Explore+3 +4 GTS And Sister Amiti - Review • Comments • Q&A

Browneye

Well-Known Member
While we have a couple of threads going on this model, they were for specific problems/questions, so I thought I would start a new one, talk about my 2019 +3, and invite comments discussion and questions on both the +3 and +4 US models, for owners and would-be owners.

I've put a couple of hundred miles on so far and really like the bike. There are way many more things that I like than things I don't. So I'll post a few points, a pic or two, and open this for posts/discussion.

I'm 62, 5-10, 180lbs
Avid rider, although never as much pedaling as I liked, spent much more time on motorcycles. Now the latter are all sold due to age and risk, so getting wife and me ebikes opened up a whole new entertainment opportunity for us. We're having a ball!


Likes
Comfortable - I changed out the stem riser to a 45* - 90mm length. Substantially improves the stance for me.
Good power assist - I mostly ride at level 3, sometimes 4, and occasionally 5 if I'm tired, a steep hill, or just being lazy. At level 3 I'm getting somewhere around 45-50 miles of range.
Seat/Saddle - is more comfortable than I thought it would be. Not changing it yet. The 2020 model has a different saddle.
Ease of riding - at least as easy as my pedal bikes. I really like a 700c/28-29" wheel bike, so this was a natural.
Brakes - the 19 model has Shimano hydraulic discs - the 2020 went to Tektro hydraulic. The Shimanos are flawless.
Color - for 2020 Giant went the a satin black with blue accents. I got one of the last '19's and really liked the bronze-gray color with hyper-green accents.
Giant Ride Control App - this is a way cool feature that connects your smartphone to your sync-drive power control for all ride data, speed, odo, battery level, assist fine tuning, and GPS mapping. It's a little balky setting up but once you get it dialed it's really slick. I use mine on a iPhone 6Plus with a ROAM mount.
Battery integration and design - all good. I think they did a good job on this, and I like the swing-out removal feature.

Dislikes
The fork is really minimal for a suspension. Here again, the 'updated' 2020 model doesn't have a lockout, the '19 does. But you can dial the preload in enough to make the '20 one really firm. IMO this isn't as much of an issue on a ebike since the pedal power loss from suspension is made up for with the e-assist. It's really nice to have something up front though, for rough roads, driveway ramps, expansion cracks, uneven pavement. I don't know how much offroad mine will see...probly not much. LOL
Shifting - I finally had to do a tuneup or adjust on the derailleur - it wouldn't shift up to higher gears, then would clunk into another gear or two when ramping up pedal pressure with the assist. There is no motor shut-off for shifting with the Yamaha mid-drive, so you have to let up or it clunks pretty bad on shifting. Once I got my derailleur adjusted shifting became effortless.
Tires - I wasn't impressed with the relatively skinny 'crosscut gravel' tires that come with the bike. Same for 2020. Right away I changed them out for Schwalbe Marathon 47-622's, pretty much the same size as the stock tires. They were fine, if not a little hard unless I aired down to about 35lbs. So I decided to get Schwalbe Big Apple tires in 60mm, or 2.3 inches wide. They're beautiful. Interesting that the rear rim is 25mm wide with eyeleted spoke nipples, the front is 19 with no eyelets. They really beefed up the rear wheel for 'E' power.
There is no charge port for your phone.
There are no lights, not even front or rear reflectors. I'm researching my options here, but rarely ride at night anyway - I can't see well after dark anyway.

Later I'll post more pics, and a list of accessories and changes/upgrades I've done on mine.

So without further ado...here's a pic of mine with the new tires, and now I want to open this up for more discussion, question, and comments.



The bigger tires just fit:




Just got it here, has the Marathon 47-622's:

 
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rochrunner

Active Member
Are you in the US? The only Explore+ I've seen in a shop is the 4. So is what I saw a 2020 and yours is a 2019 that's no longer sold here? Or was the Explore+ 3 "demoted" to the Explore+ 4 between model years?

ETA: Just went back to the US site and see that from 2019 to 2020 they changed the US market from using the Explore+ 3 to the Explore+ 4, where the 4 is definitely a lower-level model as evidenced by the Tektro brakes, etc, and a few other differences. I assume they did this to lower the cost, maybe affect by tariffs or whatever. Too bad, as I would really consider the higher-level models.

I went to the UK web site and saw that they have 3 or 4 different levels of Explore+, and for me I wish I could buy the Explore+ 1 or 2 over here since they seem better equipped with lights, fender, rack, and higher-level components (gearing, etc.). This is why I'm having a hard time settling on what to get; nothing seems to have the combination that I'm looking for. I'm also trying to decide on the whole Class 1 vs Class 3 issue.
 
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Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Pretty bike! I always like how Giant integrated the battery into the down tube. Nice sleek looking frame.

Glad you’re considering a light, mostly for safety. Think of all the texting and distracted drivers out there. It’s best to be seen from as far away as possible, even during the day.

Many happy miles and smiles to you and your wife!
 

new_ebiker

Member
While we have a couple of threads going on this model, they were for specific problems/questions, so I thought I would start a new one, talk about my 2019 +3, and invite comments discussion and questions on both the +3 and +4 US models, for owners and would-be owners.

I've put a couple of hundred miles on so far and really like the bike. There are way many more things that I like than things I don't. So I'll post a few points, a pic or two, and open this for posts/discussion.

I'm 62, 5-10, 180lbs
Avid rider, although never as much pedaling as I liked, spent much more time on motorcycles. Now the latter are all sold due to age and risk, so getting wife and me ebikes opened up a whole new entertainment opportunity for us. We're having a ball!


Likes
Comfortable - I changed out the stem riser to a 45* - 110mm reach. Substantially improves the stance for me.
Good power assist - I mostly ride at level 3, sometimes 4, and occasionally 5 if I'm tired, a steep hill, or just being lazy. At level 3 I'm getting somewhere around 45-50 miles of range.
Seat/Saddle - is more comfortable than I thought it would be. Not changing it yet. The 2020 model has a different saddle.
Ease of riding - at least as easy as my pedal bikes. I really like a 700c/28-29" wheel bike, so this was a natural.
Brakes - the 19 model has Shimano hydraulic discs - the 2020 went to Tektro hydraulic. The Shimanos are flawless.
Color - for 2020 Giant went the a satin black with blue accents. I got one of the last '19's and really liked the bronze-gray color with hyper-green accents.
Giant Ride Control App - this is a way cool feature that connects your smartphone to your sync-drive power control for all ride data, speed, odo, battery level, assist fine tuning, and GPS mapping. It's a little balky setting up but once you get it dialed it's really slick. I use mine on a iPhone 6Plus with a ROAM mount.
Battery integration and design - all good. I think they did a good job on this, and I like the swing-out removal feature.

Dislikes
The fork is really minimal for a suspension. Here again, the 'updated' 2020 model doesn't have a lockout, the '19 does. But you can dial the preload in enough to make the '20 one really firm. IMO this isn't as much of an issue on a ebike since the pedal power loss from suspension is made up for with the e-assist. It's really nice to have something up front though, for rough roads, driveway ramps, expansion cracks, uneven pavement. I don't know how much offroad mine will see...probly not much. LOL
Shifting - I finally had to do a tuneup or adjust on the derailleur - it wouldn't shift up to higher gears, then would clunk into another gear or two when ramping up pedal pressure with the assist. There is no motor shut-off for shifting with the Yamaha mid-drive, so you have to let up or it clunks pretty bad on shifting. Once I got my derailleur adjusted shifting became effortless.
Tires - I wasn't impressed with the relatively skinny 'crosscut gravel' tires that come with the bike. Same for 2020. Right away I changed them out for Schwalbe Marathon 47-622's, pretty much the same size as the stock tires. They were fine, if not a little hard unless I aired down to about 35lbs. So I decided to get Schwalbe Big Apple tires in 60mm, or 2.3 inches wide. They're beautiful. Interesting that the rear rim is 25mm wide with eyeleted spoke nipples, the front is 19 with no eyelets. They really beefed up the rear wheel for 'E' power.
There is no charge port for your phone.
There are no lights, not even front or rear reflectors. I'm researching my options here, but rarely ride at night anyway - I can see well after dark anyway.

Later I'll post more pics, and a list of accessories and changes/upgrades I've done on mine.

So without further ado...here's a pic of mine with the new tires, and now I want to open this up for more discussion, question, and comments.



The bigger tires just fit:




Just got it here, has the Marathon 47-622's:

Great review! I also have the 2019 explore e+3 :)

Just wondering, is it easy to take out the stock tires? I read from another member it was a real pain
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Putting the larger tires on is a little tricky, especially the front cuz it's just 19mm wide. Bike tires I find are pretty easy, but then I've been doing them for over fifty years. LOL And why I like tubes in lieu of slime - I don't mind replacing a tube or even patching one on a ride. I just never get to do either. [shrug] Maybe these bigger thinner tires will get punctured easier - we'll see. I wouldn't hesitate to put the marathons back on if it became an issue. Flats on a ride is a drag. Gee, my new Challenger doesn't even have a spare - they give you a bottle of slime and a fancy inflator. :rolleyes:

I never thought the designation from 3 to 4 was a demotion, but could well be. The msrp was a little higher for the previous model as well.
But really, they're virtually identical, in fact the +4 is supposed to have the upgraded 6-sensor controller, so I just considered it the newest model.

I do like the Ride-One button control for the pedelac, and having the smart phone link, very clean. I love having my phone handy.

The speed sensor is easily over-ridden to unleash it - I have tried it and the bike is very fast. It would seem that would make it a class 3 if it has a 30mph limit verses 18. It's not hard to ride it right to the stock limiter. That's when I usually back off or I'm leaving wifey in the dust. ;)
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Pretty bike! I always like how Giant integrated the battery into the down tube. Nice sleek looking frame.

Glad you’re considering a light, mostly for safety. Think of all the texting and distracted drivers out there. It’s best to be seen from as far away as possible, even during the day.

Many happy miles and smiles to you and your wife!
Having put about a 100K miles on streetbikes I'm well aware of distracted drivers. I used to honk at them and point to their phone and do the neck-cut sign to get the hell off them. I cannot believe that people think they can text and drive effectively, it just blows my mind.

Frankly I think if you're going to ride on the side of the road, in traffic you need a rear strobe/flasher. I noticed the RadPower bikes have a nice integrated stop light - nice touch.

Yamaha has a nice taillight integrated into the rear cargo rack. A little spendy, but nice. The new LED lights with surge sensor so it brightens up on braking is brilliant. They're not that expensive either.

Around here there are either bike paths or you ride on the sidewalk, cuz most surface traffic is 35-45mph. Geez, you'd get creamed on a bike. LOL
 
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e-boy

Active Member
Thanks for starting this thread and your overview Browneye !

Has anyone changed the gearing on their Explore + ?
Has anyone run 27.5's ?
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
If one were to unlock their speed limiter then I think a 44 or a 46 tooth crank ring would make good sense.
IMO the stock 42 is fine for the 25kph speed limit.

I put a few miles on the Big Apple tires this weekend and they are fantastic!

I also played with the fork setting some, and found the best for me was the damping off one cog from lock - the right side, then back off some on the preload. So reasonably good damping with some compliance. Surely better than a solid fork!


 

rochrunner

Active Member
On the taillight issue, I've been using a Garmin Edge GPS device to track and record my rides for quite a number of years and will probably continue to use it when I get an e-bike. This year, I added a Garmin Varia radar taillight and it works great. I get a warning tone and am able to track cars approaching from the rear on the Garmin display; it picks them up before I can even make them out in my mirror. As a car gets close, the taillight gets brighter and flashes at an accelerated rate. Nice product!
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Well, I had an injury, and the dog died, then the holiday... and the rain. :rolleyes:
So I really only got one ride on them and a few loops around the block. So far I see nothing that I like less and everything I like more. They're cushy but grip well, are stable, easy to ride, and look great. Can't wait to put some more miles on them.

The wife has been riding this size tire for 3 years pedaling her Roll. She loves them, loves the bike.

I was pleased they fit right on there like the bike was made for them. Got bigger tubes too. They are harder to install than a smaller tire. The are pretty floppy without any air in them, but are wire beaded and mount right up. Very happy with them so far.

I put the take-offs on here for sale, CHEAP, but nobody wants them. 🤣
 

iskjone

Member
I don't have many miles on my new Explore E+ 4 but I'm planning to ride the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail (Vacationing in Dunedin, FL) from end to end on Ground Hog's Day. The Pinellas Trail goes from St. Pete to Tarpon Springs, around 50 miles. This is THE premier bike trail in western FL and while you will see signs warning "No Motors Allowed" along the trail , FL Law classifies eBikes the same as analog bikes., so no problems. I've seen Electric Golf Carts on this trail.
It's a sad fact that within the Giant Explore E+ line only the model 4 is sold in the US for 2020. Fortunately this is my first eBike so it's been a excellent fit for me. I installed factory fenders , rear rack from Giant and added a shock suspension seat post. The brakes aren't high priced units but they get the job done. The front suspension is very basic but more than adequate for something like the Pinellas. See you on the Trail.
 
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Gary K

New Member
I just bought a 2018 Giant Explore E+3 (new) in Michigan for $1700. I really like the old style Giant Explore face plate with all the information ( mileage, time, speed etc). I know I'll cover mine when the weather changes to rain to protect it. I'm 70 years old 6'-3" and 240 lbs. This bike enabled me to get back to riding after several shoulder and back surgeries. I've added a SR Suntour seat post which makes a great difference in ride quality. I've also added a Giant adjustable stem and a 5 inch high handlebar. All these items eased my back and shoulders quite a bit but I'm planning to change tires to Schwalbe 53 mm from the 47 mm so I can drop some air pressure too. I've spec's out SR Suntour Mobie 45 shocks that should complete my ride. With a little over 180 miles in seven weeks the E-bike is the way to go. I just bought my wife a 2019 Giant Lafree E+2 for $1600 while the winter Giant sales are going on. Browneye, I cant believe you fit those Big Apple tires on those small rims. It looks awesome. I'm still debating whether or not to go tubeless or not.
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
I was considering a fork upgrade as well, but didn't know how to figure out what would fit. That's a for sure fit?
Nearly $400 - they better be good. ;)
Looks like a bump in travel too. And a air spring.
 

e-boy

Active Member
I just bought a 2018 Giant Explore E+3 (new) in Michigan for $1700. I really like the old style Giant Explore face plate with all the information ( mileage, time, speed etc). I know I'll cover mine when the weather changes to rain to protect it. I'm 70 years old 6'-3" and 240 lbs. This bike enabled me to get back to riding after several shoulder and back surgeries. I've added a SR Suntour seat post which makes a great difference in ride quality. I've also added a Giant adjustable stem and a 5 inch high handlebar. All these items eased my back and shoulders quite a bit but I'm planning to change tires to Schwalbe 53 mm from the 47 mm so I can drop some air pressure too. I've spec's out SR Suntour Mobie 45 shocks that should complete my ride. With a little over 180 miles in seven weeks the E-bike is the way to go. I just bought my wife a 2019 Giant Lafree E+2 for $1600 while the winter Giant sales are going on. Browneye, I cant believe you fit those Big Apple tires on those small rims. It looks awesome. I'm still debating whether or not to go tubeless or not.
I went tubeless with Schwalbe Marathon Almotion 50mm . Love 'em .Gonna try the 55mm's.
 

iskjone

Member
I'd love to fit balloon tires (60mm) on the Explore E+ but I don't want to give up my fenders. They look radical on the Browneye ride. Nice custom look. What's the thought about a slightly wider tire just on rear wheel? (50mm) Or does upset the balance and is a really dumb idea?
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
I'd love to fit balloon tires (60mm) on the Explore E+ but I don't want to give up my fenders. They look radical on the Browneye ride. Nice custom look. What's the thought about a slightly wider tire just on rear wheel? (50mm) Or does upset the balance and is a really dumb idea?
It wouldn't hurt anything that I know of, but the extra cushioning you get from a bigger tire at lower pressure brings as much or more benefit on the front as it does the back. But yeah, not only are they wider, the profile is much taller as well - I had to drop my adjustable side stand down about a half inch. And the rear clears the front of the chain-stays by about a quarter to three-eighths of an inch. I doubt anything bigger would fit in there.

Anything over 50mm is a good choice. Even the 47-622's I had were fine, but appeared about the same as the stock tire as far as dimension, and they still have a higher inflation rating/requirement. The whole idea of the 'balloon' tire was to get easy rolling resistance at a lower pressure, and thus providing a lot of cushion. Any road vibes, expansion cracks, driveway apron lips, small undulations, are muted out. The more I ride mine the more I like it - took a spin the other night, up to the local market, wife and I, and I keep marveling at how great these tires are. There are much fewer choices for 27.5 size rims - as mentioned, Specialized has their Nimbus tire specifically for the Roll. Schwalbe has one pretty close, I think it's a moto-something and it's 2.1 IIRC.

The Big Apples are 60mm, the next size down is 55mm. There's also the 'Big Ben', it's a 55, and Schwalbe makes some other larger road tires in that size I think. Some of the other brands do too - Continental, MTB, come to mind. MTB has a really nice 'racing' tire at 55 I think. Schwalbe claims to have started the balloon tire phenomenon, and they seem to be the big-player and go-to for bicycle tires. Very wide style array, the quality is there, and the desirable patterns for on and offroad. Their treking tires appear to be super durable and puncture resistant. The Big Apple's do have the 'green layer' which is better than nothing, but I don't think they're quite as durable as, say, the Marathon/Plus. But then I'm not treking long distances with my bike, it's for recreational riding. If I get a flat I can easily fix it, and I carry a spare tube for both bikes and a pump.

According to Schwalbe rim sizing, 60 is the max-size to fit on a 19mm rim. The Explore has a 19 front and a 25 rear. I was pretty surprised when I saw those dimensions printed on the rim decals. 50 or 55 is no problem either.
 

e-boy

Active Member
I just bought a 2018 Giant Explore E+3 (new) in Michigan for $1700. I really like the old style Giant Explore face plate with all the information ( mileage, time, speed etc). I know I'll cover mine when the weather changes to rain to protect it. I'm 70 years old 6'-3" and 240 lbs. This bike enabled me to get back to riding after several shoulder and back surgeries. I've added a SR Suntour seat post which makes a great difference in ride quality. I've also added a Giant adjustable stem and a 5 inch high handlebar. All these items eased my back and shoulders quite a bit but I'm planning to change tires to Schwalbe 53 mm from the 47 mm so I can drop some air pressure too. I've spec's out SR Suntour Mobie 45 shocks that should complete my ride. With a little over 180 miles in seven weeks the E-bike is the way to go. I just bought my wife a 2019 Giant Lafree E+2 for $1600 while the winter Giant sales are going on. Browneye, I cant believe you fit those Big Apple tires on those small rims. It looks awesome. I'm still debating whether or not to go tubeless or not.
I'm looking to upgrade the stock fork a notch .
I ride exclusively on the road .