Giant Road E+ review and questions

ccguy

New Member
Since 1982 I have been riding Campy Record/Shimano DuraAce-equipped road bikes - Pinarello SL, DeRosa SLX, Litespeed Classic, Colnago MasterLight. All are quick, light and a joy to ride, and the workmanship of the frames and components are impeccable. Life was good until a few years ago when my knees began to bother me, especially after riding, and I was no longer able to pound the pedals as I once did. After some research, I decided to get a 2018 Giant Road E+ (USA model, 5 power levels, 28 mph E support). I've been riding it for over a month now and here are some thoughts, pro and con, and a couple of questions. I typically ride 20-25 miles/day over hilly terrain comprising short (¼-½ mile) steep inclines, longer (1-2 mile), gentle hills and flats along the ocean which often means strong, onshore winds.,

PROS: a) The Road E+ is a pleasure to ride but with some reservations. Knee issues are a thing of the past, and I can always find a gear/power level that can still give me a workout. My average speed on my old bikes was typically 12-13 mph; I can now maintain 19-20 mph at the same heart rate but with no knee issues. The only point I need address is that a formerly 2 hr ride not takes only 1.5 hr, so I need to increase the length of my ride to get the same exercise benefit.
b) The torque sensor does it job perfectly. When I push harder on the pedals, the power assist increases, so I can maintain speed with less effort.
c) I typically ride on the larger chain ring and the three or so smallest rear cogs, increasing the power, rather than downshifting, as needed. Usually, I ride in Eco or Eco+, sometimes Normal, and rarely Sport or Sport+ and then only on steep hills or against strong winds. I have yet to use the smaller chain wheel, and I cannot fathom why Giant put a 34 tooth cog in the back. In contrast, on my other road bikes I would normally stay on the smaller 39T chainwheel and shift up and down the 12-24T cassette, using the 53T chainwheel for downhill descent or with strong tailwinds.
d) I'm guessing I would have a 100 mile range if I were to ride only in Eco mode. Not bad at all.

CONS: a) Take away the E-releated gear on the bike, and you have a fairly standard, mid-range, aluminum frame bike with mid-level components, something Giant might sell for maybe $1500, but also with a very long wheelbase. Throw in 25 lbs of batteries/motor/etc. and you have a bike that is simply not quick nor responsive nor nimble in any way. I would throw in"sluggish" but the motor takes care of that problem. Still, the bike is a joy to ride, and the lack of spryness is overcome by its effortless pedaling.
b) There was a learning curve on how to ride and smoothly shift gears which I still haven't mastered. The bike encourages you to shift into lower gears than you might otherwise choose to do in order to get greater assist. This is OK, and you get used to it, but here's a problem I'd like some feedback on. On a standard road bike, you always want to be pedaling while shifting for a smooth shift. The opposite is true on the Road E+, at least in my experience. If I don't STOP pedaling when I shift, the rear derailleur crunches and grinds the gears, a problem that gets worse at higher power levels. I've gotten used to this, so when I want to shift, I stop pedaling for a ¼-½ revolution, shift, and then resume pedaling. Problem gone, but I wonder if the grinding/crunching gears I've expereinced is normal, or a defect on my bike. Please let me know your experience.
c) I'm having a problem with condensation on the inside surface on the control unit, usually in the first 15-20 of riding when the sun hits the unit. This disappears after another 10-15 of riding. Strangely, the condensation isn't across the entire interior surface but in an area of about 1x5 cm. It's as if there was an invisible smear that attracts moisture which later evaporates. Anyone else have a similar condensation problem?
d) The weight, the weight, the weight. Not a complaint really. I get where it all comes from and why it's needed, but maneuvering the bike while walking, especially if on a hill or encountering a curb or steps is a real challenge.

SUMMARY: For me the Road E+ solved what would otherwise have been an insurmountable problem. I've been riding all my life and can't imagine not being able to continue. However, age and biology do take their toll on one's joints and, to some extent, stamina. The solution is to either give up the riding and something you love, or do what you gotta do to keep riding, benefit from the exercise and experience the joy of being on the road. The Road E+ allows me to do this. Well done, Giant.
 

Gator

Well-Known Member
Nice Review
I can't fathom the use of the two sprockets either. But take note: I was in a bike shop this morning picking up my son's new bike (Solely human powered) and I was looking at two Quick E +'s. One had two sprockets in the front and the other had one. The manager really had no explanation other than one model was older than the other. The older model was the one with a single sprocket. Both were brand new.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
Great write up, interesting to read. I have a similar story, staring down 67 yrs of age and without my current Trek and prior eJoe ebikes, I wouldn’t have done the 5500 miles I’ve racked up in the past two years. My trip distances are not unlike yours, 20 - 35 miles generally, all for pleasure and I ride every day the weather and schedules permit. You get to cherish that time out in the sunshine on the bike all by yourself, cause it ain’t gonna last forever. Sounds like you got a very nice bike there as well.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
b) There was a learning curve on how to ride and smoothly shift gears which I still haven't mastered. The bike encourages you to shift into lower gears than you might otherwise choose to do in order to get greater assist. This is OK, and you get used to it, but here's a problem I'd like some feedback on. On a standard road bike, you always want to be pedaling while shifting for a smooth shift. The opposite is true on the Road E+, at least in my experience. If I don't STOP pedaling when I shift, the rear derailleur crunches and grinds the gears, a problem that gets worse at higher power levels. I've gotten used to this, so when I want to shift, I stop pedaling for a ¼-½ revolution, shift, and then resume pedaling. Problem gone, but I wonder if the grinding/crunching gears I've expereinced is normal, or a defect on my bike. Please let me know your experience.

What is occurring here is the additional torque the motor is producing. You have it right, just back off for your shifts. The motor will still run for a second or so and the shift will occur but without your input along with which makes it grind. As you say counter to riding an analog bike but effective nonetheless. Shifting while under the dual load of human input and motor output only accelerates drive train wear. Once you get used to it it becomes second nature.

Also even though you stop pedaling the lag time before the motor stops while you are shifting also keeps up your momentum so your stopping pedaling for that time period does not impede the forward motion of the bike.
 

ccguy

New Member
Many thanks for the feedback, JRA. This is what I assumed was happening with the shifting due the torque added by the motor. As we both learned, the "problem" is easily solved by adapting one's pedaling technique. I would have thought Giant (and other vendors, if this is a problem with all e-bikes) would have included with the manuals a brochure on proper e-bike shifting and riding techniques so that riders wouldn't be put in the position of grinding their gears and figuring this out on their own.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
The Bafang kit motors that use a cadence based PAS have an optional "shift sensor" that can be installed that does at it indicates because the cadence sensor is not as quick to stop adding assist as a torque sensor. I believe that most of the current crop of integral torque assist motors have at least some form of this also but reaction time is still hard to quantify.
 

Gator

Well-Known Member
b) There was a learning curve on how to ride and smoothly shift gears which I still haven't mastered. The bike encourages you to shift into lower gears than you might otherwise choose to do in order to get greater assist. This is OK, and you get used to it, but here's a problem I'd like some feedback on. On a standard road bike, you always want to be pedaling while shifting for a smooth shift. The opposite is true on the Road E+, at least in my experience. If I don't STOP pedaling when I shift, the rear derailleur crunches and grinds the gears, a problem that gets worse at higher power levels. I've gotten used to this, so when I want to shift, I stop pedaling for a ¼-½ revolution, shift, and then resume pedaling. Problem gone, but I wonder if the grinding/crunching gears I've expereinced is normal, or a defect on my bike. Please let me know your experience.

What is occurring here is the additional torque the motor is producing. You have it right, just back off for your shifts. The motor will still run for a second or so and the shift will occur but without your input along with which makes it grind. As you say counter to riding an analog bike but effective nonetheless. Shifting while under the dual load of human input and motor output only accelerates drive train wear. Once you get used to it it becomes second nature.

Also even though you stop pedaling the lag time before the motor stops while you are shifting also keeps up your momentum so your stopping pedaling for that time period does not impede the forward motion of the bike.
What you have described above is very similar to a stick shift car. You can shift a gear in a car by just letting off the gas and no clutch. I drove a 68 Dart with a four speed home over 40 miles without using the clutch because the linkage broke, and I mean broke. It takes a lot more finesse than with a clutch but it can be done by just letting off the gas and waiting for the gears to synchronize. With your bike just let off the pedal for 3/4 of a turn, shift, then re-engage. Practice will make it very smooth. I used this method on my analog mountain bike and it worked very well on the Giant Explore I test drove.
 

Kristjan

Member
About the heaviness and maneuverability - have you used the walk mode? You need to be in a low-ish gear but I find it works well when needed (and if you need to shift while off the bike you can shift once, lift the back wheel, and hit the walk button to spin the pedals. I actually used this method with the walk button and shifting to fine tune the indexing while out on a ride).
 

Kristjan

Member
I also have to be cognizant when shifting. I don’t usually stop spinning completely but ease off slightly. It definitely took a few crunches at first but now it is real smooth.
 

ccguy

New Member
Thanks for the advice, Kristjan. I haven't used the walk mode yet and will give it a try, though I don't think it's appropriate for the issues I find troublesome; things like going over a curb, or up the several steps to our front door, or maneuvering the bike with one hand if carrying something in the other, or walking the bike down an incline. This isn't a complaint or fault with the bike, just the physics of a 45+ lb machine which otherwise functions very well.
 

jamiewc

New Member
Since 1982 I have been riding Campy Record/Shimano DuraAce-equipped road bikes - Pinarello SL, DeRosa SLX, Litespeed Classic, Colnago MasterLight. All are quick, light and a joy to ride, and the workmanship of the frames and components are impeccable. Life was good until a few years ago when my knees began to bother me, especially after riding, and I was no longer able to pound the pedals as I once did. After some research, I decided to get a 2018 Giant Road E+ (USA model, 5 power levels, 28 mph E support). I've been riding it for over a month now and here are some thoughts, pro and con, and a couple of questions. I typically ride 20-25 miles/day over hilly terrain comprising short (¼-½ mile) steep inclines, longer (1-2 mile), gentle hills and flats along the ocean which often means strong, onshore winds.,

PROS: a) The Road E+ is a pleasure to ride but with some reservations. Knee issues are a thing of the past, and I can always find a gear/power level that can still give me a workout. My average speed on my old bikes was typically 12-13 mph; I can now maintain 19-20 mph at the same heart rate but with no knee issues. The only point I need address is that a formerly 2 hr ride not takes only 1.5 hr, so I need to increase the length of my ride to get the same exercise benefit.
b) The torque sensor does it job perfectly. When I push harder on the pedals, the power assist increases, so I can maintain speed with less effort.
c) I typically ride on the larger chain ring and the three or so smallest rear cogs, increasing the power, rather than downshifting, as needed. Usually, I ride in Eco or Eco+, sometimes Normal, and rarely Sport or Sport+ and then only on steep hills or against strong winds. I have yet to use the smaller chain wheel, and I cannot fathom why Giant put a 34 tooth cog in the back. In contrast, on my other road bikes I would normally stay on the smaller 39T chainwheel and shift up and down the 12-24T cassette, using the 53T chainwheel for downhill descent or with strong tailwinds.
d) I'm guessing I would have a 100 mile range if I were to ride only in Eco mode. Not bad at all.

CONS: a) Take away the E-releated gear on the bike, and you have a fairly standard, mid-range, aluminum frame bike with mid-level components, something Giant might sell for maybe $1500, but also with a very long wheelbase. Throw in 25 lbs of batteries/motor/etc. and you have a bike that is simply not quick nor responsive nor nimble in any way. I would throw in"sluggish" but the motor takes care of that problem. Still, the bike is a joy to ride, and the lack of spryness is overcome by its effortless pedaling.
b) There was a learning curve on how to ride and smoothly shift gears which I still haven't mastered. The bike encourages you to shift into lower gears than you might otherwise choose to do in order to get greater assist. This is OK, and you get used to it, but here's a problem I'd like some feedback on. On a standard road bike, you always want to be pedaling while shifting for a smooth shift. The opposite is true on the Road E+, at least in my experience. If I don't STOP pedaling when I shift, the rear derailleur crunches and grinds the gears, a problem that gets worse at higher power levels. I've gotten used to this, so when I want to shift, I stop pedaling for a ¼-½ revolution, shift, and then resume pedaling. Problem gone, but I wonder if the grinding/crunching gears I've expereinced is normal, or a defect on my bike. Please let me know your experience.
c) I'm having a problem with condensation on the inside surface on the control unit, usually in the first 15-20 of riding when the sun hits the unit. This disappears after another 10-15 of riding. Strangely, the condensation isn't across the entire interior surface but in an area of about 1x5 cm. It's as if there was an invisible smear that attracts moisture which later evaporates. Anyone else have a similar condensation problem?
d) The weight, the weight, the weight. Not a complaint really. I get where it all comes from and why it's needed, but maneuvering the bike while walking, especially if on a hill or encountering a curb or steps is a real challenge.

SUMMARY: For me the Road E+ solved what would otherwise have been an insurmountable problem. I've been riding all my life and can't imagine not being able to continue. However, age and biology do take their toll on one's joints and, to some extent, stamina. The solution is to either give up the riding and something you love, or do what you gotta do to keep riding, benefit from the exercise and experience the joy of being on the road. The Road E+ allows me to do this. Well done, Giant.
I have a version of this bike being sold in New Zealand, it's called the fastroad E+ here. It is essentially the same but with a flat bar set up and a slightly different frame. It has the exact same display-motor-battery set up as yours. I am experiencing the condensation issue just as you described.
 

RichardL

New Member
Can the cassette be replaced with a closer ratio one on the Road E bikes without causing any other issues?
 

AltaShred

Member
I will let you know on the 12-28. I don't use the 11 tooth cog a lot and the only time I am in the very low gears is going up steep hills. Hopefully I can increase the assist level if required on a steep hill to compensate.

I really like the bike as it meets my requirements. I put a rack on it for paniers as well as a battery tail light and head light. I wish it had these off the main battery. Other than that I installed a dongle to make the speed limit go away. Works well and can be enabled and disabled with the lower button on the pad. I mostly use the dongle to keep up with faster riders. Up here they are limited to 20 mph.
 

AltaShred

Member
I see your other post regarding the 2018 and 2019. Its interesting as I have the 2018 and in Canada, it seems the 2018 is almost a duplicate to the 2019.
Attached is spec sheet for it.
 

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RichardL

New Member
Alta We live in a neighborhood area with several super steep hills. Even good road cyclists are seen chugging away in low and working up a sweat on the climbs. I have yet to take delivery of my bike - It is over at the shop waiting for me to pick it up. I'm going to leave the lower gears on until I'm sure they will handle what we have here. For me I'm not really interested in running 28MPH but getting up the hills that make riding my non-assisted bike pretty miserable.
 

kcflyer

New Member
I've owned the Giant Road E for almost 2 years. I absolutely love it. I actually HAVE used the smaller front ring. Sometimes I'll ride with groups that don't go at a very fast pace. So "off" is an option. It rides very nice with the power off, despite it's weight. Going up some hills, the smaller ring makes it pretty easy. If the hill gets too steep, Eco mode is just a click away. I get a heck of a workout on it as well. I rode pretty much every morning before work over the summer, and time was short for a workout, so I used "Normal" mode...then pushed pretty hard. I was able to get a quick 12 to 15 mile ride in and still be able to get home, showered and to the office by 8. And over that time, I got noticeably leaner...my cholesterol numbers are phenomenal. This bike is the best thing i have ever done for myself. Oh yes...the biggest benefit - it takes away any excuse to not ride...There were some days that after a day at the office, I really wasn't motivated to ride. Not so with the ebike...Get on it and by the time the first mile is under your belt - an great after work ride is a done deal. The picture below is August 2017 to August 2018...
 

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Giantbadge

Member
I posted before on giant problems page about the 2016 & 2017 road e+1 bikes, so I had to wait 3 months for a 2019 model to arrive in the uk.
This is my 4th road e in 2 years so in November 2018 it comes to the shop & after 75 miles on the clock & the steering went stiff on the left side, took it to the shop & after a couple days they rang to say the head tube on the frame was not manufactured correctly & the top bearing was not seating correctly & the bike had to go back again.
1 week later another bike turns up & 130miles in at the moment all is ok.
Thinks I like about the 2019 model are the Bluetooth app that works with the phone giving me quite a comprehensive choice of tuning the motor & power to pedals etc.
The Ultegra levers seem a lot smoother.
I find the new pro motor not as quiet as the synch sport & the worse thing is the drag after 16.5mph is very noticeable.
I have it booked in to go tubeless as there tubeless ready & it will be a first for me.
I have been very lucky to have a great bike shop very close to me who have been great 5***** & Giants warranty has been great too.
 

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JRA

Well-Known Member
"the worse thing is the drag after 16.5mph is very noticeable"

That is an interesting observation. If you turn off the assist altogether is there still noticeable drag at the cranks while riding? Or is it just a function of some sort of electrical interference past the cut off.