mm and the ‘650’ refers to the length of the cell, in this case that means a diameter of 18mm and length of 65mm. The capacity of the battery is directly linked to the volume of the cell, so a cell with a higher physical volume will store more energy, but also and crucially a cell with a wider diameter will be able to discharge a higher current too. So, there’s obvious advantages to having large capacity cells. Not only can they store more energy but they can release it quicker too – which translates to higher power output.
So, the standard cell designation is 18650. Tesla developed their own cells which they designated the 21700. That translates to a cell with a diameter of 21mm and 70mm length. If you remember your maths from high school you can calculate the volume of a Tesla cell as 14.7 cm3. Compare that with the standard cell volume of 11.7cm3 and you see there’s a big increase in capacity. This extra capacity and diameter is why Tesla car batteries can provide enough ‘poke’ to accelerate the car from 0-60mph in under 4 seconds. There’s literally a 25% performance improvement between 18600 and 21700 cells.
Better than Tesla
So, are we leading all this battery tech talk towards the revelation that Giant have packed tesla cells in their batteries?
They’ve stuffed their batteries with cells from Panasonic, who they claim to have been working with for 25 years. These Panasonic cells are designated 22700. Which means they have a diameter 5% larger than Tesla cells and therefore also a corresponding performance increase over them too.
So, long story short. Giant’s new batteries are more powerful than those in a Tesla and Giant are claiming, with some justification, they represent the highest power density of any e-MTB battery on the market… Currently.
If you want a practical example of how that translates to to the real world. Take this profile image of the 400wh powered Advanced E+ Elite. The battery inside that very slim downtube doesn’t actually fill the downtube. In fact it only fills it to around 2/3rd of the volume.
Giant were proud to tell us at the launch that the battery is 100% carbon neutral in terms of manufacture. How this is achieved I’ve not yet found out but I will. I want to know if that is achieved by genuine carbon neutral manufacturing processes or by Carbon Credits. I will update.
One Piece Adjustable Bar n Stem
Say what now?
One piece? Adjustable?
This bar/stem component uses a series of shims to adjust not only the stem length from 40 – 50mm but also the roll of the bar too. I laid out the shims that come with the bike and there’s a grand total of 14 shims that will allow you to make whatever adjustments you prefer. It’s not exactly tweekable out on the trail (In fact it really isn’t) but once you have your configuration set, you really shouldn’t need to fanny about with it again. It all adds to the lightweight package and it certainly deals with the intrinsic adjustment limitations of a standard one piece cockpit to a certain degree (pun intended).
On board tech
Imagine a car without USB power sockets. Well, soon that’s how we’ll think of e-MTBs without them. The Advanced E+ Elite has them right on the top tube and there’s even a power socket for lights sitting conveniently behind the head tube. Giant provide three light sets that are designed to work with this setup and they provide light outputs from 50 to a sun like 600lux.
The Giant promo for the launch
Giant flew me out to Utah, to the Red Mountain Resort in the Southwest corner of the state for two days of riding on this bike. You can imagine there was lots of marketing going on and explanations of how this is better than that. Here’s the slick promo video Giant came up with out of those two days along with an explanation of what they were aiming to achieve (other than dazzling a bunch of eager journos with amazing trails and on hand personal mechanics).
UK Models and prices
Trance X Advanced E+ Elite
- Model 0 £12999
- Model 1 £8999
- Model 2 £6499
- Model 3 £5499
Model InformationYou need to be logged in to view this information.
Mark’s Utah launch Vlog, first ride thoughts and podcast interview with Giant Engineer Joost Bakker.
Got any questions? Pop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. And watch out for my first ride impressions video and our interview with the Giant engineer behind much of this bike, Joost Bakker coming very soon.
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