The Trance E+ 0 SX Pro is Giant’s electric trail-weapon for the rough stuff. With its downhill-oriented spec and generous travel, it literally begs you to ride hard. But can the Giant Trance E+ 0 SX Pro get us high on downhill trails, long rides and flowy trails?

Giant Trance E+ 0 SX | 160/140 mm (f/r) | 24.54 kg | € 5,999

The Giant Trance E+ 0 SX Pro is just one euro shy of six grand and shares the same frame as its little sibling the Giant Trance E+. The spec of the SX version is oriented towards downhill performance. It’s fitted with a 160 mm fork instead of the standard 150 mm version, a chunky coil-shock at the rear and 27.5″ x 2.6″ tires — a package that promises a very powerful ride. You can feel the strong downhill genes of the Giant Trance E+ 0 SX Pro from the get-go. A FOX Factory DHX2 coil-shock takes care of the 140 mm Maestro rear-linkage and the MRP chain guide designed specifically for Giant underlines the Taiwanese brand’s bold move towards downhill-specific electric trail bikes. Size L and XL frames have enough room to accommodate a water bottle — smaller riders however will have to sort out their hydration differently.

The Giant Trance E+ O SX Pro in detail

Fork FOX Factory 36 EVOL FIT4 160 mm
Shock FOX Factory DHX2 Coil 140 mm
Motor GIANT SyncDrive Pro
Battery GIANT EnergyPak 496 Wh
Drivetrain SRAM X01/GX Eagle
Brakes SRAM Code R 200/200 mm
Seatpost GIANT Contact Switch-Remote 150 mm (Size L)
Handlebars Giant Contact SL 35 Trail 800mm
Stem Giant Contact SL 35
Wheels GIANT AM Disc
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF/DHRII 27.5×2.6″
Weight 24.54 kg (Size L)
Price € 5,999

Giant relies on Yamaha motors for their electric bikes — the Trance E+ 0 SX uses a modified Yamaha PW-X drive with a fully integrated 496 Wh battery. The new RideControl ONE Remote makes for a tidy cockpit and eschews a display. Small LED’s indicate the battery charging status and current support mode. In addition you can use the RideControl app to monitor your training targets and adjust motor characteristics. The 80 Nm of torque combined with a number of newly developed sensors allow for up to 360% support. Compared to many other motors the Yamaha is extremely powerful even at low cadences. This means that on long fire road-sections the motor takes over most of the hard work and encourages you to cruise uphill.

You have to get used to the SyncDrice Pro motor… But once you do you’ll love the power and the comfort.

Powerful diesel generator
Giant’s SyncDrive Pro relies on a Yamaha motor which churns out decent amounts of power, even at low cadence. If you pedal faster however you’ll run out of breath.
No display – no problem
Giant’s RideControl ONE-Remote eschews a display but still provides all the important data — unless the sun is reflecting on the small LED screen.
Guided but still very loud
Despite the MRP chainguide, the noise of the slapping chain is very loud —the short and hard chainstay-protector is mainly responsible for this.
Traction? Check!
The FOX DHX2 on the Maestro linkage is extremely sensitive and smooth on any surface.
Cable tangle
The cables are squeezed through a tiny port in the frame. If you have to change one you’ll need a lot of patience.

The geometry of the Giant Trance E+ O SX Pro

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 406 mm 445 mm 482 mm 507 mm
Top tube 585 mm 610 mm 630 mm 655 mm
Head tube 109 mm 109 mm 109 mm 109 mm
Head angle 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5°
Seat angle 74° 74° 74° 74°
Chainstays 470 mm 470 mm 470 mm 470 mm
BB Drop 15 mm 15 mm 15 mm 15 mm
Wheelbase 1184 mm 1210 mm 1231 mm 1259 mm
Reach 418 mm 442 mm 460 mm 479 mm
Stack 579 mm 584 mm 593 mm 611 mm

Riding the Giant Trance E+ O SX Pro

The wide cockpit and rather compact frame design of the Giant Trance make for a relaxed and very comfortable riding position. Despite the long 160 mm fork, the front-end is very low — a classic Giant trademark that is even more evident on M and L frame sizes. If you push the saddle forward to make up for the slack seat angle the E+ 0 SX Pro climbs very efficiently. The Maestro rear-end literally cements the rear-wheel to the ground even in slippery conditions, allowing for superb climbing efficiency. The low front-end makes for great climbing efficiency too —, especially on steep technical terrain.

The motor kicks in almost instantaneously and really helps with tricky launches. Unfortunately for the same reason the motor jitters unpleasantly immediately as you engage the pedals. The Yamaha motor might not offer the most natural ride-feeling but always feels predictable, giving you full control. On the trail the characteristics of the motor requires some getting used to. At higher cadences, the efficiency goes out of the window — so much so that you’ll notice a substantial drop in power. One practical example: with the Trance E+ 0 SX Pro you’re better off approaching the edge of the obstacle slowly and let the torque “push” you over it rather than trying to build up momentum to pass the obstacle at speed. During peak loads the noise is substantial — the Yamaha motor isn’t quiet.

Grip! The Giant Trance E+ 0 SX Pro offers tons of it. And it’s still lively and fun to ride.

Helmet Giro Montaro Mips | Glasses Smith Attack Max | Jersey ION Tee LS Scrub Amp | Shorts ION Scrub AMP | Kneepads Leatt Airflex Pro | Shoes Shimano AM9

Although the Giant Trance E+ 0 SX Pro makes the climb feel more than just a means to an end, its heart beats for the descents. This makes the low-front-end all the more surprising — an attribute that will take some time to get used to. On flat trails the compact frame is nimble and agile — you’d never guess the package weighs 24.54 kg.

Grip, grip and even more grip. The rear-end, suspension and tires of the Giant Trance E+ 0 SX Pro interact incredibly well — and you can finally stop worrying about traction issues. The rear end is extremely sensitive but still provides enough feedback. With its 160 mm FOX 36 Factory fork, the front end has two more centimetres of travel than the rear-end but the setup remains very well-balanced. Despite the sensitive nature of the suspension you always get enough pop to jump off ledges or push through berms. The MAXXIS Minions offer good grip and generate tons of traction in corners, feeling reliable and stable even at high speeds. With this much traction the Giant Trance E+ 0 SX Pro makes even rough rock gardens and demanding trails a little less scary. Only with an aggressive riding style do the tires tend to pinch-flat – the weak EXO casing just isn’t tough enough. The Giant remains composed even on demanding terrain and always feels surefooted. The SRAM CODE R-brakes reach their limit on long descents and your hands will start burning as a consequence.

The Trance E+0 SX Pro strikes a great balance between smooth riding performance on tricky root-carpets and tons of riding fun on flowy trails. This heavy but lively bike feels at home on jumps, berms and flowing trails as much as it does in nasty rock gardens and root carpets. It’s only on very steep terrain that the Giant starts reaching its limits with the low front-end spoiling your confidence. Unfortunately aggressive riders won’t have enough room to adjust their riding position on the compact frame.

Conclusion

The Giant Trance E+0 SX Pro is anything but a thoroughbred downhill machine. With its excellent suspension it feels at home on rough and fast trails. But even on flowier trails and at moderate speeds it still manages to inspire with its effortless and nimble handling, which provides tons of riding fun. The powerful Yamaha motor might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it makes even the longest of climbs less scary. However, the overall build-quality and some of the frame details could do with more attention to detail.

Strengths
  • Sensitive suspension with lots of reserves.
  • Space for a bottle cage.
  • Tidy cockpit.
Weaknesses
  • Heavy.
  • Weak tire casing.

For more info head to: giant-bicycles.com


This article is from E-MOUNTAINBIKE issue #015

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Words: Felix Stix Photos: Christoph Bayer

About the author

Felix Stix

My technical background has made me the informal workshop manager of E-MOUNTAINBIKE Magazine. Here I prepare the equipment and check the bikes before they’re handed over to our test crew. My nerdy articles and countless explanations are usually the result of me completely dismantling and reassembling a product…
When I ride my eMTB I love shredding on the toughest downhill trails where I push myself and the material to the limit - and beyond. And when I have to get back up to the top of the hill I usually go full "turbo" to stay fresh for the next descend.