Dropper post - go for it, end of story. ( although it's only about $200 to retro fit one)
Better motor - more torque but also quicker to engage + higher cadence support
Better brakes - there is a guy locally who bought a fathom for himself and his daughter, giant stuffed up the order and she got the 3 , he got the ? 1/2? - they ride together, mtb riding, her brakes were glazed within a couple of weeks.....if you are intending doing down hill mtb, go for the better brakes.
The screen - I like having all the information on my screen, ( full e pro) but it's about to get replaced under warranty - water ingress - 1200 km, but what caused the problem was a particularly nasty drive across the alps in 2 hours of scary rain - the CAR leaked water! I was prepared to pay to replace it because the screen had coped with plenty of normal use trips in rain, but the lbs / giant have been fantastic. Theoretically you can still fit the 2019 controller and get rid of the screen, but apparently these have had water ingress issues and are up to mk 3/4 ....I think I'd have stuck with the screen if it came in at a similar price and
I was paying.
11 sp vs 9 sp - you have to consider chain life vs the luxury of all those gears / nicer shifting etc The 11 sp is an ongoing maintenance cost - chains will wear out faster etc. I guess it depends on your priorities. I love my 11 sp, but 500 km chainlife is getting expensive ( mtb riding, so expect much more if you just cruise)
Does not seem to be many giant fans around here. I am looking to commute 15 miles round trip large hills. The only bicycle shop I really trust carry Giant. The other I do not know much about. Not many ebike dealers within an hours drive. I was originally looking quick e but of course they don't stock the quick e only custom order.
Hi keithd, lots of Giant fans around here, we just don't have time to post very often because we're just outside riding our bikes!
One thing to check on the 2018 is the battery. Giant released a lot of their 2019 models in September 2018, so the Dirt-E might be 8 months or more old and lost a little of it's storage capacity over that time. Your LBS should be able to run a diagnostic and show you the results.
Because all of my riding is on either roads/paths/trails, I had a difficult time choosing between the Explore and Quick. I ended up with the Explore and after riding it for several months now the only feature I really miss is Quick's 28mph speed. Sometimes the 20mph limit is just a little too slow. Quick also has built-in lights, which is a little more convenient than having to charge my third party lights separately from the bike battery.
All of the bike shops in my area have bikes 1 - 2 years old sitting on their shop floor. And they only carry one or two bikes of the same model. There is a lot of traditional biking done around here and they(the traditionalist) frown on e-bikes.