Specialized Creo SL Expert versus Giant Road-e Pro?

wrshultz

New Member
Do any members have experience riding both the Specialized Creo and the Giant Road-e Pro?

I'm 66 years old and have cardiac sarcoidosis. This condition causes inflammation and scarring of the heart tissue, with the scarring causing interruptions of the heart's electrical pathways. I am on a ton of medications and immunosuppressants and have a ICD/PPM implant. The doctors have told me to exercise and continue cycling, but to keep my heart from going over 150 BPM for extended periods.

We live in a very hilly area of West Virginia, and I was not able to control my heart rate riding my acoustic Cannondale Synapse. Before my retirement I had work assignments in the Toronto, Canada area, and discovered a 2018 Giant Road-e Pro e-bike (Size Large) at the Giant Toronto store. Long story short, I purchased the bike and eventually got it back home to West Virginia.

The bike is fantastic and allowed me to ride with my fellow club riders on even the hilliest rides and keep my HR at 150 or below. After riding the bike for almost two years, I have the following observations:

1. The bike is extremely powerful with lots of torque. I do 95% of my riding in the Eco mode, only switching up to the Basic mode on the steepest and longest hills. That leaves three (3) higher assist modes that I never use....

2. The bike is heavy. It weighs 44 lbs. with a bottle cage and pedals. I don't notice it riding, but loading/unloading gets old.

3. Being a Canadian spec model, this unit's assist stops at 20 MPH. This has not been an issue 90% of the time; but when I'm with a group on flat or rolling terrain, and the pace is over 20 MPH, it can be a real effort to keep the 44 lb. bike rolling at the group's pace. Anything above 21 to 22 mph is difficult to maintain for any distance.

I'm wondering if the less powerful and lighter Creo will allow me to continue to ride up the steepest climbs and maintain my HR below 150 BPM. I've told my local Specialized dealer that I would really like to test ride a Creo to answer this question, but he isn't inclined to bring one in for demo or stock.

Hoping some members would be able to give some insight on the comparison of these two bikes.

Thanks,

Bill

PS - Even if I spring for a Creo; I'm planning on putting larger gravel tires on the Giant, and ride it on our Class 1 restricted rail trails and multi-purpose trails.
 
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eddief

Member
Question might be do you ever ride or want to ride with the motor off. I dare say the Giant would be a monster to ride without the motor. On the other hand the Creo coming in at around 28 lbs rides really pretty great motor off on flat and undulating terrain. Also the Creo is basically a great road bike like higher end models of the Roubaix or Diverge with the only basic differences being about 7lbs of a battery and motor between the pedals. I think the Giant is a hefty aluminum thing with a really big battery that no one would consider close to being state of the art other than a motor and big fat battery. Two seniors in my club started with Giants and switched to Creos. They are now happier seniors who don't strain their backs in order to lift a ton o bike. As am I, although I started at the high end with Creo SL EVo.
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
I test rode a couple of Creos before the pandemic hit. I really like both bikes, but I was surprised at how much work I had to do on a really steep hill I climbed.
I seriously considered buy an EVO, but ended up buying a Cannondale Topstone Neo Lefty 3, with the Bosch gen 4 motor (putting out just a bit more Nm of torque than your Giant)
The Lefty weighs just under 40 pounds, so it's no lightweight, however I still do about 25% of my rides with the power off. On the other hand, the motor is a beast on the hills.....any hills. I rode up a steep hill yesterday, with the motor in level 3 (out of 4 power levels) and I had to watch out how much power I put into my pedal strokes, to keep the front wheel on the ground.
In my opinion the Creo would be a near perfect e-road bike if Specialized just bumped up the power in 'turbo' mode a bit.
 

CodyDog

Well-Known Member
"I'm wondering if the less powerful and lighter Creo will allow me to continue to ride up the steepest climbs and maintain my HR below 150 BPM. I've told my local Specialized dealer that I would really like to test ride a Creo to answer this question, but he isn't inclined to bring one in for demo or stock."

I ride a Specialized that uses the Mission Control Application. It has a feature that allows the power to change to keep you at a set heart rate. Not sure if this is offered with the Giant.
 

wrshultz

New Member
"I'm wondering if the less powerful and lighter Creo will allow me to continue to ride up the steepest climbs and maintain my HR below 150 BPM. I've told my local Specialized dealer that I would really like to test ride a Creo to answer this question, but he isn't inclined to bring one in for demo or stock."

I ride a Specialized that uses the Mission Control Application. It has a feature that allows the power to change to keep you at a set heart rate. Not sure if this is offered with the Giant.
No, Giant doesn't offer a HR controlled feature on their Ride Control app. In fact, their Ride Control app has been a real weak link in their e-bike lineup. They just released a second edition of the app, and are already having major problems with users being able to connect and update their bikes. The only consistent way to get firmware and software updates is to visit the Giant dealer, for a wired update.
 
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Prairie Dog

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Red Deer
Hi Bill. I ride a Creo SL Exp and its sub 30 lb frameset is what convinced me to get one. I find the amount of power/torque adequately sufficient for my personal needs and this combination allows me to regularly ride it un-powered. I can't provide any comparison reviews but my own experience so far with the bike is that you can still receive a decent work out depending on how challenging your rides are. With that said, I do find riding the Creo Exp feels very much like a high-end carbon road bike as EddieF summed it up.

I don't wear or have the need to wear a HR monitor so I can’t provide any details in that respect. My Cdn model is also restricted to 32 kph (20 mph) but depending on your state laws governing e-bikes this constraint may or may not apply to you. Having assist to 28 mph would likely give you a boost when riding with your group. What type of bike rack do you use? I load and mount two Creos vertically into the rear cargo area of our vehicle so weight for me was a key factor.

The 2021 Creo Exp model will be equipped with remote buttons for the TCU which to me is huge. Having to look down at the top tube is distracting and this feature will now enable owners to change power modes with a press of a button on either side of the bars.
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
I have a Creo and while it is a fair bit lighter than the Giant, it is also significantly less powerful. I'm not sure the Creo would have the power you're looking for. While I have gotten good range from my Creo it is mainly because I'm not using much of the motor when I ride. If you need the motor to keep up with faster riders you might burn through the 320 wh battery pretty fast, whereas the Giant went back to a 500 wh battery for the 2021 models after having a 375 wh battery for 2020.

One thing that I dislike about my Creo is the 1X drivetrain and I have considered selling the Creo and buying a Giant for the 2X drivetrain, but then I like having a relatively light ebike.

For your situation perhaps the biggest advantage of the Creo is the Smart Control and having the ability to turn on the motor when you hit a given HR. I've actually found my greatest range was when I used this feature. I went out on a ride with friends and set it to turn the motor on when I hit 135 bpm. My ride companions were riding slowly that day so I ended up riding 70 km's and only using 42 wh of battery. This is only a single data point.

If if it critical that you keep your HR below a certain level, then the Smart Control could be the biggest reason to choose a Creo to replace your Giant.

I've noticed that my power usage goes way up with speed so if your group is riding fast then if you get the Creo I'd recommend the range extender.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
I had no idea the Smart Control was that crafty! This is a very interesting thread. Tough decision, but then if you are going to be able to keep the Giant along with a Creo, then it’s hard to lose by getting one... choose the right bike for the specific ride. I’ve got a Civante 28 mph road bike and a Giant gravel bike and take turns with them depending on what the ride looks like. It’s a nice First World option to have, for sure.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
Just popping in to watch this thread. I am always impressed when a new member has years of riding experience and gets the weight and power tradeoffs.
 

Amoto65

New Member
I have had half a dozen e-bikes the last one being a Carrera Crossfuse with a Bosch Activeline plus motor putting out 50nm, it was an excellent bike and then I had a test ride on my Comp Carbon Evo and was blown away by the weight and also the comparative power against the Carrera, The Creo feels more powerful and is obviously much lighter and my climbing is much easier, especially after tweaking the Mission Control.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
I have a Giant Revolt (similar to the Road-E, though US so 28mph limit). I find I can keep up with most roadies, but pedaling it at high speeds when assist cuts kinda sucks. I wonder if a Giant dealer could flash yours with US firmware to up the cutoff to class 3. I think that if I were doing road rides with it, 20mph might be limiting, which seems to be your experience.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
If he did, he would lose his dealership.
Yeah? OP said he lives in West Virginia now (which is decidedly in the USA), so its not insane to think you could convert to a US spec bike, but I really have no idea how stringent that is (or, honestly, if the dealer is capable of such a thing even if they did want to).

If not, could just look at selling the canadian bike and getting a current model Road-E (which has the powerful motor, 500whr battery and 28mph cutoff). Even on flat with a paceline, you have to be riding with pretty hardcore roadies before you'd have trouble keeping up on that setup.
 

Prairie Dog

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Red Deer
wrshultz said, 'PS - Even if I spring for a Creo; I'm planning on putting larger gravel tires on the Giant, and ride it on our Class 1 restricted rail trails and multi-purpose trails.'

It almost sounds as if the OP has made a decision, more or less. Overall weight during the loading/unloading of the bike was another concern for him in contemplating the acquisition of a Creo. Bearing in mind he would also have to continue loading the Giant if he chose to continue owning and riding it. A two-year old Cdn class 1 bike might be a tough sell even in today's market if class 3 is the natural choice in WV unless he's willing to take a hit. Captain Slow's suggestion with respect to using the smart control could be the tipping point in the Creo's favor though as that could address the issue with his HR.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
@jabberwocky: I don't mind where the OP lives. I only say no dealer would ever change the regional speed of an e-bike, at cost of their dealership. If the OP lives in WV, very good for him.
 

wrshultz

New Member
I have a Giant Revolt (similar to the Road-E, though US so 28mph limit). I find I can keep up with most roadies, but pedaling it at high speeds when assist cuts kinda sucks. I wonder if a Giant dealer could flash yours with US firmware to up the cutoff to class 3. I think that if I were doing road rides with it, 20mph might be limiting, which seems to be your experience.
I contacted Giant with the same question, and was told I would have to replace the whole motor to change to Class 3 (28mph).

Kinda hard to believe with all the control module programming that goes on. But, that was the Corporate answer.
 

wrshultz

New Member
Hi Bill. I ride a Creo SL Exp and its sub 30 lb frameset is what convinced me to get one. I find the amount of power/torque adequately sufficient for my personal needs and this combination allows me to regularly ride it un-powered. I can't provide any comparison reviews but my own experience so far with the bike is that you can still receive a decent work out depending on how challenging your rides are. With that said, I do find riding the Creo Exp feels very much like a high-end carbon road bike as EddieF summed it up.

I don't wear or have the need to wear a HR monitor so I can’t provide any details in that respect. My Cdn model is also restricted to 32 kph (20 mph) but depending on your state laws governing e-bikes this constraint may or may not apply to you. Having assist to 28 mph would likely give you a boost when riding with your group. What type of bike rack do you use? I load and mount two Creos vertically into the rear cargo area of our vehicle so weight for me was a key factor.

The 2021 Creo Exp model will be equipped with remote buttons for the TCU which to me is huge. Having to look down at the top tube is distracting and this feature will now enable owners to change power modes with a press of a button on either side of the bars.
I haul my Giant around inside our Toyota Sienna van, with the rear seat folded into the floor and one second row seat slid all the way forward. I put in a couple of Thule tray racks that clamp the top of the front wheels on the floor. I can haul my size large Giant and my wife's Specialized Ruby without removing the front wheels. However; I have to load my bike thru the sliding side door, because the rear hatch opening is too low. My wife's bike just does clear rear hatch opening.

Thanks - Bill
 
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Prairie Dog

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Red Deer
I haul my Giant around inside our Toyota Sienna van, with the rear seat folded into the floor and one second row seat slid all the way forward. I put in a couple of Thule tray racks that clamp the top of the front wheels on the floor. I can haul my size large Giant and my wife's Specialized Ruby without removing the front wheels. However; I have to load my bike thru the sliding side door, because the rear hatch opening is too low. My wife's bike just does clear rear hatch opening.

Thanks - Bill
Nice. Having a van with that floor to ceiling height advantage has to make loading and removing the bikes much less of a hassle. I have to remove the front wheels on both our bikes as well as the saddles in order to load them through the rear hatch of our Volvo XC60. Just glad that the Creos aren't that hefty otherwise the task would become exhausting. I make do with a DIY version of an in-car mount.
IMG_20200909_2240052.jpg
 

jodi2

Member
Just popping in to watch this thread. I am always impressed when a new member has years of riding experience and gets the weight and power tradeoffs.
This will happen quite a little bit longer, as light e-bikes are still new. Here in Germany it started only 2-3 years ago with Mahle X35 and Fazua.

I don't know the Giant very well and can't judge if the overall specs of the Creo fulfill your needs. But the difference in cycling a 28 vs. 44 lbs bike is huge and I guess if you once tried the lighter one, you never want to go back. As you write, 95% Eco mode, so 95% carrying 16 lbs extra for nothing. Active mode on the Giant is Level 3 form 5? This should be similar to the power of the Creo ore maybe even less, so also not worries for the 5%. Only if your really really need full power of the Giant sometimes. But as the Creo is an expensive toy and you health is important, you better try the Creo first somewhere to be safe.