The name of the Stormguard E+ 1 says it all, as GIANT take on the competition in our SUV ebike group test with a brawny looking bike. Rather than taking the middle ground, the very unique Stormguard E+ goes to the extremes in many respects. We found out whether the all-out approach pays off for the € 8,000 GIANT in a field test.
Click here for an overview of our SUV ebike buyer’s guide: The best e-SUV 2024 – 10 ebikes in our group test.
GIANT are among the world’s largest bike manufacturers and their product portfolio caters to every cycling discipline out there. The brand are known for their solid, well-specced, and, above all, affordable bikes, which make up the bread and butter of their business. But every now and then, GIANT also prove that they can be at the forefront of innovation and design, launching bikes that stand out from the crowd. The GIANT Stormguard E+ 1 is one of those. The € 8,000 SUV ebike comes with almost everything the market and their range of in-house components has to offer. It relies on the powerful SyncDrive Pro2 motor, paired with a huge 800 Wh battery, plus a 250 Wh range extender. The range extender is included with the flagship model on test. The beefy aluminium frame is available in four sizes ranging from S–XL, offers 100 mm of travel, and rolls on 27.5″ mountain bike tires. This makes it look like a North Pole expedition vehicle, and it weighs accordingly. At 34.1 kg in size L, it’s by far the heaviest bike in our test field. We put it to the test to find out whether it’s reserved for the North and South Poles, or if it’s just as good for everything in between.
A leisurely cruise along the storm front – What sets the GIANT Stormguard E+ 1 apart?
The task of a storm watch is to keep an eye out for bad weather – the task of the GIANT Stormguard is to ride unflinchingly into the hurricane. The GIANT Stormguard has an oversized and indestructible looking aluminium front triangle that not even a hurricane can lift off the ground. The bronze finish has a slight metallic effect and manages to conceal some of the welds. The GIANT Stormguard is sure to make a big impression wherever it goes. Instead of a classic rear linkage, GIANT designed the rear suspension around a swingarm, like on a motorcycle. One advantage of the swing arm construction is that it doesn’t enclose the belt drive. Once you’ve reached 10,000 km, which is how long the belt is supposed to last according to GIANT, you can simply replace it – there’s no rear triangle to dismantle first. The rear FOX FLOAT DPS shock and the FOX AWL fork both offer 100 mm travel, which means the GIANT has the least reserves on test when it comes to dealing with rough trails. This should give you an idea of the GIANT Stormguard’s strong suit: a leisurely but unstoppable explorer that’s prepared for all eventualities. In addition to the rear swing arm, you’ll also notice the striking luggage rack, featuring a floating construction that’s attached to the seat tube instead of the swing arm. That way your luggage is decoupled from the rear wheel, and therefore suspended, helping to keep your goods intact even when things get bumpy. The generous width of the rack ensures that the panniers and straps don’t get caught in the spokes or the brake rotor, as is the case with the BULLS VUCA. The top also makes use of the handy MIK standard, which lets you snap on compatible bags within seconds. With a permissible payload of 15 kg, the rack falls slightly behind the competition, especially if you consider the Stormguard’s high maximum permissible weight limit of 156 kg (the highest in the test field).
As with all their ebikes, GIANT rely almost exclusively on in-house solutions for the motor. The GIANT SyncDrive Pro 2 motor is based on a Yamaha unit, but it’s tuned by GIANT and puts out a lot of power – especially in the unimaginative yet fittingly named Power mode. In that mode, the powerhouse responds to even the slightest input on the pedals and surges forward. The motor has a pronounced bulge, but it’s nicely integrated into the silhouette thanks to a clean transition to the down tube and battery cover. The GIANT EnergyPak 800 battery relies on slightly more energy dense 22700 cells, which deliver a 50 Wh bonus compared to the old 750 Wh GIANT batteries. The battery is hidden behind a tool-free cover and is secured to the frame by a lock. You have to bend over slightly to access it, but otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to place the range extender mount on the top of the down tube. The range extender sits very securely on its mount and plugs into the charging port above the motor interface to supplement the main battery. If you want to charge the main battery and the range extender simultaneously, you’ll need two chargers. A small feature that we particularly like about the GIANT Smart Charger is the storage mode, which only charges the battery up to 60% to protect the cells when storing the bike for the winter, for example.
Because the range extender occupies the space where the bottle cage usually goes, the SUV ebike has a special two-sided bottle cage adapter on the top tube. The GIANT’s in-house motor system doesn’t stop at the cockpit either, with the crowded handlebar being the only one on test truly worthy of the name cockpit. The RideDash Evo display is beautifully integrated into the stem. It keeps the information content to manageable extent, it’s as sharp as a Japanese katana, and can even provide arrow-based navigation via the RideControl app on your smartphone. However, the large RideControl Ergo 2 system remote, dropper post lever, high beam button, and Enviolo shifter are likely to overwhelm even the most experienced thumb war wrestler, and simply have poor ergonomics. You must let go of the handlebar to reach many of the levers and buttons. Despite the countless remotes, GIANT have miraculously kept the cable routing neat and tidy. It’s worth mentioning the slightly contoured and winged GIANT Connect Ergo grips with integrated bar ends and a faux-cork that matches the colour of the frame. They lend the GIANT’s cockpit an old-school look and a laid-back touring feel. That said, both the bar ends and the contouring at the base of the thumb make them uncomfortable for large hands.
GIANT Stormguard E+ 1
Motor Giant SyncDrive Pro2 85 Nm
Battery EnergyPak Smart & Energy Pak Plus Range Extender 1,050 Wh
Display RideDash Evo
Fork FOX AWL 100 mm
Rear Shock FOX Float DPS 100 mm
Seatpost GIANT Contact Switch Vario 100 – 170 mm
Brakes Shimano DEORE BR-M6120 203 mm
Drivetrain Enviolo Automatiq HD 380%
Stem GIANT Contour 80 – 100 mm
Handlebar GIANT Contour Comfort 720 mm
Wheelset GIANT AM 27.5"
Tires MAXXIS Rekon EXO 2.6"
Size S M L XL
Weight 34.1 kg
Perm. total weight 156 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 121 kg
Trailer approval yes
Kickstand mount yes
– Supernova lights with high beam
– 250 Wh range extender included
– belt drive
– adjustable stem
|Top tube||580 mm||595 mm||610 mm||630 mm|
|Seat tube||445 mm||445 mm||460 mm||490 mm|
|Head tube||125 mm||140 mm||155 mm||170 mm|
|Chainstay||480 mm||480 mm||480 mm||480 mm|
|BB Drop||40 mm||40 mm||40 mm||40 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,152 mm||1,169 mm||1,185 mm||1,206 mm|
|Reach||395 mm||406 mm||417 mm||433 mm|
|Stack||623 mm||637 mm||651 mm||665 mm|
Where haven’t you been, or where can the GIANT Stormguard E+ 1 take you?
With the GIANT Stormguard, it’s best to start your expedition in the middle of the night. Then chances are good that you will be able to empty the 1,050 Wh battery capacity in one day. The glaringly bright Supernova M99 Mini Pro headlight offers plenty of visibility with its high beam function. The E3 taillight positioned low on the mudguard is more likely to get overlooked. Sitting on the Stormguard E+ 1, you’ll find yourself in a compact and upright posture. It’s the kind of relaxed riding position we would usually expect on a more comfort-oriented step-through bike, but the GIANT proves to be even more compact than the CONWAY and Advanced in the test field. It doesn’t have an angle-adjustable stem, but that isn’t necessary for most rider sizes. The 150 mm dropper post makes it easier to climb aboard, though the dropper post’s unergonomic remote is a bit difficult to operate. When you start the electric motor, the infinitely variable Enviolo AUTOMATIQ Heavy Duty hub selects a “starting gear” that you can predefine in the Enviolo app. This usually works perfectly when pulling away on flat terrain, but it can be difficult to pull away on an incline in the same starting gear that you predefined for flat terrain. To pair the geared hub with your smartphone for the first time, you have to use a long, flat tool (like a screwdriver) to reach the pairing button because it’s completely hidden behind the swing arm.
While a storm chaser zigzags after a tornado, the Stormguard holds its line without flinching.
As you ride, you’ll notice that the FOX air suspension generates a high level of riding comfort despite the short travel. This is thanks in part to the high volume 2.6″ MAXXIS Rekon tires. Together with the Moustache, the GIANT has the meatiest tires in the test field, which doesn’t just make it look like a bruiser, but also filters out vibrations and small bumps before they reach the FOX suspension. When cruising through the city or crossing Tornado Alley in the Midwest USA, the Enviolo hub automatically selects the desired gear ratio. You can set a target pedalling cadence using the associated smartphone app or via remote on the handlebar. You can’t just shift gears with the automatic shifting mode activated. While this results in a very relaxed riding experience on flat terrain, it can get quite annoying in other situations. If you choose a relaxed pedalling cadence of 50 rpm and suddenly encounter a steep climb, you’ll quickly find yourself in a gear that’s too hard despite the assistance of the motor.
If you’re in Tibet and see the Himalayas coming up in the distance, you might have enough time to adjust the target pedalling cadence via the wireless Cliq Pure remote. In all other riding situations, changing the cadence is far too slow and forces you into an inappropriate gear. Alternatively, the infinitely variable automatic function can also be deactivated. The hub gear then simulates nine gears, but that comes at the cost of its key feature. And due to the limited gear range of just 380%, you run out of gears too quickly on steep climbs despite the powerful motor, making you get off and push. Once you’ve summited the Himalayas and start making your way down into Nepal, you’re going to need a lot of time and oxygen. The GIANT isn’t designed for high-speed descents. But it’s not the brakes: The Shimano DEORE four-piston brakes and large 200 mm rotors provide reliable stopping power on steep descents. Nor is it the MAXXIS Rekon tires, which grip well in a straight line and at a moderate speed. The FOX suspension also does its job, absorbing isolated bumps well, simply allowing you to roll over obstacles aboard the tank that is the Stormguard. The head angle is the problem. It’s rather steep, which usually leads to direct and – for inexperienced riders – nervous handling. Despite the bike’s heft, it’s surprisingly responsive and agile when riding at a moderate pace, allowing you to manoeuvre through tight spaces without sacrificing stability. However, if you want to perform similar manoeuvres at higher speeds, the GIANT reacts nervously. The FOX AWL fork quickly gets overwhelmed in hilly terrain and offers minimal feedback together with the high-volume tires, all of which results in vague handling. The considerable weight of the GIANT also pays its toll: on loose or damp ground, you have to steer carefully to prevent the front wheel from washing out. While you would simply need to hold your breath to blast down Mount Everest aboard the Specialized Tero X, you’ll run out of oxygen before reaching the base camp on the GIANT.
Who is the GIANT Stormguard E+ 1 for?
The GIANT isn’t the right bike for extreme mountaineers and explorers like Edmund Hillary or Reinhold Messner because it isn’t well suited to extreme terrain. Active riders won’t be happy aboard the rather sluggish Stormguard either. But an average rider who prefers long fair-weather tours instead of zigzagging after tornadoes will find a reliable and adventurous companion in the GIANT.
Tuning tip: Storm-proof camping tent with a solar roof, and a MIK compatible bag for epically long tours.
Our conclusion on the GIANT Stormguard E+ 1
The GIANT Stormguard E+ 1 combines a brawny look with high levels of long-distance comfort, and a relaxed riding experience. Due to its weight and components, like the automatic Enviolo hub, the bike’s not suitable for active, sporty riders, making it more of a utility than a sports vehicle. It can overwhelm novices in particularly demanding terrain, though it’s generally very good-natured when riding at a moderate pace. Due to its limited versatility, it lags far behind the competition in this group test.
- biggest battery capacity and highest maximum permissible weight in the test field
- very comfortable
- unergonomic cockpit
- very heavy
- nervous and vague handling at higher speeds
- poor shifting performance of the geared hub for an active riding style
You can find out more about at giant-bicycles.com
The test field
Click here for an overview of our SUV ebike buyer’s guide: The best e-SUV 2024 – 10 ebikes in our group test.
All bikes in test:
ADVANCED Trekking Pro FS Wave | BULLS Vuca EVO FSX 1 | CENTURION Country R3000i LX | CONWAY CAIRON SUV FS 7.7 | FLYER Goroc TR:X 8.63 | GIANT Stormguard E+ 1 | Moustache J. All | Riese & Müller Delite 4 GT Touring | ROTWILD R. C1000 TOUR | Specialized Turbo Tero X 6.0
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Words: Rudolf Fischer Photos: Jan Richter, Robin Schmitt