Last summer we were in awe of the new Giant Full-E+ when it dropped. Now, eight months on, the Taiwanese company that never rest on their laurels have just introduced us to the brand new SyncDrive Pro motor on their top-of-the-line models. So it’s time to reveal what’s so special about this Pro-dubbed motor and how it rides.

Launched back in June 2016, the latest generation of Giant Full-E+ bikes left us awestruck by their superb overall package and outstanding Maestro rear end design. Yet the Yamaha PW motor left us less than enthralled by its drive system, which seemed somewhat outdated compared to counterparts from Bosch, Shimano and Brose. However, the top-end Giant Full-E+ models are now getting their frames on a new motor that’s based on the hardware of the Yamaha PW-X motor.

The star of the show: Giant updates their Full-E+ with the new SyncDrive Pro motor.

SyncDrive Pro motor in detail

The Giant version of the Yamaha PW-X has been christened the SyncDrive Pro, but as usual adopts Giant’s own 500 Wh battery, display and control lever. In previous iterations Giant have only played a minor role in the motor’s software, but for the SyncDrive Pro they’ve delved further into how the Yamaha motor runs. The result is a bit like a chip tuning for your car: the software should now enable more torque and a superior performance over a broader cadence range, which essentially makes the motor more attractive for those riders looking for speed and performance.

The new SyncDrive Pro is a big leap over its predecessor.
A new clutch ensures a more direct engagement and a natural feel.

There are five levels of pedal-assist on the SyncDrive Pro, which gives up to 360 % reinforcement to the rider’s own power. Whatever the mode, the support all exceeds the series PW-X model, which doesn’t give any more than 320 %. The maximum 80 Nm torque is the same across all the modes, while it’s reserved for the highest level of pedal-assist on the PW-X and the others have to make do with 70 Nm. The pedal-assist on the SyncDrive Pro works in the three strongest support modes with a cadence up to 120 rpm, and up to 110 rpm in the lower two modes. This is another diversion from the Yamaha PW-X, which only supports up to 120 rpm in the most powerful pedal-assist mode.

Giant uses a Yamaha PW-X motor unit and combines it with an own display,…
… battery and control unit. Together with the software tweaks, these parts yield the SyncDrive Pro.
Pedal-assist mode Support in % Max. cadence
Power 360 % 120
Sport 300 % 120
Active 250 % 120
Tour 175 % 110
Eco 100 % 110

Alongside the performance gains, there are a ton of other advantages garnered from using the compact PW-X hardware: it engages quicker because of the double pawls and lower engage angle; the new motor is also 380 g lighter and 13% smaller; plus its 168 mm Q-factor is very similar to a regular mountain bike. The former SyncDrive is still in the line-up, but now goes by the name SyncDrive Sport.

The new Giant Full-E+ 0 SX Pro

The Giant Full-E+ 0 SX Pro is the top-tier model of the new range and comes with a great spec for serious trail riding.

We’ve been testing the new motor on the top-of-the-line Full-E+ 0 SX Pro, which other than the all-new motor has only undergone some minor tweaks. Its spec is primed for pretty technical off-road riding and it’s kitted out with a SRAM EX1 drivetrain and a RockShox suspension set-up with a 160mm-travel RockShox Lyrik RCT3 Dual Position Air up front and a Super Deluxe RC3 at the back. Giant have put SRAM Guide RE brakes in charge of anchoring, and used in-house parts for the rest of the spec, including wheels with a 35 mm internal width. Our test bike came with MAXXIS Minion 2.5 WT tires, but the production bike will be shipped with 2.6″ MAXXIS Rekon that were unavailable at the time of testing.

The build spec on the new models

For the time being the SyncDrive Pro will be on three of the Full-E+ models. The Full-E+ 0 SX Pro is the only one with a 160 mm fork, and the rest of the models make do with 140 mm. The new bikes will be available as early as March, depending on the market. Check out the table below for an overview of the three new E-MTBs:

Fork RockShox Lyrik RCT3 160 mm FOX 34 Float Factory 140 mm SR Suntour Aion 35 140 mm
Shock RockShox SuperDeluxe RCT FOX Float Factory DPS SR Suntour UnAir
Motor/ Battery Giant SyncDrive Pro 500 Wh Giant SyncDrive Pro 500 Wh Giant SyncDrive Pro 500 Wh
Brakes SRAM Guide RE Shimano XT Shimano BR-M506 / 407
Drivetrain SRAM EX1 Shimano XT Shadow Plus Shimano XT Shadow
Seatpost Giant Contact Switch SL Trail Giant Contact Switch SL Trail Tranz-X
Stem Giant Contact Giant Contact Giant Contact
Handlebar Giant Contact DH 800 mm Giant Connect TR 730 mm Giant Connect TR 730 mm
Tires MAXXIS Rekon 2.6″ Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.6″ Schwalbe Rocket Ron 2.55″
Rims / Hubs Giant GE35 / Giant eTracker Boost Giant GE35 / Giant eTracker Boost Giant GE35 / Giant eTracker Boost
Price € 5,999 € 4,999 € 3,899
Giant Full-E+ 0 SX Pro – € 5,999
Giant Full-E+ 0 Pro – € 4,999
Giant Full-E+ 1.5 Pro – € 3,899

How the Giant Full-E+ 0 SX Pro 2018 rides

We were stoked to see whether the SyncDrive Pro could deliver the goods, and we’re happy to report that it can! The new motor is significantly superior to its predecessor and confirms our first impression of the Yamaha PW-X.

Up until now the level of support has been majorly dependent on your cadence, but fortunately the SyncDrive Pro has eradicated this issue, delivering a sublime performance whatever the cadence. Across all five levels of pedal-assist the motor is forceful –so much so in fact that we spent most of the test rides in eco or tour mode. Its power output is really smooth and integrates well into your pedaling, with the improved freehub giving a more responsive ride. The motor works really well with the SRAM EX1, which has a satisfying broad gear range for every situation.

The new SyncDrive Pro is both natural and powerful – a great companion for the Full-E+ 0 SX Pro.

The higher power output in the lowest support mode leads to a slightly decreased maximum reach. However, the Eco mode is now very usable and often powerful enough for offroad riding, so in the end, the theoretical disadvantage doesn’t play a role. Once you reach the maximum cadence or the top speed of the bike, the power starts fading out very smoothly, retaining the natural feel of the motor. On less technical trails we opted for the stronger support modes, that left us impressed with their ample power.

SRAM’s Guide RE brakes kept the SX Pro under control at any time and offered both modulation and power in abundance.
The EX1 was a great addition to the new SyncDrive Pro motor.

But E-MTBs aren’t defined by their motors, and Giant have clearly cottoned on, designing the the Full-E+ 0 SX Pro to tick a lot of boxes. The suspension was never going to have an easy ride on Corsica’s wildly diverse trails, but it ran smoothly with composure and capability. The Maestro rear end design only gets 140 mm of suspension from the RockShox Super Deluxe rear shock, but it’s a good match for the 160 mm Lyrik fork up front. The relatively high front center makes it hard to get enough weight over the front tire when the climbs get really steep and technical, lowering the Dual Position fork was a welcome remedy here.

The Full-E+ 0 SX Pro is confidence inspiring and handled really well on the rough trails of Corsica.

The bike stayed nice and planted on the trail, and we loved the ease and directness of its handling. Not one to let down the side, the SRAM Guide RE brakes lived up to their reputation and were well dosable for this E-MTB. The real show-stealer in Corsica had to be the MAXXIS Minion DHF 2.5 and their ability to grip – it’s just a shame they won’t be run on the production bike. The display and control unit haven’t changed and still leave room for improvement. Giant’s own seatpost runs well but it’s limited to 125 mm of adjustment. Yet that’s easy to overlook, especially when you consider just how damn good the Giant Full-E+ 0 SX Pro really is.

Giant’s Maestro suspension performs superbly with SRAM’s Super Deluxe shock and feels on par with the longer travel Lyrik fork.
We fell in love with the MAXXIS Minion 2.5 WT but unfortunately, the stock build will come with a Rekon in 2.6 instead.

Our thoughts

The newest iteration of the Yamaha PW-X steps up as the apposite power unit for the FULL-E+ and takes the bike to a new level. Giant’s tuning has given it an even more superior performance without running the risk of an unnatural ride. After this testing in Corsica we can state that Full-E+ 0 SX Pro has a superb spec and great handling, and now we’re stoked to see how this bike and its SyncDrive Pro will fare in the long run.

Well done Giant! The new Full-E+ 0 SX Pro is a great E-MTB that will put a smile on your face.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of E-MOUNTAINBIKE, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality cycling journalism. Click here to learn more.

Words: Photos: Moritz Dittmar, Damien Rosso