Giant LaFree E+ 2 Review

Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Electric Bike Review
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 1
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Giant Syncdrive Life Mid Drive Motor
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Energypak Carrier Mounted Battery
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Swept Back Handlebars Ergonomic Grips
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Ridecontrol One Control Pad
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 8 Speed Trigger Shifter Tektro Brake Levers
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Giant Comfort Saddle
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Tektro Hydraulic Disc Brakes 180 Mm Rotors
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 38t Steel Chainring Plastic Chain Guard
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Shimano Altus Derailleur 11 To 32 Tooth Eight Speed Cassette
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Aluminum Alloy Rear Rack
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Cst Zepplin 26 Inch Tires Double Walled Aluminum Alloy Rims
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Giant Trekking Kickstand
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 3 Amp Charger
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Stock Step Through Seafoam Green
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Stock Step Through Royal Blue
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Electric Bike Review
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 1
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Giant Syncdrive Life Mid Drive Motor
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Energypak Carrier Mounted Battery
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Swept Back Handlebars Ergonomic Grips
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Ridecontrol One Control Pad
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 8 Speed Trigger Shifter Tektro Brake Levers
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Giant Comfort Saddle
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Tektro Hydraulic Disc Brakes 180 Mm Rotors
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 38t Steel Chainring Plastic Chain Guard
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Shimano Altus Derailleur 11 To 32 Tooth Eight Speed Cassette
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Aluminum Alloy Rear Rack
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Cst Zepplin 26 Inch Tires Double Walled Aluminum Alloy Rims
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Giant Trekking Kickstand
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 3 Amp Charger
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Stock Step Through Seafoam Green
Giant Lafree E Plus 2 Stock Step Through Royal Blue

Summary

  • 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 and an oversized saddle add up to a comfortable ride
  • Giant SyncDrive Life mid-drive motor, Shimano Altus 8 speed shifting system, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes in the front and rear
  • No bottle cage bosses or integrated lights

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Giant

Model:

LaFree E+ 2

Price:

$2,000

Body Position:

Upright Relaxed

Suggested Use:

Urban, Commuting

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Years Comprehensive, Lifetime Frame

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2019

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

51.9 lbs (23.54 kg)

Battery Weight:

6.3 lbs (2.85 kg) (72.lbs with Alloy Shield)

Motor Weight:

6.5 lbs (2.94 kg)

Frame Material:

ALUXX 6061 Aluminium Alloy

Frame Sizes:

15 in (38.1 cm)18 in (45.72 cm)20 in (50.8 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Small Step-Thru Measurements: 15" Seat Tube, 21" Reach, 19" Stand Over Height, 31" Minimum Saddle Height, 28.75" Width, 69" Length

Frame Types:

Step-Thru

Frame Colors:

Royal Blue, Seafoam Green

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid ALUXX 6061 Aluminum Alloy, 100mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

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

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

8 Speed 1x10 Shimano Deore RD-M6000GS Derailleur with Shadow Plus, Shimano CS-HG500-10 11-42 Tooth Cassette

Shifter Details:

Shimano BL-M310 Triggers on Right (Pull High, Two-Shift Low)

Cranks:

Giant Aluminum Alloy, 170mm Length, 38 Tooth Chainring with Plastic Chain Cover

Pedals:

FP-820 Plastic with Rubber Grips, Reflective

Headset:

1inch Straight

Stem:

Giant AluminumAlloy, Adjustable Angle 0-50 Degrees, 90mm Length, 25mm Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

Giant Aluminum, 725mm Length, 28mm Rise, 30° Back Sweep

Brake Details:

Tektro HD-M275 Hydraulic Disc with 180mm Rotors, Dual Piston Calipers, Two-Finger Levers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Giant Branded, Ergonomic, Rubber

Saddle:

Giant Comfort with Rubber Bumpers

Seat Post:

Giant Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30 mm

Rims:

Giant CR70, Double Wall, Aluminum Alloy, 28 Hole Front, 32 Hole Rear, Reinforcement Eyelets

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, Black with Nipples, Reflectors

Tire Brand:

CST Zepplin, 26" x 2.35" (60-559)

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

22 to 60 PSI, 1.5 to 4.0 BAR, E-Bike Ready 25km/h, Medium Puncture Protection

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Steel Fenders 65mm Width, Aluminum Alloy Rear Rack (Pannier Hangers, 25kg 55lb Max Weight, Integrated Reflector), Giant Adjustable Length Direct Mount KSA18 Trekking Kickstand

Other:

Locking Removable Carrier-Mounted Battery Pack, KMC X8 NP/NP Chain, Maximum 120 RPM Motor Support

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Giant SyncDrive Life, Powered by Yamaha PW

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

500 watts

Motor Torque:

60 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Giant EnergyPak

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

11.36 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

409 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

4 hours

Estimated Min Range:

30 miles (48 km)

Estimated Max Range:

65 miles (105 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), 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 (Measures Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence and Pedal Torque, Over 1,000 Readings Per Second, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input: Eco 55% 40 Nm, Tour 120% 50 Nm, Sport 190% 55 Nm, Turbo 275% 63 Nm)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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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 Cycles. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of Giant products.

Giant is a well-known name as the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer, and they have been making electric bikes for about 20 years! That’s a lot of expertise, and I was excited to get hands-on with this LaFree E+ 2, which is a 2019 model from Giant. After spending a lot of time with this bike and discussing it with Mike from Fullerton Cycles it seems to have been designed with two things in mind: comfort and simplicity. I was immediately impressed with just how adjustable this bike is. I’m tall at 6’3″ and 190 pounds, and even though our test bike was the small frame size I was able to adjust the handlebars and seat to provide a comfortable riding experience. This bike comes equipped with long cables for the brakes and motor so you can even swap out the standard handlebar for something even taller without having to pay extra money to extend the cables, definitely something a tall rider like me can appreciate! Rounding out the comfort side of things we also have the aptly-named Giant Comfort saddle which you could pair with a suspension seat post for even more cushion, as well as the 26×2.35″ balloon tires. These CST Zeppelins are fairly basic tires and I was disappointed to not see any reflective sidewalls, but they do have puncture protection as well as being Ebike ready, and I thought they performed well during my test rides. If you get the Seafoam Green color (like our test bike) then the tires do have tan sidewalls which help out with visibility, but I would still recommend adding some side reflectors to the spokes. The control pad is simple and intuitive, opting to forego the screen in exchange for LED readouts, and I think this works really well especially with the Auto Mode setting for the mid-drive motor, both of which we’ll talk about in-depth later in this review. The big takeaway for me is that it’s easy to focus on riding without needing to spend time fiddling with assist levels or other controls. While this focus on simplicity makes this bike very approachable if you’re new to the Ebike space and want to just jump on and ride, it does mean that we miss out on some extra features such as integrated lights, and I would have really liked to see bottle cages bosses as there is plenty of space on the downtube. There are high-quality steel fenders which offer vibration-dampening qualities in addition to protection, just keep in mind that steel can rust so take care of any scratches in a timely manner. One downside I noticed with the front fender is that a mounting nut on the bottom is directly in toe-strike range when turning the bike, although this could be a symptom of me being a large rider on a small-frame bike.

Providing electric assistance here is the Giant SyncDrive Life, a mid-drive motor based on the Yamaha PW with further modifications by Giant to increase performance and reduce volume. This motor is quiet and remarkably smart, measuring not just the usual combination of pedal cadence, torque, and rear wheel speed, but also slope and accelerometer data! It features an Auto Mode that is really nice for set-and-forget riding, automatically determining the level of motor assistance based on data from all of those sensors we just mentioned. Automatic modes like this are starting to become more common, particularly on mountain bikes that will have an eMTB Mode, but I think this SyncDrive Life motor executes it better than any others I have tried. I appreciated the responsiveness as well with nearly instant power when I started pedaling, and the motor really is quiet – being barely audible even on the highest level of assist! On the human-powered side of things, we have 170mm crank arms with FP platform pedals connected to a 38-tooth steel chainring in the front, with a Shimano Altus derailleur taking care of shifting up and down the eight-speed 11-32 tooth cassette in the back. That isn’t a very big range but I think it does well for the urban commuting environment that the LaFree is intended to be used in, and shifting up and down the gears was smooth as expected from these Shimano components. There is a plastic chain guard and I think it is cleverly designed, functioning as a slap guard by keeping the chain away from the frame and also serving as a sort of chain guide by being mounted low so that the chain cannot easily bounce off. This does, of course, come with a trade-off as the chain is more difficult to remove for maintenance. The chain is Ebike ready as well, which basically boils down to being stronger and more durable than a standard bike chain to handle the extra stress that comes with being connected to a mid-drive motor.

The battery is yet another proprietary Giant component which they call an EnergyPak and it weighs in at 6.3 pounds, helping keep the overall weight on this bike down to just 51.9 pounds – not bad at all, but keep in mind that our test bike was the small frame size. The battery fits nicely underneath the rear rack and requires a key to remove, with a button and LED readout to check the charge level on the side and the charge port at the front near the saddle. When the battery is removed from the bike you can charge it courtesy of another charging port that is hidden under its own rubber cap, which I appreciate so that it doesn’t attract dirt or dust if you’re carrying it in a bag. Unfortunately, also don’t get any USB charging ports, which aren’t a necessity but are a great convenience feature for powering personal electronics. With that said this battery does still have a lot to offer with 409 watt-hours of power and some nice charging and safety features. The cells on these batteries have increased spacing for heat management and are individually controlled, so that even if a single cell fails the rest of the battery can continue operating without problems. In addition, both output and charging are load-balanced to promote longer cell life. Giant doesn’t say just how much of an effect this has on battery life so that is anyone’s guess, but I definitely appreciate the extra safety considerations! Speaking of charging, the charger is a bit more powerful than standard at 3 amps while still only weighing 1.6 pounds, and it’s small enough to easily transport in a backpack or other bag. Giant claims that this charger can charge the battery from 0 to 60 percent in only 90 minutes, which is awesome – of course, you should try not to actually drain your battery down to 0% as that is hard on the cells and reduces the life of the battery. As we mentioned earlier, there are no integrated lights on the LaFree, so you’ll need to pick up some of your own if you plan to do any night riding. That is a bit of a bummer since integrated lights are common at this price point, but to be fair it makes some sense when considering the minimalist and ride-focused design of the LaFree.

The control pad here is Giant’s RideControl One system, a simple and small pad mounted on the left handlebar. Notably missing from this system is any sort of an LCD screen, with readouts being handled by white LED indicators on the control pad itself. You have five indicator lights on the right for battery power which means 20% increments, five indicator lights along the center which indicate pedal assist level, and another center-right light that denotes “Auto Mode” when in use. The LEDs are bright and I had no problem seeing them in bright daylight, which does make me wonder if they might be too bright and distracting at night as there doesn’t appear to be any way to adjust this brightness. The LEDs get the job done but this isn’t a lot of precision and we’re missing a lot of other readouts (such as speed and odometer) that other Ebikes have. If you’re like me and prefer having all that extra information, then the good news is that Giant has a solution in the form of its RideControl smartphone app. Available for Android and iOS, this app pairs with the bike through Bluetooth and can show you all of that information and more, including functions for motor tuning and trip planning. I was disappointed that I couldn’t truly test this app since it requires registering the bike during the pairing process, so if you have used it and want to share your experience I would love to hear about it in the comments section below. I do appreciate the minimalist approach with the RideControl One system, it’s intuitive and fits well with the simplicity-focused design of this bike. Looking at the rest of the cockpit we have ergonomic locking grips on the ends of the handlebars which have a nice 30-degree sweep back, a flick bell, trigger shifters with a gearing readout, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes for both front and rear. The brake levers are adjustable for position and reach which is a good thing considering the range of adjustments available for positioning the handlebars. One thing missing from these brakes is motor inhibitors, so squeezing those levers doesn’t cut off power to the motor. Normally I would consider this to be a downside or even a safety hazard, but it actually works out okay here. Since this is a Class 1 Ebike there is no throttle to worry about fighting during a sudden stop, and the motor is responsive enough to cut off virtually instantly when you stop pedaling, so there isn’t really a need for motor inhibitors.

To me, the LaFree seems designed for people who might be new to the Ebike space, who want something easy and comfortable to use, that they can just “hop on and ride” without having to learn complex controls or fret about potential mechanical issues. For a bike with no suspension, it offers a remarkably comfortable ride and is both approachable and adjustable for riders of any size. Of course, we mustn’t forget about one of the biggest perks of owning a Giant-branded Ebike: the warranty and dealer support. Giant offers a two-year comprehensive, lifetime frame warranty, and its position as the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer means that there are numerous Giant dealers available to help with maintenance and spare parts. That’s a great safety net to have, and I can see the LaFree being a very attractive option for a lot of people, but of course, that doesn’t mean everyone! This bike is missing some features that are considered staples for some riders, such as integrated lights and bottle cage bosses. Of course, there are plenty of aftermarket solutions for these items and every Ebike comes with trade-offs, just make sure that you consider them in regards to your riding style and environment.

As always, I welcome questions and feedback in the comment section below. Whether you own a previous version of 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 EBR forums and share your own photos, videos, and review updates to help others! Have fun out there, and ride safe :)

Pros:

  • Highly adjustable with a quill stem and wide angle for handlebar position, long cables allow for extremely high rise handlebars
  • Very approachable with a low step through and minimum saddle height
  • Comfortable saddle, balloon tires, ergonomic grips, and upright riding position add up to to a comfortable riding experience
  • Giant SyncDrive Life motor is smooth, responsive, and quiet, even responding to slope and accelerometer data in addition to the usual torque, cadence, and rear wheel speed
  • RideControl One control system is simple and intuitive, Auto Mode is nice to “set and forget” and works great
  • Kickstand is adjustable length and rear mounted to prevent pedal lock
  • Fairly lightweight at 51.9 pounds thanks to mostly aluminum alloy construction and reduced weight of Giant’s proprietary electronics
  • Integrated rear rack with lots of attachment points for mounting carriers or strapping down cargo
  • Plastic chain guard keeps pant legs out of the chain while also acting as a slap guard, and it’s mounted low enough to prevent the chain from bouncing off
  • Smooth shifting performance from the eight-speed Shimano Altus derailleur, and the trigger shifters have a gearing readout
  • Solid stopping power from Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors in the front and rear
  • Excellent 2 year comprehensive, lifetime frame warranty and great dealer support

Cons:

  • No bottle cage bosses or integrated lights
  • No motor inhibitors on the brakes, but the near-instant responsiveness of the motor and the lack of a throttle make this less of an issue
  • Fenders are steel which can scratch and rust, but they do provide vibration dampening qualities
  • Mounting bolt on the bottom of the front fender is in toe-strike range for riders with larger feet

Resources:

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Comments (3) YouTube Comments

Craig
1 month ago

Hello, I own Two **LaFree E+1** and we LOVE them !
One thing I wanted to point out is……….
You said:
“*One major drawback to this battery is that it doesn’t include a way to plug in and charge when it is removed from the bike; to do this you have to purchase a separate adapter from Giant, which is an extra cost and another item to transport and keep track of.”*

On my LaFree E+1 the Battery **has a port on the bottom** for (off bike charging), as well as the Port when On the bike.
I believe this would be the same on the LaFree E+2.
See the diagram in the online Manual.

Also worth noting, **LaFree E+1** has integrated lights. : )

Thanks for finally reviewing this bike………………….

Craig

  Reply
Tyson Roehrkasse
4 weeks ago

Hi Craig, thanks for the heads up on this! I looked into this and confirmed that you are correct, the E+2 battery does in fact have a port for charging off the bike. Several of their mountain bikes require an adapter and I got that mixed up with this one. I’ve updated the review accordingly :)

  Reply
Craig
1 month ago

Hello,

I’m glad to finally see the Giant LaFree get reviewed.

One point I would like to point out is regarding Charging the Battery off the bike.
You said: *”Charging the battery off the bike requires a separate adapter”*
My LaFree E+1 does not require a separate adapter, when charging off the bike.
There is a charging port on the underneath side of the battery.
I would think the Battery is the same for Both LaFree E+ 1 & E+2.

I am very happy with my Giant LaFree E+1, particularly due to the Carbon Belt, and Nexus internal gearing, instead of the chain & derailleur on the E+2.
Plus the E+1 has Integrated Lights, that are not present on the E+2.

Both models are wonderful bikes, you just get a higher end set up for a little more money with the E+1.

Craig

  Reply

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