Giant’s electric enduro bike promises great things with progressive geometry
Our rating 4 Star out of 5,
GBP £ 6,299.00 RRP.
On a full chat, it is pleasant to ride, but back from the limit it is stiffer and weighs 25kg, making it tricky to tame a long chassis
The Reign E + 1 Electric Mountain Bike is Giant’s most efficient, enduro-focused eBike with 160mm dual-link Maestro rear-suspension travel, mullet wheel setup (29in front, 27.5in rear) and slack, long and short geometry.
The bike 2022 model received an overhaul last year in 2021, which resolved some criticism of the older model, which led to our inclusion in the bike segment of our 2022 eMTB year.
It is fitted with Giant’s SyncDrive Pro motor, delivers 85Nm of torque and 250w of power and is paired with a 625Wh battery pack. Giant has co-developed the motor with Yamaha to work with the brand’s Maestro suspension.
Damping is handled by Fox’s 38 and Float X2 Performance Elite forks and shocks, thanks to the Shimano XT M8100 parts for braking and shifting. Other than the Maxxis tires, other parts of the giant are made at home.
Giant Reign E + 1 Frame and Suspension
Built from Giant’s ALUXX SL 6011 aluminium, the rule is said to have the best grade-to-weight ratio.
Giant claims that the unique welding technology gives the bike its ride quality. It has internally routed cables through the down tube and chainstay, and a bottle cage mount inside the front triangle.
It uses SRAM’s UDH, Boost has a 12x148mm rear axle and Chainstay has built-in chain slap protection.
The battery is hidden inside the tube, while the top tube has integrated mode and battery life. Below the motor shock and low suspension connection with ample space for the straight seat tube to provide maximum dropper-post insertion.
The Reign E + 1 is built around the mullet wheel setup, where the front wheel is 29in in diameter and the rear is 27.5in.
The Maestro suspension uses two links to create a virtual pivot point.
Giant’s Maestro suspension system provides 160mm travel, where two co-rotating links join the shock, swingarm and mainframe. This creates a floating pivot point that Giant claims to be super-plush, fully tuned to give it an active suspension that is effective when pedalling and is independent of braking forces.
According to Giant’s own data, the Anti-Squat figures sit at or below the 100 per cent mark in all gear ratios, or 30 per cent sag, then drop down as the bike compresses. This means that the pedal kickback is kept to a minimum and helps maintain suspension compliance while pedalling.
Anti-Rise starts at 72.5 percent on full travel, drops to 66 per cent in the middle of the journey and reaches 70 per cent on the bottom-out. On the trail, this means that the braking force can extend beyond the compression of the suspension, making it active on the brakes.
Using Giant’s data, I calculated the regime to have 25 percent progress throughout its journey. It is relatively progressive, and should be suitable for coil-spring shocks with linear spring rates, as well as for wind-spring shocks with low-volume-reducer spacers.
Giant Reign E + 1 Battery and Motor
The giant motor is made by Yamaha.
Giant’s SyncDrive Pro Motor (also known as Yamaha’s PW-X3) is co-developed with the Japanese brand and designed around the Maestro suspension design.
It is said to provide up to 85Nm of torque and 250w of power and is specifically tuned for off-road use with quick responses to rider pedal inputs. It is said to have a narrow 169mm Q-factor.
The Giant / Yamaha motor is paired with Giant’s EnergyPack Smart 625 battery pack, which is stored in the bike’s down tube. It is said to have a capacity of 625Wh and provide assistance up to 190km.
It has five stock modes, indicated by different colours on the Ride Control Go top-tube mounted display.
The outputs of the mods can be tuned in Giant’s Ride Control smartphone app that connects to the bike using Bluetooth.
Each mode employs Smart Assist technology, where sensors can use the power required by the rider to calculate the precise torque and – consequently, the giants’ claims – in a “smooth and natural” experience.
Giant Reigns E + 1 Geometry
The geometry of the Reign E + received an overhaul in 2021, with some major updates, the smallest chainstays being the most significant for improving performance.
Each bike in a four-size range (from small to extra-large) has a high and low setting, from the flip chip on the upper rocker to the swingarm pivot.
Changing the chip from low to high will change the seat tube and head tube angles by 0.8 degrees and lower the lower bracket height by 10mm.
For my 178cm-high frame, I tested a larger bike with a range of 475 / 480mm (low / high). Its seat tube angle is 76.7 / 77.5 degrees (low / high), and the head tube angle is 63.7 degrees or 64.5 degrees, depending on the position of the flip chip.
The chainstays sit at 454mm, which is similar to other bikes tested. The lower bracket was 329 mm at the lower setting and 338 mm at the height.
On paper, the rule figures indicate impeccable descent-centric performance, matching the numbers of some of the fastest and most efficient enduro bikes.
Giant Reign E + 1 Specifications
Giant’s own brand accessories – such as Draper Post – feature to reduce costs.
Arguably, the Reign E + 1 is specified with high-performance parts where they need it most.
Front paired with the 170mm-Travel Fox 38 Performance Elite GRIP2 Damper with the Float X2 Performance Elite Rear Shock.
It features Shimano’s M8100 XT drivetrain and 4-piston XT brakes.
Elsewhere, Giant has installed home-branded contact components, including bar, trunk, grips and a 170mm-travel dropper post.
Features of giant-branded 30mm-wide rims and hubs, and these are wrapped in Maxxis rubber, with the Assegai 29 × 2.6in EXO + Casing 3C MaxxTerra Compound on the front and the High Roller II 27.5 × 2.5in Doubledown Thextex Compound rear.
My biggest test bike weighed 25.23kg without a pedal.
Giant Reign E + 1 Ride Impressions
On the trails used in the UK round of the Enduro World Series, I tested the rule in the Tweed Valley of Scotland.
Conditions changed during the test period, from mid-winter snow to dusty spring heat.
Giant Reign E + 1 Setup
Giant Bike does not provide a setup guide, which means I set it up according to my preferences.
I increased the fork to 98psi and installed three volume-reducer tokens, giving me 35mm or 20.5 percent sag. I set all the rebound and compression adjustments to fully open.
I initially increased the shock spring to 180psi, but then increased it to 185psi and added +4 clicks of low-speed compression to completely support the rear end.
I installed a single volume-reducer spacer, but all the damping adjustments are set to fully open. This gave me a 19mm / 30.5 percent shock stroke sag.
Although I increased the tires according to the conditions I was riding in, thanks to the doubledown casing rear rubber, I didn’t have to overstuff them to improve the stability of the carcass or reduce the likelihood of punctures.
The front EXO + casing tire was tough enough for the extra weight and speed demands of an electric bike.
After trying the bike in its low and high geometry settings, I finally settled on the top, preferring more generous ground clearance with a higher bottom bracket (338mm high, 329mm lower) and a slightly steeper 63.5-degree head tube angle. The setting is 63 degrees.
Giant Reign E + 1 Climbing Demonstration
The steep seat tube angle dominates the gigantic uphill feeling, keeping my hips directly above the lower bracket. In turn, this made me very well focused, evenly distributing weight between the front and rear wheels to help produce traction.
The natural balance between the front and the back reduces the likelihood of a wheelspin, especially when sitting up. Its geometry has made me quite straight, with most of my weight concentrated through my sitting bones, helping to increase traction.
Thanks to the steep seat tube angle, I don’t have to sit on the saddle’s nose or change my weight dramatically to control the front wheel, bikes with slack seat tube angles can be problematic.
Its geometry makes it a very relaxing and efficient mount and is backed by the power offered by Yamaha Motor.
In all its low-mode mode, the Giant Shimano feels more powerful than the EP8, much closer to Bosch in terms of grunt. This is enhanced especially when set off; Yamaha is keen to go, but if I wasn’t careful it caused the wheel to spin.
Standing and resting my foot on the pedal, I could feel the motor rising and engaging as it sensed the rider input.
This sensitivity means that it responds quickly to the trail, but gives too much binary on or off power. This made the ride a little bit slower and the bike control tricky.
Maxxis’s High Roller II tire has an aggressive tread pattern that digs smooth terrain well and the 3C MaxxTerra compound provides a good balance between wear rate and chemical traction on greasy or mucosal surfaces.
However, its 2.5in width is narrower and less volume compared to other tires of the same size. A large amount of rear rubber is a good match for the power of the motor.
The rear suspension is blowing on small bumps, but no bottom. While there is no discernible kickback when pedalling, thanks to 100 percent or less anti-squat values in all gear ratios, the rear wheel tends to hang on specific bumps, especially as the bike goes deeper into its journey.
The Giant is a true winch-and-plumet style mount, best suited to low-effort firerod slogs, but instead handles slow, slow but high-powered technical mounts.
I have struggled to get more than 1,700m from a 625Wh battery on a single charge even when riding in low support mode.
In the next support mode – which is similar to the trail setting of Shimano and Bosch, I usually performed a 1,300 metre climb before the battery ran out. This means it is less economical than the EP8 and Performance Line CX motors.
Giant Reign E + 1 Descending Demonstration
On the downsides, the Rhine is incredibly straightforward and taught, the rider inputs are transmitted to the bike’s wheels accurately and responsively.
Changes in direction and line choice can be implemented with surgical precision, but those lines require massive levels of self-reliance and confidence to get it, characterised by two things.
First of all, it can feel especially hard and tough on bouncy terrain. If it isn’t riding aggressively or with full intent, I find my hands get tired faster at Giant than other bikes like the White E-180. The Giant did not have the smoothest-feeling ride I expected given its 25kg-plus weight.
I was constantly reminded of the rigidity of the bike down the trail when the wheelbase twists and pings on each hard or hard hit. The deep-profile rims and wheel construction clearly emphasised its direct ride.
When riding with full commitment, it was for a real rocket ship and the hard, quick influx translated into decisive direct changes in direction. Similarly, its stiffness and weight helped to hold the lines nicely, although a wrong weight change could cause it to shoot quickly off-line.
Adding to its relatively tough-feeling ride was its long and short geometry. The statistical loosening of the bike is positive in most situations because it helps improve control and stability.
However, when combined with the long, slack head angle and long chainstay with a higher weight figure, a tipping point appears, where maintenance is slower and weight is more difficult to maintain.
This happens with the rule E + 1 in a low geometric setting. I often struggled to get enough of my weight forward to drive the front wheel in turns or technical sections, reducing my ability to control the bike.
At times, it felt like a runaway freight train, where I couldn’t get it back into shape and hung in the back.
Setting the geometric flip chip to the highest position reduced the amount of commitment required to track the line, but I still needed to give myself enough muscle to get to where I wanted to be.
This makes the monster ideal for confident or heavy riders, who benefit from its rigidity and generous geometry and are able to keep it under control.
Lightweight or less experienced riders have been ruled out with the trail away. Riders of this type do not enjoy the rule as much as a bike like the YT Decoy with more conservative stats and less weight.
How does the monster rule compare to E + 1?
The White E-180 and Rein E + are similar in terms of geometry and weight stats, but White’s ride is significantly more forgiving than a handful in flat terrain; Easy to control and fast to ride.
Although it is tricky to identify the cause of the gigantic stiffness, it is a combination of frame construction, wheel build and handlebar stiffness.
Compared to the special Stump Jumper Turbo Levo Comp Alloy, it has the same slack geometry, thanks to the Levo’s lightweight and smooth feel, making the Giant fall behind in how easy it is to ride.
The Yamaha motor looks lively and eager to help, which comes at the expense of battery life.
Battery capacity is almost identical to that of the Bosch and Shimano units in the Scott Ransom E Ride 910 and the Newproof MW 297 Factory (XT), respectively, but the range is far from perfect.
In fact, Yamaha’s 625Wh battery has the same range as the YT Decoy Core 4’s 540Wh unit, when both bikes are used in their second-aid stages.
While the giant is good for the price, Fox’s Performance Elite dampers get a significant mention, although the giant finishing kit works flawlessly, not as attractive as branded counterparts.
Pros: Accurate and consistent in speed; Powerful Yamaha Motor; Good-characterised
Cons: Rough punishing ride; Motor efficiency is not great; Weight and geometry work against lighter riders
Giant Reign E + 1 Final Words
I was expecting the Reigns to be a tremendous success in its terrain, designed for its length, loose and low geometry.
However, thanks to its stiff, taught physique and overweight figure, it has been tricky to muscle it down the trail, especially when travelling. It was unforgiving and exhausting to ride the hardest of all time.
In full chat, it was ghostly super-responsive for quick and deliberate inputs, but the commitment to ride it well was not worth the reward, where softer and more forgiving bikes would achieve the same speed with less involvement.
This is the inaugural version of the eMTB Bike of the Year Test, and it’s easy to find which of the eight bikes currently on sale is the best electric mountain bike.
If you’re a heavier, faster, or more committed rider, I’m sure you’ll get a lot from Giant, but I can’t recommend it for lighter or less experienced riders – this is just too much bike to get around.
source Giant Reign