Giant Explore E+ 4 GTS Review

Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Electric Bike Review
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Yamaha Motor
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts 36v Battery
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Cockpit View
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Display Controls
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Suspension Fork
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Disc Brake
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Seat Post Saddle
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Shimano Deore System
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Portable Charger
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts 3amp Charger
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Stock High Step Black
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Electric Bike Review
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Yamaha Motor
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts 36v Battery
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Cockpit View
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Display Controls
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Suspension Fork
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Disc Brake
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Seat Post Saddle
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Shimano Deore System
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Portable Charger
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts 3amp Charger
Giant Explore E Plus 4 Gts Stock High Step Black

Summary

  • A hardtail cross country gravel oriented ebike with possibilities for not only light trail riding and off-roading, but as a commuter setup because it offers mounting points for lots of accessories, high quality at a value price point
  • Comes with hybrid tires, suspension fork, rear rack bosses, fender bosses, kickstand provisions, bottle cage bosses, and even extra threaded eyelets on the seat stays for a cafe lock
  • Uses a Yamaha PW series motor with pedal torque and pedal cadence sensing response, very quiet, efficient and reliable, has a nice 9 speed Shimano Deore setup with hydraulic disc brakes, larger 180mm front rotor provides great stopping power
  • No shift detection, no battery integrated lights, minimal display is easy to use and hides the electric aspect of the bike, but may not be for everyone

Video Review

Trusted Advertisers

Introduction

Make:

Giant

Model:

Explore E+ 4 GTS

Price:

$2,500

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Trail

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive, Lifetime Frame

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2020

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

49 lbs (22.22 kg)

Battery Weight:

7.7 lbs (3.49 kg)

Motor Weight:

7.43 lbs (3.37 kg)

Frame Material:

ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminum

Frame Sizes:

17.1 in (43.43 cm)19.1 in (48.51 cm)21.1 in (53.59 cm)23 in (58.42 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

19" Seat Tube, 22" Reach, 29.5" Stand Over Height, 33.75" Minimum Saddle Height, 28.25" Width, 72.5" Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Satin Black with Blue Accents

Frame Fork Details:

RST Volant T Coil Suspension, 60mm Travel, Preload Adjust, Boost 100mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

135mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Attachment Points:

Bottle Cage Bosses, Fender Bosses, Rear Rack Bosses

Gearing Details:

9 Speed 1x9 Shimano Deore Derailleur, Shimano CS-HG200 11-36 Tooth Cassette

Shifter Details:

Shimano Altus SL-M2000 Triggers on Right (One-Way High, Three-Shift Low)

Cranks:

Custom Forged Aluminum Alloy, 170mm Length, Square Tapered Bottom Bracket Interface, 42 Tooth Chainring with Alloy Guard

Pedals:

Wellgo K79 Aluminum Alloy Platform, Cage Style

Headset:

Sealed Cartridge Bearing, Integrated, Tapered 1-1/8" to 1-1/2"

Stem:

Giant Contact, 70mm Length, 3° Rise, One 10mm Spacer, Three 5mm Spacers, 31.8mm Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

Giant Connect XC Riser, Low-Rise, Aluminum Alloy, 710mm Width

Brake Details:

Tektro HD-M275 Hydraulic Disc with 180mm Front Rotor and 160mm Back Rotor, Dual-Piston Calipers, Two-Finger Levers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Giant, Ergonomic, Rubber, Locking, Black

Saddle:

Selle Royal Vivo GTS

Seat Post:

Forged Aluminum Alloy, 2-bolt Micro Adjustable Clamp

Seat Post Length:

375 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30.9 mm

Rims:

Giant eX 2, ETRTO 622x19, Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, Tubeless Ready, 28 Hole Front, 32 Hole Rear, Reinforcement Eyelets in Rear

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 15 Gauge, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Giant Crosscut Gravel 2, 45x622 700x45c

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

50 to 70 PSI, 3.4 to 4.8 BAR, Tubeless Ready

Tube Details:

Presta Valves

Accessories:

Clear Sticker Slap Guard on Right Chainstay

Other:

Locking Removable Downtube-Mounted Battery Pack, SRAM GX Eagle PowerLock Chain, Maximum 100 RPM Motor Support, 1.9lb 3 Amp Charger with Dongle Adapter

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Giant SyncDrive Sport, Powered by Yamaha PWseries ST

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

500 watts

Motor Torque:

80 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Giant EnergyPak 400

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

11.3 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

406.8 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3 hours

Estimated Min Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Estimated Max Range:

55 miles (89 km)

Display Type:

Giant RideControl One, Fixed, Adjustable Angle, White LED Console, Buttons: Up, Down, Power, Lights (NA on This Model), Walk Mode

Readouts:

Battery Charge Level (5 Dots), Lights Indicator, Pedal Assist Level (5 Dots)

Display Accessories:

Optional Bluetooth App (RideControl), Readouts: Battery Percentage, Motor Tuning, Map, Ride Statistics, Trip Planning, Goal Planning

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Triple-Sensor: Rear Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence and Pedal Torque, Eco 80%, Normal 180%, Sport 300%, Power 350%)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

Trusted Advertisers



Written Review

To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by Fullerton Bicycles. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of Giant products.

Brand new for 2020 is the Giant Explore E+ 4 GTS, an all purpose mountain ebike with a list of possibilities that can be matched only by the syllables in its name. I say possibilities because this could feel at home during light trail riding or even in the street as a commuter because it comes with rear rack bosses, fender bosses, kickstand provisions, and even extra threaded eyelets in the back for a cafe lock. The bike comes in 4 frame sizes and each is pretty lightweight for an ebike… for example, the medium size frame we are testing today came in at just 49lbs. To round off that all purpose feel, it has these 700c x 45 studded tires, so kind of a good balance between efficiency and capability. I did notice a quick release in both the front and the rear, this is awesome for not just maintenance or flat tire repair, but also if you need to take the wheel off to move it around in a trunk or truck, really cool. A bit of comfort here too, like the 60mm of travel RST fork with preload adjust. I also see these large sized locking ergonomic grips which are Giant branded. A lot of really high quality parts over all, and I love that everything matches and is well balanced weight wise. Another great feature of this bike is that it doesn’t scream “Hey, look at me! I am an electric bike!”. Mostly because of the sleek frame integrated battery and the very minimalist display that you might miss if you even blink for a moment. Other features include bottle cage bosses for adding accessories of your own and a clear sticker slap guard.

Driving the bike is a Yamaha PW series motor that has been rebranded by Giant as SyncDrive Sport. This is a 250 watt mid-drive motor with 80nm of torque that measures both pedal torque and pedal cadence. It uses square spindles and while it may not be as high performance as some of the other motors in the Yamaha lineup, it is still very quiet, efficient, and best of all, reliable. It is ever-so-slightly heavier and offers 350% pedal support vs the pro version which has 360% support. Mechanically, it has a really nice 9 speed Shimano Deore setup with 11-36 tooth cassette and a 42 tooth chain ring in the front with an aluminum alloy guard. Stopping the bike is a nice set of hydraulic disc brakes. These are Tektro brakes and you get a 180mm disc brake rotor in the front combined with a 160mm rotor disc brake in the rear. Don’t let the staggered setup fool you, this is pretty common, even in some high end mountain bikes. The reason for this is that the front wheel takes most of the brunt force of breaking due to weight dynamics, so having a larger rotor in the front is a good thing.

Powering the bike is a 36v 11.3ah battery. Not the largest capacity I have seen, but for a mid-drive without a throttle, it gets the job done with no real problems. I love that it tips out from the side when removing, that way you don’t bump or scratch the frame as easily as some other battery setups. It is secured via lock and key and even has an LED charge level indicator. The battery weighs about 7.7lbs, so not too bad, and the charger itself weighs about 2lbs. I noticed that charging while on the bike is done near the crank arm, so do be careful not to snag that cable by rotating the pedals when parked. I love that they included a 3amp charger, typically, I see 2amp chargers on bikes like this, so the 3amp should get you out of the house a bit faster than the slower 2amp. To really care for this and other lithium-ion packs, I have heard that storing in a cool dry location vs. extreme heat or cold will extend the life and try to keep it about 50% full when not using for long periods so you won’t stress the cells. Try not to let it run down to zero, because that’s really hard on the cell chemistry.

Controlling the bike is super simple and straight forward. That is because the bike is using a minimalist display that really only tells you 1 of 3 things. It is an intuitive rubberized pad with 5 series of dots on the right and on the left. The 5 dots on the right indicate battery charge level, while the 5 dots on the left indicate what mode of assist you are in. Oh, there is also a middle light that indicates if your lights are on (however, this bike doesn’t have any) if applicable. The display can be swiveled, but it lacks USB device charging and also is not removable. However, it does have a walk mode, and even an integrated smartphone app. The app syncs up nicely, and you could even mount your phone on the handlebar to use it as a more detailed display. They have things like route planning and even settings to optimize the drive system. Normally, I would be a little harder on such a basic display, but I really think its good they hid the electric aspects and you can still get extra functionality through a smartphone app, pretty slick.

The Giant Explore E+ 4 GTS is a great all around “do anything” kind of bike. I also think the high quality components (Yamaha mid-drive, Shimano Deore derailleur, etc) are an awesome deal for a $2,500 bike. But no bike is without tradeoffs. In the case of the Giant here, I would have to say not having shift detection is kind of a missed opportunity. Granted, that is more of a Bosch motor thing, but it works good on applications like this. There are no battery integrated lights in either the front and rear, something that the minimal display reminded me of now and then. And that display itself, may not be for everyone. It lacks some detailed information and cannot be removed. However, the smartphone app pairing may be able to give you some of the extra features you crave. All in all, the bike seems great and I love that you get a 2 year warranty and dealer support. After all, Giant is one of the big 3 (Trek, Giant, and Specialized), so you know you are getting quality product. I want to thank Fullerton Bicycles for letting me check it out and I look forward to you guys sharing your experiences with it.

As always, I welcome questions and feedback in the comment section below. Whether you own the bike, have taken a test ride, or are brand new to the space, my goal is to provide an objective and honest resource. You can also join the Giant ebike forums and share your own photos, videos, and review updates to help others! Have fun out there, and ride safe :)

Pros:

  • A great all around “do anything” all purpose mountain ebike with possibilities for not only light trail riding and off-roading, but as a commuter setup as well
  • Can double as a commuter because it comes with rear rack bosses, fender bosses, kickstand provisions, bottle cage bosses, and even extra threaded eyelets in the back for a cafe lock
  • Uses a heavier Yamaha motor and front suspension, but it still a lightweight bike, for example, the medium size frame we are testing today came in at just 49lbs
  • To facilitate that all purpose feel, it has these 700c x 45 studded tires, so kind of a good balance between efficiency and capability
  • I did notice a quick release in both the front and the rear, this is awesome for not just maintenance or flat tire repair, but also if you need to take the wheel off to move it around in a trunk or truck, really cool
  • Good comfort from the 60mm of travel RST fork with preload adjust, also these large sized Giant branded locking ergonomic grips
  • Another great feature of this bike is that it doesn’t scream “Hey, look at me! I am an electric bike!”, due to the sleek frame integrated battery and the very minimalist display that you might miss if you even blink for a moment
  • Uses a Yamaha PW series motor that has been rebranded by Giant as SyncDrive Sport, 250 watts with 80nm of torque that measures both pedal torque and pedal cadence, very quiet, efficient, and best of all, reliable
  • Comes with a nice 9 speed Shimano Deore setup with hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotor in the front combined with a 160mm rotor in the rear
  • 36v 11.3ah battery tips out from the side for easy loading/unloading, has an LED charge level indicator, and is secured via lock and key, comes with a 3amp charger which is faster than the 2amp you see often
  • Minimalist display is very straight forward and easy to use, can be paired with a smartphone to do things like plan a route or even settings to optimize the drive system
  • High quality components backed by some of the best names in the business (Giant, Yamaha, Shimano), a 2 year warranty, dealer network, and is a great value at $2,500

Cons:

  • I noticed that charging while on the bike is done near the crank arm, so do be careful not to snag that cable by rotating the pedals when parked and charging, something to be aware of
  • I would have to say not having shift detection is kind of something I miss here, granted, that is more of a Bosch motor thing, but it works good on applications like this
  • There are no battery integrated lights in either the front and rear, something that the minimal display reminded me of now and then
  • The minimal display may not be for everyone, it lacks some detailed information and cannot be removed, however, the smartphone app pairing may be able to give you some of the extra features you crave
  • Minor gripe here, and you see it a lot with high brand name bikes like this, but there is no kickstand included, just kickstand provisions, so make sure to source on if that is something you want on your bike

Resources:

More Giant Reviews

Giant Trance E+ 1 Pro Review

  • MSRP: $5,565
  • MODEL YEAR: 2019

A beautiful full-suspension electric mountain bike with quality components, excellent warranty and dealer support, and four frame sizes to accommodate riders of all sizes. Color-matched components look great along with the seamless downtube integration of the battery and internally…...

Giant LaFree E+ 2 Review

  • MSRP: $2,000
  • MODEL YEAR: 2019

An approachable and simple urban electric bike complete with fenders, a rear rack, and quality components. Available in three sizes and two colors with a high range of adjustability, balloon tires…...

Giant Full-E+ 1 Review

  • MSRP: $5,300
  • MODEL YEAR: 2017

A full suspension electric mountain bike with capable hardware, excellent dealer support and impressive range, four frame sizes accommodate a range of riders, impressive pricepoint. 22-speed drivetrain with Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus allows you to engage a clutch to…...

Giant Quick-E+ Review

  • MSRP: $3,000
  • MODEL YEAR: 2017

A highly-polished electric city bike with sleek battery integration, full-protection fenders, premium LED lights running off the main battery and a minimalist pannier rack for hauling gear. Available in four frame sizes but only one traditional high-step diamond style, the bike is…...

Giant Road-E+ Review

  • MSRP: $4,000
  • MODEL YEAR: 2017

An aggressive road bike with 28 mph top electric-assisted speed, drop bars and sport saddle, you get Shimano Ultegra rear and 105 front derailleurs with 22 gear combinations to work with. Shimano hydraulic disc brakes offer powerful stops and tend to stay cleaner than rim brakes,…...


Comments (7) YouTube Comments

Rosa M
1 month ago

Hi Court, if you were to run this bike as on road only, commuter only, what tires do you like? Stock 700 x 45mm is good but I’m pretty sure it can take wider, so I’m also thinking 700 x 50mm, or 29er (for the comfort). And would you go e-bike specific?

  Reply
Court
1 month ago

Hi Rosa! You’re on a good path there thinking about slightly wider tires and ebike specific… but I’d probably just target anything with puncture protection that has reflective sidewalls and is a similar width. If you go too wide, sometimes the tires can touch the bike frame, but it looks like there is plenty of room on this particular frame both at the fork and the rear seat stay and chain stay arms. Here’s a good example of a tire that comes close to the official 700x45c stock tire size. It’s a bit narrower but has some of the nice upgrades ;)

  Reply
Browneye
1 month ago

Just ordered the last 2019 – think its going to be a great bike! I’m adding SCHWALBE Marathons, a suspension seatpost, a riser stem, and a phone holder.

  Reply
Court
1 month ago

Fantastic, those are some great accessories! Hope the bike works well for you and I’d love to hear your comments and feedback over the years of use here or in the Giant ebike forums we setup :D

  Reply
Dick Thomson
3 weeks ago

I just found out that my LBS has taken on the GIANT line. The owner knows that I’m looking to purchase an ebike. The Explore E+ looks like the perfect choice for my riding needs (rails to trails) but my biggest concern is the bike’s maximum range. In your review you indicate a maximum range of 55 miles. On many of my rides I’m looking at 60+ miles. Does anyone out there have any real world experience with the Explore E+ regarding what this bike is predictably capable of achieving in maximum range on a charge?

  Reply
Court
3 weeks ago

Hi Dick! Wow, this is a tough question because range varies so much depending on rider weight, tire pressure, terrain and terrain incline, wind, ambient outside temperature (colder may shorten range but extreme heat can damage lithium-ion cells) and the level of assist. In my experience (as a 135lb guy who is pretty fit), I can get 50+ miles if I use the second and third levels of assist… but it drops a lot when you go to the highest. I keep an eye on the battery and range estimator features (when they’re available) and I switch gears proactively. I also bring my charger a long so I can stop at a cafe or take the battery into work for a fill up. You may be able to get a double-battery ebike from a company like Riese & Müller or the new one coming out from DOST Bikes, but they tend to cost a bit more.

  Reply
Dick Thomson
3 weeks ago

Court… Thanks for the timely feedback. I really like the Riese & Mueller bikes, and yes they cost more than most other ebikes, but what I’ve seen they’re not overpriced for what one gets. Because winter is rapidly approaching I won’t be making a purchase until early next spring, so I’ll also take a look at the DOST Bikes and am also anxious to see what the BULLS 2020 Lacuba EVO Lite looks like as it’s specced out with a 750kwh battery… Again thanks for your feedback and all your terrific reviews.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.