So here is my Giant electric bike review for the Giant Explore E+1 (2020 model) …
Giant Electric Bike Review – Intro
Shortly after the first lock down in July 2020 I was on the lookout for a hybrid Ebike which would be a good ‘All rounder’ for commuting to work and would perform well on or off-road. After many weeks of research I had whittled the list down to 3 contenders – Vanmoof S3, Cowboy and Giant Explore E+1. All 3 are superb bikes, but I just felt the Giant was the most versatile and best value for money overall for how I wanted to use the bike.
1.Rider Comfort – Easy to control and comfortable on longer trips
2. Battery Accessibility – Can be easily be removed and charged on or off the bike
3. Good Range – Suitable for riding to the office and back home on a single charge (15.5mile each way)
4. Practicality – Had to be ‘commuter ready’ ie mudguards, lights and pannier rack
5. Performance / Power – Suitable for different terrains including off-road
6. Build Quality – Reliability very important
For me, how the bike looked was a big deal! I loved the way Giant had integrated the battery into the frame geometry which made the bike look ‘whole’ rather than bits bolted on to the frame which can sometimes look odd.
I was also drawn to the contrasting blue frame detailing which really stood out and looks great against the metallic black paintwork. In my view this perfectly compliments the eX 2, (Tubeless Ready) matt black rims completing the overall look.
At first glance the Explore does not scream out ‘I’m an electric bike’ and would not draw unwanted attention – overall this is a very handsome looking machine.
Riding position, comfort and controls
Each to their own on this one, but the riding position on the Giant Explore E+1 for me was just right. I usually prefer the mountain bike type riding positions as these are more comfortable for long distance rides and give me better control while off-roading in the woods.
The handlebars are nice and wide making you feel very much in control and the handle grips which have palm rests are very comfortable.
I am 5’9 and weigh about 95 Kilos and went for the medium frame which was a good size for me. I have heared from some other owners of this bike that on the next framesize down, the handlebars are narrower which can make the bike feel less sturdy.
The control panel is conveiniently located next to the left grip and very easy to use while riding. On the panel you can switch between levels of assist, trip information and also control lights ( which is a nice touch) . All the buttons, levers and gear shifters on the Explore feel well made and of good quality.
The Explore E+1 comes with the Giant Evo display panel located right in the centre of the handlebars which looks very neat and I can see everything from assistance level, battery level, expected range, speed and distance when riding.
So what is the Giant Explore E+1 like to ride?
The first time I rode the Giant Explore + 1 I was impressed and it certainly delivered! It has a nice ‘boost’ once you start peddling and I felt in full control almost immediately. The Shimano Deore gearing system is one of the best out there and shifting through the gears was smooth and the shifters were ergonomically comfortable. Braking is excellent with the Tektro hydraulic discs it stops on a sixpence which is required as the bike alone weighs around 26kg.
Over the past year I have put this bike in front of some pretty horrendous inclines, especially off-road but it powers up them no problem and I continue to be impressed at how well the Explore + 1 performs in this regard.
There is a lot of bike here for the money (£2600) which gets you arguably one of the best mid-drive motors on the market alongside Bosch so if you enjoy riding off-road you will not be disappointed. I found on the trails I was fully in control and the bike felt very ‘nimble’ considering its weight.
The Explore is also very much at home on the roads too. I have been commuting on this bike 3 times a week and so far I have not encountered ANY reliability issues.
Overall this bike feels very sturdy when riding at speed, the lights are controlled by a button on the handlebars which is a nice touch and the gravel tires which come as standard provide extra confidence in the winter when the roads are icy. I usually use pannier bags attached to the rack which contain my laptop, extra clothes etc and I don’t feel the extra weight at all.
In the UK where I live, Ebikes are limited to 15.5mph which is frustrating to be honest, Down the hills or in the woods this is not really an issue, however on the flats once you hit that limit the motor stops ‘Assisting’ and its all downto you if you want to go faster – you can definitely feel the weight of the bike when this happens.
This is, of course no reflection on this particlar model and will happen on any standard Ebike bought in the UK/EU but for me, even another 5mph extra would be just right in my humble opinion.
Battery and Range
The E+1 comes with a Giant Energypack 500wh lithium iron re-chargable battery which as I mentioned earlier, is integrated into the frame. What I like is the battery can be removed very easily with a key and the charging port is on the actual battery so I have the option to charge it on or off the bike.
The actual charger that comes with the bike is not too bulky and usually takes 3 -4 hours to fully charge from empty and the charging port is covered with a neat protective rubber cap.
Giant claims this bike will give you approx between 80 – 110 miles of range however as I have found this can vary dramatically depending on a variety of external factors ie Temperature, weight, wind resistance and of couse what level of assistance you are using.
To provide a real world example from my own experience – My commute is 15.5 miles into the office, so on a single full charge I usually cycle in ‘Normal’ assist using ‘Sport’ & ‘Sport+’ occasionally for some of the steeper hills.
By the time I arrive at work I have usually depleted around 30% of the battery so I don’t have any anxiety about whether I have enough power to get home which was an important factor for me when choosing this bike. I have found in hot temperatures or very cold weather the battery does deplete quicker but not by much.
See below from Giants Website in KM what they claim the range is for this battery with the Syncdrive Sport motor (standard with the Explore E+1) in KM which is fairly accurate to my experience so far.
Performance / Power and Assistance
This bike is quick! The Explore E+1 is a class 1 ‘pedalec’ and comes with a mid-drive Giant SyncDrive Sport (Yamaha) motor which puts out 80NM (Newton Meters) of torque so it absolutely eats the hills for breakfast. To put this into context, in the highest assist level the Explore + 1 will output 360 x the effort you are putting in.
At times when the motor is ‘Cold’ you can definitely hear it in action, but it is certainly not what I would call loud and does get quieter after a few miles.
Conclusion – Giant Explore E+1 Review ( 2020)
The Giant Explore E+1 is a quality, versatile ebike from a well respected brand that so far has ticked all of the boxes. In my view this is a solid ‘All Rounder’ that makes you feel like there are no limitations on where you can ride and for how long. I absolutely love riding this bike and would strongly reccomend.
I hope you enjoyed this Giant Ebike Review and please feel free to drop me any questions you have on this bike or if you would like to leave your own review please comment below.