Giant No Longer a Value Brand? A Tale of Two Similar E-bikes, Two Years & $900 apart

gehu

New Member
Hey gang,
It seems like this pricing pattern goes into the Explore models. My wife and I bought our 2020 models in late 2019 for $2500. I love looking at what everyone in the industry is doing and charging. Sometime late 2020 the Explore had been 'upgraded' with downgraded components, especially the motor while the price had been raised to $3100. The lower cost Roam was introduced at about $2450 but further downgraded components...seems to me. A bid sad that this has happened. Value and quality were the driving forces for buying our conventional Revolt and Invite. Very nice bikes for the money when compared to Trek and Specialized at that time. The same was true when we compared the Giant/Liv e-bikes to the Turbo Vado line. Seems like a dangerous business model in the face of the direct sales competition. If you understand what you want in frame design, size, derailleur, Q-factor, and so-on why not just go with mail order/direct? I can't help but wonder if, when we have completely worn these out, we will go to Canyon, etc.
Even replacement batteries that we bought at about $500 now look to be about $850.
Thanks, Alvin
+1 I jumped on it when I found one of the last medium Explore+ 2020 (because of the motor spec* and what they did to the 2021 so I went with the 2020.)(85nm/or 75 {depending on what literature you read from them} vs 60nm 2021 with price jump of 20%. around 600+(probably not as high as you said $900) [depending on the dealer and what they pull ]) They did get the battery upgraded to 500watts at least and some other nice features for the price increase....but really like you said, dropping the motor torque spec ??? The reviews on their website for 2020 verses 2021 are funny. Not allot of discerning people really happy about the motor downgrade.
i Put on gravel drop bars and made a great group speed ride and gravel bike out of the 2020. I got them to give me a 500watt battery for it when (I feel) rightfully bitched about the bad spec of a "85nm" motor with a 400watt battery which really is kinda dumb when they already had the 500watt they could have put on it like many brands where doing at that price point in 2020. Of all my (5) ebikes (vs a total of 17 in 2 diff homes) this one is my fav now because of the fine price/performance as well as the ability to train on it with the great settings one can configure to high/med/low for the 5 assist levels. (*Is it just me or are motor makers trying to leave torque spec out of the marketing now as well as other engineering technical details? Yes I know it varies per manufacturer [and is a complex topic] but seems like they want to leave out more key specs for motor performance and just add more marketing fluff. ) Model compare:
 
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Yamahonian

Active Member
This question is more in the spirit of understanding changes in e-bike retailing, especially from probably the most dominant bike maker, but... why did Giant massively hike its price for nearly the same bike, the Quick-E+ 2019 vs Fastroad E+ EX Pro 2021.

You might say that the 2021 has the corona crunch pricing premium. Indeed, the 2020 model was $3,500, $400 less, but it also had a smaller 375wh battery vs the 500 on both 2019 and 2021. So I see most of the effective price hike occurring between the 2019 and 2020 models, when the price spiked $500 and the battery shrank (at a time when other brand are going from 400 to 500 to 600+ wh batteries stock). The newer models do look better, with a down tube that's straight, instead of twisting along the way, but that's the only thing that really stands out. The cheaper model actually had pricier Schwalbe tires (vs Kendas) and a front derailleur, and the website 99Spokes rates the older model as having slightly better overall specs. The newer model has also seen several reports of motor failure from riding in wet or bumpy conditions.[1]

Looking back, a $3k Yamaha speed pedelec/Class 3 e-bike, with a lifetime frame warranty AND 2 year part warranty serviced by your local bike shop is very competitive, including with direct sales brands like Juiced, Priority, et al, when you consider the full package. Now, it's $3900, when the comparable Trek is only $400 more, and comes with the bigger 625 wh battery. Giant usually offers better value than Trek/Specialized, but that seems to have evaporated after 2019 for their flagship urban e-bike. I'm drawn to the Fastroad for its more athletic geometry vs its peer models from Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, it's just odd how Giant has ratcheted their pricing here. Based on 2019 pricing, we could've seen a 2022 630wh model for say, $3250, now it would be ~$4200, or just stay at 500wh $3900.

Maybe the e-bikes have higher servicing costs than they expected, and they waited until a model change to hike prices. But the Quick-E started in model year 2017, so it wasn't new.

The most plausible explanation is Giant either couldn't or wouldn't produce enough e-bikes to meet demand, and they went for a more low volume, high price business strategy. Giant has a special vantage point over the industry, since it makes frames for other major brands as well as itself. It's not hard to imagine that Giant quietly dropped any ambitions to compete on value with other brands, to keep bike shop prices high and profitable. Meanwhile, Giant has a cheaper sub-brand Momentum, but the components spec'ed are lower grade. Given that Giant now has Momentum to occupy the $2500-$3000 price tier, the odds of the FastRoad coming back down below $3500 are pretty close to zero.

I think what we're seeing here is Giant's transition from a high quality high value brand to yet another big name, big price brand, like Trek, Specialized, Cannondale. Giant's executive's comments seems to indirectly affirm this profit margin over volume strategy, "Despite the rush of first-time bike buyers, she does not plan to “blindly” invest in new manufacturing capacity. She is not yet convinced the world’s newfound love for two-wheelers will outlast the pandemic." [2] Their new sub-brand lets them hit the same price points as before, with lower quality goods. This also flies in the face of people claiming e-bikes are like smartphones and laptops that will see consistent price cuts over time. Poking around on the bike database 99Spokes seems to confirm this, that the days of Giant being a value brand are basically over, with Giant's bikes costing very similar amounts to similarly specced Treks et al.

I personally don't care for Rad Power bikes, but their rise seems like the best counterweight against this new normal of selling a $3k bike for $4k. If bike brands are bleeding customers to Rad, maybe they can win them back by bringing prices down, post-pandemic. But I don't see that happening until 2023 onwards. Canyon is also the value brand that Giant once was, but it doesn't have local stores, and it doesn't sell speed pedelecs.

Momentum's flagship urban e-bike is the Transend E+ at $2600: https://www.momentum-biking.com/us/transend-eplus

You can view a comparison here: https://99spokes.com/compare?bikes=...giant-fastroad-eplus-ex-pro-2021;*z.XL|w.650b

CC @Ravi Kempaiah

Court's review of the Quick:


Comparison summary:
View attachment 79640
View attachment 79650

[1] Motor failures on 2020 model.

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/17/business/giant-bikes-coronavirus-shortage.html

Giant ceo is smart not to blindly invest in extra capacity when nobody knows if the bike boom will last.

As a publicly traded company, stockholder interests come first.

I personally don't see the ebike boom lasting in the states. It was a stimulus and lockdown driven event.
 

reed scott

Well-Known Member
Giant ceo is smart not to blindly invest in extra capacity when nobody knows if the bike boom will last.

As a publicly traded company, stockholder interests come first.

I personally don't see the ebike boom lasting in the states. It was a stimulus and lockdown driven event.
I don't know if I'm typical but surely I am not all that unusual. Bicycle enthusiast all my life but by 60 I began to ride much less. Had a good MTB but it hung on the wall most of the time. It was the hills that took the joy out of bike riding as I got older. With a sketchy knee, an unreliable right hip and a old neck injury from a bike wreck there was just too much suffering involved to enjoy my bike that much any longer. Ebikes have totally reversed all that. Retired, biking has become my favorite activity. And many days I encounter people who are very curious and wondering about my bikes. We boomers are a very large segment of the population and many many of us are desperate to not just rust away. The popularity of ebikes is a young phenomena and we old farts have the money to indulge. Giant has their heads in the sand if they don't expand.